“Names provide a ‘treasure shoppe’ of meaningful clues to the past for adoptees”

“Preparing a family tree is a stressful daunting task for many adoptees. If given the opportunity, the inquisitive adoptee looking to build a more comprehensive and realistic self-identity will be encouraged to learn that selected names provide a treasure shoppe of delightfully meaningful clues to the past.”  —Judith Land

Selected surnames provide a treasure shoppe of meaningful clues to the past. Given names are used to honor famous people, biblical characters, relatives or ancestors, identify personal traits, or used to describe honorable and good qualities that parents hope to pass on to their children.

Genealogists concentrate on the meanings and origins of surnames because they are inherited and the easiest way of identifying people who are related. Inherited surnames have a cultural significance that defines what individuals represent, their unique style and individuality, and their heritage. Names provide information about the regional and geographic origin of individuals, ancestors, occupations, social backgrounds, and distinguishing characteristics about them.

Some names are most common among rich people and some among poor, some in families with more schooling and some in families with less. Naming a child after a parent or famous ancestor preserves family ties and history and is sometimes repeated over many generations for centuries. In societies where leadership was hereditary, being able to prove a pure connection to the aristocratic classes through surnames was historically crucial and more meaningful than accomplishment.

Brooks, Lake and Ford indicated persons who dwelt near a brook, a lake, or a bridge. Cook, Farmer, Forester, and Mason provided strangers with a recognizable clue to the person’s occupation, social standing and background. Nicknames like Red or Sienna for a red-haired boy; Blaine (yellow), Boris and Courtney (short); Bella, Linda, Naomi and Rosalind (beautiful) and dozens of other names that spoke of appearance were given to people who passed those names onto their children.

Given names represent a voluntary choice by the parents that represent thoughts and feelings that can be significant because they provide valuable hints about family history, social standing and background. Names such as Grace, Hope, and Charity represent honorable and good qualities that parents hope to pass on to their children.

Judith Land | Adoption FAQ’s | Adoption Detective Book


About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. She has reached readers in 192 countries. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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1 Response to “Names provide a ‘treasure shoppe’ of meaningful clues to the past for adoptees”

  1. Pingback: What’s a “Foundling Wheel?” | Adoption Detective | A True Story by Judith Land

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