Treasures from One Family Tree

Treasures from One Family Tree

By Kate Massey

My love for genealogy came from my interest in discovering names I had never heard before. There is something special about being able to connect yourself to a rare gem of a name, and being able to connect that name to your ancestor’s history.

In addition to individual names, there are also some interesting patterns I’ve noticed while researching the branches of my various family trees. Some eras favored word names while others preferred patriotic names. Some branches were filled with unique names, while others stuck with the more traditional. One trend I’ve noticed is that “sibset” naming wasn’t considered until the 20th century. There often seemed to be a wide variety of names among siblings, yet, it wasn’t strange to have two sons named Joseph or three daughters named Elizabeth.

Now let’s go back in time and get to the names!

Sereno Dexter– This name combination was passed on for a few generations on my maternal grandmother’s side before it dwindled away. It’s one of my favorite combinations that I’ve found, and Reno or Dex would be awesome nicknames!

Andrew Jackson– Along with several children named George Washington, Kansas, California, Tennessee, and Virginia, Andrew Jackson was among a category I refer to as “patriotic.” These patriotic names were prevalent on both sides of my family tree around 1850. While there are plenty of Jacksons running around today, I can’t imagine many of today’s parents bestowing the full name of a president on their baby.

Benton– Wouldn’t Benton fit right in with Easton and Ashton? Benton seems right on track with current trends, and a great alternative to Benjamin.

Scapus Green– While I’m not sure what to think of this one, I couldn’t leave it out. Scapus is the only male in his immediate family with such an unusual name, but the women are another story.

Kaspar– Beginning in Russia, Kaspar was a name that was passed down for several generations and gradually became anglicized after my great-grandfather’s family immigrated to the United States. Kaspar turned to Kasper, then, Casper. Another name that gradually changed as it was passed down was Johannes, first becoming Johann, and finally, John.

Rubia– If Ruby just isn’t enough, maybe Rubia is for you! In the late 1800’s, Rubia and Rutha became more popular in my family than their more common counterparts, Ruby and Ruth.

Cora Rado– This is another of my favorite combinations. Cora is cute and classic, Rado is spunky and unique. It’s probably the longest running middle name in my genealogy. First given to the girls, and ending its run as a boy’s name, Rado inspires me.

Elender- The mother of Scapus Green, also has a curious name. What do you think of it?

Happy– While I came across many word names, Happy is by far the most cheerful. Other word names my ancestors gave their children include Fear, Olive, Morning, Pheasant, Warden, Waters, Shepherd, and Gentry.

Zilfee– Upon researching this name, I learned that it showed up in a few families in the late 1800’s. I still don’t know where the inspiration for this name came from, but it is intriguing.

Lillus- Her name was spelled differently on nearly every record, but Lillus was the most common spelling I found. Lillus reminds me of Linus, but the nickname Lilly makes it a more usable option for girls.

Other interesting names for boys include Stinson, Loriston, Woodman, Dauswell, Neziah, Lyde, and Warrington. For girls: Atha, Lula, Kezia, Volinda, Sophronia, Paralee, Levica, and Luzina.

I am always intrigued by the names I discover while researching my family’s past. I encourage you to explore the branches of your own family tree. You may just find some inspiring names hiding there, and learn something about yourself along the way!

What treasures have you uncovered in your family history?

Kate is a twenty-four year old living in a small Pacific Northwest town with her new husband, David, and the best dog ever, Hudson. Aside from loving all things names and history, Kate enjoys kayaking, painting, and her job as a veterinary assistant.