The Monday Teaser – Extreme Family Names

Happy Monday! Last week I posted a request on Facebook for outlandish family stories that prove false. This week? The Name Game. What is the weirdest first name in your family? I have some doozys from the Pilgrim crew. My favorites are Resolve (m), Keziah (f) and Iwerner (f!).

Of course there are some great, more recent ones, including the 18th-to-19th-century Remember Corning and Mindwell Corning (f). Mindwell hung in there as a family name through the 20th century, becoming a middle name (lots of “Minnies” running around Nebraska and Iowa) or a threat. My grandmother was to be named Lucile for one aunt if before midnight, Mindwell for another aunt if after midnight. I’m not sure where my great-grandfather stood on the issue, but I believe that all concerned were happy with an evening birth.

Thankful Corning is a nice name – the female Cornings tended toward “goal” names, but not all were repressive. And yet – it forces me to picture her surrounded by turkeys and yams. Mindwell‘s brother Warren Corning was a loud, ardent, and active hater of the early Mormons. He worked to get them kicked out of Kirtland, Ohio mere months before his death. That’ll teach you not to cross the 1st Amendment! Learning about how rotten my ancestors could be, actually, is fun. Don’t get me started on the Chenoweths…they’re the original inspiration for my favorite genealogical phrase, “cascading generations of cousin-intermarriage and bastardy.” It’s good to keep a sense of humor when researching the family tree.

Then, there’s Zenas Mitts (m). He died in 1916, possibly from the crushing weight of carrying the name Zenas Mitts. I’ll bet the kids made hay with that one. Then again, his father’s name was Azariah (click it and check out the search results – this is how it works!). Maybe Zenas got off light.

My Bowers crew, a bunch of pro-Oliver Cromwell martyrs, took the cake with male names Benanuel Bowers and Jarathmeel Bowers (m, Biblical) and female names Silence Bowers and Patience Bowers (more “goal” names, shamelessly laden with the requisite 17th-century female suffering ). “Men are holy, women have to grin and bear it.” Eeeek.

These are a few of mine, along with a few fanciful tales. What are your crazy or extreme monikers? Please take a moment to share them in the blog comments section, or at our Facebook page.