Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What's in a name?

My grandparents Eliza and John William Smith had seven children, three boys and four girls, my dad was the first born and was also christened John William.
As a child they called him Billy, when he grew up he was known always as Bill.
Eliza and JW. Snr named their other two sons Gordon and Harry, then they reverted back to names beginning with the letter J for the girls who were; Joan, June, Jean and Jessie.
Bridesmaids at older brother Gordon's wedding.
L-R June, Jean, Jessie & Joan.
 (the other little bridesmaid was from Mary the bride's) side of the family 
When the first grand child was born (me) Eliza dictated expressed a wish that the J tradition be continued and so I was duly christened Julie Margaret.
However, my mother Eva was also a woman with a strong will and she insisted that everyone call me Margaret.
(4 years later my sister Rhonda was born, no J for her!)
Over the years I've been asked many times "are you Julie or Margaret", it can cause confusion sometimes.
My parents on their wedding day.
Gordon was the best man.
What handsome young men they were.

Gordon, Harry, Joan and Jean all chose not to continue with the J tradition, however June has a daughter, also Julie, and Jessie named her daughter Jane.
After my parents divorced in the early '60's, Dad married Joyce. Another J!
When their daughter was born in 1968 my second sister dodged a bullet too.

This is the first page of the Memory Scrapbook which I created for
Kathryn's 40th birthday.
In my early twenties I decided Margaret was too "old fashioned" and asked everyone to call me Maggie, now only my close family call me by my given name.

Like father, like daughter.
Bill & Maggie or should that be John & Julie?
My dad passed away almost four years ago and we all still miss him very much. 

Joining another J, Miz Jenny, @ off on my tangent 
for this week's
with this very personal tribute to
the letter J.
Jenny Matlock


  1. It's always fun to learn things about people -- I've always wondered why people would name their child one thing and call them by their middle name!n You've taken some of that mystery out of it for me!

  2. Oh I love this Maggie. Great J letter. I am still thinking what to bring for the letter J. I better get on going. lol

  3. Maggie,
    What a fun post. My middle name is Annah and I love it. Don't like Carol Annah as I was called by my godmother.


  4. When we had our first daughter, we wanted to call her Peggy after her Godmother, but we also didn't want to name her a nickname. So she became Margaret Rose. 11 years later, when we were blessed with our second daughter, we named her for my father Paul, and my mother Katherine, Paula Katherine, called Polly - never thinking about the fact that all three of us were "Ps". At that time Peggy was still being called Margaret at her rather formal private school.
    All of us like our names.

  5. That was so interesting - and I loved the old photos.
    You and I have in common a superfluous first name. Mine is Mary, which has never been used and was never meant to be used. My mother just thought it sounded better before my name than after it. So, I'm doomed to going through life with documents that say one thing and answering to another. Of course, when I answer the phone to the request 'May I speak with Mary' I know it's a telemarketer!

  6. There must be something about J, our neighbours surname bigins with J and their children are July, Judith and Jane !

  7. Fabulous family photos Maggie. Margaret is a lovely name. My sister and I grew up with "nicknames" from our dad and family members still call us by these names. Every time I hear "Amy" I am transported in time! I smile and remember dad! Great post, loved the photos……….

    The French Hutch

  8. Maggie, what a fun post to know more of the family history. My middle name is Jane, and many called me by both names at times. It's a southern thing!
    I've very fond of the name Margaret, but Maggie it is for me. LOL Love the photo of you and your dad! ~ Sarah

  9. LOL This post has made me giggle. I L*O*V*E the name Margaret. That's my grandmother's name, and she is the best woman I know!!! My dad liked to call her Maggie! ;P

    I fell into a similar trap with the names of my girls. My favorite name for a girl is Shelley, but Mr. Art @ Home wanted something a little more unusual for our first, so we went with Shanley Belle, a Celtic surname and a French name in honor of New Orleans. WIth the second one, I still wanted the name Shelley, and so I told Mr. Art @ Home that if our daughter was born on actress Shelley Duval's birthday (July 7) then we have to name her Shelley. Well, she was born on July 7, so we named her Shelley Angele! ;P

    Thanks for a fun post. I loved seeing your family photos, too!

    Ricki Jill

  10. How fun! But I can see why you might want to go with a nickname that sounds more unique. (We have a tv show here about a family with 20 kids and every one of them has a J name.) Your family pictures are a real treasure.

  11. Naming a child can be fraught with family issues. I have a similar situation - my first name is Dolores but I was only called that when my parents used my full name to get my attention. I don't know how Lorrie ever came out of it. But that's what everyone knew me as and called me. In my 20s I legally changed my name, adding Lorrie to the front of Dolores Ruth. Kind of cumbersome, but easier than explaining.

    I love the photo of you and your dad. A real treasure.

  12. What great old photos! Lovely J post!

  13. I find it interesting how people are named. Good for you for changing your name to Maggie!

  14. Very nice Julie...oops, make that Maggie. I love old photographs and enjoyed the wedding photos.

    My mother wanted us to have double names, so my sister was Carol Sue and I was Betty Jean. As soon as we got in school we told everyone to stop using the second name.

  15. I love reading posts about families and their traditions. It's interesting that you and your father both have given names starting with J and go by another.

  16. Maggie, how interesting! I can't imagine even naming 7 children, much less raising 7 children! What wonderful photos you shared. All of the "J" bridesmaids look so pretty. Their dresses are lovely, and I love the photo of your parent's wedding. And what a wonderful photo of you and your Dad. laurie

  17. My son is the fourth Joseph Daniel in our family. None of them have used the name Joseph. They are all Daniels.

  18. This was interesting, many people don't go by their given name, some by their second.
    I went by Judy for most of my life but as I got older, preferred Judith which is on my birth certificate.
    Choices. And then there are those that don't like their name at all and legally have it changed.

  19. The photo of the bridesmaids is so lovely!

    My children are Allison, Beth, Jennifer, Jeff, Joey, and John Keil. I got stuck on those J's for some reason.

  20. what a great post. It reminds me of the Dugger family with all the J names. My last two children are "R" names but it wasn't intentional.

    visiting from Jenny Im link #34

  21. J or no J, Maggie's a good name. It's got soul!

  22. I feel dizzy now with all the J names, lol !

  23. Great *J* post!

    It’s such fun stopping here and look forward to *seeing* you again!

    Have a great Alphabe-Thursday

  24. Great post on letter J. My hubby's siblings their parents name all the boys starting with letter L and the girls letter M. I find it really beautiful.
    My dad passed away 21 years ago and still I missed him and sometimes there are days that I just cried when I remember him. I think we won't get over it. Thanks for the visit and following here too!

  25. Love these old photos, especially the one of the bridesmaids. Your parents look so young on their wedding day!

    Sorry to hear your dad has passed on, but you certainly have some wonderful memories.


  26. What a lovely wedding that must have been, the girls look beautiful! J seems to be a trend in family names, and seeing your family history was very delightful!

  27. That's a lot of beautiful work in the scrapbook. I did a family book two years ago which took me two years to compile so I appreciate what you have done. Hope you have a sunny weekend. xo J

  28. Lovely story and photos Julie Margaret, I mean dear Maggie! Loved the one of you smiling so happily with your dad - and oh how we miss them when they're gone!

  29. Hi Maggie- that is an incredible story of family history. Your vintage family photos are truly beautiful and precious. I've known similar stories here with friends- it must be a J thing- here too. I love that you shared this wonderful stories about your family-- history is so rich and interesting. Such a wonderful post and I love that you have captured it here on your beautiful blog--

  30. What a Joyfilled post....

    My name as you know starts with a J and so does my daughter Jessica...

    and my grand Jula Joyce but that is as far as the J tradition goes in my family...

    Thanks for linking to the letter "J"...


  31. It is lovely to be back catching up with my favourite bloggers. This is a great post, my sister and I spent many hours when we were together sorting out my Mum's affairs sorting through photos so similar to these.


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