Was it a common practice for a person named after an older sibling who had died to switch their given and middle names?

+8 votes
125 views
in Genealogy Help by Hope Heller G2G Crew (680 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

4 Answers

+8 votes
I don't know how the sibling death reflects on the name change - but I have had many ancestors switch the first and middle name as they got older. This generally seems to happen when the family calls them by their middle name, so they list it as a first name.
by Mindy Silva G2G6 Pilot (527k points)
+8 votes
It is not uncommon for the subsequent child to be given the same name. I have seen this in American records, as well as records in other countries.

On a similar topic, it was not uncommon for two sons in English families to both be named John. I believe this was so one was named for John the Baptist, and the other for St. John the Devine.
by George Fulton G2G6 Pilot (351k points)
Do you have a source for this? As a keen student of English history I've never heard of it.
Unfortunately not, but I recall reading this at some point.
I have seen this as well in numerous families I have researched. Especially those of Irish Catholic origin. There may be three daughters named Mary, but differentiated by either using their middle names or sometimes even their confirmation names.
I know of at least one case in my family where siblings had the same names. I think that this was to ensure that leases continued in the family. A lease was often for 3 lives and they were listed as 3 names, sometimes they would specify son of .... With child deaths being prevalent it ensured that the lease was passed on for as long as possible.
+7 votes
Naming practices change over time and are different from culture to culture. Middle names are relatively new and pretty much confined to the Anglo world. Many continental European cultures don't have that concept and if people had several given names they could choose which one they would use as their preferred name.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (541k points)
+5 votes
In my research in Quebec, I have seen a lot of children with same name as previous one who died.
by Guy Constantineau G2G6 Pilot (350k points)

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