Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Name Game

I know I've posted about my family's quirks when it comes to first names but my cousin Lorine Massey over at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog has raised the issue once again. In What's in a Name? I Showed you Mine, Your Turn to Show me Yours! she discusses how some nicknames are derivatives of actual given names while others are derived through mispronunciations.

My mother grew up with 11 other siblings for a total of 12 children and not only does it seem that each once has a nickname preferred over the given name, there are other weird naming issues.

First, almost all the girls - eight of them - have names beginning with J. Except for the first born, Patricia, there were:

- Joan Kathleen
- Josephine Eleanor
- Judith Frances
- Jacqueline Barbara
- Julia Therese
- June Marcella
- Jennifer Loretta

And for the boys, the lead letter was L except for one:

- Lawrence Gerard
- Lee Gerald
- Alfred Joseph
- Lemuel Garret

While this naming methodology is not so unusual among large families, the use of nicknames among this group is a bit bizarre:

Patricia = Pat
Joan = Joan
Josephine Eleanor = Jo'El
Judith = Judy
Jacqueline = Suzi
Julia = Pudgie
June= June
Jennifer = Ginny
Lawrence = Butch
Lee = Jerry
Alfred = Al
Lemuel = Lem

I remember fondly introducing my aunts and uncles to friends during cookouts and then later when someone referred to one of them by their actual names, you could just see the look of confusion. Some thought there were more siblings making the group much larger than 12 children.


Genealogy Blogger said...

I love your post, Thomas! It struck me how witty your grandparents were re the boys' names all starting with "L" except for Alfred.

Say his name out loud. What do you hear?

"L-fred" .....

(Olive Tree Genealogy Blog)

Thomas MacEntee said...

I never thought of that!

One other item which you'd appreciate: notice the middle name for the last child, Lemuel Garret. I wonder if my grandmother knew that Garret/Garrett had been a preferred name of my Putman line going back to the early 1700s?