Granny was called Norah, she did not like her name, but she never changed it. She was one of eight siblings, six girls and two boys, all born between 1880 and 1896. I was fascinated that FOUR of granny’s five sisters also disliked their names and informally changed them.
- Julia became Lily
- Hannah switched to Daisy
- Catherine was known as Maud
- Margaret adopted Peggy
Old Irish traditions of selecting children’s names may actually prove a good tool for anyone trying to research Irish family history. Children within a family were traditionally named according to the following pattern:
First son after father’s father
Second son after mother’s father
Third son after father
Fourth son after father’s oldest brother
Fifth son after mother’s oldest brother
First daughter after mother’s mother (or father’s mother)
Second daughter after father’s mother (or mother’s mother)
Third daughter after mother
Fourth daughter after mother’s oldest sister
Fifth daughter after father’s oldest sister
It was also common to use:
- the mother’s maiden name as a second name;
- the surname of close friends as a second name;
- give another child exactly the same name as a previous child who had died; or
- give a child the name of a relative or friend who had recently died.
- Sometimes the Middle name was used. Examples would be Michael Joseph. The child maybe named Joseph.
Nowadays parents choose children’s names without regard for an unwritten rule, they might call a child after a favourite sports personality or celebrity. One poor child was called for all the members of his father’s favourite football team.
It is important to make sure the first and last names stand well together. You have to think ahead, a name that sounds good today, may be a horse of a different burger colour in ten or fifteen years down the line.
Some difficult combinations include:
Michele Lynn – chosen for a girl whose father was an auto mechanic but somehow didn’t realize he was effectively giving her the name of a tire.
You need to carefully consider your surname before naming a boy Harry if your last name is Richards.You don’t want him called a hairy dick when he goes to school.
I know of one young man who was called William Pius – William for his father and Pius for a pope his father had great admiration for. Can you imagine the horror of the school yard taunts and the nick name of ‘Willie Pee’!
Then there was a Boy named…..
Now I wonder what names the regular members of our LBC are calling me this week since the choice of Names as a topic was mine. Why not drift on round and check them out to see how they handle the handles! 😉 Delirious, Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, Padmum, Ramana, Shackman speaks, The Old Fossil, Will Knott.