#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Popular Name

Back in the olden days, everyone had the same first names. It can sure feel like that sometimes.

Here’s a brief look at a couple of the common first names (also known as given names or Christian names) in my family tree.


On my mom’s side of the family, George Cook was born in 1789 in South Carolina. He had a son named George Washington Cook (b. 1845, Georgia). That George, with wife Gertrude Metz, had a son named George F. Cook (1891-1970).

George Cook's 1817 Army Discharge Paper
George Cook’s 1817 Army Discharge Paper

George Cook (b. 1789) also had a daughter named Frances, and her daughter Fannie Cook (1874-1972) and husband John C. Ryals (1863-1945) had a son named George Ryals.

Another branch shows Thomas E. Pittman (1812-1894) had a son named George Washington Pittman (1834-1923). Thomas’ son John Wesley Pittman (1838-1927) had a son named George Washington Pittman (1872-1958). George (b.1834) also had two grandsons named George.

On my dad’s side of the family, my great-great grandfather William F. Hahn (~1846-1907) had a son named George Herman Hahn (1883-1940).

On my husband’s side of the family, my father-in-law was George Peter Lindsey (1935-2013), and his grandfather was George Rouse Lindsey (1837-1913).

Mary and Mollie

Mary is an extremely common name, and while Mollie really is more of a nickname than a name, it’s a moniker bestowed upon many females in my family tree.

On my mom’s maternal side, my great-grandmother was Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” Pittman (1882-1967). Her mother was Mosella Elizabeth Thompson (1865-1924). Mosella had a sister named Mary Camille Thompson (1868-1906) and an aunt named Mary Ann Rikard (b. 1847).

Mollie Pittman Stevens, Willie Stevens Cook, Zenova Cook Hahn, & Auriette Hahn (1965)

Mollie Pittman’s mother-in-law was Mary Reid (b. 1855) who also sometimes went by Mollie. I’m sure they would both be pleased to know that Mollie Pittman has a great-granddaughter named Mollie Cook.

Mollie Pittman, on her dad’s side had an aunt Mary Elizabeth Pittman (1843-1874). She also had cousins Mary Elizabeth Pittman (1866-1945), Mary E. Pittman (b. 1866), and Mary Missouri Evans (1864-1954).

On my mom’s paternal side, my great-great grandfather John Cook had a sister named Mary Etta Cook (b. 1878). John Cook’s wife Loucinda Ryals had a sister named Mary Ryals (b. 1846).

On my dad’s side, his paternal grandmother was Mary Margaret Cooper (1886-1967) and he had an aunt Mary Elizabeth Hahn (1911-1970).

My 3x Great-Grandmother was Mary Ann Delaney Pippin (1825-1914) and she had a daughter Mary D. Loper (b. 1850).

On my husband’s paternal side, his great-grandparents C.L. DeForest Price (1865-1945) and Rozila Jane Lancaster (1868-1934) had daughters named Mary Ellen Melvina Price (1889-1972) and Lillie Mary Price (1906-1961).

His mother had a sister named Mary Ann Raney (1932-2018).


Thank goodness for the parents who picked out less common names for their children. Those uncommonly named children help us genealogists sort the families filled with Georges and Marys, Johns, Elizabeths, Thomases, Williams, and Sarahs.


About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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