Sunday, May 11, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 13 - Personal Names and Surnames

Shauna has chosen Personal Names and Surnames as her topic for Week 13.  Her blog advises us to have a look at the given or personal names in your family tree. Are there any unusual ones or names handed down through the generations? What about unusual surnames? Why not investigate the origins and history of the names and learn more about the times in which they lived?  If you have a really unusual surname then it may be useful to have a look at the Guild of One Name Studies. There are over 2,600 people researching over 8,400 surnames and their variations.
Looking back through my family tree, I quickly notice a number of given names that occur again and again through the generations, and even within one family.  In my Green family a few generations back I have three Isaacs in one generation - the first two died young and the name was reused for the next son each time.  Eventually persistance paid off and the third Isaac Green in that family lived well into his 90's.  His father was named Isaac as well, and the name crops up in several other generations.  In my mother's Pummeroy family William and Alfred are popular, and recur several time across the generations.  This can create an additional challenge in making sure any information I find is linked to the correct person - I have a newspaper article from Trove that mentions William Pummeroy - and I have four of them alive at the time that the article could be referring to!
The Pummeroy surname itself is quite unusual, especially our Australian spelling which occurs nowhere else.  I have spoken to other Pomeroy / Pomroy families that link to ours back in England (there is also a One Name Study group for the Pomeroy name) but our spelling is unique!  So any other Pummeroys out there - please contact me.  My mother's family surnames also includes Beseler - a nice unusual name which comes from Germany - and more common names like Clark and Mulholland.  On my father's side the surnames are more traditional - Green, Argent, Pike and Hart are my great-grandparent's surnames.
Visit Shaun's blog on Personal Names and Surnames to read her full entry on this topic.

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