Thursday, 25 August 2005

Amusingly named people I am related to

1. George George. George, my great-great-great-grandfather, must not have had the most creative parents. It's not like his father or either of his grandfathers was named George. And he was only the third child of his parents, so you can't really say they had totally run out of names. But I guess it made his signature pretty easy.

2. Erasmus Darwin Walden. I think Erasmus is a pretty cool name. He was also a 3x-great-grandfather of mine, the son of one Reverend Freeman Walden. I can only surmise that he was named after the famous theologian, as I really haven't encountered many other Erasmuses (Erasmi?). This Erasmus died, aged 76, after an accident at the mill.

Brief interruption for a hypothetical: If Wesley and Sarah Biggs had a son and named him Erasmus, and gave him a middle initial starting with B., how would you pronounce his full name?

(wait for it...)

Oh, the laughs he'd have.

3. The Zeltwangers. Alright, I understand that it's not polite to laugh at someone's name, and obviously my second cousin thought the guy was cool enough to marry and have children with. But come on. I'm sorry, but... Zeltwanger. Zeltwanger zeltwanger zeltwanger. You can't make up funny like that.

4. This one's a pretty distant relation, but if you're not amused by the name Henrietta Goddard Wigglesworth, my fifth cousin five times removed, you need happy pills.

5. The Pilgrims used lots of funny names, but the hyphenated ones are the best. Perhaps the best example among my relatives is Miss Wait-A-While Makepeace, eleventh-great-grand-aunt of mine and daughter of the immigrant Thomas Makepeace. Her name almost tells a story. I think it's lovely. Thankful Spear (7GGA) is pretty good too, as far as those things go, but she can't hold a candle to...

6. Opportunity Hoppin, born the 15th of November, 1657, in Roxbury, Massachusetts. As it happens, Opportunity is Wait-A-While's niece. I'm not making this up, I swear. When Opportunity knocks, get the door, or she'll be Hoppin mad.

7. Missouri Rosanna Ishmael, my great-great-grandmother. Try to guess where she was born. Or maybe you'll have better luck with her aunt, America Ishmael. Poor Missouri seems to have changed her name to plain old Rosanna later in life (as soon as she legally could, one would suspect). Well, call me Ishmael. Her father and grandfather, incidentally, were both Benjamin Franklin Ishmael.

8. Tyrannus Collins, sixth great-grand-uncle. You'd like to think that even with a name like that, he might be a gentle soul, a dreamer in a world of violence and pain. But somehow I doubt it. I suppose it's a good thing he wasn't born a Makepeace; he'd have been really confused.

9. How cool a name is "Bass" Blaurock? Sure, it's a nickname (for Sebastian), but apparently my second cousin four times removed-in-law (OK, technically not a blood relative, but cut me a little slack here) was also an accomplished baritone singer. I'm guessing the "Bass" was pronounced like the fish (or the beer), but I suppose it could have been like the clef, instead.

10. Rounding out our list is my (reputedly) 18th great-grandfather, Bartholomew Badlesmere, born circa 1285. I'm thinking if I need a pen name to use to sign my libelous political tracts and/or screeds, I'm going to summon up the ghost of Bartholomew Badlesmere.

Special bonus! Here's Sarah's fifth-great-grand-uncle: Thomas Shadrack Quattlebaum. That name just rocks. Actually, we had a hard time deciding who was cooler, Thomas Shadrack or his brother Moses Ezekiel Quattlebaum. In the end, the Shadrack won out. Moses might have grown up to be a devout churchgoer. But with a name like Thomas Shadrack Quattlebaum, you're not cut out for an ordinary life. No sir, adventure is the life for you.

So how 'bout you?

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