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Question re. naming children

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Question re. naming children

Postby DesparateAnge » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:46 pm

Calling all experts! Plodding on with populating my family tree, something I've come across a few times now. If a child (example) was named John but died at a young age, did parents name a later sibling of that child (example) John also?

If I go back further, I've noticed (and it's probably because it's wrong) that some parents, a Lord and Lady for example, had more than 1 son with the same name, but both LIVING?

Can anyone help with this please?

Many thanks

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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:44 pm

DesparateAnge wrote:... If a child (example) was named John but died at a young age, did parents name a later sibling of that child (example) John also? ...

It happens - frequently. It is not mandatory, of course! ;)

As for both living - err, that happens too. In families that pedantically followed the Scottish naming pattern, it was pretty likely to happen (the 3rd son of a 3rd son has the same name as his eldest brother. I think). In such a case, additional nicknames would be used such as "Big Jock", "Wee Jock", and "Bigger than Wee Jock but not so big as..." No - hang on, that last one's in Terry Pratchett.

For other families, there may be similar reasons - you may find that there was a missing middle name that was actually used.

And, as you say, there could be a missing death.
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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby DesparateAnge » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:59 am

Hiya Adrian,
ah thanks very much for this! I suspected it might happen, especially in the more 'Aristocratic' type families.

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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby Dene Fisher » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:11 am

I have loads of examples within my tree of parents 're-using' children's names - we would find it morbid now but it seems to have been the norm in years gone by.
Be careful though, a couple of times I've 'found' two siblings with the same name only to find later that I had inadvertently linked two different families together
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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby Mick Loney » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:23 am

Yes and it is not confined to distant ancestors either. My late father-in-law John had an older brother called John too. I think that was why we referred to him as Jack, (but within the family they were known as big and little John). However I do think this was the exception rather than the rule.

I'd go further, in saying that if you come across a second child in the family with the same name, odds are in your favour that the first child had died, and the name was then re-cycled for the second child, especially if it is a name that runs through successive generations. If this happens, look for a matching death of the first child occurring before birth of the second child.


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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby brunes08 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:40 am

It can be a nightmare unravelling family traditions. My dad's family hailed from the North Yorkshire Moors. The names William, John, Hannah, Elizabeth, Matthew etc run through every generation - so all the siblings used the same names, and all the cousins did as well. They were quite prolific - each family having several surviving children. This went on for well over two hundred years. It was like unravelling spaghetti.
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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby pollymac » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:10 pm

I have come across many examples of a name being used again after a child died. Also several families amongst my Scottish ancestors where two children had the same name and lived to be adults. I think it may be the result of following the naming patterns: first son named after father's father, second son named after mother's father etc and both families had someone with the same name. To avoid confusion many people were known by nicknames. I have even found examples of the nickname being recorded on the person's gravestone.
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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby phsvm » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:08 pm

The problem I have found with a WW1 soldier I'm researching is that his older sibling died before his birth and although he (younger sibling) was registered and christened with completely different names he appears to have been known to the family by his older deceased sibling's names.

His attestation papers and marriage are also registered in his birth name but his parents had him commemorated on their headstone by his older sibling's names.
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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby Amazinggrace » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:25 pm

HidesperateAnge,
The subject of two children with the same name (but not because one died) came up in
my tree.My great grandmother Grace Paris was the local midwife in East Calder, West Lothian, Scotland. She had a son George. I discovered another George.My late Aunt Agnes(nancy)set the record straight.There was an irish girl working locally for a gang master on the land. She became pregnant by him and had a son who she named George. Of course she could not return to Ireland with the child, or even acknowlege his existence. My great grandmother took him in and brought him up and his mother returned to Ireland with nobody the wiser. Hence on all the records my great grandmother had two sons named George,but in no way were they related.Just something to think about.
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Re: Question re. naming children

Postby DesparateAnge » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:29 am

Morning and many thanks to you all! It as as I suspected then, a 2nd child sometimes named after a 1st dead child. Nick-names don't help either do they!

Thanks again,

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