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Remember Walter Puddephatt

Discussion in 'Advanced techniques for experienced users' started by Liberty, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    No, Walter isn't in my tree, but I find myself muttering his name from time to time.
    He was a character in a TV programme back in the 1970s, called 'Take Three Girls' (maybe some of you remember it?) The plotline isn't important - what sticks with me is brief exchange which went something like this:

    Young woman rings doorbell, older man answers
    She : Walter Puddephatt?
    He : Yes
    She : I'm from XYZ - I believe you are expecting me.
    He: No, you have the wrong person.
    She : Surely there can't be TWO Walter Puddephatts!
    He: I think you are looking for my son Walter.

    This is worth remembering in the field of family history if you come across 2 (or more) people with an unusual name.
    First, they may not be the same person (although from published trees it is clear that many believe there really can't be two Walter Puddephatts)
    Second, if they are not, do not despair, they may well be related.

    At present I am picking my way through my Dryden ancestors, the relatives of my GG GM Margaret Dryden. Her father and grandfather bore the unremarkable names of Thomas and John respectively but her GGF (born in the late 17th century) was Hugh. The names Hugh and Simon recur again and again in Margaret's great uncles, uncles and cousins of various sorts. As you will be aware, although the Christian names are common enough today, in the 18th and 19th centuries they stand out. I am currently trying to identify where in the family jigsaw I fit every household with a Hugh or Simon Dryden. At present I have placed 13 Hughs and 11 Simons, and I fully expect that there will be more to come.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  2. emjay

    emjay LostCousins Member

    I have some recurring names which have been most helpful in identifying family members through the generations. One such name that springs to mind is Theophilus (there are also some 19th century 'Hughs')
  3. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    My husband, his father and grandfather all were given the same names - William Robert. What has added to the confusion is that my husband was born on his father's birthday!
  4. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    It can get confusing when not only grandfather, father and son have the same names but also relatives not in the direct line living at the same time as their cousins, uncles and nephews.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    I concede I have some non-Dryden related Hughs in the latter part of the 19th century, but before about 1870 I think all the occurrences are either Drydens themselves or descend from a Dryden daughter.
    (I also have a Theophilus in my tree, but I think only the one)

    Is it the case that in the past names were much more localised in their appeal/use? I don't mean obviously Scottish or Welsh names, but was there a regional pattern within England?
    I have a scattering of Cuthberts among my Northumberland/Durham relatives and Edmunds in East Anglia, and never the other way round. In both cases, the name refers to a regional saint (and it has to be said that Cuthbert has never really caught on outside the northern counties) These are not (entirely) instances of the name being reused within a family e.g. I have a 3G GF Cuthbert Herdman, and a 4G GF Cuthbert Twizell, and those 2 lines only met up when my GGparents married. Do other people notice the same sort of localised use of names?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. LynneB

    LynneB LostCousins Member

    One of my 3G-grandmothers was Decima. She and her husband, Edward, had a daughter Decima, who remained a spinster. Decima and Edward's eldest son, William Thomas (my 2-g grandfather) married and named one of his daughters Decima Mary but she died as an infant so the name disappeared from the family.

    Although these three generations lived in Walton-on-Thames, the first Decima came from Shropshire. Her parents were William and Margaret. Margaret's mother's name was Theodosia. Unfortunately, the only mention I can find of her is her marriage to Thomas Brown so my search came to a halt. It would be interesting to see if Decima was repeated in previous generations or if Theodosia was a family name!

    In another family line, Reuben suddenly appears after a line of Charles and Edward going back nearly ten generations! Reuben was carried in the family for four generations, first my 2g grandfather, then my great-grandfather, then one of my grandfather's older brothers. It was not he who carried it forward to another generation but his older brother who named his son Charles Reuben after their father (my great grandfather). The current Charles Reuben, my great-uncle, still lives but he had only one daughter and she also had only one daughter so Reuben will disappear from the family in time.

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