Author Topic: Naming Customs  (Read 3874 times)

Offline Black Sheep

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Naming Customs
« on: Friday 23 April 04 21:13 BST (UK) »
I am interested in Naming Customs.

Do the Customs change by area and how popular was this Custom.

First -born son Father's Father
Second born son Mother's Father
Third -born son Father'
Forth - born son Father's eldest Brother
Fifth - born son Father's 2nd or Mother's eldest brother

First-born daughter Mother's mother
second -born daughter Father's mother
Third -born daughter Mother
Forth-born daughter Mother's eldest sister
Fifth-born daughter Mother's 2nd or Fathers eldest sister

I would love to know if this does really work with your research and what years it covered.

Sarah :)

Offline Boongie Pam

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Re:Naming Customs
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 25 April 04 11:38 BST (UK) »
I've got a Scottish family where only the mother's family names were used.  The father didn't get a look in, he was a mariner so probably not around when the kids were born - she got to choose.  

I also have a family in Cumbria where only the father's family were used.

In the first instance, the father is away and the mother is living in the same street as her family.  In the second, the family are living in the town with the father's family.  In my mind this probably means that there is a kind of order to the naming but the honour  or respect is for the people around you.

Another pattern to keep in mind is below - I have two lots of families in Midlothian who stuck to this very strictly.

Pattern A
1st son father's father
2nd son mother's father
3rd son father's grandfather fraternal
4th son mother's grandfather maternal
5th son father's grandfather maternal
6th son mother's grandfather fraternal
...and then onto the great grandfathers.

So for daughters it favours the mothers side:

1st daughter mother's mother
2nd daughter father's mother
3rd daughter mothers grandmother maternal
4th daughter father's grandmother fraternal
5th daughter mothers grandmother fraternal
6th daughter father's grandmother maternal
...and then onto the great grandmothers.

The problem with these conventions is how do you identify which is being used - IF any.  If the father is called William and the grandfather is
called William how do you know what "convention" is being used in the
decision to call your son William?  If all first boys are called William -
that's a common idea in catholic families from the NW (substitute whatever name ;-)).  So what if you are the first son of a 2nd son of a 4th son?

I've stopped using the convention until I have two lots of brothers with
families and if they both have a similar pattern I may look for clues for
the grandparents possible names - but when you have 8 Robert Greens all born in spitting distance of each other in time and geography you can guess the grandfather is a Robert.

For Wales it was more complicated I think the child took the father's first name as their surname.  e.g. John Hughes names a daughter called Elizabeth Jones.  I'm sure the Welsh researchers on the list will give more detail, I'm still baffled by it!

Whatever naming conventio you look at in England in Scotland it seems the first 6 children are treated the same:-

First -born son Father's Father
Second born son Mother's Father
Third -born son Father

First-born daughter Mother's mother
second -born daughter Father's mother
Third -born daughter Mother

It is after that that variations creep in.

Hope this helps.


UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from

Dumfrieshire: Fallen, Fallon, Carruthers, Scott, Farish, Aitchison, Green, Ryecroft, Thomson, Stewart
Midlothian: Linn/d, Aitken, Martin
North Wales: Robins(on), Hughes, Parry, Jones
Cumberland: Lowther, Young, Steward, Miller
Somerset: Palmer, Cork, Greedy, Clothier

Online intermittently!