Family Name Repeats

Joseph the son of Joseph the son of Joseph

One of the challenges of tracing a family tree can be the repetition of names. Collecting and sorting data can lead you into a maze of repeated names, as every couple named their children after grandparents, uncles and aunts. And back in the day there were no second names to help sort out this tangle.

On the other hand, the oldest children being named after the grandparents sometimes did help me get a handle on who belonged in which family. For example, back in Scotland our great-great-great-grandparents, David Vance and Agnes Jones (Johns, some records say) named their children Robert, Joseph, James, George, David, and Mary. Some genealogists have added a Jennet and Alexander, but I hae me doubts on these.

MAP - Scotland - Wigtownshire

Wigtownshire, or the County of Wigtown

David and Agnes’s daughter Mary married David Nicholson and their oldest children are Elizabeth, James, Agnes, and David. Likely named after her husband’s parents and then hers.Four of their sons left Scotland for Canada. Their second son, our gr-gr-grandfather Joseph, came as a widower with his young son, John, and married Sarah Allen en route to Ontario. Sarah was the daughter of Samuel & Sarah (Sally) Allen of New York state.

Their children John, Robert, Joseph, Sarah, James, George, David, Samuel and William, mostly followed the naming plan:

John’s oldest children were Joseph, Sarah, Mary.

Robert’s oldest were Joseph, Sarah Jane and John B.

Joseph’s oldest children were Catherine, Joseph, Sarah, Mary, John.

James’ oldest children were Joseph, Sarah, John, James.

George’s oldest son was Joseph. If he had a Sarah, she didn’t live.

David’s oldest were Joseph, Charlotte, and Sarah.

Sarah married John Savage and their children were Joseph, John, William, Samuel, Henry, James, Sarah Ann, and David.

Our great-grandpa Sam named his oldest son Allen. Maybe he thought there were enough Josephs? His second son was William James, likely after his brothers. James being the brother he & Allen stayed with when they came to homestead in Saskatchewan.


About Christine Goodnough

I'm a wife, mom & grandma, homemaker, avid reader, blogger, and nature lover enjoying country living. I write short stories, poems, and share life experiences, adding a dash of humor whenever I can.
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3 Responses to Family Name Repeats

  1. It has been a real challenge for you to follow this family history. Thanks for all you do.

  2. Pingback: Family Then & Now – Christine's Collection

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