Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Patterns, Continued

What prompted Monday's post on naming patterns? Ancestry dot com's leaf hints at the top of the status bar, showed a hint for Henry Oliphant. Of course, he is in my tree, he was my 6th great grandfather.  That hint made me take a look at his children. His children were Ralph Oliphant and Alexander Oliphant, Alex being my 5th great grandfather. Alexander's children were Henry, John  (maternal grandfather was John Archbald), Ralph, Jean (maternal grandmother was Jean Wood), and Alexander. Ralph was my 4th great grandfather.

Ralph married Margaret Archbald and the only child I find is Alexander Oliphant, who was my third great grandfather. I last wrote about him here. Alexander married widowed Martha Nisbet/Nesbit nee McMekin. They had daughter Mary Grieves Oliphant and Ralph Oliphant. In this instance, Mary is my second great grandmother who married Alexander Maitland and they went on to have eight children, two of whom were sons, Alexander and George. Ralph Oliphant married Kate Mansur and they had 9 children, among whom were an Alexander and a Ralph. Alexander sort of broke the chain by naming one of his sons, James Ralph Oliphant who was called Ralph. But he also had a son Alexander. As far as I can tell, this last Alexander did not marry or have children. James "Ralph" Oliphant named his only son Ralph. And that's as far as I have taken the family.

I'm sure I must have noticed these naming patterns before today. In Scotland, these naming patterns are not uncommon. But the review of the records led to some clues in relatives who have been difficult to research.

Copyright 2010-2018, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, February 5, 2018


Not all families follow naming patterns. Some of mine do to a point. For instance, my third great grandfather, John Stearns Percival was named for his maternal grandfather, John Stearns. John had three sons, one by his first wife, named Egbert Davis Percival, and two or three by his second wife, John Stearns Percival, Jr., Jabez Percival (named for his paternal grandfather) and William Percival. Now, as far as I can tell, I have no idea for whom William is named. His maternal grand father was Elijah Kirtley. Unless William was a son of the first wife (no evidence to support either wife as his mother - just family history) then his maternal grandfather would have been William Goodridge.

Supposedly John Percival and first wife Matilda Fleet Hinton Goodridge also had a daughter Elizabeth. Because of the time period for their births, Elizabeth circa and Egbert circa 1819, with Matilda's death before 1822, it is difficult to definitively ascertain whether or not there was an Elizabeth or a William. John married his second wife, Sara Ann Kirtley in 1822 and then had daughter Eliza in 1823, supposedly William in 1828, John in 1832 and Jabez in 1833. The information on Elizabeth and William came from family information. The only children I've actually been able to prove are Egbert, Eliza, John and Jabez. That is because they left paper trails throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and California.

John Stearns Percival, Jr. married Susan E. Davidson in Missouri. They had two children that are known, Herbert Davidson Percival (Susan's father was Nathaniel Davidson) and John Henry Percival.  I don't know where the Herbert came from and certainly no idea why John had a middle name of Henry. However, when Henry Percival married Helen Maitland, they resumed the use of John Stearns Percival. Perhaps because John Stearns Percival died during the civil war and they wanted to honor him? This John Stearns Percival was my grandfather. He and his wife Mary Bowman had two sons, John Stearns Percival and Frank Bowman Percival. Frank was named for his maternal grandfather Frank Bowman. This latter John Stearns Percival named his only son John Stearns Percival, also. As for Frank Bowman Percival, he and his wife Catherine Zimmeth named none of their children for family members, knowingly.

Our children were sort of named for ancestors. When my mother would say after a long day of hearing six kids say "mom," she said to call her Sara. That is what I named my older daughter. My younger daughter I thought was going to be a boy, so her name would have been Andrew (after hubby's maternal grandfather) but instead became Andrea.

Sometimes, you really have to look for naming patterns. Sometimes they are really obvious.

Copyright 2010-2018, ACK for Gene Notes