Monday, May 21, 2007

CVGS Program today - "Naming Customs"

We had our monthly Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) meeting today at the Library following our usual format.

The speaker today was CVGS member Bernice Heiter who spoke on "Naming Customs." Bernice's granddaughter, Kara, put together a PowerPoint presentation to serve as a visual aid - it was very well done and provided excellent information. Bernice covered the typical Irish, Scottish, English and German naming patterns and noted that these may have been used in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. She also discussed the Patronymic Naming Patterns from Scandinavia, demonstrating how the children took the father's given name as a surname and -sen/-son or -datter/dotter as a suffix. The use of a Christian saint's name as a first name and a secular name as a second name was also described. Finally, she discussed "dit" names used frequently in French Canada. All in all, it was an interesting presentation.

I tried to apply it to my elusive English ancestors from around 1800. I don't know the parents of John Richman (born ca 1788) and Ann Marshman (born ca 1784), married in Hilperton parish, Wiltshire, England on 8 February 1811. They had children Elizabeth, Sarah, John, Ann, James, Thomas, and Mary.

If this family used the English naming pattern, then John Richman's parents would have been John and Sarah, and Ann's parent's would have been James and Elizabeth. Of course, there is no guarantee that they used the naming pattern.

I have collected all of the Richman baptisms, marriages and deaths from Hilperton and the surrounding parishes, and there is not a couple with the names John and Sarah Richman in the lot, let alone in the 1750 to 1800 time period. I have about 25 John Richman's in this database, many without a spouse, so it is possible that a John married a Sarah and that it was not recorded. Oh well!

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