Archive for September 1st, 2011


It wasn’t until I had examined this photo several times that I noticed that there are fewer names than there are children listed on this monument – seven children but only 5 names – John, Margaret, Mary, Joseph, and Mary Jane. That’s five if you count Mary and Mary Jane separately. My photo of the other side of the monument isn’t very good, but it seems to only hold the names of these children’s parents, so it appears that the parents reused names. Specifically, they seem to have reused the names of the new baby’s dead sibling. The technical term for this a necronym – a name of or reference to someone who is deceased. This appears to have been common cultural practice a century ago in the United States, and some genealogists have verified that they see the same folkway in the western European cultures from whom they are descended.

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