Relatively Speaking: What Is His Name?

Relatively Speaking is a throwback to another time in the world of genealogy. These are anecdotal stories to inspire those who search for their ancestors. Although, many of these stories are from before the world of computers and certainly the age of the internet, I believe that all of us have benefited from serendipity in our research.

What Is His Name?

Family history researchers wonder why they sometimes run into “dead ends” that seem unsolvable. The following may give one answer, and I am only glad that this genealogists nightmare happened recently enough that I could correct it, at least in my own records.

My husband?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s father, named Isham William Hawkins at birth, did not like his first name (which was an old family name from earlier generations in Virginia and South Carolina), so he dropped it completely during his younger years, growing up as simply “Will Hawkins”.

Evidently after he grew up, he must have decided that he needed two initials, so he just assumed the initial “J” and signed papers, etc., as “J.W. Hawkins”. After his death, my aging mother-in-law ordered a monument for his grave at Hamilton, Texas, which took some time to have completed and erected.

Imagine my amazement, when I finally saw this monument to read “John W. Hawkins, 1873-1943”. Even his children were not completely sure of his first name, although they knew there was something wrong or changed about that first initial “J”. I was able to check out his correct name with two of his sisters before their deaths. But what if this had happened just one generation before ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? or two or three?

Incidentally, the “John” in my husband?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s name is quite correct ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? he was named for his grandfather!


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