The first son was named for this, the second son was named for that, etc.

Keep in mind that these patterns are trends and social customs that your ancestor might have followed. They are not law.

Sometimes illustrations have nothing to do with the post, but Journey reminds you to keep reaching for the answers and don’t let a plant grow from the side of your head.

Your ancestor does not have to follow any of these “social mores.” They might,  but they might not. What your ancestor does have to do is:

  • Figure out how to get born.
  • Figure out how to get married (or at least reproduce)–this means living that long
  • Leave behind at least one record–although this seems optional sometimes

We are defining “ancestor” as someone from whom you descend–that’s why we say they have to reproduce even if they don’t get married.

Dying usually happens whether your ancestor planned for it or not.



3 Responses

  1. I’ve really gotten tired of hearing those naming patterns that are attributed to the Irish, the Germans, or just everyone in general.

    My grandson’s middle name is Joseph. His father and both his grandfathers were named Joseph. Who was he named after?

    • The naming patterns are attributed to just about every ethnic group under the sun. I tell people to use “repeated” name as minor clues–bigger clues if the name is unusual, but still just a clue. Some families use the patterns and others don’t. And sometimes they just seemingly pull a name out of a hat.

  2. I always figured once the ‘first’, whoever that was, ancestor started traveling, their ‘traditions’ started to evolve as they were exposed to outside influence. Some wanted to stay with things familiar, while others wanted something as new as the places they traveled to. Children were named after beloved relatives, friends, public figures, characters in books, or just a name they heard and liked a lot.

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