Monday, April 13, 2015

What's In a Name?

Have you encountered some “exceptional” names in your genealogical searches? Over the years, I have seen melodic, happy names such as Christmas and Spring, and other names that leave me wondering what the parents were thinking, such as Looney and Sleepy. Each name conjures up a picture in my mind’s eye of that person; their features, personality, and characteristics.  It is helpful to keep in mind each person’s heritage, culture, and the era in which they lived. Names that sound odd to us now, may have been very popular during an earlier time, and could possibly have had different meanings than the current ones we know. For centuries, names have been generational and often have cultural significance.

For most soon-to-be parents, they carefully weigh baby names. They know that a name can hold great power or bring great woes. Your name says a lot about who you are. That name is how you will be judged. Do people hear your name and associate you with synonyms like trustworthy, dependable, and honest, or does it conjure up ill feelings? Have you ever judged someone erroneously because of their name? 

My grandmother, Ethel Wickliffe, always told me that your name “stands for something and it’s up to you to make it stand for something good.”  We may not have control over what our parents name us, but we have control over what our name stands for. How we treat our family and friends, and how we conduct ourselves when we think others are not looking, tells the world who we really are. What's in your name? Do your actions reflect positively on your name? I certainly hope my grandmother is looking down on me, and is proud that of the way I handle my name.