Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

A few weekends ago I was happily playing around with genealogy stuff, and it occurred to me to run a report to see what kind of funky names were in my files. I've learned a lot about how people like to name their children, especially when it comes to the Puritans. I have a lot of them in my ancestry.

For one thing, they liked to name their kids after themselves and their parents and siblings. Naturally this means you have the same 6 names occurring every generation. This makes it really fun and exciting for people like me who come along a few centuries later and try to figure it all out.

For instance, Thomas and Rebecca have as children, Thomas, Rebecca, Daniel, John. Those kids will have kids with all the same names, and so on and so on.

PLUS, they also had a habit of re-using a name if a child died young....so if Thomas and Rebecca had a Thomas, and he died as a baby, they would name their next kid Thomas!!!

It makes you REALLY appreciate it when someone gets creative with a name. Which I never thought I would do because I have always given my parents a hard time about my name, which is pretty unique. I never liked it because as a child I could never find things with my name on them like the other normal kids. No mini license plates for me....sigh.....I've since gotten over it and I use my name as a tool to know whether someone actually knows me or not...if you mis-pronounce my name I know you don't know me....pretty handy for the telemarketers....plus I really enjoy hearing them struggle over the name...:-D

Anyway, back to the unique names...so it's really SO handy when you are researching and you come across a unique name, for instance, I have this one guy, he is named "Squire Ide". And he named one of his daughters "Leaffe Ide". Now how about that?

And those puritans also liked to name their kids with abstract ideas, like:

Patience Alling
Thankful Andros
Deliverance Bliss
Freelove Bliss
Mercy Bliss
Preserved Capen
Wealthy Chase
Comfort Deming
Wait Hopkins
Deliverance Hayes
Experience Ide
Mindwell Mix
Love Royce

Well, I don't know how puritanical the people who named their kids "Wealthy" and "Freelove" were, but you get my point.

Those were the nice names though....I actually have people named this:

Lament Collins
Submit Collins
Savage Sutliff

You are going to name your kid "Lament"???? What a way to give them some nasty karma starting off in the world.

And then there are the people who clearly threw open the bible to a random page and pointed with their eyes closed:

Ithemar Andrus
Pelatiah Bliss
Zaccheus Bosworth
Zerviah Bowen
Asenath Collins
Keturah Collins
Manassah Collins
Ruhamah Collins
Zerujah Collins
Amasa Curtis
Keziah Hall
Jerusha Mather
Abinather Mix
Bathsheba Read
Benajah Royce
Huldah Royce
Hadassah Sprague

Now, come on. Did they hate their kids???

Finally it occurred to me to see how many relatives have my first name.....

I've got nearly 5,000 people in my database, going back more than a 1,000 years.

Want to know how many Leah's???


Including me.

There are more people named "Experience" and "Huldah" than Leah.

Anyway...the point is, think about what you are going to call your kids, because there may be a genealogist a few hundred years from now either grateful for your uniqueness, or wondering what was wrong with you.....like I wonder about the parents of Moroni Miner.....

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