Archive for April 28th, 2010

Names From the Past

I’ve written in the past about my attraction to cemeteries and walking around them, reading the names on the stones and trying to form an idea of the lives of the people behind them.  I suppose that’s one of the attractions I find in searching in genealogy as well– finding interesting names and wondering about their owners.

There are always the typical biblical names.  In my family lines there are plenty of Ezekiels, Jedidiahs, Zachariahs, Zephaniahs and Abners.  Even a few Abels.  No Cains thus far.

Some sound biblical and may well be.  Names like Jerusha, Philena, Sylvanus, Mehitabel and Uzel.

There are names of virtues.  Names like Thankful, Temperance and Mercy.  My favorite of this sort is Blessed. 

Some are named after presidents or other famous people.  We have a Ulysses Grant and a Christopher Columbus in our family.

Some just sound neat off the tongue.  Names like Ichabod and Lulu and Lola.  Freelove.  That one always make me think of what it represented in the 1790’s when it was the first name of an ancestor.

My wife has some great names in her lines.  Her grandmother was Carmelita Badger which simply evokes a femme fatale in pulp fiction.  Then there’s one of the saddest names I came across:  Lowly Lola Foote.  I can’t really tell how people reacted to their given names in the the early 1800’s when Lowly Lola lived or if there is any cultural significance in  the name but I know I feel almost profound sadness whenever I come across that name.

So, I’ll continue to stroll through time, perusing names and wondering about how their owners carried them through their lives.  Did their titles fit?

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