52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Namesake

Stevens 50th Wedding Anniversary: My grandmother is the girl in the middle row with a flowered hairdo.

Well, bless my bloomers…nobody ever told me that. I had to figure it out all on my own. The clues were right there calling out my name to pay attention to the details. Right there, by golly! Why was I so slow in figuring it out? So here is my story.

Climbing up the family tree is an awesome adventure. Gathering names, dates, and locations fills out the branches. Getting the big picture of how we all fit together in our families is an honorable task. It is only natural to notice who is named after whom as names are often repeated. For some confounded reason, I never gave thought to these ladies. I was too busy checking out the male namesakes.

There she stood, my maternal grandmother. Her name was Isabella Mary Boultinghouse. She was the baby sister of the four children…three girls and one boy. Her two older sisters were both originally named…first time that there were a Pearl and a Helen. The boy’s first name, Edward, was shared with his father’s middle name. It wasn’t until I looked over a picture from 1916 when a family photo was taken of Isabella’s grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Her maternal grandparents were William Henry Stevens and Isabella Anna Couchman…Isabella, Isabella. My wheels were turning. What about her middle name of Mary? Why, her paternal grandmother was Mary Magdalina Kramer, who had married Amos Howell Boultinghouse! Now, my brain was making the connection. It was clear how she was named.

When I was a little girl, my mother told me that I was named after my grandmothers. Hmmm, how could that be…their names were Grammy and Babcia? I was too young to know that those were their “grandma names”. Later, I would make that connection of Mary (Isabella’s middle name) and Anna, my father’s mother. I am Mary Anne Slabik-Haffner. The connections one makes as she touches the leaves on her family tree.

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