The Evolution of a Name

3 min readMar 8, 2019

What’s in a Name?

In 1922, my father was born on a dusty county road. It was a rural farming community that had lots of corn and cows. It was the best place in all of America to be born. I can’t imagine a more ideal place...unless of course you call having ten babies at home on the farm ideal. If you were lucky the doctor would come by and welcome the newest member of the family.

My father was number seven of ten. As you can imagine my grandmother was running out of names. In fact, I understand that on my father’s birth certificate it simply states, ‘baby.’

Let me qualify that down through time, his first name was obviously the only thing that was flexible. His middle name was Franklin, a good solid family name; and there was no doubt his surname was earned by blood and behavior.

The way I came to understand that his first name had been in flux all his early years… like until about age 40… was the legal documentation that kept cropping up.

Where my grandmother found the name is a mystery, although, I have my suspicions. In all my searching through the annals of time, I have not found one ancestor in my family with this name.

For sure they didn’t have books of baby names like I did when I was naming my children. But according to my mother, my fraternal grandmother




RB is a retired psychotherapist, storyteller, genealogists and lover of family.