Monday, November 9, 2009

"The Fort Brothers" and Other Family Names

Over the past week I have dedicated one blog to each of my sons.  For Sumter, Pink, Green, & Southern commented that he had a great name.  A huge public thank you goes out to you PG&S!  Actually, I absolutely LOVE my boys' names.  I belong to one of those crazy South Carolina families where everyone is named after everyone else.  NO ONE has an original name.   (Well, almost no one.  Keep reading!)

My sister's name is the most beautiful in the family:  Anne Stuart.  It's a double name and, of course was taken from some dead great, great, etc. grandmother.  Not Anne.  Not Stuart.  It's Anne Stuart.  And don't mess with her on that because she'll just ignore you.  She and I went to summer camp on the shores of Lake Michigan when we were younger, and those Midwestern girls just couldn't grasp the concept.  They called her "Stuart".  We didn't correct them after a while, because... well, we just guessed they just didn't know any better.  :)

I am named after my mother, Beverly.  My given middle name is Mason.  Mason is her mother's maiden name.  My grandmother's family was from Virginia, and she was always fond of saying, "We were the Masons... of Virginia."  Never knew exactly what that meant.  It must have meant something as it is through her line that we are all members of the NSCDA.

My sons are known throughout parts of South Carolina as "The Fort Brothers" as in two forts in South Carolina:  Fort Sumter and Fort Jackson.  NO!  I didn't plan that.  On my side of the family every first-born son for the past five generations have been named "James Sumter".  They have all been called Sumter.  My "however many greats" grandfather was the personal physician to General Thomas Sumter of the Revolutionary War.   Our youngest, Jackson Elliott, was named for his paternal great-grandmother's maiden name (Jackson).  The Elliott is from my father's side.  Our ancestor, William Elliott, owned a large plantation that much later became Sea Pines (of Hilton Head Island).  Legend has it that he was forced to hand over the deed to a Union soldier at gunpoint. 

My sister has two beautiful daughters, Mary Stephens (double name, of course) and Caroline.  My family was absolutely thrilled with Mary Stephens' name.  Not only was she named after people from her father's side, but my mother discovered that we actually have a Mary Stephens on our side all the way from the 1600's!   But Anne Stuart really made a social familial gaff with poor Caroline.  When she told my mother what she was going to name her second daughter, my mother sniffed, "Oh. We don't have any Carolines in our family."  To which Anne Stuart replied, "Well, we do now!"

Mimi with Sumter, Jackson, Mary Stephens, and Caroline
Kanuga, 2008

So here's to all of you out there with crazy family names!  I'd love to hear your stories!

AKA Beverly Mason


  1. We recycle names too! I was named after my great grandmother Jessie Moseley... Moseley was my middle name until I got married then my maiden name became my middle name. Rebecca's middle name was my grandmother's maiden name, Hart. Alexander's middle name is my maiden name (not disclosing for safety purposes!!) and Christopher took my husband's middle name.

    Not sure what I would have done had I had three girls... the female name selection isn't so strong... we have: Ethel, Betty Jane, Marjorie (I do like that one) Hazel, Dahlia... not exactly au courrant with our times! LOL

    btw, I love Anna Stewart and think Stewart as a knickname is cute -- but what do I know? I'm from New England!!!

    And Caroline is a favorite girl name of mine!

  2. Bev, Bev, Bev - I am so glad that I stumbled upon this blog of yours today. Don't think we will EVER tire of the name thing! There are so many comments that I would love to share right now, but they will have to wait for a much needed gab session on Bev Sr.'s bed. :) You do know that I am firmly with you on that name thing - so much so that I couldn't even fathom perusing a name book! (Maybe for the family dog... no, actually, not even then.) The longer I live in Georgia, though, the more I think it's not just a "southern thing" but a "southern south carolina thing" - which is one of the reasons that I will ALWAYS be a Carolina girl at heart! I'm going to check out your other blogs now. I'm sure I'll be right there with ya on the others, too! I miss you!!! Hugs and kisses, Liz (Elizabeth Mace Foster Meek - after my maternal grandmother, of course!)

  3. My dad is Wilfred Rivers Claytor Jr. You know that HAS to be a family name. He has 5 grand-daughters and 2 grandsons. His two grandsons are Rivers and Claytor. The only baby name book we use is the family Bible. :)
    Catherine (grandmama) Lykes (uncle, great uncle) Claytor Lockhart :)

  4. I love family names. In our family we all have a J name ~ either the first or middle name. I {Joanne Marie} am named after my aunt and my grandmother and my brother {Henery Joseph} is named after both my grandfathers. My son is named uncles {Nicholas Jacob}. I hope this continues for many more generations to come ~ it's who we are!


  5. I'm so glad you said this! We are sooo not original we used family names to cut down on the "drama" of picking an original. xoxo


  6. Thanks for the shout out! What a great post. I am fascinated by names, particularly family ones. We "recycle" names a lot in this family too! Miss Priss has a double name and like your sister if you call her by the first part of the name she will ignore you--that is not her name! We lived in Ohio when she was small and NO one would keep it together, just like when your sister went to camp. (She and your sister need to talk!) I finally took to hyphenating it (think Anne-Stuart) but STILL no one would keep it together. Her name was never a problem when we lived in Nashville but now that we live in CT it is a problem again. Here, because the second part of her name is my mother's maiden name, people try to hyphenate it with our last name! They even have the gall to ask her if she put the hyphen in the wrong spot!!! Pinkie is one of many Pinkies in our family and her middle name is my mother-in-law's maiden name. If she had been a boy, I still would have used mother-in-law's maiden and called him that. My husband, his father, and my father have the same first and middle name. You should have seen my wedding announcement--everyone thought it was a mistake!

  7. Loved this post as I am all over family names. All of the girls on my mother's side of the family are named for their grandmothers (until all grandmother names were used, that is. My mom and her first sister are Vivian and Julia, for their grandmothers, the next two sisters, Nancy and Martha Caroline are for aunts; my sister and I are named Eloise and Marian after our grandmothers; my girls are Vivian and Dorothy after my mom and my mother-in-law). My son is a junior after his dad.

    I did that "how original were your parents in naming you" survey on Facebook. Of course, my parents received an A because there are hardly any other Eloises in my generation! I added my comment that I was named for my grandmother and that my girls were named for theirs. I received several "I'm glad I wasn't named for my grandmother because her name was ____" comments. I can tell you that I absolutely did not like the name Vivian but purely used it out of respect for my mother and for tradition (it is also my mother's grandmother's name). As SOON as it was my Vivian's name and I associated it with that beautiful baby (and she was a beautiful baby!), I loved it.

    Sorry I got so carried away! I suppose I should have written a post on this rather than a comment!

  8. What a fun post! What is it about we Southerners? We just love our family and it's history. Nothing but family names here. We all go by nicknames that in NO WAY relate to the actual given name. It's really quite funny to witness introductions...

  9. Love the family names....

    My oldest son is named Franklin "Holt" - Franklin was my husband's grandfather and Holt is my grandmother's maiden name and my dad's name.

    My youngest is Charles Nunn (we call him Chaz) named after my great-grandfather and my husband's great-grandmother's maiden name.

    My sister's name is Caroline. That is my favorite girl name. Great post!!


Thanks for your sweet comments... They make my day just that more Golden!