52 Ancestors Week 6: Same Name

+20 votes
1.5k views

Time for the next 52 Ancestors challenge!

52 Photos and 52 Ancestors sharing bacgesPlease share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:

Same Name

From Amy Johnson Crow: Do you share your name with an ancestor? What about a name that keeps repeating itself in your family tree? Do you have an instance of ancestors naming two children the same? (It happened more often than you might expect!)
Share below!

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in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
edited by Eowyn Langholf
The earliest arrival in the colonies on my direct paternal line was Samuel Handy, who came to Northampton County, Virginia in 1662 and eventually settled on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There was a Samuel in every generation for at least 8 generations on my line, from him down to my great-grandfather's brother (my line is Samuel>William>Samuel>William>Samuel>Samuel>George>Edward; both Williams, George and Edward had brothers named Samuel).

This keeps coming up in my family for some reason and it drives me nuts. I have to be very careful to apply the right documents to the right person. Does anyone really know how many Benedict Arnolds' there were? I have at least 6 generations of them in my tree. I guess I want my legacy to be for future generations, please give each child a unique name. Every genealogist will thank you.wink

whoops -- commented instead of answered

A patronymic, or patronym, is a component of a personal name based on the given name of one's father, grandfather (i.e., an avonymic),[1][2] or an earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. A name based on the name of one's child is a teknonymic or paedonymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.  Oh boy, our family is full of patronymic and martonymics and sifting through all the Malcolms, Roberts, Johns, Minnies and Isobels have resulted in one good thing:  I am very careful about checking dates and places of births so as not to enter wrong data (we've all done it) and modifying our entries can be challenging!    When I get so tired I'm leaning on my elbow staring at family tree stuff, I know its time to shut down the computer as that's when the errors can stampede! 

I have at least 10 people named Douglas in my family tree.

That's probably not that rare, but the thing is, they're all women!

Douglass Hay 1794 - 1873

Douglass Hay 1849 - 1918

Douglas Barr 1840 - 1914

Douglas Hay Barr 1852 - ?

Douglas Currie 1863 - ?

Douglas Fulton 1892 - ?

Douglas Laing 1908 -?

Douglas Fulton 1905 - ?

Douglas Cockburn 1847 - ?

There were also a few ladies that had Douglas as a middle name. I just wish I knew why my 3rd great grandparents, Adam Hay & Agnes Pinkerton, started this trend and why they didn't name any sons Douglas, but only the daughters. 

Love it! Hint: Next week do an "answer" instead of a "comment" :)
Thanks Lyn. Will do. ;-)
That's crazy, Joe.. the multiple Douglases alone... and that they were all women puts it in another stratosphere.
I've been working on this ancestor this weekend and it makes my head spin a bit. Researcher Gail Linderman has identified over 10 different Brinsley Barneses, which makes records a bit fun... Several were born in Gilmer County, GA around the same time - this is what I am working to straighten out.

76 Answers

+16 votes

In my Underwood family, the name's Jacob and Sidney seem to pop up a lot, including the "nickname as a name" Jake.

On the Shepherd side, these three repeat in each generation: James, Thomas, and John. The initials "T A" showed up in three successive generations, though not in a direct line.

In my Neal line: George, Alexander, and Henry  predominate. In my Lawing line: William and Andrew (over and over again), and surprisingly Middleton. Kerr line: Jesse and Claiborn.

The female family members invariably received Elizabeth, Margaret, with combinations of those and their variants.

The only Sr., Jr., and III of a name was Ralph Sidney, the first being my grandfather. Interestingly, it was his wife's surname that has carried through four generations - Neal.

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
edited by Pip Sheppard
+16 votes
I grew up not ever knowing my father, but once I was an adult and started working on my genealogy I found out that there was a lot about him, and that of all my trees, at the time his was the most developed (around 2001).

I also grew up being told that I had been named for my grandmother Elizabeth (I shared her first name as my middle name). However, once I dug into my father's side, I learned that I had actually been named for his only sister, who had died several years before I was born. I had the same exact name at birth as she did, Jean Elizabeth Rogers. Since my mother died when I was very young as well, I am not sure why she named me for her, but it was a very interesting find.
by Saphyre Rogers-Berry G2G6 Mach 1 (14.5k points)
+17 votes

My 5 x great grandfather, John Heywood married a Mary, and the couple had a son - another John.  When he grew up, he married a Mary.  That couple had a son they called John who when he grew up, married an Eliza.  John-and-Eliza had a son.  Guess what they called him? John.  When he grew up, he married another Eliza...

The challenge here has not been to find documents.  It has been to make sure that the document I am looking at pertains to the correct John!

by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (883k points)
What fun!  A tangled ball of yarn.
I know the feeling LOL
+19 votes

I am “lucky” enough to have 4 direct generations of John Drivers, at least 5 if I skip the James they threw in for diversity one generation!  And I cannot keep track of how many John Driver uncles and cousins!! The interesting thing about all these John Drivers is they managed to avoid documentation for the most part. True, some can be excused because they were moving around mid-west America in wagons. But! For being in Butler County, Ohio and Randolph and Wayne and Henry Countys, Indiana for generations, they sure managed to avoid being in a census’, newspapers, land grants, and biographical histories! Another treat from my John Drivers is they avoided documented middle names, so when you do find a John, its hard to tell if its a father or a son or another cousin! 

One of my extra special John Drivers is my 2nd great uncle John who has tricked so many into listing him as the son of HIS uncle Jacob EDIT: oops James! who fostered him after the death of his father, you guessed it, John.

And here is one of the Uncle Johns, who died in his teens, and was preceeded in death by his brother, John, who died as an infant. 

by Lyn Sara Gulbransen G2G6 Mach 2 (25.5k points)
+16 votes

I actually have almost the same name as my father, Clare Alexander Lovelace Jr, and my grandfather Clare Alexander Lovelace Sr, since my mother named me Alexis Clare Lovelace. She wanted to name me Alexandria Clare Lovelace, but she decided it was too long. I like family names, and my two children were given family names, and my daughter's two children have family names.

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (163k points)
I like the way your mom arranged it.  What an honor to have their name.  I like family names too Alexis.
Thank you Caryl for your sweet comment. I remembered that you had the same name as your grandmother.
+13 votes
I've got umpteen Johns and Marys in seemingly every generation on both sides of my family.

Most other names go for 2-3 generations then vanish.
by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 1 (14.9k points)
+13 votes

Same names can make your head spin.  My 4th great-grandfather was Joseph Dill (please forgive the profile - I'm having a hard time connecting with the profile manager, and this one is definitely still a work in progress).  Anyway, this Joseph Dill was born in about 1760, and he got married in Guilford County, North Carolina in 1787, before migrating to Rutherford County, Tennessee, where he died in 1826.  Many researchers (me included) have speculated that he was the son of Joseph Dill (1712-1801) and the grandson of his father Joseph Dill (1690-1744), who was a master shipbuilder, born in Bermuda (Somers Island), and the head one of the earliest families in Charleston and St. James Island.  My theory was that my Joseph Dill probably left Charleston and fled to the upcountry when that city was occupied by the British during the American Revolution, a nice colorful story.  Unfortunately, I have never been able to find any evidence that established the link between my North Carolina Joseph Dill and that long line of Joseph Dills in Charleston.  And one of the nagging loose ends I could never explain was that two of my Joseph Dill's children who lived long enough to be counted in the 1850 census said their father was born in Maryland, not South Carolina.  That was all before I got active on WikiTree and found his WikiTree profile, which says he was born in Kent County, Delaware -- immediately adjacent to Maryland.  There are no sources cited except GEDcom uploads and I haven't been able to connect with the profile manager yet to figure out where this info came from, but it does seem like I have probably been sniffing up the wrong tree for a long time.  Lesson learned:  same name does not equal same person!

by Scott McClain G2G6 (7.7k points)
+14 votes

On my paternal side, i'm Norwegian. That means patronymics. Those Hansens, it means son of Hans. Tradition was to name your eldest after your dad, so Jacob Hansen, has a son name Hans Jacobsen, then he has a son named Jacob Hansen. You've got to deal with farm names to hopefully tease them apart, but then when they sold the farm their farm named changed. But on the plus side in Lesja, i've got church records back to the 1600's, land records back to the 1500's, and the gold standard for Bygedebok's. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hansen-12723

by David Grawrock G2G6 Mach 1 (14.7k points)
+12 votes
If I remember rightly. I mentioned my Fairbairn line for this prompt in 2018, because there were 4 generations in a row where the oldest son was named Thomas Fairbairn!!

This year (Since we are repeating the same prompts) I want to mention my father and my great uncle.

My father was named after his uncle - his fathers brother. The sad thing is that I never got to meet this great uncle, at all!!

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Thompson-31032

My Dad

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Thompson-31040

My Great Uncle
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (718k points)
+14 votes

There is a Cornish tradition of surnames becoming a middle name or even a first name in subsequent generations. This can result in some quite unusual and sometimes amusing names.
In my family I haven't found any particularly unusual names but I did wonder why so many people in one family had the middle name Francis. Then I realised that they were all descended from my ancestor John Francis.

by Ray Hawkes G2G6 Mach 4 (42.5k points)
Ray, thank you for the interesting information about middle names. My cousins in West Virginia all have Lovelace, my maiden name, for a middle name. This has gone on for three generations. I only found this when I started sending my second cousin genealogy. I thought this was rather amusing, since my husband has called me Lovelace, and several people have thought it was a little nickname he had for me.
+16 votes


My mother's first name is Jo.  She is named for her grandmother Josephine Benham who was named for her grandfather Joseph Benham

by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (182k points)
Caryl, that is neat to change a name a little, but still have your ancestor’s name.
+12 votes

Edward George Washington Butler had a long name so to make things easier, everyone called him 'George'. He must have thought it quite fine to be named after the first president of the U.S. because he gave one of his sons the exact SAME NAME.

by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 5 (59.2k points)
+12 votes
The bane of my existence.  My genealogical existence, anyway.  I have several same name research issues, the one I've spent the most time on probably being Nathaniel Browning of Rhode Island.  The circumstantial case for his being the son of Daniel Browning and Elizabeth Furness seems strong; I've been able to eliminate all other possible Nathaniels except one.  The work is ongoing.
by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (100k points)
+14 votes

This is my first time doing this since I just joined Wiketree two or three days ago, but on the Murdock side of the family we have lots and lots of the same names--when I fist started researching the family it was terribly difficult to determine who was a great-grandfather versus who was a great-uncles or a cousin (however many times removed). I am a descendant of Robert Murdock, who settled in Roxbury (Massachusetts). He named one his sons Robert (and then each of his sons seems to have felt compelled to name one of their sons Robert). So I can think anyone can understand the confusion. There is but one Durwood (as a first name) in my family. His name is Durwood Belmont Murdock, but his father is Irving Franklin Murdock, and Irving's father is Franklin Warren Murdock, and Franklin's father is Warren Murdock, and then we have a William Jr. Murdock who is the son of William Murdock, who is the son of Samuel Murdock (and we get Robert) And then there are the great-uncles! Many of whom share the same names since everyone is trying to honor his parents in some form or another. The same is true on my Bartram side and with the women (so many Hannahs, and Marys. I get excited when I land on "Submit" or "Experience" as a first name. I shall try to link one of the profiles I've just created (they are still very much in early stage production). 

Irving Franklin Murdock's profile

by Tamara Murdock G2G6 (7.4k points)
Welcome aboard to the wikitree family Tamara!
Thank you! That's so kind to say.
+12 votes

I was named for my ancestor Elizabeth from my mom's side of my tree. Funnily enough, my paternal grandfather was very excited to learn of my name - especially because his own grandmother was also named Eliza.

by Liz Marshall G2G6 Mach 7 (78k points)
+15 votes
My grandfather was born one month to the day after his father, William Barber Morgan died.   Although there was already a brother with a middle name William, grandpa was named William Barber Morgan.  His father was not a senior, and grandpa was not a junior, because they were never alive in each other's time lines. They never knew each other, but they lived their lives in the same house, with exactly the same name.  Grandpa probably used his father's tools and equipment, and did the same tasks on the farm that his father had.  They walked in the same shoes, figuratively, if not literally.  With the same name.
by Carolyn Adams G2G6 Mach 3 (30.6k points)
+12 votes

My early New England ancestry includes some pairs of ancestors -- on different family lines and without known relationships to each other -- who had the same first and last names. When for some reason I look at one of these people, I have to check carefully to make sure I know which one I am dealing with -- and I can't help but wonder if the shared names are not a coincidence.

I have Lewis Jones of Watertown, Massachusetts, born about 1601, in my paternal grandfather's mother's line, and Lewis Jones of Wethersfield, Connecticut, born about 1635, in my paternal grandfather's father's line.  They are sometimes suggested to be father and son, but there is no evidence to support this (and the older Lewis didn't mention the younger one in his will).

Then there are Mehitable Wood born 1695 (in Rowley, Massachusetts) on my 2G grandfather's mother's line and Mehitable Wood born 1754 (in Lyme, Connecticut) on that same 2G grandfather's father's line. I don't know the origins of Mehitable 1754, so I haven't yet ruled out the possibility that these two Mehitables could be related...

I also used to wonder about two women named Abigail Flagg on different branches of my family, but they have now been determined to be second cousins.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
that's interesting, same name on different sides of your family.  Seems very unusual.
+9 votes
My dad was Vaughn Vernon Hughey, but mom didn't like the name Vernon, so I became David Vaughn.  My brother Robert Scott Hughey was named after his grandfather Robert Franklin Hughey.  Neither one went by Robert.  My grandfather was always Frank and my brother is always Scott.   The name's the same, but not quite.
by David Hughey G2G6 Pilot (755k points)
+8 votes
The names in my extended family that are popular is John, Anthony, Elizabeth and Theresa.
by Jennifer Robins G2G6 Mach 3 (32.8k points)
+12 votes
There were a few fairly common naming practices among my ancestors.

1) they would very often name a at least one of the male children with a common family first name of John, William or James.

2) they would often give the child a middle name the same as the maiden name of the mother.  Examples: mother is Etta May Omelia-Allison and son named Dale Omelia Allison.  ... mother is Oma M Allison-Rammel and son named John Allison Rammel ... and so on.

3) they would sometimes name the child with only a middle initial ... but this would make the initials of the child the same as the first name ... example Oma M Allison has the initials of OMA.
by Bill Sims G2G6 Mach 5 (58.7k points)
We have all of these practices in my family tree Bill!  I have a line of ancestors with the first name James who all went by their middle names.

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