Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

Frequency Analysis of Given Names in My Family Tree, Part 2 – From Shepherds and Shoemakers

Frequency Distribution Male Names Bruce

In my last post, I shared the frequency analysis of given names on my side of the family tree. Now, let’s dive into the analysis of given names on my husband’s side of the family. Just like before, this exploration is driven by my curiosity and interest in understanding the naming patterns within my family.

Exploring My Husband’s Family Tree

My husband Bruce’s family has a rich Polish heritage. All of his immigrant ancestors were born within the borders of modern-day Poland and identified themselves as Polish. This makes the analysis simpler as we don’t need to account for names from other languages or cultures.

To conduct this analysis, I focused on the following rules:

  1. Equivalent names in different languages were grouped together, such as John, Jan, and Joannes.
  2. The name “Maria” was revered as the name of the Mother of God and wasn’t commonly used for daughters. Instead, the name Marianna, which means “like Mary,” was used. For this analysis, Mary, Marie, Maria, and Marianna were considered equivalent.
  3. Polish immigrants often adopted different names in the U.S. to assimilate into American culture. In Bruce’s family, some traditional Polish names didn’t have precise English translations. For example, his 2x-great-grandfather, Stanisław Lewandowski, chose to use the name Edward in the U.S. However, for this analysis, I counted him under his original name, Stanisław.
  4. Only direct ancestors were considered.
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The Results

The data included 48 men and 48 women, born between approximately 1732 and the 1940s. Let’s begin with the male names. Surprisingly, Albert/Adalbert/Wojciech emerged as the most popular name in Bruce’s family, overtaking John/Jan, which ranked third. Joseph/Józef secured second place. Anthony/Antoni and Stephen/Szczepan tied for fourth place, while Andrew/Andrzej, Jacob/Jakub, Martin/Marcin, and Michael/Michał shared fifth place.

Frequency Distribution Female Names Bruce

Turning to the female names, Marianna/Mary was the clear winner, outpacing Catherine/Katherine/Katarzyna by a significant margin. In third place, there was a tie between Agnes/Agnieszka (which didn’t even make the top 10 on my side of the family), Anna, and Elizabeth/Elżbieta. Additionally, Angeline/Aniela, Apolonia, Christine/Krystyna, Frances/Franciszka, and Joanna tied for fourth place.

A Comparison of the Top Names

Combining both families, we can compare the top names. Seven names appeared in both families: John/Jan/Johann, Joseph/Józef, Michael/Michał, Jacob/Jakub, Andrew/Andrzej, Stanisław, and Wojciech. Robert, Henry, George/Georg, and Frank/Franciszek were unique to my family, while Anthony/Antoni, Stephen/Szczepan, and Martin/Marcin were more popular on Bruce’s side.

In terms of female names, Marianna/Mary, Catherine/Katherine/Katarzyna, Anna, Elizabeth/Elżbieta, and Christina/Christiana/Krystyna/Christine made the list for both families. Beyond that, there were several names that were more popular on one side of the family or the other.

Conclusion

While this analysis may not yield groundbreaking insights, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the names our ancestors chose for their children. It allows us to imagine the mothers in our respective families, cradling their newborns and bestowing upon them beautiful, noble, saintly, or strong names. Although this sample size is small, it sparks curiosity about the naming traditions and cultural influences that shape our family histories.

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So, the next time someone in our family is having a baby, we’ll be well-prepared to discuss the popular given names in our family tree.

© Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz 2017

FAQs

  1. Are these naming patterns unique to Polish families?
    Naming patterns differ among families and cultures. While this analysis focuses on a Polish family, it’s essential to explore other family trees and cultural backgrounds to gain a broader perspective.

  2. How can I conduct a similar analysis on my family tree?
    To conduct a similar analysis on your family tree, gather your family’s birth records and create a database or spreadsheet. Group similar names and consider cultural and historical factors that might have influenced the naming patterns.

  3. What other factors could affect naming patterns in a family?
    Naming patterns can be influenced by various factors, such as religious beliefs, cultural traditions, family customs, and personal preferences. Exploring these factors can provide a deeper understanding of your family’s naming patterns.

  4. How do I trace my family tree?
    Tracing your family tree can be a rewarding journey. Start by gathering information from older family members and documenting their stories. Use online genealogy resources, visit local archives, and consider DNA testing to uncover more about your roots.

  5. What resources can I use to learn more about my family’s history?
    Online platforms like Pesstatsdatabase provide access to databases, historical records, and community forums where you can connect with other genealogy enthusiasts. Local libraries, archives, and historical societies are also valuable resources for uncovering your family’s history.