Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Women's History Month: Names and naming

Here's today's Women's History instruction:

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

First name, no. My mother told me that she was going to name me Barbara -- which is not a name which appears in the family -- but she changed her mind when she read something in a magazine and came across the name Karen, and liked it. It is probably a good thing she did change her mind, because I know several Barbaras, including one of my best friends. I have two great close friends, Amanda and Barbara, and if my mother had not changed her mind, introducing ourselves might have sounded like a routine out of the old Newhart television show: "Hi, I'm Amanda and this is my friend Barbara and this is my other friend Barbara."

There have been several Elizabeths in the family, including the maternal progenitress of my paternal line, Elizabeth who married Samuel Packard in around 1635 or so, her surname being so far unknown. Elizabeth, in fact, seems to be the most common female name in the family on both sides. My great-great grandmothers include Florence Elizabeth McKee and Elizabeth Jane Reynolds.

One of my favorite given names comes from the old Puritan line of my father's, the name being Freelove Packard. I don't think it meant to the Puritans what we think of when we hear that name, especially those of us who came of age in the 1960s!

No comments: