The generations on either side of me link me to my past and my future. My view of family history involves revealing the roots and the branches.

Throughout this blog you will find perspectives related to the doctrines of temple and family history work from revealed revelation given to living prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS - Mormon).

Friday, February 27, 2015

What's In A Name?

I have always been intrigued by people's names; most particularly the meaning behind the name. Was the person named for someone or some place? Does their name reflect memories, family stories, or feelings? Many of our ancestors had surnames that reflected their occupation, a place, or a person.

When we were a newly married couple, we frequently discussed what we would name our children. 
  • We wanted our children to have names that had meaning to us. 
  • We wanted the etymology (original literal meaning) of their names to be powerful. 
  • We wanted family names that represented strong individuals with a teachable heritage.

Let me introduce you to my children.

Emma Patience

Emma = Complete or Whole
Patience = Calm Endurance

It took seven years of infertility struggles to finally get our little Emma. They were years of trying to learn how to have patience during long suffering. And still today as we are raising children trying to remember to have patience in the process.

Emma Margaretha Friederike Boldt Ohms is my great-grandmother. She died 15 years before I was born. I do not have any stories about her. What I know about her I have learned from newspapers, Census, and other records. She immigrated from Germany when she was two years old with her parents and grandparents. As an adult, she was the family care giver. As a young mother, with four of her own children, she also cared for her youngest sibling (a half sister). Later in life she cared for a widowed sister and she continually cared for an unmarried son until her death. She is an example of compassion and love.

Patience Sibyl Groves Davies Harris is my 3rd great-grandmother. She inspires me to have patience. Her first husband died four years into their marriage; leaving her with two children aged three and under and pregnant with their third. For three years she raised these children alone. She married my 3rd great-grandfather, Llewellyn, in 1865 and they had six children. Llewellyn was a pathfinder missionary for the LDS Church for over 30 years. He traveled throughout the American South West and Mexico blazing new roads and teaching and healing others.  Patience took care of the homestead and raised the children. She is a great example of a strong individual with a teachable heritage.

Matthew Thayne

Matthew = Gift of God
Thayne = Follower

After struggling with infertility for years before the birth of our first child, we just resigned ourselves to another struggle.  We were amazed to have Matthew less than three years later.  He truly was our "Gift from God".

Thayne Leavitt Archibald is my husband's father; Matthew's grandfather. Thayne died nearly four years before we were married; and as such, I never knew him. He was a hard working man. He could fix anything and if he didn't have the tools, he would create them. He was a loving, sacrificing, frugal, inventive, patient, and quiet man. I hope my son will follow in his grandfather's footsteps. Oh, and they both have red hair!

Our children's "family" names help them to know their identity and heritage. We can share with them stories and photos about their namesakes. 

Here are some helpful websites to help you in identifying the meaning of names:

This site is a great source for learning how to pronounce names:

This is a great site to learn the frequency of names:

The following are screen shots from Baby Name Voyager showing the frequency of my children's names.

I learned about this site last year from a news story that said that children named "Emma" today were named after their mother's great-grandmother. Wow! How did they know my story?  And then I saw this graphic. You should check out the frequency of your name.

Are you named after someone? Were you named after any family members (first or middle name)? How did that make you feel as a child? And now as an adult? What special meanings do these names have for you? What about your children? Did you name them after someone? Please share your family name stories and experiences in the comments.


  1. This blog is so interesting! I enjoy reading your posts. I was named Sarah, after the Old Testament Sarah. That made me feel good as a child. I have always liked my name and I always suggest it to others who are looking for a name for their baby girls (I guess that's somewhat narcissistic).

    My husband Aaron also has a Biblical name. We have chosen to name our children after people they can look up to and admire, much like these two brothers can.

    We heard a song on our honeymoon about a Daniel and instantly liked it and started planning to name our first child Daniel, which we did. He is not named after the guy in the song, but for the prophet in the Bible, who did so many wonderful things and lived with integrity.

    We named our second son Benjamin, after a good and loving king in the Book of Mormon.

    Their middle names are after Aaron's first and middle name (Jacob), who were also great men in history.

  2. I was given the name Jenny because the names Amy and Jenny sound good together. When my older sister was born, she had blue eyes and blonde hair like the lyrics to a song, she was given the name of Amy. Naturally when I was born I was then named Jenny.

  3. Oh, and here's a story about Emma, from Dar: "While in Rock Island we would also go visit my Grandma Ohms. She had the cleanest Shiniest Kitchen and ALWAYS had a Huge Bucket type holder for home made cookies.. YUMMY ones too." Now you have a story about her! :)

  4. A note about my kids.
    Jayson Neal was named after his father's nickname of J (Jay) thus he is Jay's son. Neal is from his 2nd Great grandfather.
    Michael D is our angel....and D stands for his dad, grandfather, and great grandfather...David, Dennis and Darrel.
    RaeAnne was given the middles names of her Grandparents. Dennis Ray and Carol Ann
    Kayla was also given names from her grandparents....Paul Kay and the LA comes from part of her grandma's name of LAura. :)

  5. I love this post. My children are named after someone in the bible and someone in our family history. It is so beautiful that your children have good examples to look up to. What cute kids you have. :)

  6. I love this post, too! My mother named me after a name she saw in some movie credits. She thought it was unique, and it was because growing up in the 1960s I never met anyone with my first name. By the time I was a student teacher, the 3rd grade where I taught had 3 Heathers and a Heatherlee. I named my daughter after my favorite great auntie Katie, but since my husband was from Spain her formal name is Catalina. She named her daughter (born just this month), Isabella, after her 3rd and 5th great grandmothers.