Tag Archives: Dryden

What’s in a Name? A look at the men in my family tree

Some discussion has come up recently in my family regarding some of the names in my family tree. Most people in the family are intrigued when I tell them about some of the most common names but it’s in the unusual that I usually get the biggest response.

For my own personal amusement, I decided to look at some stats from my own pedigree chart. Here are the most common facts:

  • The first names George, James, John and William appear on all 4 sides of my family tree (Hill, Porter, Hyde and Lovejoy). All names of kings and perhaps proving my families monarchist leanings.
  • Thomas, Robert and Henry appear in 3 of the 4 sides.
  • Looking at common male first names in my entire tree, there are 22 named George, 21 named James, 20 named Henry, John, Robert, Samuel, Thomas and William.

Interesting themes

My ancestors really liked names starting with the letter J. On top of the traditional Jeffrey, John, Jonathan, Joseph and James, there have been Jobus, Jabez, Joshue, Jared, Jacob and even Johann.

At least one side of my family tree turned to the bible for inspiration. Uncommon by today’s standards, ancestors along the Hyde/Marcy/Lovejoy/Young side of my family named their sons Moses, Obadiah, Amos, Abraham, Isaac and even Eleazer.

Oh those crazy American roots

Knowing I have Quaker roots on my Marcy line, it should come as no shock to see the names Calvin and Freeman in my family tree.

Samuel Willson is the most common name on my Lovejoy/Young side. Four generations with the name Samuel Willson were born into my chart starting in 1681. There is speculation online that at least one signed the Declaration of Independance and another was the inspiration for the phrase Uncle Sam.

Love and Marriage

If your name is John on my pedigree chart, you most likely married an Elizabeth. Other than 3 who married a Nancy, Mary and Helen, all of the other John’s married a woman named Elizabeth. Not suprisingly, Elizabeth is the most common female name on my entire tree with 21 Elizabeth’s and 17 Eliza’s!

The End of the Line

The oldest male name on my English Hill side is 7th great grandfather James Alldwin who was born in 1700. It should come as no shock that his wfe was named Elizabeth.

On my Scottish Porter side, my 6th great grandfather Archibald McMaster is the oldest male name. He was born in 1726 on the Isle of Arran off the Scottish coast.

The oldest male name on my Scottish Dryden side is my 7th great grandfather Robert Cairns who was born in 1680.

My 2nd great grandfather Henry Hyde has the oldest male name on my Irish Hyde line. He was born in/around 1839 in Ireland and due to unrest and such I wrote about in this blog, I haven’t been able to trace any further back.

One of the oldest male name in my line comes from the Marcy side. Geoffrey Massey, my 9th great grandfather, was born in 1563 in a place called Knutsford, Cheshire, England. Many of this line came to America and settling in Massachusets (New England). It was here that the family name morphed into the Marcy it is today.

I don’t have birth or death dates but I know my 9th great grandfather Ralfe Wilder married Mary Hazel in 1691. I believe this would make his name the oldest on the Lovejoy line.

And lastly, The oldest male name on my Young family line belongs to my 13th great-grandfather, William Wilson (Willson?). Born in 1542 in Wellsbourne, Lincolnshire, England. He married Isobel Woodhall in the 1570’s and died in Windsor, Berkshire, England in 1615.

How about you? Have you found any interesting names/facts down your family tree lines? Share them in the comments below.

I am Canadian

No really. I am Canadian.

My entire life I have been incredibly proud to call myself a Canadian but it wasn’t until I really started to research my family tree that I started to see why.


My great-grandfather was born in England but chose to move to Canada in 1908. He could’ve stayed where he was living in Moon’s Cottage in Long Ditton, Surrey to raise his children. Instead he packed it all in and chose to come to Canada. He decided to change his stars. My grandfather Albert came with him and their pride in being Canadian was passed down to my father, one of the first born members of his line to be born in this country. An incredibly proud accomplishment. No one is happier to wave the red and white flag or to explore this country as my father. He’s been to at least 6 provinces and has seen or touched nearly all of the great lakes.


I’ve already talked about how my great-grandfather fought in World War 1 and I may have mentioned that my uncle fought in World War 2. But what I may have neglected to mention was that the other side of my family fought in the War of 1812. Over 200 years ago my ancestors stood together against an American invasion and fought to keep the true north strong and free. At that time, we were part of the dominion and were not our own little country, but that war, and many wars after that, helped shape our country into what it is today.


With a history in this country spanning more than 200 years, we had a chance to really make our mark. Some of my Scottish ancestors came to take over land in that had never been worked and they helped clear the land to make way for farms and villages. Many of my ancestors were farmers who tilled the land and helped grow what we could.

We also had a big part in making some beautiful things as well. One of my Dryden ancestors was the carpenter that did the wood work in Knox Presbyterian Church in downtown Galt (now Cambridge.)

Some other of my ancestors made their way cross country and helped develop the railway and some cities in the west. Other ancestors stayed closer to Waterloo Region. My grandpa Hyde and a few of my great-uncles on the Lovejoy side helped build several of the war-time houses in Galt.


I can’t read their minds, but I can tell by the way I was raised and the people around me, that we really like to be in Canada. We are safe here. We have opportunity here. We can help build community and we can belong. Sure life isn’t always easy for all of us, but it wouldn’t be easy no matter where we lived.

I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be from a long and short line of people who are proud to be in Canada. I am Canadian.

Canada Relief Map
My father, Howard Hill, checks out this relief map of Canada in Brandon, Manitoba