Monday, January 16, 2012

Middle Name Mysteries

When I first started exploring my family history there were certain names that jumped out at me and I was certain that they held clues that would lead me to previous generations. .

First there was Isaac Ashley Carlisle. He always went by Ashley, or occasionally I. Ashley so surely I must of had an Ashley ancestor back there somewhere. Not exactly. He was named for his father's brother-in-law, Isaac Ashley of Rochester, NY. He was extremely generous to the family and naming a child for him was simply a way of honoring him for what he'd done.

My grandmother's brother was named Leroy Eastwood Camfield. I struggled with my Camfield and Graham lines for years and was certain that Eastwood was a clue. I learned through the family letters that Mr. Eastwood was a business man in South Bend, Indiana that my great-grandfather admired.

But there has been one success. David Glover was the son of Henry Glover and Hannah Lewis. He named a son Lewis E. Glover and a daughter Hannah Lewis Glover. For his other children I only have middle initials except for my great-great-grandmother. Her name was Lousia Lambert Glover. I still have no idea if Lambert is a hint but I keep it in mind as I work on this line.

My grandfather was Kimberly Powell Berry. Not only is he the only male named Kimberly that I've come across but I'm stumped on the middle name Powell. Grandpa's siblings were Mabel Gertrude, Esther Lillian and Thomas David, nothing that seems to be a surname for any of them. For now grandpa's name remains a mystery.

My grandmother and most (maybe all) of her siblings had surnames as middle names.
The children of James C Kelly and Isabella White were:
  1. James Hurcombe Kelly
  2. Mabel Adam Kelly
  3. Phillip Goodwin Kelly
  4. Alexander Craig Kelly
  5. Mary Leith Kelly
  6. Gordon ____ Kelly
  7. Isabelle Caldwell Kelly
  8. Joseph _____ Kelly
Isabella White's mother was Isabella Craig and her mother was Agnes Adam.

I have lots of work to do on this section of my tree. I'm hoping that keeping a post-it on my computer with the names Hurcombe, Goodwin, Leith and Caldwell helps me fill in some of the blanks.


Leah said...

I've been in a similar situation with several branches in my family. Many had middle names which were surnames that didn't match anyone in my tree - turns out most of those with mystery middle names were named after the family's local clergyman. I also have quite a few who were named after a meaningful geographic location.

Lori E said...

Middle names can be of great help except in the case of lots of my French ancestors whose middle names are all Joseph or Mary. arrrggghh.

Lidian said...

Those middle names certainly can be tantalizing! I thought we had a Garrett family on my Hicks side for ages until I discovered that my g grandfather's middle name was Garrett to honor his uncle, whose first (Dutch) name was Garrett.

Susan Clark said...

Great post! I, too, have middle names that have both mislead and confirmed family connections.

And like Leah, I've ancestors who loved naming their children for clergymen or theologians.

I think you've inspired a copycat post.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Leah - I was wondering about place names with my grandmother's middle name of Leith. I've also found a couple of people who were apparently named for a cousin who was a doctor.

Lori - I have lots of those! John and Ann are mine.

Lidian - It's both a relief and a bit disappointing when you figure it out but it doesn't lead anywhere!

Susan - It's been awhile since I've inspired anyone. LOL

paul said...

Hi Apple, thanks for swinging by the Kitchen. I've done a very brief look through your site but will be back for more. John Craig in Paisley, Scotland. Any other information on him? He might be my William's brother? Anyway, great site.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...


I discovered your blog when I was searching for more information on my Craig line. I'm still sorting out what I've found and will hopefully have something coherent written in a few days.