As I work through various family trees somethings strikes me.  Throughout the 19th century names tend to be simple – Sarah, John, Martha, Frederick, george – all those basic English names.  Second names in working class people are not especially common – although combinations like Sarah Ann, John George and Martha Ann certainly occur.  Occasionally there will be a spate of Biblical names, often deeply obscure, Josiah, Obadiah and Kelita feature.  Middle class people often take a family name as their second name, maybe to ensure continuity within families.  However, around the turn of the century lots of ‘new’ fashionable names start to appear, Eveline,  Hubert, Bertram and Herbert become common.  Working class children get extra names, sometimes family names.  A new sense that names are identity, that creative approaches are needed to naming babies is clearly at work.


About jenjen999

I am a family historian with an interest not only in direct lines but in the social background and historical setting of the families I research.
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