Monday, March 02, 2009

Diane - Namesakes - Celebrate Your Name Week

I believe that Janet the Researcher was the first among us to notice that this week, the first week of March, has been declared 'Celebrate Your Name Week' by an amateur onomatologist named Jerry Hill.

This seems made for genealogy bloggers. Take a look at the 'Names Universe' website and pick one of the (99!) suggested 'name celebration' activities.

I'm already behind (again) because according to 'Celebrate Your Name', yesterday, March 1, was 'Namesake Day' and today, March 2, is 'Fun Facts Day' - all to do with names. I'll have to catch up today tomorrow, but for today - or yesterday, rather - here's a first post about 'Namesakes' and my name.

The name I use, Diane, wasn't given to me for anyone at all - my parents were always very clear about this.

I was supposed to be a boy. (Really! What were they thinking! They weren't even sexist, for the 40's anyway.) A baby boy name was all sorted out ahead of time. (That is the name my brother eventually received.) The first male name was for our uncle (who was named for his grandfather and his father) and the second name was for my mum's maiden name - her father's surname - which was almost my mum's nickname in the Army.

I was just 'baby girl' for a few days. They may have talked about some girl names and never decided. (Or agreed. My mum said a couple of times she'd thought of 'Sara' as my dad's mum was Sarah, but that dad thought Sara was too fancy.)

Anyway, after I was born, according to both my parents, they chose some 'D' names to match the boy's name, and 'picked my name out of a hat'. I could have been Denise or Doris, Deborah or Delilah...

One of my most exciting genealogical finds so far, maybe the most exciting one, was the realization that way back in Islay, Ontario, Canada, there had been a Diana in our family - my great great grandmother's half sister, Diana GILCHRIST (1846-1882; m. Alexander McNABB). Now my Na never knew Diana, but she did have a photograph of her. However, Na only seemed to know Diana by her married surname. She may have realized there would be a connection, but I don't believe that Na knew how closely we were related. And I'm very sure my mum didn't know - she was surprised when I was able to confirm the relationships.

However, (sadly) after my mum died, on going through some old things and then some directories, I found addresses she'd lived at in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. And, at one time, Mum lived with friends in an apartment at 'Diana Court' (583 Furby, Winnipeg). She had told me stories about what it was like there, but she never mentioned the 'Diana' part. She might have forgotten, I suppose.

But this, I think, must be why I'm Diane and not Drucilla. Maybe the name just reminded her of 'happy times'. Because I also found a list in my mum's handwriting that is obviously 3 sets of 'girl' names. And they aren't all 'D' names either, so maybe that family story about my name was mostly smoke.

No matter - I've never liked the name I got but whew... I sure didn't like any of those other names at all!

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