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Old 05-10-2013, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Back at home in western Washington!
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Is this normal? I have done a little research in our family history and found that several branches of the family reused the same names. An example: Clarence Ollie S. was born on a farm in the early 1900's (no birth cert...just a notation in a bible), he died 2 years later. One year after that, Clarence Ollie S. was born only to pass a few days later. Three years later, Clarence Ollie S. was born - his mother died in childbirth. He was "given" to the reverend and his wife (they were childless) on the neighboring farm (his father had 6 other children and couldn't raise a newborn) - his last name was changed, but the birth records in that same family bible don't say anything about the name change. One year later, his father remarried and his new wife gave birth to a boy...who was named?! You guessed it... Clarence Ollie S. (the reverend refused to give back the baby they "adopted" as he was a couple years old at this point).

All of this caused HUGE confusion for me when researching family history. For future reference...was it typical to keep naming babies the same name until one survived beyond the next child? Has anyone come across this before?
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:03 PM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
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Re-using names can be very common in a family, especially from generation to generation. Re-using names because of deceased children is less common, but also found. Unfortunately, infant and child mortality was much higher. So if the family really wanted to honor a particular ancestor, then yes, they might re-use the name until it was given to a child who survived.

True, it can be confusing, but the other side of the coin is that sometimes it can really help in tracing a family by telling you which family with the same last name is yours.
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
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What bjh said. My family on my father's sides runs to Johns and Josephs and Carolines. My mother's side tends towards Johns and Marys.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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On my mom's side of the family, the females who are not Anne or Ann have Anne or Ann as their middle names. My grandmother had two daughters named Maria; the first died at birth, the second came along six years later, with a few other kids in between.

One great-grandfather was Joseph; the other was John. My grandfather was Francis Joseph. My uncle is Francis John, my father is John Joseph.

Thankfully, no one in my father's generation had sons.
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:38 PM
 
Location: North Central Illinois
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My mother told me one time that in her family your first or middle name had to be after a relative or a saint (they were Catholic).
In my parents generation kids middle names seemed to be in honor of relatives, mainly the grandparents. Or if a boy, the middle name was the fathers name. So I have my grandmothers first name for my middle name. My brother has our fathers first name as his middle name. And another brother has an uncles first name as his middle name.
I had a grandfather named Matthew, there are tons of cousins in my family who named their sons Matthew and some made that name a middle name too.
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:40 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Sometimes when you see two children of the same name in a family, that can be a red flag for bad genealogy. I've seen this in situations where some unscrupulous family historian has tried linking an ancestor to a noteworthy person with the same last name.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:18 PM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rxgrrl View Post
My mother told me one time that in her family your first or middle name had to be after a relative or a saint (they were Catholic).
In my parents generation kids middle names seemed to be in honor of relatives, mainly the grandparents. Or if a boy, the middle name was the fathers name. So I have my grandmothers first name for my middle name. My brother has our fathers first name as his middle name. And another brother has an uncles first name as his middle name.
I had a grandfather named Matthew, there are tons of cousins in my family who named their sons Matthew and some made that name a middle name too.
Catholic tradition had been to give the child just one name.

Then the child chose the name of a saint for their middle name when they were a teenager and underwent confirmation - the coming of age ceremony.

Last edited by bjh; 05-11-2013 at 01:48 PM..
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Florida
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Lots of Williams on both sides of my family. The men had this real thing about carrying on their name...it was all about their ego.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:52 PM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
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Originally Posted by Dollydo View Post
Lots of Williams on both sides of my family. The men had this real thing about carrying on their name...it was all about their ego.
In the past there seems to have been a strong trend to name the eldest son after the father. My dad and both grandfathers imposed this on their oldest male children. Also three of my four great grandfathers did the same. I think it's a tradition that's worth letting go. Some have mentioned using middle names of ancestors. I think that's much better and then give the child a first name of his or her own.
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjh View Post
In the past there seems to have been a strong trend to name the eldest son after the father. My dad and both grandfathers imposed this on their oldest male children. Also three of my four great grandfathers did the same. I think it's a tradition that's worth letting go. Some have mentioned using middle names of ancestors. I think that's much better and then give the child a first name of his or her own.
I have to disagree. Based on my family history it appears to have been a 20th century phenomenon. I can't think of a single instance before then when a father and eldest son had the same name. Granted my ancestry back then is mainly English protestant. I have one line where they son was given the same name as the paternal grandfather, thus alternating between William and John back over a couple hundred years.
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