30 January 2013

BABY NAME BOOKS : GET A CLUE!

I just love baby name books, because of the meanings attributed to the names, and all the different spellings offered.  I wonder, "What would someone named Ursula be like?" (Having never met an Ursula in real life!)

Though there are many baby name books out there, as well as many baby name sites on the web, there simply cannot be a totally comprehensive index of names. 

One of the pleasures of genealogy is coming across names you've never heard of before, names from history, names that have gone out of fashion, names waiting to be resurrected by the naming of a new baby, or perhaps the renaming a poet does for themselves!

Genealogy research - doing those charts - sometimes makes us aware of how a name has been used and repeated in a family for generations. 

One research quest I worked on featured the name Dicey for women.  I don't think I ever made it to the Original Dicey, but I did get back to the family just arrived from Scotland in the 1700's.

Watching the feminine forms of masculine names such as Julianna, the great grandmother of Julius, may or may not give us a clue about the relationship.  In this case, no one in America had ever heard of the great grandmother in Hungary, but I was able to confirm that in childhood it was this woman, not Julius' mother, who provided him care as an infant.  The family must have known it was going to be that way before he was born.

These days there are many creative names.  I find this particularly true in the Black community.  Using baby books and other references I found that one of the most popular Black names in America, Lakeisha, is a made up name.  In other words, not one book I looked at said that it's a name that came from Africa, or some other ethnic group and one book said it was an invention.  (I even have a friend who named her dog Lakeisha!)

Next month, February, I'll be looking into African American research and history once again remembering how interesting using the Freedman Bank Records database is, and the mystery of African-American / Black given and surnames can be.


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