Volume 32, Number 3, Spring 1993
Have you ever known anyone named Paney? Late? Erhard? How about Ebb? Or Finis? Or Daught? Then, of course, everyone has surely known a Sieglinda and a Belvie and an OReta!
Names. They are something we take for granted. We all have at least one name. Some people have a first and last name while others have a first, middle and last. Once in awhile a persons first name is simply an initial and occasionally, both the first and middle name consists of initials only. And we all knew good ole Harry S Truman.
There are names from the past which should never be forgotten, not because they belonged to a famous person, but, because they are collectibles. County records provide a rich supply of unusual, long forgotten and never-heard-before names.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s marriage license records and county tax books in Barry County and Webster County, Missouri, revealed a common use of Biblical names such as: Pharoah, Damascus, Simeon, Gabriel, Zachariah, Solomon, Isaac, Daniel, Moses, with, of course, John, Peter, Andrew and Luke for the men. The most often used womens names were: Dinah, Rachel, Lydia and Elizabeth.
It was not uncommon to find names reflecting places to be given to both men and women: Virginia, Tennessee, Washington, Carolina, Mansfield, Dayton, Dallas, Cleveland, Monterey and Missouri.
First names sometime became last names: Charles, Ward, Owen, Warren, Daniel or Evan. Western names were not too common, but, there were a few: Oakley, Faron, Nolan, Harlow and Wade. There were womens names for men: Ethel, Laverne, Carroll, and Shirley. And, there were mens names for the female gender: Jasper, Brucene and Fredalene.
Obviously, some people were named after favorite holidays or maybe, the months they were born in: Valentine, Easter, May, June and August. A favorite family anecdote relates the time Aunt Florence went to town to do her weekly shopping and ran into an old friend she hadnt seen for a longtime. "Why! I do declare! If, its not Thursday!" she said. The greeting prompted Florences young son, Eugene, to tug at his mothers skirt tail and correct her, "No, no, Mama! This is Friday!"
Some names might have come from family traits such as: Pleasant, Temperance, Welcome, Reason, Loyal, Moody, Whiner and True. Common words managed to find their way into family names, also: Shade, Zero, Harm, Drew, Banner, Fair, Spicy, Bland, Corn, Coin, Woods, Dale, Bacon, Riddle, Farewell and Good night. There were different spellings for the same name, such as: Irl or Earl; Caryle or Carl Lawrence or Laurence; Mildred or Myldred; Madeline or Madeolyne; Janice or Janyce; Wayne or Wain.
There were numerous names for both men and women, which could never be considered everyday names: Wylene, Durscilla, Icia, Ozella, Apolonia, Octavia, Safronia Bell, Tholomena, Icy Mae, Concha Nadine, YuVonne Jay, Illah Vivian, Cora Celia Daraline, Paulina Pauline, Vontreace, Edrie Garolene, or Rosahannah for women; Elijahiea, Lenville Raleigh, Justers Allen, Juel, Cosmos, Cliss, Tyree, Ermal, Elliezear, Onza Keneth, Bythel, Borden Wicks, Derral, Sinclair, Ulrey, Arden Edsel, Boyd Rawley, Thavaoh or Azariah for men.
Some names stood out above all others. Lucy Etta Charles Barber Meadows and Thomas Alexander Nicoll Sampson carried the longest names on any documents. The most official sounding name was Queen Elizabeth England. Two mens names sounded as if they came straight from the Literary Guild: Blouville P. Twilligean and Leopold Piontkowski! Picture, in your mind, Southwest Missouris dapper Chauncey Clay.
Names. Common names. Long names. Short names. Unusual names. Names. An invaluable collectible hidden in the archives of local and county records. Names. An invaluable part of our heritage.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues
Local History Home