Tag Archives: Willson

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.

12 Months, 12 Ancestors – Deborah Collins

Note: this is the fifth installment in my own version of #52ancestors where geneabloggers have been asked to write about a different ancestor every week for a year. To understand the concept, read my blog entry from January 19, 2014.

In looking into my tree I find Deborah Collins – my 6th great grandmother. In honour of Mother’s Day I thought it’d be great to look into the female line a bit, and why not go as far as I can?

Here is how I am related to Deborah:

  1. Corina Hill Harris (Me)
  2. Elizabeth Marlene Hill (Mom)
  3. Elizabeth (Betty) Mae Lovejoy (Grandmother)
  4. Lilian Lily May Young (Great-Grandmother)
  5. Ira Elmor Young (2x Great-Grandfather)
  6. Daniel Young (3x Great-Grandfather)
  7. Rachel Willson (4x Great Grandmother)
  8. Samuel Willson (5x Great Grandfather)
  9. Deborah Collins (6x Great Grandmother)

Deborah was born in a little place called Bucks, Pennsylvania back on 23-Mar-1741. Yes, before Canada was officially Canada and before the United States were the United States. Her father was a man by the name of Jonathan Collins and her mother was Ann Smith.

Looking on a map today for Bucks, Pennsylvania, you will find this is essentially a county not too far from Philedelphia that is home to such thriving metropolises as Levittown, Doylestown and Quakertown. Yes. Quakertown. Wonder what type of people lived there?

Quakertown, Monthly Meeting, Deborah Collins, Samuel Willson

In searching for the marriage record for Deborah Collins to her husband, yet another Samuel Willson the top of the page had the above text. Quakertown Monthly Meeting.

Like any thinking person searching through their family history, I immediately searched Quakertown. Could it be that simple? Are we Quakers?

Per wikipediaQuakertown was originally settled by the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers. 

It would appear we are Quakers after all.

When I first posed the possibility to my older sister she vehemently denied that we could be Quakers. No way, no how did she believe that we’d ever be Quakers. I asked her what they were, and she really had no idea other than there being no way. Although she did recall the same thing my mother used to say. She would say “We are Pennsylvania Dutch.” When we’d ask her about it, she didn’t really know how we were related other than it being well before her time. By the marriage record I discovered, we were in Pennsylvania after all.

Quaker, Deborah Collins, Samuel Willson, Marriage
Deborah Collins and Samuel Willson Jr’s marriage as recorded during a Friends Monthly Meeting in Quakertown

So if they were married in Quakertown, and the marriage was recorded in the “Quakertown Monthly Meeting”, this means they were at a meeting for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). But what are Quakers anyway?

In my research, the first Quakers wanted to break from the established Church of England, which had already broken away from the Catholic Church in Rome. The Quakers felt that he lessons sent by Jesus should be available to everyone. They believed your religious experience comes from your relationship through God, and that it shouldn’t have to go through someone else such as a priest or a minister. It was radical for the day, but caused a very large movement – one that may have ultimately brought my ancestors across the ocean to settle in North America.

Quaker Oatmeal SquaresThe Quakers believed that all people are created equally, that men and women can worship on the same level and live on the same level. They lived by integrity, honesty and purity. Calling themselves “Friends” Quakers would not take up arms against another person and they would not pay any taxes to support armies.

Could this be why my family moved to Canada?

Knowing that Deborah Collins, and perhaps many men and women in her family before and after her were Quakers makes me think of a simpler time. I picture the person on my favourite cereal, Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Simple clothing, forward facing, soft smile. Quakers are said to be simple people. Was my Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother and Grandfather?

I may never know unless I get up and go looking. I’ve recently discovered there is a Quaker Archives in Pickering, Ontario. Perhaps this is worth a pilgrimage.