Hey creative writers and/or family historians! Have you ever needed an itty-bitty bit of inspiration to kickstart your creativity?
If so, then you might want to check out these two sites. The first is Tales of a Family. Each month, blogger Ann Marie Bryant offers a weekly or bi-weekly creative writing/family history suggestion. Because of her writing challenges, I have pushed myself to include more personal narratives in my blog. For that, I thank her.
Or, is genealogy blogging more your style? Then, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks just might be your cup of tea. Each week, Amy Johnson Crow offers a new topic to help you tell your family’s stories. Although I do not regularly participate in the 52 Weeks challenges—mostly because I already have a ton of tales waiting to be put to pen, I did find this week’s prompt promising: Unusual Names.
In my 20+ years of genealogical research, I have seen some strange and fascinating names. Some had me scratching my head, some made me feel sorry for those who bore these monikers, and some just made me laugh out loud. Here are a few of my favorite family names:
First up are the Parleys. There are three: Parley Mayhue (my spouse’s 4th great-grandfather) and his son Parley Mayhue, Jr. (my spouse’s 1st cousin, 4x removed) and Parley Stott (my spouse’s 2nd great-granduncle).
Then come the Orphas: Orpha Hilary Kerr (my spouse’s 1st cousin, 3x removed) and Orpha Myers (my spouse’s very distant and convoluted relation).
Next up are the Hopestills. There are two: Hopestill (Alden) Snow (my spouse’s 9th great-aunt) and Hopestill (Holway) Worden (my 10th great-grandmother.) And before we leave the Holways, let’s give a shout-out to Hopestill’s sister, Experience (Holway) Goodspeed (my 11th great-aunt). (Her full name makes me think that is something no kid should do, ever.)
Speaking of siblings, how about Philadelphia Ellery, Edmund Trowbridge Ellery, Mehitable Redwood Ellery, and George Wanton Ellery (my 5th cousins, 7x removed)?
What about these Dilatush relations: Nicholas Van Wickle Dilatush (my 6th great-uncle) and his sister Syche (Dilatush) Mount (my 6th great-aunt), as well as Nahor Dilatush (1st cousin, 6x removed)?
Then, there are the Thankfuls: Thankful (Spencer) Bunnell and her daughter Thankful Bunnell (my spouse’s distant relations). Speaking of the Bunnells, they certainly liked giving their children unique names, including Hezekiah Bunnell (of which there are three) and Mehitable Bunnell (all my spouse’s distant relations).
Another fave is the grandfather-father-son team of Ezekiel Boring, Rev. Ezekiel Boring, and Ezekiel B. Boring (my spouse’s brother-in-law’s 6th, 5th, and 4th great-grandfathers). (It’s as if the third one is being advised to live up to his surname, doncha think?)
Then, there is father/sons team of William Mankin Breedlove and his sons Hiram Breedlove and Richard Cundiff Breedlove (my 5th great-uncle and my 1st cousins, 5x removed). (You know, if you say William’s name with pauses, it reads, “William, man ken breed love.” Okie-dokie, then…)
We even have a grandfather/grandson pairing of Rumsey Shuler Watts (my 4th great-grandfather) and Rumsey S. [short for Shuler] Watts (my 2nd great-grandfather)
And let’s not forget the father-daughter duo: Ralf Mainwaring (my 24th great-grandfather) and his daughter Bertred Mainwaring (my 23rd great-grandmother).
Other interesting, odd, and unusual names in our family tree include:
- Alta Cushwa (Semler) Ardinger (my 1st cousin, 4x removed’s wife)
- Gwennella Glass (Morningstar) Ardinger (my 1st cousin, 2x removed’s wife)
- Valentin Baumgärtner (my spouse’s 10th great-grandfather)
- Douce (Venables) Booth (my 17th great-grandmother)
- Gamaliel Butler (my 9th great-uncle)
- Innominato Caimi (my spouse’s 2nd great-uncle) (His first name means “unnamed” in Italian. Since there are no more records for him, I will assume that he died after birth but before being christened.)
- Pleasant Hannibal Clemens (my 6th cousin, 5x removed)
- Ezbon Rose Cole (my 4th great-grandfather)
- George Colliflower Eakle (my 2nd cousin, 6x removed)
- Cutlip Eary, son of Gottleib Ihrich (my spouse’s 5th great-grandfather)
- America (Church) Fairchild (my brother-in-law’s 2nd great-grandmother)
- Sarepta Ann (Wentzel) Fogle (my 3rd great-grandmother)
- Sivily Sabina (Tuckwiller) Hanson (my spouse’s 5th great-grandmother)
- Sofronia (Enloe) Hunter (1st cousin, 4x removed)
- Augustus Slaughter Layton (my 5th cousin, 5x removed)
- Tunis Layton (my 1st cousin, 8x removed)
- Verburga Lawton (my 12th great-aunt)
- Meriwether Lewis (my 2nd cousin, 7x removed)
- Manassas Neikirk (my 1st cousin, 6x removed)
- Mathna (Dilatush) Nuttall (my 2nd cousin, 4x removed)
- Radegonde Orieldis (my 28th great-grandfather)
- Tilge (Schneider) Otterbach (my spouse’s 10th great-grandmother)
- Hogshead Mays Peery (my spouse’s 3rd great-uncle’s brother-in-law) (Seriously, who names their child Hogshead? That’s just mean.)
- Valentine Poffenberger (my 7th great-uncle)
- Clemency (Pipkin) Roark (my 5th great-grandmother)
- Quirinus Schone (my 9th great-grandfather)
- Marmaduke Thweng (my 21st grandfather)
- Amphillis (Twigden) Washington (my 2nd cousin, 11x removed’s grandmother)
- Commara Wilhelm (my 2nd cousin, 4x removed)
- Salome (Rufener) Zimmermann (my 9th great-grandmother)
- The Spanglers: Manassas Pendleton Spangler and Malvern Hill Spangler (my spouse’s 1st cousins, 3x removed) and Preston Hansborough Spangler (my spouse’s 1st cousin, 4x removed)
- The Spenglers: Hieronimus Spengler (my spouse’s 11th great-grandfather), Lazarus Ratschriber Spengler (my spouse’s 13th great-uncle), Hieronim Spengler (my spouse’s 10th great-aunt), Sileitas Spengler (my spouse’s 13th great-uncle, Hyronimus Spengler (my spouse’s 1st cousin, 10x removed), and Melcher Spengler (my spouse’s 9th great-uncle)
- The Throckmortons: Bassingbourne Throckmorton (my 9th cousin, 12x removed), Deliverance (Throckmorton) Ashton (my 11th cousin, 10x removed), Deliverance Throckmorton (my 12th cousin, 9x removed), and Patience Throckmorton (my 12th cousin, 9x removed)