Jan 2018 Story
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Written By Angela Stout January 2018
In genealogy we usually concentrate on surnames since they are the most important way of identifying people who are related. Given names are more important in a way because they represent a voluntary choice by the parents and it represents thought and feelings the parents had.
You will often see the same names used over and over again in families (We have MANY Josephs and Williams). While certain names are popular in different areas in different times in history (we have the Union Generals as a popular naming history in our family-Frances Marion Roberts, Harmon Sherman Roberts, James Grant Roberts, John Lafayette Roberts) or could be named after a hero (we have Daniel Boone, Davie Crockett) and we even have relatives named after the state of Tennessee, Missouri and Texas (Tennessee often shortened to Tennie). Many of our relatives also believed in honoring their elders and do so by naming children after them, naming after the father’s father, mother’s father and father’s oldest brother. We have examples in our families of names after virtues that were considered important (we have family members named Faith, Grace, Pleasant, Joy, Patience). Up until this century, parents could usually count on one third of their children not surviving. If a child died, the name was often used again. If a baby died, the next child of the same sex would often be given the same name.
In this month’s letter, I wanted to consider the nicknames of some of the descendants of Joseph Roberts. When I started working with my dad on genealogy and spreading the reunion word, I would refer to family members by the names on their birth certificates…my dad would often say “Oh, you mean Aunt Coon” or “Oh, you mean Big Jim”. Our older generations would often have nicknames or go-by names. Some of them are quite funny…some are not so flattering…some make you wonder, how in the world did they get that nickname? As my dad and I have been out visiting, we sometimes would ask why someone was called by a certain nickname. More times than not, people wouldn’t know the story why. So, for this month’s story time, I am listing many (not all) of the family nicknames. See how many below you know who they belong to…and if you know the story behind the nickname, please share with me and I will send out the story behind the names at the end of the month??.
Our names mean something and reflect much! Come to the reunion and hear/share more about the descendants of Joseph Roberts at our reunion on 2 JUNE 2018!