52 Ancestors Week 6 - Favourite Name

+13 votes

AJC - Week 6: Favorite Name
Favorite name could be a name of an ancestor that makes you smile. Perhaps it's an unusual name. Mine would have to be my 3rd-great-grandmother Matilda (Debolt) Skinner Crossen Brown McFillen. I might have to re-learn how to say her name, though, as I recently discovered what might be another marriage between Crossen and Brown.

asked Feb 5 in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (233,890 points)
edited Feb 5 by Robynne Lozier

If anyone starts making changes to any of the profiles being used for the 52 Ancestors challenge, without checking with the profile manager first, please let me (Robynne) know.

I have had someone change the preferred names for some of my profiles back to their legal names without asking or telling me. This person never knew my ancestors and does not know what the preferred name was. I have had to re-edit those preferred names.

Other profiles have had text moved around, formatting broken, source links broken and single lines of unnecessary text added,

I have advised this "Editor" to stop what they are doing for profiles that are NOT under their management. If this unnecessary editing continues during and after week 6, I will be taking this further. And no, this person is not a newbie.
I am also sorry that I am several hours late. My monitor died today and my wonderful spouse spent 3 hours performing emergency surgery to clean the dust out from the back of the PC, replace the monitor and then rehook everything back up and retest everything.

Fortunately we had a spare monitor lying around. He is such a wonderful handy man to be married to!! LOL
Glad your back up and running
I had some changes made to some of my profiles in the first couple of weeks. Mainly England Stickers being moved to above the Biography and one case of the place of death being changed. The person doing this was not new either. I left a message on their profile asking the editor not to move the stickers and referring them to the style guide. I have not had a problem since.
Just had someone today change the spelling from "favourite" (as you have) to "favorite".  Should I leave it or revert back to the spelling you give for this week's theme?

35 Answers

+13 votes

I'll start off again.

Once upon a time, there were 3 men (James, Samuel and Richard) who moved to the village of Milverton in Somerset, England and settled down there. They married local girls and had children. These men are of interest to me because one of them was my ancestor. We know practically nothing about these 3 men at all. The only clue we have is their surname. BUSSON.  

It is also assumed that these men were either brothers or close cousins since they all had the same surname.

James Busson was the first to get married. He married Margaret Day in 1632. Samuel Busson married Mary Baker in 1640 and Richard Busson married Marie Hawkes in 1642.  These events are all recorded on the Boyds Marriage Index and in the Milverton Parish records.

(The Milverton Records are not currently available while Rootsweb is  offline).

In July of last year, I posted a story on G2G about my fascination with France and the french culture, something I have had since I was a child, and still have today. I am thinking that this fascination is genetic. I think it comes from my ancestor - James Busson. He was my 8x great grandfather!!

James Busson -- https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Busson-6

G2G QOTW - July 2017 - Do you have a French Connection.


Daphne Du Maurier the well known English writer was also descended from someone named Busson. Except that her Bussons were Glass Blowers in France. She even wrote a story about them.

Arpad Busson is a Swiss Financier (and playboy) from Geneva, in the French part of Switzerland.

All these clues tell me that the Busson name has to be French. So I must have SOME French ancestry. I just cannot access it right now. Mostly because I don't speak French. You can blame that on my education. I changed schools at the wrong time to be able to take French classes in high school. The first high school did not teach french at all, and the second high school said I had missed 2 years of french and would never be able to catch up.

Ironically I do currently have a French surname - Lozier is French. But that is my husbands name since he is French Canadian. When I was born, I was given a plain old boring English name - Thompson - which is derived from Thomas's son. How boring is that?

Busson and Lozier are both so much more exciting. And enigmatic. And French!!  And that is why THESE names are my Favourite Names!!

answered Feb 5 by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (233,890 points)
edited Feb 5 by Robynne Lozier
Oui, oui!  Although Thompson's not so bad! There is a cigarette brand in Canada called Du Maurier. They're named after an English actor, Gerald DuMaurier. I wonder if there is any connection. Thank you for getting this week's prompt posted at all. Sounds like a big nuisance with your computer.
Gerald du Maurier was Daphne's father.


As for the computer - yes it was a little stressful, sitting and trying to read a book, knowing that you were all waiting for this weeks prompt.

BUT it's fixed and the prompt is up, so we are all cool.
Robynne, Is it possible your Bussons were Huguenot? My Spanish Protestant de Cazalla family (Anglicized to Cavel ) turned up in Old Cleeve Somerset in 1640. Old Cleeve is all of seven mile from Milverton.

The Inquisition chased them out of London, where they worshipped with the French and Italians at St. Mary's Axe. They fled to Essex where they joined a French Protestant (Walloon) Congregation, but something made them move on in the 1640s. However unless they'd committed some heinous act or are fleeing scandal, men and families never went to an unknown territory alone. In fact I believe they had to go with letters of recommendation of good character.

I don't know for certain what trade my Cavels followed, but I've long  suspected they may have been in the Woollens trade, as the family owned large sheep holdings in Spain. Somerset was a centre for textile production and export in the 17th century.  

Something to think about. :)
Yes I figured they might have been Huguenots if they were French,

But I never knew how they got to Milverton.

You have given more possible details than anyone else in the last 16 years!!

Thank you Deb!!

Robynne, look at the Transcript of "St Michael's" Parish Registers from Milverton, Somerset - Banns - 1653-1660 at: http://web.archive.org/web/20080821112109/http://www.pbenyon1.plus.com/H_m_w/Mil/Ban/1653-1660.html .

There are numerous highly suggestive French names on this list: Think phonetically! How about Clement PEHERE? (grin), Ellenor GOVIER, Agnis CHAPPLE, Elizabeth PARRIS, Robert BOOBEERE, Anne QUICK - this is from the French Cuyck, my Belgian Mother-in-law's surname. Elizabeth GRIGORIE, Anne FOURACER, Richard SYLLY, and I wonder about the Lokyer/Lockyeer family, as they married into my bunch.

There are Banns, Marriages, Baptisms, Burials for St. Michael's Milverton from 1537 to 1900 on this site. Banns don't start until 1653. Similar information for many of the parishes in Somerset. 









Yes I am aware of those records, thanks. That was the original link I had on my software when I first discovered those records way back in 2002.

Those were the original pages after David Cheek (I think that was his name) spent years transcribing the parish records. He was looking for CHEEK ancestors.
I just saw the link for Daphne Du Maurier's father. How about that!
+11 votes
Most of my ancestors have boring, normal names, but the one I like the best is Azubah. It has a fun sound to it and I haven't seen may uses of it outside that one family where it was fairly popular for a couple generations. Its a biblical name meaning "deserted" but it still sound fun.
answered Feb 5 by Doug McCallum G2G6 Mach 1 (12,620 points)
It is an interesting name. Thanks Doug.
+9 votes

I'm not a football fan, so I got this one done very early while others were watching the Superbowl. While I was looking through my tree on ancestry.com trying to find an interesting name, I noticed that there were six men named Archibald on the first page. My dad was an Archibald, so I am used to the name, even though you don't hear it every day. I dug a little deeper to discover there are 19 Archibalds on my tree. That's not including Archibald as a middle name. So Archibald it is! Here is a link to my blog post about "The Archies",and a photo of my dad being a goofball.



answered Feb 5 by Libby Park G2G5 (5,090 points)
LOL  i love the Archies comics. Great post Libby.

I was calling a restaurant slash pub, last night trying to order dinner for delivery. The noise was unbelievable.

It wasnt until I hung up the phone that I discovered why. The superbowl was on - I still dont know who won - and I dont really care either. I prefer baseball and hockey.

When the order arrived, I discovered I also had 2 extra fries with my order because she didnt hear me say NO extra fries and thought I said Extra fries.
Baseball and hockey for me too!
Interesting post! I have an Archibald Campbell in my tree too!
+10 votes

Before the 20th century the majority of Scandinavians didn't use inherited surnames. The adoption happened gradually though and the more urban and/or affluent the family, the more likely they started using a surname.

My maternal grandmother came from northern Norway, but her maiden name was distinctly Danish, and in researching her ancestors I found some distant cousins who had tried to find the link back to Denmark and failed, thinking someone might have lied about their origin.

With the Danish censuses becoming available for searches though I found the thread back to Copenhagen and a family of craftsmen for the Dano-Norwegian navy. And the records showing that my 6th great grandfather adopted the surname or at least was the first who got the scribes to record it. Christen Pedersen Ebeltoft is to me the one discovery about my ancestors uniquely mine and with a pedestrian original name like Christen Pedersen it is unlikely anyone will ever pinpoint his birth and steal my glory. :)

answered Feb 5 by Bjørnar Tuftin G2G6 (7,450 points)
Welcome to Wikitree Bjornar.

If you are interested, you can click on the space page link above and enter ancestors for the 5 earlier prompts as well, if you wish. Just click each thread on the space page and you'll get the weekly prompt and everyone elses responses
Thank you for the welcome. I will probably add an answer now and again, but I only have a fraction of my ancestors and family added so far.
That's cool too. No pressure!!
+10 votes
I have concluded that one of the most interesting names in my family is Zerilda. Zerilda Gardner (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gardner-10517) was my great-grandfather's sister, (on my father's father's father's side) hence my great-great aunt. I don't think it is a very common name, and it starts with a "Z". Makes me think of "Zorro". Zerilda seemed to have been the girl that stayed at home and helped out. Her father died when she was 19. She did not marry. At 45, she is still in the home, with her 75-year-old mother, and her dead brother's two young children.
answered Feb 6 by Alison Gardner G2G6 Mach 1 (10,030 points)
I think ANY name with a Z in them is interesting. This one certainly is. So is Azubah which was posted above. And of couse one of MY favourites - Lozier !!  LOL
I was also going to say Zerelda! Mary Zerelda (King) Giffen! I had never heard of another Zerelda!
+8 votes
I will do this one but this is going to be kind of hard because I have a lot of favorite names.
answered Feb 6 by Linda Barnett G2G6 Pilot (180,760 points)
+10 votes

My all-time favourite name is my 3x great aunt, Angelina Bliss, the married name of Angelina Lovell. She was widowed and re-married to Thomas Joseph Wilkinson so became Angelina Wilkinson which is not nearly so pretty and peaceful. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lovell-1369  Here is the blog https://feetuptimetothink.blogspot.co.nz/2018/02/52-ancestors-week-6-favourite-name.html It's a bit of a sad story.

answered Feb 6 by Fiona Gilliver G2G6 Mach 4 (41,040 points)
edited Feb 7 by Fiona Gilliver
Angelina Bliss Lovell is almost magical. It could be the name of a Disney Princess!

When I hear the name Lovell, into my mind pops 'the cat, the rat and Lovell our dog, all rule England under a hog'  Maybe you are a many times descendant of   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Lovell,_1st_Viscount_Lovell  (and maybe not! )

When I hear the name Lovell, I remember Jim Lovell and Apollo 13 - Tom Hanks and Ron Howard made a great movie!!!
Probably not, Helen. That Lovell family comes from the Bristol area, although some ventured into Wales during the 19C. They appear to be labourers and miners.
+11 votes

I have recently started to make teensy steps of progress on Lithuanian ancestors and the names have been driving me out of my mind (although most people think I've been there for a very long time already).  It's hard to pick one of these names - there are so many that range from unusual to tongue-twister, but I think perhaps the one that illustrates the frustrations I've had with language (names have been recorded in Russian, Lithuaninan, Hebrew, Yiddish, and even a few in Latin) as well as spelling variants is Sharia Sokhen.  His profile shows first name variants of Sarje, Sarija, Sarijus, Sarjas, Sheria, Shaya, and Shario, while his last name variants are Shokhin, Shakhen, and Sochin. 

answered Feb 6 by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (409,260 points)
+9 votes

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks   Week 6 : Favorite Name

This one caused some thought.  I don't know if this is a favorite name or just one that I found unusual. I have chosen Salathiel which is the name of my second great grandfather Salathiel Samples   Until I started researching my family tree I do not remember ever hearing this name.  I remember saying to myself this will make find him easy.    

Until this challenge I had never taken the time to look up the name to see where it originated from.  Well to my surprise it is from the Bible, 1 Chronicles 3:17–18 and Matthew 1:12 shows that Salathiel, was the son of Jeconiah the king of Judah who is from the line of Solomon.    Upon looking for the meaning of the name if any I found that the in Hebrew, the name Shealtiel means, Shə’altî ’Ēl.  Loosely translated means "I asked El (for this child)"  (1) Other sources show it to mean “Asked or lent of God”.  

I find this most interesting.  It shows the tradition of using Biblical names for children is long standing.  I decided to run a search on WikiTree to see just how many Salathiel’s were there.  Much to my surprise there are 193 matches for "Salathiel ".   The oldest is Salathiel Bale born about 1692 in  Alwington, Devon, England - died in Nov 1733 in  Alwington, Devon, England.  The youngest was Harvey Salathiel Samples Jr.   

It is wonderful how a prompt as open as the ones given for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge can cause you to think so much and look deeper into your Ancestors.  I hope everyone is enjoying this challenge I look forward to hearing about your Favorite Name.  


(1) Wikipedia contributors, "Shealtiel," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shealtiel&oldid=817418896 (accessed February 6, 2018).

answered Feb 6 by Mel Lambert G2G6 Mach 2 (27,170 points)
Great post Mel!!  Thanks.
+8 votes

One of the most unusual names in my family tree is that of my second great grandfather on my father's side.  He was from a long line of Germans called Wilhite (aka Wilhoit, Willard, Willhite, Willheight,etc).  His name was a mouthful - Ozro Marsvan Wilhite.  I don't know a lot about him other than family connections.  I do know he served in the Georgia 18th Infantry for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and was a farm laborer, but that's about it.  I haven't come across anyone else with that name in the long list of Wilhites either (going back to the 1600s) , so I am quite curious as to where his name came from. 


answered Feb 6 by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Mach 8 (88,930 points)
That is an interesting surname, Carolyn. Thanks.
+9 votes
My favorite name is not because it is so unusual or unique; it is because it has my favorite story behind the name.  It is my grandfather's name.

Apparently Grandpa was just a wee bit shy as a little kid.  That doesn't mesh with the grandfather I knew, but I guess he outgrew that like he outgrew a stutter.  Anyway, Grandpa used to hide under the wing of his brother, Uncle John.  When Uncle John went for his confirmation (forgive me I am not Catholic so don't fully understand the procedure) Grandpa tagged along and got on line with his brother.  When the priest got to him, he tried to send him away, but Uncle John told the priest it was okay, Grandpa was old enough.

I guess there comes a point when a child chooses a name.  Grandpa was not prepared for this.  To alleviate the awkwardness and lessen the stress, the priest gently asked, "Well, what is your father's name?"  Grandpa replied, "Victor!".  "Victor it is!"

Grandpa's name was now George Victor Victor Tenny.  Victor was already his middle name.  His brothers and sisters teased him mercilessly.
answered Feb 6 by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (129,710 points)
Lovely confirmation story, and funny too. Thanks Lucy.
+6 votes
My favorite surnames are Count and Gyte, They are the surnames of my mothers parents George Count https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Count-16 and Emily Gyte https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gyte-1. An uncle once told my that his father always said that the Counts came to England from France. I once came across some information that said that the Counts in Cornwall and Devon were Napoleonic prisoners of war, and were originally imprisoned on Dartmoor, the Counts in London were Huguenots and worked a silk weavers,and that Counts in East Anglia and Lincolnshire had come across to England from Europe to Drain the fens. My Count family comes from Newmarket, Suffolk. The information is from a long time ago when I was a beginner and I did not record the source and cannot remember where it came from or whether the source was reliable.

Now the interesting thing about the Gyte name is a family story that has passed down through several lines of the family and been repeated to me by several distant relatives including third and fourth cousins. The story goes like this: 'Two brothers came to England with Cornelius Vermuyden to work on draining the fens. When the work was finished the Gyte brothers moved into Derbyshire to work draining water from the Lead Mines'. I do not know if the story is true, but it has certainly passed down more than one branch of the family. In addition, every Gyte that I have come across can trace their family back to Chelmorton in Derbyshire, and there are a lot of lead miners among them.
answered Feb 6 by Joan Whitaker G2G6 Mach 3 (35,320 points)
edited Feb 6 by Joan Whitaker
Interesting family story.
+7 votes

I'm not sure I have a favorite name. There are names I like for instance Freegift & Titus (but they already have great profiles). I would be hard pressed to improve them, which is part of my reason for working this challenge. So with a little vanity involved I decided my favorite name is Anne. There are lots of Anne's in my ancestry. So here's newly created  Anne Claire (Reynolds) Brien. She's an Anne B also. Although I think she generally went by the name Annie.

answered Feb 7 by Anne B G2G6 Pilot (886,550 points)
So Anne, you have all been Anne's with an E - as Anne Shirley would always insist!! LOL

I find that to be a little unusual. But maybe it was an American idea to spell things differently from the Old Country.

I don't have any Annes in my ancestry. They were all Mary Ann's with NO E on the end. And they all lived in England - the Old Country!!

Definitely Anne with an E. My mother loved those books, I never read them until my daughter (not an Anne) started reading them. Profile for LM Montgomery

+6 votes

This was difficult to pick. I was thinking about Ephraim who lived in the same town with his grandfather, uncle and cousin also named Ephraim. I also thought about a collection of George and many Mary.

I decided to create a profile for my great grandfather, where I inherit my Irish. His name just sounds Irish to me ... Giles Burk 

answered Feb 7 by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (103,370 points)
+6 votes
I'm in! I've been thinking it over the past few days and was all set to answer with one of my newfound Welsh ancestors, who had a name such as Dafydd ap Gruffudd ap Hywel ap Evan ap Dafydd ap Gruffudd ap Evan ap Hywel Hen ... such explicit genealogical info that is SO hard to pin down! But then I came to answer... a name that makes me smile. Hmmm. Nope, not Dafydd ap etc. Stories behind some of the names make me smile, but not the names themselves (such as my French Canadian husband saying I couldn't make his name, Theodore Leopold, Southern, to which I replied "Sure I can Teddy Lee" :D).

But the name itself making me smile? I think I'd have to say names like "America (Proctor) Aldridge" or "Tennessee Bell" - they make me smile because they evoke the hope of the future our pioneer ancestors had. But they're not my lineal ancestors. So. Hmmm again. I've got a few more days, right?
answered Feb 7 by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (257,210 points)
Technically, you have all year!!  as long as  this prompt has been done by 31st Dec, (Assuming you want the badge) you have several months!!  So no hurry!!

When you do choose a name, you can come back and add to this post.

came down to either Cassandra (love that name) or Jean Bonaventure (translated in my mind as Goodtime Johnny :D). Guess which one won? Yup, but partly because I do have some info about Cassandra & next to nothing about Jean, born about 1769, probably in Louisiana.

+8 votes
I got a few of them. Let's see.

Desanges Bombardier: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bombardier-110

She sounds like she should be a 1.) spy, 2.) supervillain or some kind of combination of both. For some reason that name makes me laugh.

Then there's anyone with the last name Capobianco in my tree. That just sounds cool when you say it.

I also have an ancestor whose name was messed up by customs to the point that my grandmother put down the wrong name in the family tree book she made. Somehow Delphine St. Maurice became Delphine Samorette. My grandmother put that in and it was a mistake on the part of the guy checking her into the US. Smooth. Her accent must have been thick because I can sort of see how they made a mistake.

On the pop culture front I found people with the last names Picard, Paris and La Forge in the Quebec side. I've loved Star Trek since I was a kid and seeing those last names made me laugh. Now if only the guy was name Jean-Luc Picard! Now if someone had Sisko that would be cool. You don't mess with the Sisko.

There are other really cool names I found, too. Some are really Puritan like "Experience" and "Thankful".
answered Feb 8 by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Mach 6 (66,270 points)
I have been working on Ron Howards mothers line, and she had a few Puritan ancestors whose names were Experience as well.

That Desanges Bombadier for some reason makes me think of a female Lex Luthor!! LOl
Please tell me there's at least ONE Cunningham. =P
LOL sorry Chris.

Not in his mothers maternal line anyway!!! (Dewey)

I have not done the maternal grandfathers line (Speegle). There might be one there - maybe...
You never know. I did have a good laugh when I found Picard. Sadly it is a dit name. Whatever. It's still Picard!
Picard is from Picardie in France

Right. Thanks.
+6 votes

I have a favorite name with a twist.  I was inspired by Louisiana Hart who appeared in one of my FamilySearch result lists last week.  A new name to me and quite unusual in this family line.  I rather liked it. 

Sad to say, this Louisana is a fictional being who may have been the creation of a clerk who somehow misunderstood the name he was given and somehow  came up with Louisiana instead or a future son-in-law who got the first and last letters of his mother-in-law’s name right and who knows what happened from there! At least the name is written nice and clearly on the marriage record. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQWV-XV7

Poor Great-Great Aunt Luana (Hart) Gilmore had this type of thing happen quite often on documents.  On various birth, death and marriage records of her numerous children she is listed as: Lovina, Lawanna, Lewana and Wana.  Her own marriage record gave her name as “Laura Hunt”! https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQS8-LQK

Then, these records were indexed by poor souls who had the added burden of highly variable hand writing and poor copies.  So even when the name was entered correctly, it was subject to reinterpretation.  Their attempts to decipher the correct and incorrect names expanded the list of variations by Luna, Luina, Leina, Lucanna, Luina and Susana.

Several Louisiana Harts really did exist, not surprisingly they lived a bit further south than Michigan where Luana spent her life, but two of those records even have the same birth year as Luana.  To add to the potential for confusion, “Louisiana of the north” has family trees too: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:1:9NWX-4R1 and https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:1:9FW5-H4M .

In this case, Luana was not a woman of mystery; my mother actually boarded for a short time with the daughter who appeared in the marriage record.  So, it was easy to recognize Louisiana’s existence was a bit shaky, but it is a good reminder for me to not assume too much from a single source and go off in a totally wrong direction.

Tracing family history sometimes seems like a combination of doing Sudoku with many more than nine possibilities and putting together a Jigsaw puzzle that may be missing any number of pieces.  But, it sure is fun when the blank is filled or the pieces suddenly fall into place. 

answered Feb 8 by Jill Perry G2G3 (3,950 points)
I think Louisiana as a first name is very nice!!
Interesting story and great analogy. I had a similar issue with my grandmother Ottilia. Although I never knew her, she taught me about citing sources.
+6 votes

Favorite Name, oh this is fun, but I may have too many to pick 'just one' (and I don't have enough of my tree on here to link to them yet), but here's a few:

In my step-father's line was a lady named Azel Lea. I often wonder if the parents made a first and middle name from the azalea plant. Another's name was Lodoiska - only guesses on the pronunciation. Euphemia [Weston-4263] stands out, as does Massena. A middle name of Usona which stood for 'United States of North America'- her dad must have been really patriotic!

From my bio-father's line, Amalie/Amalia.  I just love that name, and even its derivatives Emily and Amelia.  So feminine.  There's an Alwyn - brings to mind The Lord of the Rings.

Within my mom's line: Alura Ione, Cajsa, and Meta.

My husband's line has a man named Knelon (that's fun to research...all the variant spellings.  Reno comes to mind too.

But favorite names, of those that really, really stand out, I have two: Zwanda. She was in my HAAS line, and I don't know a lot about her yet.  The other is Epaminondus! He was my aunt's husband's ancestor.  The name is a mouthful.  I wonder if he had a nickname, or what he went by as a shortened name, or if he was rigid with his name and everyone had to say the whole thing, and how long it took to learn to write it as a child.  I believe there was an era where children were named after ancient Greeks, thus his name, but his was spelled with this "u" rather than the "a" before the "s" as with the Greek statesman.

answered Feb 8 by Bonnie Weber G2G3 (3,010 points)
+6 votes

In this week's post, I share the story behind the name of my 5th great grandfather, Joseph Providence Richardson.


answered Feb 9 by Leanne Cooper G2G6 Mach 3 (31,660 points)
+6 votes

I love my husband's grandmother's name, Marie Theresa Romaine Eugenie Van Wanghe Van Cuyck (1880-1952)   https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Van_Wanghe-2 . His entire family had elaborate names, but somehow her's just charms me. She was a wonderful grandmother, despite the high spirits of her numerous young grandchildren and the antics they pulled, like riding up and down the dumbwaiter in her four-story townhouse. My husband and his brother tried to grind stones in her coffee bean grinder, which did not survive their experiment. 

Despite being born into a wealthy and noble family Marie Theresa did not lead an easy life. She was schooled in all the social arts a young woman of the Edwardian age was expected to know. She was a trained and skilled artist, a concert-level pianist who played to appreciative audiences, and she was taught how to manage a large household. She was an extremely devout Roman Catholic with the dream of having 12 children! 

In January of 1900 she married Emilius "Mio" Franciscus Jacobus van Cuyck, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Van_Cuyck-6 , eldest son of Emile Henri Francois Van Cuyck and Clotilde Catharine Louise Tessaro. Both the Van Cuycks and Tessaros were movers and shakers in the European art world. Clotilde's father and uncles owned galleries in Bruxelles and Antwerp and were early adopters of the new technology of photography. The Van Cuyck family had produced several of Holland's Master painters from the 12th Century. Mio himself was a Louvre Scholar in the 1890s, studying drawing and painting before his marriage. 

After Marie Theresa and Mio were wed they set off on a year's honeymoon, on the "Grand Tour" of Italy so popular at the time, but Mio insisted on expressing his artistic flair, by travelling as extremely elegant peasants, in an open hay cart pulled by burros who always had flower wreaths around their ears, followed by a second cart of servants who carried the silver tea service, the crystal, the proper table linens, cooked and cleaned and catered to their every need. Poor Marie Therese was extremely grateful when this tiresome trip was cut short in November by her need to return home to give birth to their first child, Emilius Jr. 

Within 13 years they had six children, four sons and two daughters. Mio had moved into a management position with the Tessaro Gallery in Antwerp, and left his family alone for long periods, travelling to visit artist friends in Italy and France, buying works of art along the way for the gallery. 

Marie Theresa and the children lived in the "Villa of the Bees" in Tirlemont, Brabant Province, a wedding gift from her family. The Villa's grounds were extensive, with large apple and pear orchards, greenhouses and a cannery, in addition to a large sprawling house and stables. 

Mio's wife's devotion irritated him. Her twice daily attendance at mass exasperated him to no end. Every other sentence began with "Father Antoine says..."  The disagreements escalated, the atmosphere in the house was so cold it could have been carved into an ice sculpture. When their youngest child, Marie-Christine Isabel, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Van_Cuyck-5 was six months old he told Marie Theresa that he'd had enough, packed his clothes and moved to Bruxelles.  

Marie Therese was devastated, but she was also resourceful. Her father was still alive, and her family would have helped her financially, but she was too proud to accept their charity. Looking at what she had in her back garden, she determined she could put the cannery back into operation, produce and sell jam and support her family that way. She hired workers, produced and marketed an excellent line of jams, and in two years had a successful business which provided a healthy income. Mio then returned, and under Napoleonic law, which states that all of a wife's assets belong to her husband, assumed control of her business. In two years he had bankrupted her and cleaned out her bank account, then he left, leaving her penniless again. 

Though she did not believe in divorce she recognized that she'd never be able to protect her children from exploitation and poverty if she stayed married to her husband. She sued for divorce. 

In the following years she faced ostracism for her decision to divorce the man who had given her little but heartache. Her family shamed her, as did her society friends. My mother-in-law remembered vividly being sent home at age 11 from school by the Mother Superior because the coat she was wearing, which her 14-year-old sister had made from cloth cut from one of their father's discarded overcoats, was "too fashionable" for the child of a divorced woman. (Goodness we can be mean to one another!) 

Fancy name or not, nothing is guaranteed in life. I'm just glad that women are, in most countries, no longer under the thumb of oppressive religious beliefs, but it's not so long ago that women in our society were pretty oppressed. 

answered Feb 10 by Deb Cavel G2G4 (4,880 points)

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