Monday, February 22, 2016

Names and Identity.

The beginning of self=knowledge is in naming.

Some names are given. Some are chosen. What do your names say about who you are?

What are the names in your ancestry? They can be significant. My family surnames are Abrams, Russell, Lyon, West, and Parkman  for starters. Oh and Hagenbrach.

The Abrams shortened their name from Abrahams around 1800-1810. Were they Jewish before that? not immediately but maybe. The rumor persists. Seven generations back John Abrahams was a carpenter in Newburgh NY. The book of British surname indicates that the name came from Adburgham, a place name in Lancastershire. That is an interesting possibility too.

The Russells were British but which country or county? I'd like to know. My great grandfather Russell was an immigrant from Canada but his father was born in Vermont to David Russell and Keziah Plympton, she of Sturbridge MA. The Plymptons were named for a city in Devonshire England. The Russells  appear to have been farmers and perhaps investors. I don't know if they were successful investors in Canada or not. I suspect they were there because they backed the Royalist side in the American Revolution. People lost their fortunes and their lives doing that. They were given passes to Canada, short term passes which meant they left everything behind.

The Lyons were likely Irish, but I haven't proved it yet. The name comes from the French city of Lyon. They ones I can trace were farmers in central New York, Michigan and back to New York.

The Wests all came from southern England. Our branch landed here in 1640. My immediate ancestors were Wests in Oswego County. They ran a saw mill as a family venture.  The name could be Norse, Flemish or English. Vestarr, for example. It might mean a person lived west of a given settlement. Or it might be linked to the old county of Wessex.

The Parkmans were an old and revered family out of Boston, many of whom were ministers. Before that they were English. One of them founded Parkman Ohio and his progeny went on to settle in Mexico. My branch ended up in central New York as farmers. The name comes from the occupation, a park man ie gamekeeper.

The Hagenbrachs were German immigrants who moved to Oswego NY in the 1850's. He was a butcher/grocer who closed up and went home for lunch trailing change from his pockets for the neighborhood kids to find. I think he did that on purpose. This is from a place name in Germany.

What does your name mean? Dorothy means gift of the gods.

Why do you have it? My mother and her close friend who died just before I was born were Dorothys. I never like being named for a dead woman. It felt creepy. But I liked the meaning. I tried to live up to it from an early age. A gift from the Gods does good stuff for other people. It is my aspiration.

How do you name yourself? Webweaver and Anemone. Eric calls me Lulu which is what one grandfather called my grandmother to annoy her. It really was her name but she didn't like it and went by Pearl. Can't say as I blame her.

What about you? You may not want to share info on line but write it down in your journal. Check it out on Ancestry. Find out who your grand parents, great grandparents and great great grandparents were. It is their love that formed you. If you need me to check something on Ancestry, I can do that. Google the surnames and find their meaning or origin. But be advised. You might get hooked on the research.

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