Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nobody is helping with names!

First names are quite helpful in tracing families in early America. I have noticed that the immigrant generations to America generally used traditional family names when it came to naming their children. After about 3 generations they no longer followed the traditional patterns of naming. It did vary according to ethnicity and the inclinations of individual families. I was a little skeptical that James Forgety might be the son of Bartholomew and Virginia because none of his children carried these names. When I looked at his likely siblings none of them used their parents names either. I then remembered that around the turn of the twentieth century none of my families used names previously used by the family either. They began using names popular at the time. Below are 4 generations in my family. The images can be enlarged by clicking on them. In the early 19th Century it was popular to name children after famous figures in military and political life. It was also popular to name children after the parents themselves, and their grandparents. By the end of the 19th Century none of the early names were carried on in my family.
My Forgey grandparents used popular names such a Edna, and they decided to name all the boys names beginning with a C. So we have Cecil Clair, Charles Lynn (my grandfather), and Claude Applewhite. Later my Aunt Diane Kapple decided to name all her children names beginning with J. We have James, Judy. Jerry, and John. So these naming practices no longer aid in placing individuals in families. If I don't find similar names to previous generations I am no longer skeptical.

Here we see some traditional Scots-Irish first names used by an immigrant family.

Here we see Hugh and Catherine using the names of their parents i.e. Archibald and Andrew.

Here we see Andrew and Anna passing along several family names. Hugh the oldest is named after his grandfather. Jacob Roller Forgey is named after his grandfather whose surname was Roller and First name Jacob. George, Eleanor, Elias were siblings of Anna Roller/Forgey. 

This is my great-grandfather an his family in 1910 Jackson County, Indian. None of these names come from previous generations.


Betty Taylor said...

I have found so many people in my lines. My relative would name his son after his father, then so would all his brothers. It is so difficult to determine who belongs to whom.


Annette Kapple said...

True Betty. That can be confusing too. I learned to expect children to be named after grandparents. So when they stopped doing that later it threw me off lol.