Elizabeths in my family tree

Letter E: Fifth of twenty-six posts in the April 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge. Wish me luck and please join me on the journey!

Among my ancestors, there are many duplicate given names. But Elizabeth is one of the most common — as a first or middle name — on both sides of my family tree.

My maternal grandmother’s handkerchief with the letter E. Elizabeth was a common first or middle name among my female ancestors. Photo by Molly Charboneau

My paternal great, great grandmother Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull — wife of my Union Army ancestor Arthur Bull — apparently went by Elizabeth because there were so many Marys in her family. Here and there, it shows up as her first name on records.

My maternal grandmother Elizabeth Christina (Stoutner) Laurence was called Lizbeth by my grandfather, who knew her from childhood. But when she learned, and later taught, Early American Tole Painting, she always signed her work Liz.

She appears to have been named after her German-born grandmothers — her mom’s mother Eva Elizabeth (Edel) Mimm (who went by Elizabeth) and her dad’s mother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner.

Then there was my Irish great grandmother Elizabeth C. Dempsey, born in 1865 in Baltimore City, Baltimore Co., Md. — a twin and part of the large household of my Irish-born great, great grandparents William Patrick and Katherine (Gormley) Dempsey.

There are some other Elizabeths, Lizzies and Mary Elizabeths among my side line ancestors, too — clearly a popular name on many branches of my family tree.

Have you looked for patterns in your ancestors’ given names? They might hold clues about the next generation back.

Up next: Fort Monroe in Virginia, where my Union Army ancestor Arthur Bull — husband of one of my Elizabeths, Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull — was hospitalized during the U.S. Civil War.

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8 thoughts on “Elizabeths in my family tree”

  1. I have lots of Catherines …ironically my mother didn’t want to call me Catherine because she disliked her mother-in-law.

    1. I also have many Catherines and Katherines — and a similar story about a naming dispute. Seems that some family interactions are much the same all over the world!

    1. Amazingly, some people don’t have any. Which shows how naming patterns can be family-specific and help with our research. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Well this explains why mom gave me the middle name Elizabeth! You should see “James” is a common one too. Wasn’t Grandpa’s middle name James?

    1. Hey, Kye. Yes, that was Grandpa’s middle name. There were quite a few relatives named James on our Welsh-Irish line, so maybe that’s why your Great-Grandma C picked it for his middle name. Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you’ll visit again during the A to Z Challenge.

  3. I don’t think I’m related to anyone named Elizabeth and I have lots of aunts and female cousins.

    I’m visiting from the A to Z Challenge.

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