Thanks to Randy over at Genea-Musings, several of the genea-bloggers are flocking to How Many of Me to find out how many people in the United States have our name. That started me thinking about the naming patterns within my ancestry and family.
Donna Przecha has an article at Genealogy.com on the Importance of Given Names. Donna writes, “You will often see the same names used over and over again in families. While certain names are popular in different areas in different times in history, the repetition could represent a pattern.” She writes of English naming patterns of which son is named after the father’s father, the mother’s father, the father, or father’s & mother’s brother(s), and the same with the daughters being named after grandmother’s, mother, and aunts.
Many have noticed as they are inputting names into Gedcom files, that there may be several generations of sons who carry on either a given name or middle name. So I thought I’d go through my list to see what I could find.
The furthest ancestor in my Amore line is William Amore. He has 6 descendents who share his name.
- His son (my great-grandfather) – William Henry Amore
- His grandson, (my grandfather) – William Lloyd Amore
- His great-grandson, (my uncle) – William Gail Amore
- His 2nd great-grandson, (my first cousin) – William V. Amore, Sr.
- Another 2nd great-grandson – William C. Amore
- His 3rd great-grandson, (my first cousin once removed) – William V. Amore, Jr.
The House line has several William’s (12 – first names)
- Born 1642
- Born 1672
- Born abt. 1684
- Born 1713
- Born 1744
- Born 1781
- Born 1813
- Born 1840
- Born 1853
- Born 1871
- Born 1946
Middle name of William:
- Fredrick William House – born 1878
James’ (first / middle)
- My great-grandfather – James Emory House
- His son – James Wilbur House
- His grandsons – Welby James House & my dad (whose middle name is James)
- His great-grandsons – both named James Amore
- His 2nd great-grandson – my son James S.
- A 3rd great-granddaughter – Jamie
In my maternal Johnson line there are many men with the first name of James who descended from my 3rd great-grandfather, Jacob Johnson:
- his son (my 2nd great-grandfather), James Wilson Johnson
- his great-grandsons, James Bertram Johnson, James Wilson Shively, James Madison Shively, James Leroy Delawter
- his 3rd great-grandsons, (my brother) James Amore, A. James Hastings, James Shively
- his 4th great-grandson (my son), James S.
And also descended from Jacob with the middle name of James:
- his son, John James Johnson
- his 3rd great-grandson, E. James Pratt
I plugged the names into the How Many of Me website and came up with this:
- William Amore – there are 3,749,171 people in the U.S. with that first name. There are 2,379 people in the U.S. with that last name. There are 29 people with that exact first and last name.
- James House – there are 5,076,176 people with that first name. With the last name, there are 51,860 people. There are 863 people with that same name.
- James Johnson – with the last name there are 2,470,975 people. There are 41,117 people with the same name.
- William House – There are 637 people with that same name.
- James is the #1 most popular first name.
- Johnson is the #2 most popular last name.
- William is the #6 most popular first name.
Oh, and how did my name rank? There are 282,179 people with the same first name (on a personal note: I’d like to know where all these people are!). There are 5,613 with the same last name (and if they are from Missouri – probably related!). There are only 5 of us with the same first and last name. Have you played?
Quite possibly you may be able to discover the name of that brick wall ancestor, if you analyze the naming patterns throughout the generations.