There was a piece in the news recently about unusual children’s names for 2012. It got my thinking about a few odd names in my family.

Does anyone else have an Acturus in their tree? How about Zeruzia, Bowdewine or Landoline? Melvina, Neva, Ora and Verdella are a few of the other uncommon names of my relatives.

I reviewed the approximately 700 individuals in my main family file, to find more 60 different male names. I stopped counting at 100 for the females.

One of the misspellings/variants of Bowdewine Gunderman.
He sometimes went by Barrry or more often Roy.

We have our share of the more common nomenclature. John is far away the most popular name for the men with over 50; followed by about 20 James’ and a fair amount of Francis’, Georges and Williams.The ladies list is filled with more Marys than anything else. Catherine and Ann (and its variants) make a good showing, as do Elizabeth and Ellen/Helen.

Of course, the list also includes many “old-fashioned” names that we don’t see much of today: Ethel, Irma, Estelle, Percy and Julius. Some are names one would expect to find of ancestors from Ireland; Patrick, Bridget and Kathleen, and those that might have come from Biblical inspiration; Jacob, Ruth, Isaac and Abraham.

When we were thinking of names for our children, there was no question that I wanted them to have names from the family. My husband, his father and great-grandfather are all John, so I didn’t want to add another to the bunch. We settled on Russell, which is from my husband’s family. There are only two in the immediate group.

The choice we had in mind for a girl was used for our second child, Katherine. She joins 15 others in the group, including my sister, several great-grandmothers and aunts; some with a K, some with a C. It is good thing she was a girl, because I was stumped on what to name another boy. In a moment of child-birth delirium that I thought was hysterical, the only thing I could come up with Elmer Owen Inscho. Like I said, good thing she was a girl!

What unusual names have you come across in your family research?