Today's blogging prompt to celebrate Women's History Month is: Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.
While there are several women in my family who have been named in honor of a relative or family friend, I am pleased to say I am the first Cynthia in my family. I have located women who share my name in collateral lines, but in my direct line - I am the first. My middle name, Jane, is courtesy of my maternal grandfather, Harley Space. My grandfather had a fondness for calling little girls Janey. According to my parents, this was the reason for my middle name.
In yesterday's posting I mentioned that the name Sarah Etta was a favorite in my Space family line. My maternal grandmother, Alma Loretta Polar Space, was named after her mother's sister, Alma. My paternal grandfather came from a long line of French Canadian's who were fond of naming patterns - Charles, Nelson, Francis Xavier, Edward, Henry, Jean Baptist - it's enough to cause a meltdown when trying to untangle them all.
The honor of the most unique female first name belongs to my great-grandmother Nancy Ann Stone Space. Grandma Nancy, born June 1854 in Spirit, Wisconsin, was the mother of my mother's father. Shown in the above photo in 1925 with two of her grandchildren, Nancy was the youngest of three children born to Isaac Stone and his Native American wife, who we only know as "Elizabeth". Elizabeth died shortly after Nancy's birth but Isaac managed to continue his logging and trading business while making sure Nancy and her two older brothers, Alvin and Langley, attended school in Jenny, WI (later became the city of Merrill). The family also felt strong ties to the area that became the Lac du Flambeau Reservation where their mother was raised.
Nancy was a very strong willed woman - she had her own horse and buggy and was fond of going off 'to visit.' For many years my mother and her cousins speculated where it was that Grandma Nancy would go. The answer to that question came when I stumbled on an 1896 census for Lac du Flambeau that listed Nancy Space and her children as 'residents'. When the reservation was formed, Nancy wanted to insure that her children would continue to have their right as members of the Lac du Flambeau tribe. It became obvious that her 'visits' consisted of Nancy returning to the reservation during the times when the census was being taken.
Listed alongside the listing of Nancy Space, is the name Equi-sins. The people at the George Brown Ojibwe Museum and Cultural Center at Lac du Flambeau tell me Equi-sins translates as Little Girl. Another common name for Equi-sins? Janey. Maybe I have a namesake after all.
Copyright (c) 2010 Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski