Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Celebrate Your Name Week - Where did my Name come from?

I have always thought that my name is totally unique, that nobody else has it. That thought has come from the fact that both Randall and Seaver are fairly uncommon names. But where did my two given names come from? Frankly, I don't know for sure!

Janet Iles, on her Janet the Researcher blog, posted the information about the Celebrate Your Name Week that has been observed since 1997 (who knew?). A number of other genea-bloggers have posted their name celebration.

Janet linked to Behind the Name which said this about Randall:

"RANDALL m English From an English surname which was derived from the medieval given name Randel, which was a diminutive of RANDOLF and other names beginning with the Germanic element rand meaning 'rim (of a shield)'".

Another web site, Is This Your Name? said this about the name origin and meaning:

Origin: English (Root: Ralph)
Meaning: Wolf Counselor"

This site also noted that

"According to the US Census Bureau, 0.138% of US residents have the first name 'Randall' and 0.0045% have the surname 'Jeffrey'. The US has around 300 million residents, so we guesstimate there are 19 Americans who go by the name 'Randall Jeffrey'."

In addition, 0.0014% of all U.S. residents have the "Seaver" surname, so I am pretty sure that "Randall Jeffrey Seaver" is one of a kind. A Google search on the name picked up only my own posts and mentions.

How did I get my given names? The only clue I have is that my parents were considering "Ranny" and "Randy" when I was born. They chose Randy, and made it more formal by choosing Randall rather than Randolph or another name.

The "Ranny" variation is intriguing. Was it a diminutive of Ranslow, the father of Devier J. Smith? My mother's grandmother was Della (Smith) Carringer, granddaughter of Ranslow Smith, who personally knew her grandfather and lived with or near him in the 1862-1875 period. Ranslow may have been a variation of "Rensselear," a county in New York. There are very few "Ranslow" or "Ranny" first names in the census records - less than 0.001% according to Is This Your Name?

"Jeffrey" is a more common given name - 0.598% of U.S. residents have the name - about 1 in 170. The name origin and meaning (according to Is This Your Name?) is

Origin: English
Meaning: Gift of Peace

So "Randall Jeffrey" means "Wolf Counselor, Gift of Peace" according to Is This Your Name?

I have no idea why or how my parents chose "Jeffrey" as a middle name.

When I was growing up, I disliked the name Randy. I loved Jeffrey, and started signing my name R. Jeffrey Seaver in high school. I think that sounds pretty good for an attorney's shingle or a politician. Alas, I turned out to be an aerospace engineer and a genealogist.

The bigger family name question I have is "why did three generations of my Seaver line have the middle name of Walton?" My father, grandfather and great-grandfather all had the middle name Walton. There are no Walton given names in any of my known ancestry, and no Walton surnames in my known ancestry (Isaac Seaver and Lucretia Smith named their son Frank Walton Seaver, so it would likely have to be in their ancestry if it was a collateral family name).

"Celebrate Your Name Week" includes more than just what does your name mean. Check out the Wikipedia entry. Thank you, Janet, for providing blog fodder to many of us today!

1 comment:

Jerry said...

'Celebrate Your Name Week' is really about the unique person whose name maybe isn't so unique after all. Celebrating that common connection, that is, that we each have a name, while never losing sight of how unique each person makes his or her name is part of the fun. Thank you to all here who added to the fun! -Jerry Hill, founder 'Celebrate Your Name Week.' http://www.namesuniverse.com/