Why are names so important?

Family Ancestry Detective

Family Ancestry Detective

My 6 and eight year old young daughters talk about what it’s going to be like when they have kids. They ask me “Does Dad wish that he had a boy?”, I say “No, Dad is happy that your all healthy but of course he would have liked to have someone to enjoy boy stuff with and name after him.” They both chime in that if they have boys that they will definitely name their son after their father and they will send their sons to their Dad to take to the football. I chuckle as I know how new mothers get caught up in the name game and I smile that they think so much of their Dad that they would be happy to honour him.

I had inkling about how names may be handed down with my husband’s own name. My husband is the third Alexander David Warren in his family tree (another uncle was Alexander Robert Warren). I tell my husband that his family was so poor that they couldn’t afford a new name for him. Lol. However I laughed when I started doing my mother’s family tree. My great grandfather was Joseph Sanderson and his father was Joseph Sanderson then it was William Sanderson and William Sanderson again and William Sanderson again. I am amazed at how names come up again and again in a tree. It gives me a feeling that the family was really keeping a connection going. It was a treasured way of honouring their family members, both those that were still present and those ancestors that were gone.

I had named all my girls before looking through my family tree and was pleasantly surprised that their names came up. Jessica’s middle name is Sarah, and I had a great-great grandmother with that name – Sarah Asquith. Emily featured as another great-grandmother on my father’s side – Emily Lown and my Dad specially got the photo of his mother as a child and his grandmother blown up for me after Emily was born. Lily is the shortened version of my own grand-mothers middle name, – Edna Lilian Hoad, she herself sometimes shortened it as I see it as Lily on electoral records for her. I would look at Emily Lown and wonder if the strength and warmth that she showed to her daughter in the picture would translate down to my daughter Emily. I think that is the essence of why people name their children after family they love. They honour their family members through the ongoing use of the name.

My name is spelt Nicol – no ‘e’, no not spelt Nichol, just Nicol without the ‘e’’. I know how it drives me crazy every time I tell someone my name. I have had my name read wrong so many times. So I thought it was interesting reading when I read about baptisms in Scotland in the late 1800’s. When a baby was born no-one was allowed to utter the child’s name until they were baptised. The baby would be baptised at the soonest possible date and the mother would write the name of the baby on a piece of paper for the minister to say in the baptism ceremony. There was great deal of pressure on the minister to say the name of the baby correctly and distinctly as it was seen as a bad omen if he did not. I think there would have been a bit of pressure on the parents to pick easy names and not leave off letters like ‘e’. If I would have been born then it might have been feared that I would grow a stutter as the minister would have had to say the name over again. Lol.

You should sit down and think about the family’s names that you know and ask your older relatives whether some of them come from past family members. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised and might hear of past relatives and the stories of some of their names. If you are just starting on the journey of making your own family don’t discount family names as they will be part of what is seen in history. Ancestors are an important part of where we have come from and bringing them into our modern lives by honouring them just makes us know that we are not alone but part of a great big family tree that still grows every day.

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