Friday, August 22, 2008

What's in a name?

Genealogists are interested in names – surnames and first names. Where did the name come from? Who were you named for? Were you named for your great uncle or aunt or a grandparent or were you named for a helpful neighbour down the street?

What about place names? Is there any significance in the naming of the community where you live or where your ancestors came from? Were they named for a famous person, an early pioneer or were they descriptive of the physical features of the time?

In March 2009, I will be speaking at Grey Roots to the Grey County Historical Society about the place names in Grey County. About nine years ago, I did presentations about the place names in Grey and Bruce counties. When I did those presentations, I didn’t include any visuals. This time, the focus will be on Grey County. In preparation, I am taking trips around Grey County taking photographs of signs with the name of the community and photographs of some items of interest in these communities so that I can do a visual presentation. In the later part of July, A friend and I spent a day exploring Osprey and Collingwood Townships. After taking tombstone photographs for a client, I concentrated on my mission to take photographs that I could use while I talked about the places. Over the next few months, I hope to make more trips to the small hamlets and larger communities around the county. Watch for articles about some of these excursions.

Do you know how your community or the place where one of your ancestors lived got its name? Leave a comment below or perhaps write an article on your blog and let me know, I would enjoy reading your stories.

1 comment:

  1. When the area I live in was settled it was common to pick a name of someplace else in the world. I live in Palermo, which is just south of Mexico. Here, Texas and Paris are both within the borders of Mexico. Other place names do come from Indian names or names of early settlers.

    I was once confused trying to figure out the relationship of one young man to a cousin of the same, unusual name. Turns out my cousin was the doctor that delivered him and they weren't related after all!


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