Famous Names?

By Eilene Lyon

A post by InNate James discussed his possible family connection to the notorious outlaw, Jesse James.  He mentioned that the James family tried to disassociate themselves from him. That was not a universal response to his deeds, though.

My family tree sports one “Jesse James Brooks,” for example.1 He was born in 1876, the year many of the James’ gang were killed by the citizens of Northfield, Minnesota, during a bank robbery, just one state away from my Jesse’s birthplace, South Dakota.2  His birth preceded the fateful robbery, though.

It got me thinking about all the children in history who have been saddled with the names of reknowned people (the good, the bad, and the mediocre – ugly may be in there, too). Probably no one could count the number of “George Washington so-and-sos” found throughout the late 18th and 19th centuries. I found one George Washington and five George Ws on my tree alone.

I suspect most of the unfortunate children burdened with these weighty monikers were boys. Some of them dealt with the matter by switching their first and middle names around, or by relying on nicknames. It isn’t proven that my 3rd great-uncle, Cleve Springer, was born “Grover Cleveland Springer,” but his WWI draft registration clearly states that his full name is “Cleveland Grover Springer.”3

My great-grandfather was named Sterling Price Davis. His father served in the Confederate Army from Missouri during the Civil War. Research revealed that Sterling was named for Sterling Price. Price was a Confederate general, later governor of Missouri, and happened to die just two months before great-grandpa was born.4,5

I’d never heard of him, but clearly Price was a hero to my great great-grandfather. How many southern boys, do you suppose, bore “Robert E. Lee” as their first and middle names?

Children today get named after prominent entertainers more often than they are named for politicians and criminals. Women have started making the grade, too. Beyoncé? Check. Madonna? Check.

How many “famous names” are lurking in YOUR family tree? Let me know!

 


  1. United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_James 
  3. See #1 
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterling_Price 
  5. Idaho. Department of Health and Welfare. Death Index and Images, 1911–1966. Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Boise, Idaho. Idaho, Death Records, 1890-1966 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. 

5 thoughts on “Famous Names?

Add yours

  1. Excellent question. I have a grandmother who might have been named for Anne Hutchinson, the spunky woman, a Puritan, who got thrown out of MA in the 1600s for her liberal Christian views. As a child I never knew if this was a guess based on this grandmother’s outspokenness or if it was a fact. There’s no one left to ask… so in answer to your question… maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So interesting. I’ve heard of many families trying to trace to Jesse James! I don’t think there are any famous names in my family tree at all. They tended to replicate family names until the last 70 years, although even there my cousin’s son carries a name that has been in the family for many centuries from the Netherlands.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

National Parks USA

A tour of Public Lands & National Parks with T

Turning My Earth

Genealogy and other musings

Tye's Travels

Head Dog, Leading the Way Across the USA!

M.B. HENRY

Following the Path to the Past

The Glasgow Gallivanter

Adventures at home and abroad

In the Dash

Valarie Gravelle's family history and genealogy blog

Christine's Genealogy Musings

Piecing together my family history

athingirldotcom

never judge a girl by her weight

A Dalectable Life

The little and large things making my life delicious!

thehomeplaceweb

Drop in and stay awhile

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt

writing my past

in which I document my genealogical research adventures and explore the people and events from my family's history…

Wrenacres

Genealogy, Family history, and Whatnot

Myricopia

Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Poetry and Prose

From soul to soul

Holy Cake Day

Nature. Community. Cake.

A Coffee Stained Life

Photography, Gardening, Food, Art, Family, Genealogy, Coffee & Tea

%d bloggers like this: