I have previously written about my children’s’ unusual names. They have used the fact that I did this to proclaim that I had been a hippy. However, I had a good explanation as to why they were named what they were. My oldest son I named after my maternal Grandparent, the only one I had met, John Pleasant Smith. He had been named after his father, Pleasant m, so I wanted to keep it in the family. Growing up we called my son “Pleasant”. My next child, another son. I named Starr Douglas, The Douglas was for my dad. Because my older son’s name was unusual, I wanted this sons’ name to be also. When I was 8 months pregnant I saw a Senator on TV who was named Starr. I thought that sounded good. My last child, a daughter, I named Jerusha Jane, The Jane was a family name passed down through many generations. The name Jerusha came from a character Julie Andrews played in the movie Hawaii. It just fits with the name Jane!
I started thinking about all the unusual names I have found on both sides of my family tree. Some of them were obviously pasted down while others were a complete mystery. I would love to know where the person who named them got it from. So the following are a few of the odd ones I have found and a few thoughts as to where they came from.
I have discovered odd names dating back to the beginnings of our country. Most notable are some of the names that were given by my 10th Great Grandfather, Elder William Brewster who came over on the Mayflower. Since he was a religious man and spiritual leader, I assume some of the names reflected his circumstances at the time of the child’s birth. For instance, his daughter Love was born in 1595. She was the first daughter born so I think maybe as a father he was expressing his “Love” for finally having one. His second daughter, Patience was born in 1600. I believe he named her this because the family was having to develop “Patience” because of waiting for the right time to run from the persecution from King James 1 because they had turned their backs on the King’s religion. The third daughter was named Fear and she was born in 1603. They must have lived with a lot of “Fear” during this time as many protestants were being killed for their faith. His last son was born in 1605 and he was named Wrestling. Perhaps William was “Wrestling” with his faith as they prepared to make their escape to Leyden, Holland?
Next up is the children of my 11th Great Grandfather, Thomas Starr. His first son, born in 1589 was named Comfort. Maybe it was a prophetic naming since he did give “Comfort” to others by becoming a Doctor of Medicine. Thomas and his wife Susan had 13 children. Only 3 of them had “normal” names. Listed in order of birth is Comfort, Moregift, Mercy, Judith, Joyful, Beloved, Constant, Truth-Shall-Prevail, Steadfast, Suretrust, William, Nostrength and Jehosephat. With these names, your guess is as good as mine!
On my maternal side of the family, I am descended from a long line of the surname of Page. Some of the more unusual names were Fountain, Granville, Axcell, Marble, Mann, Tayloe (no it is not a typo!), and the only female of the bunch, my Great Aunt Dytha. Maybe they were all named after a place their parents had visited?
I just think some of these names could be considered “freaky”. What is even freakier is this list of names is just a very small portion of the unusual names I find in my family. What are some of the unique or strange names you have found in your lineage?
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.