Author Topic: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names  (Read 12430 times)

Offline clairec666

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Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« on: Tuesday 05 January 16 15:43 GMT (UK) »
I'd love to hear people's stories about distinctive names that appear in their families, and whether you have found their origins.

I've found a girl called Providence, one called Jubilee (born in 1887), boys in seafaring families called Ocean and Seaman, and two boys (in different families) named Royal and Prince. Other names, such as Sackville, Wyndham and Seymour, look like they are taken from surnames.

Two of my ancestors had the first names Barnabas and Israel - while not unique, they were certainly unusual and the names were carried on for a few generations.

I have a some mysteries in my family though:

My great-grandmother's name was Dorothy Selman Oliver. You would imagine Selman could be her mother's maiden name, but it's not, or for the previous three generations. And it's not misread from Selma - it appears as Selman in the birth index, on her christening record and in the 1911 census. Her three brothers have the surnames Henry, William and James. So where did Selman come from?

My great-great-grandfather had a brother called Weymouth Nunn Moul. Nunn was his mother's maiden name, but I don't know where Weymouth came from! Obviously it's a town in Dorset, but the family lived in Essex, and his father was not a mariner.

My Frazer family often use the middle name Lovat/Lovett for their sons. There is a Scottish clan Fraser of Lovat... maybe they're connected, but my Frazers are in Worcestershire. The family also use Gilbert as a middle name long before it became popular as a first name.

Can anyone shed any light on my mysteries? Or just share your own stories of weird names!
Transcribing Essex records for FreeREG.
Current parishes - Burnham, Purleigh, Steeple.
Get in touch if you have any interest in these places!

Offline nanny jan

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Re: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 05 January 16 16:04 GMT (UK) »

My 2xgt. aunt  Annie had Hughes as one of her names.....not her mother's name... but tracing back her aunt had married well to a Mr. Hughes; I guess the family were hoping for a legacy in later life.  Sadly Annie died aged just 15 months.  :'(


Nanny Jan
Howard , Viney , Kingsman, Pain/e, Rainer/ Rayner, Barham, George, Wakeling (Catherine), Vicary (Frederick)   all LDN area/suburbs  Ottley/ MDX,
Henman/ KNT   Gandy/LDN before 1830  Burgess/LDN
Barham/SFK   Rainer/CAN (Toronto) Gillians/CAN  Sturgeon/CAN (Vancouver)
Bailey/LDN Page/KNT   Paling/WA (var)



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Offline shellyesq

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Re: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 05 January 16 16:26 GMT (UK) »
My tree doesn't have much in the way of interesting names, but my husband's has a few.  There were a few generations with the first name Ranger, starting with his great-grandfather's brother.  I don't know where that came from.  It doesn't seem to be a family surname, but it made the family easier to find in the census. 

There were also two males that seemed to be named after counties.  One was named Westchester, which was the county the family was from in New York.  He showed up as Chester sometimes.  Another male, who I only learned of from a newspaper notice of his very early death, was named Cumberland.  Cumberland's father was from Cumberland Co. in England.

Offline Heb66

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Re: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 05 January 16 17:16 GMT (UK) »
I named my son Morgan twenty years ago before I started my family history, only to find that was my great grandmothers maiden name
Payne, Woodchester Glos / Kings Norton Worcs.
Luker, Glos.
Bingham; Stroud, Glos.
Gore: Glos/ Plymouth.
Rodway: Woodchester, Glos. Wanted Henry Rodway born 1849. Missing since 1881.
Hyam: Glos.
Morgan: Nettleton Wilts / Stroud Glos.
Elliott : Malmesbury Wilts.
 Searching for Thomas Elliott, Occ  groom / butler born 1830. Father Alexander occ: carpenter,place births unknown.
Please..descendants of Howard Sidney Davies, Cinderford or Stanley Howard Davies, Croydon, Surrey.


Offline GrahamSimons

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Re: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 05 January 16 17:42 GMT (UK) »
I vote for one I've found - Caesar Augustus (born in Devon, not Rome).

Septimus was helpful - he encouraged me to look for an older brother who I didn't know about before.
Simons Barrett Jaffray Waugh Langdale Heugh Meade Garnsey Evans Vazie Mountcure Glascodine Parish Peard Smart Dobbie Sinclair....
in Stirlingshire, Roxburghshire; Bucks; Devon; Somerset; Northumberland; Carmarthenshire; Glamorgan

Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 05 January 16 18:08 GMT (UK) »
I'd love to hear people's stories about distinctive names that appear in their families, and whether you have found their origins.

Other names, such as Sackville, Wyndham and Seymour, look like they are taken from surnames.
Surnames as given names (not just middle names) were common for Victorians.  My gt-grandfather Charles Kinder Liversidge was the son of Kinder L. who was himself the son of William L. and Hannah Kinder, from the Huddersfield area of Yorkshire.  Wilkinson was a fairly common first name, and my wife (whose roots are mainly on Tyneside) has inherited the middle name Whitfield - not very girly!  That comes from the Alston area, where it was both a common surname and first name.  In fact there were some Whitfield Whitfields.

And of course there was Robinson Crusoe ....
Tarr, Tydeman, Liversidge, Bartlett, Young

Offline DavidG02

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Re: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 05 January 16 23:30 GMT (UK) »
A few of mine I found were given middle names as recognition of friends of family or sponsors.

John Tordoff Gibbins was named after a Wesleyan preacher of the time John Tordoff. It is possible  ( unproven as yet ) that he may have married the sister of JTGs mother.

The one I am having trouble reconciling - even looking back through the family as best I can. Henry Symington McKie Kirkpatrick. The McKie is fairly straightforward as it is his mothers surname. Yet I cant find a reason for the Symington
Genealogy-Its a family thing

Paternal: Gibbins,McNamara, Jenkins, Schumann,  Inwood, Sheehan, Quinlan, Tierney, Cole

Maternal: Munn, Simpson , Brighton, Clayfield, Westmacott, Corbell, Hatherell, Blacksell/Blackstone, Boothey , Muirhead

Son: Bull, Kneebone, Lehmann, Cronin, Fowler, Yates, Biglands, Rix, Carpenter, Pethick, Carrick, Male, London, Jacka, Tilbrook, Scott, Hampshire, Buckley

Brickwalls-   Schumann, Simpson,Westmacott/Wennicot
Scott, Cronin
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Offline jaybelnz

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Re: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 05 January 16 23:45 GMT (UK) »
My Mum's name was Jessie McMillan Mason McAughtrie, her sister, Mary Houston McAughtrie.
Her mum's (my Nan's) name was Elizabeth Walker BOYD Watson. Married Robert Houston McAughtrie.

So that set me up with my maternal ancestry very nicely -thank you Nanny!  Further research found that those middle names are all those of my great etc etc etc maternal grandparents. 

  (She even had my Mum and Dad's birth and marriage  certificates,  her own and my Grandad's marriage cert, her parents marriage certificate, .   That wee wooden box of treasures that was away in her top cupboard, is what inspired me to start the journey!  Even better was the fact that they were all Scottish, so plenty of info got me off to an amazing start!





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Offline pinefamily

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Re: Tracing distinctive first names and middle names
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 05 January 16 23:54 GMT (UK) »
Dowdeswell appears as middle name in my Pine's in Australia, and Luke Hogarth Henry, or variations of, crop up in different branches in England and NZ. The Dowdeswell was easy enough; it was my great grandfather's mother's maiden name. The Luke Hogarth Henry combination first appears with my 2x great grandfather, but where it originated I have no idea.
Even slightly less common first names can be a boon to tracing ancestors; I think every Jonathan and Benjamin Dowdeswell fits into my tree somewhere.
I am Australian, from all the lands I come (my ancestors, at least!)

Pine/Pyne, Dowdeswell, Kempster, Sando/Sandoe/Sandow, Nancarrow, Carrington, Hounslow, Youatt, Richardson, Jarmyn, Oxlade, Coad, Bentham, Holloway, Lindner, Pittaway, and too many others to name.
Devon, Dorset, Gloucs, Cornwall, Yorks, Bucks, Oxfordshire, Wilts, Germany, Sweden, and of course London, to name a few.