Monday, 12 February 2018

#52Ancestors, Week 6, Favourite Name

So, I have said it before – I’m a bit of a name nerd. This topic “Favourite name” is hard for me. How do I choose?

Names are one of the things that attracted me to genealogy in the beginning.
Why did some families just use the same names over and over again? Why did some families give their children two names, or three names or more? Let’s face it more than three is a bit over the top, but there are some which do sound great, have a pleasing meter.

Why did some families give their children names and then call them something completely different? Why did some children get one name and others two – did the ones with only one name feel gypped? Why did some get much used names, then one sibling a really out there name?

So, which name to choose?

Alianore Mary Christina Cameron-Ramsay-Fairfax-Lucy – love the sound of that one;
Minnie Mildred – there are a bunch of girls with this moniker. But I have mentioned them before.

I am eternally grateful to my forbears that they did give some thought to the “sound” of the names they bestowed on their children and the pairing of names with each other and the surname.

Emma Louisa, my great grandmother and her siblings all had names which sounded great. My grandmother Elsie Lilian did too.

Any name that is a little different gets bonus points for me. Kerenhappuch, Roxillana, Vergetta, Zenobia, Balthasar, Julius, Mowbray, Cornelius. They make research a little easier than just searching for Ann and James. Then there are the ones with clues to the past where a surname has been added as a helpful hint for researchers.

But, the name for today is Peternell, sometimes recorded as Peternall/Peternel/ Petronel or Petronella.

Peternell Eastment was my 5xgreat grandmother. She was born in East Chinnock, Somerset about 1733. Her parents were married there, in Blessed Virgin St Mary, eleven years earlier and there are 3 daughters and 1 son appearing in the baptisms for them in the years before Peternell’s baptism on 5 November 1733.[1]

Peternell lived her whole life in East Chinnock, marrying Richard Bartlett on 7 April 1760 in the same village church.[2] She and Richard had a family of seven, all but one reaching adulthood. Two of her sons included her name in their choices for their own daughters, and at least one grandson followed suit.

Many of her grandchildren left East Chinnock. Some moved to other counties in England, others emigrated to Australia and New Zealand – and quite likely to other colonies; America, Canada and South Africa. Although she did not live to see them leave, dying in March 1816, I wonder how she would have felt.[3] Would she have understood their curiosity to explore new lands and seek new opportunities far away from the only place she had ever called home?

[1] FreeReg, 'FreeReg',, Accessed 12 February 2018.
[2] FreeReg, 'FreeReg'.
[3] FreeReg, 'FreeReg'.

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