The Name Game

Family names as middle names has been a tradition in my family for at least three generations: both my parents have their mother’s maiden names as middle names, my sister and I share middle names with our grandmothers, and my children’s middle names reflect names from our family trees.

While not unique to our family, naming traditions pay tribute to those we love, ancestors we feel connected to, and those we want to remember. This practice has gone on for generations, it seems.

John Carmichael

John Carmichael

My 4th great-grandparents, John Carmichael and Mary Elizabeth Eve, named almost all of their 13 children after someone in the family. Mary had 14 siblings while John had one known sister, so there were lots of people to choose from. Not all names have a clear match to a family member and others match with more than one family member.

  1. Thomas Carmichael (1808-1809). I haven’t been able to identify who this son was named after.
  2. Anna Elizabeth Carmichael (1810-1891). Anna is probably named for her maternal grandmother, Aphra Ann Pritchard, or a maternal aunt, Anne Nancy Eve, and her mother or her maternal aunt, Elizabeth Oswell Eve.
  3. Oswell Eve Carmichael (1811-1843). Named for his paternal grandfather, Oswell Eve.
  4. John Adams Carmichael (1813-1814). Possibly named for a maternal uncle by marriage, John Strong Adams. Uncle John passed away just a couple months before baby John was born.
  5. Robert Dunlap Carmichael (1815-1857). The first name doesn’t have a clear relationship to a relative, but his middle name is after his paternal grandmother, Isabel Dunlap.
  6. Eliza Isabella Carmichael (1816-1894). Named for her mother, or maternal aunt, Elizabeth Oswell Eve, and paternal grandmother, Isabel Dunlap.
  7. John Campbell Carmichael (1818-1874). Named for his father or for his maternal uncle, John Pritchard Eve. The second name isn’t as clear. While a maternal aunt married a Robert Campbell, they didn’t marry until about 1834. It’s possible the families were closely aligned since both came from the north of Ireland and both owned businesses in Augusta, GA.
  8. Catherine Emma Carmichael (1819-1891). Named for maternal aunts, Catherine Eve and Emmaline Oswell Eve.
  9. Anderson Watkins Carmichael (1821-1895). Named for a maternal uncle by marriage, Anderson Watkins, who later passed away in 1828.
  10. George Ringland Carmichael (1824-1824). Named for his paternal uncle by marriage, George Ringland, who passed away in 1804.
  11. William Paul Carmichael (1826-1905). Probably named for two maternal uncles, William Joseph Eve and Paul Fitzsimons Eve.
  12. Mary Reid Carmichael (1829-1891). Named for her mother. It isn’t clear where the middle name comes from, but it gets used in subsequent generations.
  13. Henrietta Maria Carmichael (1831-1903). Named for two maternal aunts, Martha Henrietta Eve and Maria Barney Fitzsimons Eve.