What's in a Name?


I have been researching branches of my family tree and I was struck by the individual names used within both my parent’s clans.


First names show specific fashions. Today boy’s names such as Jayden or Tarquin, young women called Talulah, Brooklyn or even Cincinnati (as a wee tot, attired as an angel but delivering an almighty tantrum at the supermarket yesterday) are familiar.


The Boyd name entered the Wallace clan as the surname of Catherine Boyd, who married Hugh Wallace in West Kilbride in 1842, and was valued as a first name within our family.


Annie Ada Bond Stevenson, born in 1864 at Rockhampton, Queensland (my great- grandmother) and her brothers each had Bond as one of their middle names.


Mum's people, the Spells’, who originated from Essex, England, named their eldest sons either John or William (or even William John) since John Spells born at Tollesbury, Essex in 1799.

William John Spells & Honorah Bermingham

Once settled in Australia, these Master Mariners often married young Irish colonists. The family tree became scattered with at least three or four Mary Anne’s, an Honorah, several Mary’s and a Bridget.


Mum carried the tradition in her family of including May as a middle name (her name was Lorna May). I noticed in the family tree, Lorna May, (who survived a few months at the end of the 19th century) was Grandpa’s baby sister.


Recycled family names continue for generations, with classic names now back in fashion. Has your clan used the surname/s of brides as original names? Does anybody in an earlier time share your specific sequence of names?


Why not enjoy a little fun and trace several generations of your own family, studying recurring names? Did you uncover your own name? Who had the name before you?

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