By Charlene Shields
Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."
Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Barry Cleveland, editor, "The Carmi Times."
Given names seem to go in cycles. There are some tried and true
favorites such as John, William, David, Elizabeth and Mary. However, if
one comes across a Linda or a Doris, one can guess the age of the person
fairly accurately. If one comes across a Nicole, Josh or Matt, one will
automatically know these are rather young people. If one comes across an
Ezekiel or Sylvester, one has the idea that this is someone of three or
four generations previous.
Although we now have babies being named Cheyenne or Dakota, that is
something new. In doing research, I've found several women named after
states: Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, Carolina, Virginia, etc.
Certain names recur down through the generations, so when one is
searching and comes upon such a name, one can be sure he has the right
family. However, it's difficult to determine which Jonas or which
Frederick one has found information on.
In our family, there was a Daniel Hon in about every generation. A
Daniel Hon married a Lucinda Lukenbill in White County in the 1850s. Two
years later, a Daniel Hon married an Amanda Lukenbill in White County.
The later Daniel was a nephew of the earlier Daniel, but this has caused
all manner of errors among researchers who do not delve into this family
history rather heavily. So a researcher has to be cautious.
One of my great-grandfathers was named Ptolemy Philadelphus Wells. In
researching, if I come across that name, I can be reasonably certain
that I've found my grandfather. He named my grandmother Zeanel Malinda
Philadelphia Wells. Thankfully, she was called "Zannie."
White County court records have several references to a Gooseberry
Wells. I've always wondered what kind of sick humor a parent had to have
to name a child "Gooseberry." However, somewhere along the way I've
found Gooseberry as a surname, so I deduced Gooseberry Wells was given
his mother's maiden name, although I haven't researched that.
Also, White County historians are familiar with local names in history
such as the Pearce brothers, Russian and Prussian. And the Storms family
must have had a sense of humor when they named one son Hail Storms and
another son North Storms.
Hank Jones (who used to play back-up music for Tennessee Ernie Ford)
a world-famous genealogist. He suggests we savor the unusual names we
sometimes uncover in our research. He mentions finding "Solomon
Gommorah" and "Another Smith." However, he says his favorite discovery
in all his years of research occurred when he was studying the 18th
century Palatines and found the marriage of Johannes Dings to Anna
The Genealogy Library is open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Address letters to Genealogy, White County Historical Society, PO Box
121, Carmi, IL 62821.
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