Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Names or what were they thinking?

There are certain names that just make you wonder. How could anyone have looked at that tiny newborn and decided to label them with some tongue twister or pompous mouthful? 

Some names are handed down through generations. This can be a bane for many a genealogist. Which generation did the immigrant James belong to anyway? Was it the son or the father or maybe even the grandfather? It can also lead to very dated names being given to modern day children. Not great on your average school playground. 

But families who reuse the same birth names over generations can be helpful in genealogical research. Traditions like the Scottish naming pattern can be useful in identifying family connections but that pattern seems to have been discarded a few generations ago. Maybe that changed because there were fewer kids to name or because families no longer stayed in traditional communities. 

My own birth family looked back to previous generations to chose names for their progeny. In my case, I was named after my great aunt. I was saddled with the name Margaret. I have always struggled to understand that because I called my great aunt, Auntie Peg. Personally, I don’t think she liked the name Margaret either. The women in my mother’s family seem to have had a love hate relationship with the labels they were given.  My own mother went by her middle name but it was her mother who went to the greatest extremes. 

My grandfather, Harold Chambers, and his wife, the once named Katie May

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