Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Name Game

Randy at Genea-Musings recently posted this comment and challenge: "Here's a theme for my attentive readers and fellow genea-bloggers - if you had a chance to name your children again, what names would you choose to honor your ancestors?"

Fortunately, I'm still happy with what I named my children (hope they are, too!). But, if I were to select names based on my family heritage alone, then the following would be in the running for girls:

Lena Marie
(a half-sister of my great grandfather's who worked as a superintendent of schools in the 1920s--perhaps the first of my female ancestors to have a professional career and fulfill the American dreams of her immigrant parents)

Hattie Jorgene
(composite from the names of two little red-haired sisters who died from diphtheria before they had a chance to experience much of life)

Anna Maren
(there were more than a few Annas in my Norwegian family, and close to as many Marens back in Norway)

Emma Regine
(composite of more great-great-aunt names)

Bertina (Tina?)

But for the guys, I probably wouldn't use "Ole" - sorry, Great Grandpas! I've known more than few German Shepherds who were also given that name, and it somehow wouldn't work anymore. Names for boys among my ancestors are more restrictive, because Ole, Lars, and Hans just don't roll off the tongue well in today's American schoolyard jungles. My grandfather's name was Ernest, but I wouldn't want my kid to be called "Ernie," so there you have it. These are the best composites I came up with for boys:

Martin Benhardt
(composite of two great grandfathers' middle names)

Tor Gulbran
(spelled "Tor" because the name "Thor" is usually Americanized with a soft "Th"--a sound not made in the Norwegian language; Gulbran is a great great grandfather)

Erik Louis
(a father and son who were separated by a tragic accident)

I guess I could also use "Stephen," which is what my mother would have named me had I been a boy...

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