What’s in a name?

I was recently browsing through the list of names in my family tree and noticed quite a few occurrences of surnames becoming first names. It got me wondering how common this was and I suspect that certainly in the 18th and 19th centuries it was seen more often – but that is just a guess. The tradition in my family seems to have stopped for the most part, although I haven’t explored many lines into the last century.

So I though it would be interesting to post some examples from my tree.

Mason Buckley is my 2 x great grand uncle. His parents are Thomas Buckley and Henrietta Mason – my 3 x great grandparents.

Watson Dawson is my 3 x great grand uncle. His parents are John Dawson and Ann Watson – my 4 x great grandparents. The name Watson was also carried on in to subsequent generations.

Daniel Owen Espley is my wife’s grandfather. His father Frederick married Frances Owen.

John Bentley Hurtley is my first cousin 3 x removed. His parents are Thomas Hurtley and Maria Bentley.

Bracewell Kighley is my second cousin 3 x removed. His father is Isaac Kighley who married Sarah Bracewell.

Greenwood Lonsdale – is the son of Thomas Lonsdale and Sarah Greenwood.

Thomas Ainsworth Musgrove is my great grandfather and his parents are John Musgrove and Catherine Ainsworth.

My grandfather Fred Ainsworth Stowell Musgrove got his name from his parents Thomas Ainsworth Musgrove and Ellen Stowell.

My uncle Stowell is the last in that particular Musgrove line to carry on the tradition.

John Robert Turner Musgrove is my grand uncle. His parents are Joseph Musgrove and Elizabeth Ann Turner.

George Wigglesworth Nightingale – his parents are Thomas Nightingale and Ann Wigglesworth.

I really like the tradition and it’s quite sad that it has stopped.

How common is this tradition in your family?

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One comment

  1. I liked the topic of your posting. My uncle was Harry Rawcliffe Danson (of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire) and his middle name came from his paternal grandmother Maria Rawcliffe.

    I now live live in the Scottish Borders where it is quite a common practice, and it can lead to confusion i.e. you get Scott (Christian name) Elliot (surname) , but you also get Elliot (Christian name) Scott (surname). I have a friend christened Edna Macfarlane, with her grandmother’s maiden name adopted as a middle name, and this was in turn passed down to her son, christened Neil Macfarlane. It can also help with research in confirming whether you are following the “right” family.

    So not unusual at all and something I really like in keeping alive family names.

    Regards, Susan.

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