One of the joys of investigating family history is the passing down of names through the centuries. It is such a beautiful way to keep the memory of someone who is dearly loved alive as well as giving the bearer a strong family connection to the past.

Naming a child can be difficult. Ross, Gordon, 1873-1946, artist, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Initially I thought such tradition had bypassed my generation. My parents seemed to have chosen names that were popular at that time rather than hold to family traditions. However, it is our second names that we can find our link to our ancestors.

My oldest brother is Colin John, the John is definitely in honour of his grandfather Jack (John) Doherty and it is so lovely to know that Jack my brothers grandson also bears this name.

My grandfather Jack (John) Doherty strolling down the street with my mother, Hazel Edith c 1940s

Thanks to the British Royal family, my sister’s name of Margaret Rose, was also a popular choice for the period. It is in her second name of Rose that the connection is made to a very much loved member of the family (even if it is not biological), our Aunty Rose Margaret.

Aunty Rose

For me, Carolyn Mary, was again a popular choice. Mary is an acknowledgement of the importance of my Pop Doherty’s family in my life. His sister Aunty Mary (Doherty) and her husband Len Porter were very close to my mother Hazel especially following the death of her mother and grandmother. I have no photo of Aunty Mary but only a memory of visits to their home in Beverly Hills.

Finally the youngest in our family, Anthony Roy. While Anthony was and still is a popular name I think it was chosen by mother because of her strong Catholic faith and in particular devotion to St Anthony of Padua. As for the second name of Roy it is in honour of our Uncle Roy (Ernest Roy Biggs) who was killed in action during a bombing raid over Germany. Defnitely a wonderful name to carry through life.

Photo of Uncle Roy (Ernest Roy) Biggs

So if you have a baby in the family to name don’t forget to check out the family tree for inspiration. You are likely to find a meaningful name with a great story behind it.

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