Monday, June 18, 2012

The Name Game

I can't believe the day is finally here.  Today, we get to meet our son.   We're heading off to the hospital for the scheduled c-section.

One of the most common questions I was asked during all my pregnancies was, "Do you have a name picked out?"  My response is, "I have a list."  You see, I like to meet my babies before I name them.  My 92 year old grandmother laughed out loud when I told her this.  She said she never heard that before.  But I figure your name stays with you for life so it should require some thought.

It took us 3 days to name Ruben.  My sister was going mad.  She kept calling wanting a name.  We had it narrowed down to Ruben, Benjamin, Levi, and Emery.  The Farmer like Ruben and I said great....Ruben James it is! I actually love his name and am very glad we chose it.  In the beginning, many people said, "Ruben...huumm, I had an uncle named Ruben"....or....."I knew an old farmer named Ruben".  But as time goes on, it really fits him and we can't imagine him as anyone else.   He likes it too, especially when we read the Bible story about Joseph in the well and his brother Reuben plans so save him.

I typically like Old Testament names, especially for boys.  There just seems to be strength there.   I was intrigued to find a chapter in the book "Never Before in History: America's Inspired Birth" by Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner, regarding Nomenclature or the "naming practices" of the first New England settlers.  Did you know, according to Elsdon Smith who wrote Story of Our Names, "before the Protestant Reformation, the English used only about twenty names for males and another twenty for females"?  However, only 3 of the those male names came from the Bible: John, Thomas, and Philip, and all from the New Testament.  This was until the passengers of the Mayflower changed things.

According to James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, the Pilgrims gave their children Old Testament names at three times the rate of their own names.  The author contributes this increase to two factors: "a readily available translation of the Bible into English and the rise of Puritanism with its emphasis on the Bible".  If you can get a copy of Never Before in History, I recommend reading the chapter.  It's very fascinating!

Well, as we head off this morning, here's our long awaited list of names with meanings I found online.....

Amos - carried by God; loading; weighty; burden bearer
Andrew - courageous; a strong man; manly
Cashton (Cash) - wealthy man; money; vain; man at peace
Charles - free man; strong (this is Riley's personal favorite - she wants to call him Charlie)
Eli - my God, exalted; lofty, the offering or lifting up
Esau - he that acts or finishes; hairy (every ultrasound over the last couple of weeks shows he has a lot of hair)
Henry - ruler of the estate (this is my sister's personal favorite - she wants to call him Hank)
Ira - vigilant; watchman; making bare; pouring out
Isaac - laughter
Jed - shortened of Jedidiah meaning beloved of God in Hebrew
Jesse - wealthy; strong; gift; oblation; one who is
Joseph - increase; addition (this is Ruben's personal favorite)
Levi - united; associated with Him; joined
Philip - war like; horse lover (The Farmer's fathers name)
Timothy - honor of God; valued of God (my grandfathers name and of course the favorite of my grandmother)
Tobias (Toby) - pleasing to God; the Lord is good

What do you think?  Feel free to comment.

"Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed."

William Shakespeare from "Othello"

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