Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday's Tip/Naming Patterns Revisited


     I'm sure all of us are familiar with the traditional Irish naming pattern and how it can be useful in connecting families. Several weeks ago I came across a short article about a reason why the pattern wasn't always followed; being that babies born or baptized on a saint's feast day sometimes were given the name of that saint.  Especially if the saint in question was popular in the family's locality.  That was a possibility I'd never considered before.  I've also heard over the years that an illegitimate or sickly baby might not have been given the name the pattern would dictate.

     Another possible reason, terrible to contemplate, is the loss of a child.  I couldn't figure out why my great-great-grandmother Anna Ryan White hadn't named a child after her father until her eleventh and last born son.  There were no long spaces between her children where another might have been born, they came like clockwork every two years, it made no sense.  The answer lay in baptism records-- twins!  Only one thrived, Anna had indeed named one of the twins Cornelius for her father, but he did not survive long and appears in no census records.  If I hadn't looked at that baptism register I wouldn't have know that he ever existed.

     These possibilities, (and I'm sure there are others), are useful to keep in mind when attempting to determine if a particular family is really part of the line I'm looking for.  In the future I won't be so quick to discount a possible relationship based on children's names.

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