History Column: What's in a name? Quite a bit
December 10. 2013 1:26PM
There is a story behind every name. A name can provide vital information when searching the family tree or maybe even prove some interesting stories to be carried on throughout the generations.
Relatives are often the most common source for naming a child. Norwegian custom dictates that the oldest son be named after his paternal grandfather, and the second son his maternal grandfather. In a similar fashion, the eldest and second daughters were named after the grandmothers. As you may know, this is a very common practice in this area.
The culture here in the United States often states that the husbandís surname is passed down to the children. However, many women over the years have used their maiden name as a middle name or a first name to pass along their heritage as well.
Virgil Fiegenís middle name is Cornelius, the maiden name of his maternal grandmother, Mary Hilreka Cornelius Anderson.
The Merry family has long lived in Dell Rapids since the early days of settlement. When Roberta and her husband, Robert DeVaney had a daughter, she was named MerryAnn. The more common spelling may have been Mary, but Robertaís maiden name is Merry, hence the spelling.
In most circumstances the naming of a child is a happy, joyous event.
However, sometimes there are tragedies involved. The child may be named after a relative that died far short of their life expectancy, due to an accident, illness or a tragic even.
Merritt Blow, son of Margaret Blow, died at a young age of thirteen years due to fever in 1887.
His brother would eventually name his son, born in 1909, Merritt. I am sure to honor his brotherís life. The younger Merritt, by the way, lived to be 104 years of age.
Thelma Busk was named after an aunt on her fatherís side. Thelma Lowe Robinson was born in 1931. Her life was abruptly cut short at the age of 26, when her husband intentionally murdered her on May 6, 1957.
A few of the streets in Dell Rapids are named after notable individuals that once lived here.
Juniata Street is named after Juniata Alexander Peirce, the daughter of Robert Alexander who would eventually plat much of Dell Rapids. Pearl Street (now called Fourth Street) was named after the first child born in Dell Rapids.
Not wanting to leave out the male gender, Alva Street, was the first male born in Dell Rapids.
Your name is just a spelling of a word. Whatever the reason may be, there is always a story behind the name.
What is your story? Share your story with your children, ask your parents, exchange that story with your neighbors and friends. Thatís when it becomes interesting!