Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Just Call Me by My Name....

One thing we genealogist know is that our lives are never boring while we are researching. Our ancestors like to keep us busy and often times scratching our heads over how and why they chose the names they did for their children.

As a young mother to be I sat for many hours pouring over names in the baby name book to find the perfect name. One that flowed, sounded nice with the surname. One that had a special meaning. One that other children could not rhyme with something hurtful or mean. My husband liked Dillion. (not that there is anything wrong with the name Dillion) I was worried that kids would call him dill pickle. So I nixed that. Jesse was good. Like Jesse James. Yeah! Strong and tough. I mean I put a lot of time and effort into this name and it makes me wonder just how much time and thought went into the naming process of our ancestors?

Back in the day many children were named for their Godparents and being Catholic most of my ancestors gave their children the obligatory Saints name. However it seems that they never fully intended to use this name when they had to give it in records or other information. Instead they often went by the middle names. Then you have those that named three or more children the same first and middle names, and no none of them had died. So, in order to keep these children straight the parents and siblings called them by nicknames making things even more complicated. I know this happens to other researchers as well and it is a very time consuming and frustrating job to keep everyone straight.

 For example, Jean Baptiste Ladner and his spouse Marie Louis Fisseau who had the following children:

Marie Louise Ladner born 13 Sep 1750
Louise Baptiste Ladner born 1751
Constance Christian Ladner born 1752
Marie Anna Ladner born 1753
Angelique Christian Ladner born 22 Dec 1754
Marie Louise Ladner born 10 Jan 1765
Jean Baptiste Ladner born 16 Apr 1767
Marie Louise Ladner born 18 Jun 1770

They really liked the names Marie and Louise! 

I spent a whole day searching for an ancestor's obit using the first name given on his baptismal certificate. After finally giving up on finding his obit. I then tried one of his sons names. Low and behold when I searched his son's name it came up with his father's obit. Except instead of Pierre Joseph Ladner he was listed as Joseph Pierre Ladner. Lesson learned! Always switch names around. You never know.

 My mother always said that her father as the oldest son was given the special privilege in his household of naming his siblings after they were born. He was just a kid himself. Mom always laughs and says I think he actually did a good job. He named, Hilda, Nora, Lorene, Hattie, Henrietta, Edward, Marie, Doris, and Harold.

The nicknames!! Oh my. We have Beb for the baby Josephine, San San for Mary,  Ledi for Ida, Lul for Lillie, Jenny for Genevieve, Man for Etienne, Mish for Artimese, Sis for Irma, and DeDe for Edith. Just to name a few in my family.

Then there are those that like to name all the children with names that sound the same and start with the same letter or sound. Such as:

Ceville, Cevellia, Cevillan, Seville, Sylvan, and Sylvania

Yes, true story! Those are actual family names in my family tree of siblings. The bad thing is the boys Ceville and Seville went by their initials of C.V. Ladner and S.V. Ladner. Making things all the harder!

I suppose our ancestor's may have not liked the names they were tagged with. Just like many of us who have bemoaned to our parents, But Why Did You Have to Name Me That?? I Hate My Name!

 I suppose Shakespeare's Juliet said it best,
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

But then again Elvis Ladner who was born many years before THE Elvis Presley just doesn't have the same ring to it! Does it?

No comments:

Post a Comment