Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why After a John?

What’s in a name? Anyone who is researching the Hillman family tree will quickly find John’s by the bucketful. I can’t help but wonder why? Many of the reasons probably go back too far for us to really do little but speculate. John originates from the Hebrew apparently meaning “Yahweh is gracious“. Clearly though its popularity as a name is owing to two saints ,John the Baptist and the Apostle John.
John was the most popular name given to male children in the United States up to 1924. Judging by the number of John’s I have to deal with on my family tree it might be safe to say the same holds true for Ontario as well.
Perhaps it has to do with religion. Or maybe over the centuries it becomes viewed as a family name. Certainly I am guilty. My eldest got stuck with it simply because both of his grandfathers were Johns. There was no great philosophical reasoning behind it. Oh well maybe this is one of the great unanswered riddles of history. I just wish some of my ancestors could have considered a second name to make my genealogical research easier.

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