Any born and bred southerner has trouble understanding why northerners get a hoot out of Southern baby names. People not in the know think that double or even triple names are joined for no other reason than melodious meter. It might be unreasonable of me, but the thought of an individual making jokes about a tradition they don't understand just makes me angry. Southerners pick their baby names for excellent reasons. Never mind that the names that are prominant in the South are most likely different from the top ten names in the list of most popular baby names for any given time frame.
Southern mommies don't just flip through the latest magazines and land on names because they are cute or hot at the moment. These ladies go through more pains in naming their kids than they did in giving birth to them. That declaration may be a little over the top, but folks in the southern part of the country really agonize over what to name their baby. This is because picking southern baby names involves much more than reading the different names listed in some popular baby magazine that lists the copied meanings of various baby names.
Word meanings are ok; they have been successful for the people who circulate Webster's Dictionaries for years! But when you start discussing naming southern babies you're looking at the basic meanings of names within families, not what they might mean to a person who speaks Latin or Hebrew!
As far as meter goes, I don't give a flip about how lightly a special name glides off the tongue, diligence and consideration has to be practiced in the what these babies will be named.Care must be taken so as not to chance naming a child after a second cousin somewhere in the bunch that committed some type of social error back in the day.
The unlucky ancestor's unfortunate misdeed could have been anything
from having fought for the enemies to having had a short stay in prison for not having been discrete about the whereabouts of the neighbor's still. The mistake would be in having been discovered, as there is certainly no shame in making your own beverages even in the contemporary South.
Don't be confused to think that only the names of a southern baby's parents are treasured or even that their grandpappys are the only ones handed down.
There may have been a noteworthy great great uncle who fought fiercely in the war and deserving of remembrance. In this instance there could be a competition every generation or so among siblings to have the first born son. The prize for winning this rather odd race would be that the first son can have first choice for the famous ancestor's name. Talk about confusion at family dinners! How would you ever be able to differentiate between all those kids named the same thing?
How does a person manage a shout out to one of them without fetching in the whole clan? That's where middle names are so helpful and that brings me to a reason behind the southern tradition of double names!
As we all know southerners are famous for double names. Some are forced to resort to triple names so that their little Rebel stands apart from the rest. Why this is a tradition credited to the south I'm not really sure. I would like to imagine it's because southerners have so many beloved ancestors that they want to honor. This fact makes it necessary to give each baby many names so that each illustrious dead family member is reasonably honored.
I can't count the many theories where credit can be given for the reasoning of traditional southern baby naming patterns and the traditions behind them. There seems to be no definite answer as to why family names and history appear to be more important to parents in the sunny southland than in other locations of the country. There is however, no argument that the results are some of the most elegant and romantic names you will see written on a birth certificate anywhere. The next time you feel driven to giggle at a baby named old timey consider that the first person that bore the identical name may not have died defending a southern debutant's honor but that he may have died defending our liberty and our country.
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Jan Bay is a Freelance Author of Nursery Decorating Articles Baby Gear Reviews and Webmaster for www.unique-baby-gear-ideas.com
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