It is week 25 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge. This week’s writing prompt is Unexpected. Unexpected? The one thing I have learned in more than two decades of genealogical research is to expect the unexpected. You never know what you are going to uncover! Take for example my recent “religious” findings…
I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy. I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.
This is the thirteenth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)
Well, since I already covered the M names, let’s now address the letters N and O:
It is week 21 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge. For this week, the writing prompt is Tombstone.
Marking the places where the dead are buried is a human practice older than recorded history with some of the oldest known stone markers dating back to 3,000 to 4,000 B.C. Known as dolmens or chamber tombs, they were megalithic monuments. The earliest tombstones, like the dolmen, were a stone or stones covering the entire grave. Unlike earlier tombstones, today’s headstones are much smaller, serving as memorials for the deceased. While some headstones are simple, carved only with the deceased’s initials or name, others are elaborately carved or decorated, with each symbol representing a theme or feeling. Some of my favorite family headstones contain these symbols (with these meanings):
- Anchor: Steadfast hope
- Book: Faith, wisdom
- Dove: Holy Spirit, purity
- Garland: Victory over death
- Hands: Relationship, affection
- Heart: Devotion, love
- Ivy: Faithfulness, memory
- Lamb: Innocence, youth
- Lily: Purity, resurrection
- Oak: Strength, resilience
- Skeleton or skull: Life’s brevity
- Weeping willow: Mourning, grief
It is Week 19 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’ writing challenge. This week’s writing prompt, Service, is timely because in a couple of weeks is Memorial Day, a day we remember our fallen soldiers and sailors, those who gave everything to protect others and our country.
During this time of tribute, I would like to acknowledge our direct ancestors who have served in the wars fought on American soil. “All gave some; some gave all.”
It is Week 18 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’ writing challenge. This week’s writing prompt is Where There’s a Will.
The first thing I thought about when I saw this week’s theme was all the William Williams ancestors there are in the family tree. However, as I had already covered some of these William Williams, specifically William Williams, son of Welsh Quaker immigrants, who was born in 1749, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, perhaps I should write about someone else.
What about some famous Williams? Well, I have already written about William of Longespee, William I of Scotland, William III of Aquitaine, and William IX of Aquitaine. Did I really want to feature another well-known William?
No, I would rather highlight an every day Will. Someone who would rarely appear in the pages of history. As I had already written about William Christian, William L. Goss, William Ferguson Taylor, William H. Taylor, James Bernard Williams, Philip Williams, and a slew of other Williams, would there be any left about whom I could write?