52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 3:
Namesake

Namesakes

My maternal great grandparents, Ella and Homer King, had three daughters: Elsie, Roxie and Edith. For many years I have assumed the sisters were namesakes of popular fictional characters my great grandmother had read about. After all, these three names do not appear elsewhere in the family, so I reasoned they were inspired namesakes.

Homer and Ella King surrounded by their children, 1910: back – Ray, Roxie, Chas, Elsie, Oscar, front – Edith, Warren and Lee.

Not a Namesake, Just a Name

I decided to write about the sisters for this week’s prompt, so I needed to do some research about the fictional characters for whom I believed they were namesakes. First, my great aunt Elsie King was born in 1890. I reasoned she was the namesake of the fictional character Elsie Dinsmore. Elsie is the main character in a series of books first published in 1867. They were very popular with young readers during the 1870’s when my great grandmother was a girl.

King Family 1910

Next, my great aunt Roxie King was born in 1895. I reasoned she was named for the fictional character Roxane, the love interest in the popular play “Cyrano de Bergerac.” This is where my reasoning and assumptions flew out the proverbial window.

The play “Cyrano de Bergerac” was first performed in 1897. That is two years after my great aunt Roxie was born! This left me to think, perhaps the sisters were not namesakes. Rather, they simply had names my great grandparents liked.

King Family

Homer King 1864-1932
Ella Rumple King 1869-1962
Elsie King 1890-1984
Chas King 1893-1968
Roxie King 1895-1911
Oscar King 1897-1985
Ray King 1899-1989
Lee King 1902-1922
Edith King 1903-1991
Warren King 1908-1968

Popular Names

I discovered a website all about popular names, others researching names may find it useful, too: ThinkBabyNames.com.

First, the name Elsie reached its peak in popularity (#35) during the 1890’s. [1] This perfectly aligns with the birth of my great aunt. Next, the name Roxie reached peak popularity (#195) during the 1880’s. [2] This was a little ahead of my great aunt Roxie’s birth, but the name was still very popular in 1895. Lastly, my grandmother, Edith King, was born in 1903. The name Edith reached peak popularity (#29) in the 1890’s. [3] A little ahead of her birth, but Edith remained in the top 100 until about 1940.

Conclusion

I now believe my great grandparents chose their daughter’s names because they were popular and they liked them. No namesakes, just names.

EPILOGUE

No one in my extended family is a namesake of these great aunts or my grandmother. But, my mother is the namesake of my great grandmother, Ella Rumple King. My mother has told me that her grandmother was not entirely happy having a grandchild with the same name, so she called her Betty whenever they were together.

Frank Takeo Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.

David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.

The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.

Do You See A Resemblance?

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.

Probate of Jesse King 1868

Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.

Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary

A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.

Sarah Smith: Challenge

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846

Laferre to LaFara: Unusual Name

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 3: Unusual Name
The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.

Luella Pressell: Surprise!

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.

Rumple Family Photo 1895

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 8: Family Photo
For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one in particular I found very informative.

Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.

George Lafary and Catherine Landon: Large Family

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 11: Large Family
My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.

In The Paper

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.

Genealogy Brick Walls

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.

Catherine Landon: Out of Place

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 16: Out of Place
I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.

Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week1: Fresh Start.
The varied reasons my European ancestors immigrated to North America for a fresh start.

William and Uva Lafara: Favorite Photo

I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.

Close to Home

My grandparents. Earl and Pearl, met at church, close to home, in 1914,

So Far Away

My great-uncle Frank immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1905 to further his education, so far away

Same Name

I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!