Friday Musings: What’s In A Name and How About the New Web Site?

While doing ancestral and historical research, I come across a lot of, shall we say, “unique” names, first and last. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know about my tendency, especially on Tombstone Tuesday and Surname Saturday, to find the most unique (and sometimes outrageous) names to write a story about.

Some of the names I’ve found and written about (in case you missed them):

Bigger Head – Honest to goodness, this was the guy’s name. It appears to have been a family name.

Lycurgus Dinsmore Bigger – I believe he was probably someone related to Bigger Head because Bigger was named after a “Bigger” ancestor.

Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego Pierson – The “Three Hebrew Piersons” and one of my favorite stories.

Remember Elijah Soper – his name was literally a reminder.

The “Ocean Sisters” – in a family of ordinarily-named children, these two sisters had oceans for their middle names.

Hiram Hezekiah Leviticus Lutrell – how much more biblical can one’s name be?

America Virginia Palmer Bell – an interesting name and a link to a tragic story.

I’m sure there were reasons these people were given these names by their parents. For Lycurgus, I can imagine his parents were perhaps well-read in the Greek classics. The parents of the Pierson triplets were probably deeply religious, and besides the Holy Trinity itself, where else in the Bible do you find such perfect names for triplets?

More Musings on the Name “Pardon”

I wrote a Surname Saturday article on November 22, 2014 about the Pray surname. While I was researching the name I came across a man named Pardon Potter Pray, buried in Providence, Rhode Island. More research indicated the name Pardon was quite common in Rhode Island, but why?

I decided to revisit that question and have concluded that the name probably began to be used commonly in honor of another person I wrote about on February 8, 2015: Pardon Tillinghast.  Pardon Tillinghast was born sometime in the 1620’s and his paternal grandmother’s surname was Pardon (his father was also named Pardon).

By trade Pardon was a cooper and came to America with little to his name. At some point in his life, however, he became a fervent Baptist and was called around the age of fifty-nine to pastor the First Baptist Church of Providence which had been founded by the “father” of Rhode Island, Roger Williams. Pardon was a much-beloved pastor who served faithfully until his death in 1718.

Two of Pardon’s descendants, John Avery Tillinghast and Frederick Wheaton Tillinghast, wrote a short book in 1908 entitled A Little Journey to the Home of Elder Pardon Tillinghast. They wrote that Roger Williams spoke of their ancestor as a “leading man among the people called Baptists at Providence.” He simply had a good name and I have to conclude that was probably the reason many chose to name their sons to honor that good name…. mystery most likely solved.

There are so many names, both common and unusual, to research – although as you probably know if you read this blog regularly, I like to pick the unusual and unique ones. For example, here are a few I plan to write about in upcoming Surname Saturday articles: Godbehere, Shufflebottom, Sidebottom, Bracegirdle, Pulsifer, Saltonstall and more. I also plan a few on, shall we say, “unfortunate” surnames.

New Web Site

What do you think of the new site? I’m still tweaking it and will add more content later, but am happy to have the blog integrated with the research and writing business I am getting off the ground, all of which will come under the auspices of “Digging History” while my current “History Depot” site will go away soon.  Feel free to make suggestions in the Comments section at the end of each article.

As I wrote earlier this week, I haven’t been writing every day as I had been. However, I hope to get back “in the habit” soon. During this bit of down time, I’ve actually been researching some interesting stories I hope to write about soon. Old newspapers continue to fascinate me so look for more stories “plucked from the headlines” of days gone by.

I’m working with my web designer and trying to determine if subscribers (followers) of the original WordPress site will still receive emails or not. If you’re reading this and you usually receive an email and haven’t in the last few days, please re-subscribe at the right-hand top of the page.  Oh, and look for a new feature I’ve added — footnotes.

Reader Participation

Just one personal note about the new web site – I’d really like to encourage reader participation by commenting on stories. There’s an easy-to-use “Leave a Comment” area at the bottom of each article, along with various social media links where you can conveniently share the articles with your friends and colleagues. I so appreciate it when readers share my stories and help to bring more readers and traffic to the blog, and I love to hear your thoughts on the articles I’ve written.  Let’s talk history!

Have a great weekend … I plan to start planting our garden, reading and writing. What fun things do you have planned?

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2015.


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