Monday, March 31, 2014

James and Ketiran Thornton

Yesterday I was working on my article about William Thornton, who I believe to be my 4th great grandfather.  His parents are said to be James and Elizabeth Jenkins Thornton.  Nothing is known about Elizabeth other than her name.  In 1740 when James sells some land in Massachusetts his wife has to cosign the deed.  She was unable to write so some else wrote her name down and she made her mark.  Her name was the very unusual Ketiran.  Elizabeth had presumably died and James had remarried.

I was playing around with lists of children and came up with the following:

Matthew/Hannah        Agnes/John           William/Dorcas   Hannah/William       Ester/James
James                        Catherine                   William                   Mary                         Mary
Andrew                      Thornton                    Matthew                  John                          Ester
Mary                          James                        James                    William                     Margaret
Hannah                     George                       Molly                      Catherine                    Hannah
Matthew                   Thomas                      Thomas                   James                        Robert
                                                                    John                        Hannah                     James
                                                                    Samuel                    Matthew
                                                                    Dorcas
                                                                    Nancy
                                                                    Sarah
                                                                   Catherine
                                                                   Abraham


Paternal Father  Maternal Father Paternal Mother  Maternal Mother  Namesake

Okay, so in colonial times, many people used very distinctive naming patterns for their children. The first son was usually named for the father's father, the second son for the mother's father.  The first daughter was named for the father's mother and the second for the mother's mother.  Then the parents would name children after themselves.

If the children of James Thornton all shared the same mother and her name was Elizabeth, her name is conspicuously absent. Each of James' children named a son James.  Most of the children named a child for themselves and their spouse.  Only William named a daughter Nancy, said to be the name of their grandmother Thornton.  There were three daughters named Mary and three named Catherine.  Agnes named her first daughter Catherine.  What if Ketiran was really a mangled spelling of Katherine?   This makes a lot of sense to me.

Unlike these days when all manner of made up names are used, the folks of the 18c. used well known names. Ketiran is not a name seen anywhere else.  What do you think?



Have a great day!