Naming Children Traditions

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Naming Children Traditions

Postby cvwalters » 12 May 2010, 03:58

I have question about naming traditions in Southern Italian culture. My grandfather had a brother that died as an infant a few monthes before my grandfather was born. The brother's name was Saverio. I understand from my mother, that my grandfather had told her his "real name" was Saverio, but it was later changed to Sam.

On my Grandmother's side she had a younger sister Antoniette who died as a little girl. Well my grandmother youngest sister who was born after Antoniette died, was named Antoniette. And Aunt Antoniette had told my mother she was named after her sister who died. I suspect from what info I have gathered that the Antoniette who died must have died not long before my great aunt Antoniette was born.

With all that said, is it common in Southerin Italian Cuture for parents to name children after siblings who have passed away before the next child was born?
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby Squigy » 12 May 2010, 05:22

cvwalters wrote:I have question about naming traditions in Southern Italian culture. My grandfather had a brother that died as an infant a few monthes before my grandfather was born. The brother's name was Saverio. I understand from my mother, that my grandfather had told her his "real name" was Saverio, but it was later changed to Sam.

On my Grandmother's side she had a younger sister Antoniette who died as a little girl. Well my grandmother youngest sister who was born after Antoniette died, was named Antoniette. And Aunt Antoniette had told my mother she was named after her sister who died. I suspect from what info I have gathered that the Antoniette who died must have died not long before my great aunt Antoniette was born.

With all that said, is it common in Southerin Italian Cuture for parents to name children after siblings who have passed away before the next child was born?


Your aunt was most likely mistaken. The child that died was probably named after her father/mother's sister or mother. They probably just kept the name when the second Antoinette was born. This has happened in my family. They had a baby named Effie (named after her paternal grandmother, Felicia) who died, and they kept the name Effie for the next daughter.
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby liviomoreno » 12 May 2010, 05:40

cvwalters wrote:With all that said, is it common in Southerin Italian Cuture for parents to name children after siblings who have passed away before the next child was born?


Yeah and it is also possible that the child that died was named after her father/mother's sister or mother and if he was the first born he was probably named after his paternal grandfather...
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby cvwalters » 12 May 2010, 17:00

Great Aunt Antionette is the youngest in her family. There was already a sister (my grandmother is named for their maternal grandmother Vittoria). I have documented proof the the existence of the other Antionette being born and alive into early childhood. The Antionette who died was child #4 or #5 in that family. There were 3 children that died, two I can account for and one I have never found documented. It is possible that Antionette was named for her grandfather Antonio and when my great aunt was born Great Grandma followed the naming logic you two have mentioned.

As for my grandfather. He was the 4th born son and child, and the Saverio who died was the 3rd born son. The older first and second born sons, were named in traditional Italian naming traditions, Nick for his paternal grandfather Nicolo and James for his maternal grandfather Vincenzio. Which posses the question of why I see so many James who really were Vincenzio's. I am confused about that one too.

Thanks for the information. I thought nothing much about the Antionette's which I had known about for awhile, but when I came across the Saverio's, I thought perhaps there was some naming tradition I was unware of. Leave it to my ancestors to defy traditions!

Thanks again for the information!
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby DeFilippis78 » 14 May 2010, 13:23

Yes, its the same with my family. In almost all parts of my family there is a child that died and then another child born that was given the same name. But is was using the name in honor of the elders not the deceased child

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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby johnnyonthespot » 14 May 2010, 13:45

DeFilippis78 wrote:But is was using the name in honor of the elders not the deceased child

Alicia


An interesting distinction; one which I had not considered!
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby PeterTimber » 14 May 2010, 13:49

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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby DeFilippis78 » 14 May 2010, 13:50

I actually would be afraid to name a child after a dead child. I guess Im just thinking of bad luck.

I did find a breach recently from the normal pattern of children being named after the grandparents.My GGF, father name was Carminantonio. So he named his first son Carmine and his second Antonio. Ive never seen that before! So both sons were named after the paternal grandfather, using the first and middle name

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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby cvwalters » 14 May 2010, 17:37

I would have thought the same thing Alicia, about naming a child after a dead child. Especially since I know my GGM was always concerned about the "overlook" and doing the prayers over my mother when she was a little girl.

Oddly on my grandmother's side of the family they don't seem to be following any type of naming traditions. My grandmother, who I believe to be the oldest born child, at least oldest born daughter, is named for her maternal grandmother. Her paternal grandmother is Maria and there is not a Maria in that generation of the family. Infact that is surprising to me since I understand my ggf parents died when he was a boy. Although my grandmother is Victoria Marie. However grandma did have a brother who died as an infant named Frank for her paternal grandfather Fransico. I suspect he might have been the first born son. Like I said before there is another son in that family I can't account for.

Like I said in my previous post, I thought nothing of it until I found a newspaper death notice for a Saverio Vedetta, listing my ggparents as his parents and the date being months before my poppy was born.

Also the families are from two different regions of Southern Italy. Grandma's family all being from Calabria and Poppy's family being Basilicatta and Sicilian.

It is possibly without me knowning that they were named after deceased elders in the family. I have no way of knowing that information. I do think though I may have to request my poppy and grandma's birth certificates to see what I can find from them.

This is a very interesting topic and I thank everyone for their thoughts on it.

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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby JohnArmellino » 14 May 2010, 20:11

But is was using the name in honor of the elders not the deceased child


This is true in many many cases. Of course, it begs the question: Is a child named after his or her grandparent...or his or her great great grandparent or his or her great great great great grandparent... ad infinitum...LOL. I guess all of them.

In Molise, the tradition of naming a later-born child after a deceased child is quite strong. As stated above, the deceased child was usually named after a grandparent or aunt or uncle. However, I have seen cases where a deceased child was not named after an elder (or so it seemed) yet a later-born child was given the same name. To this extent, I think that the deceased child's memory was being honored.

I have also noted that when a man remarries, the first born daughter of this second marriage is often given the name of his deceased first wife.
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby DeFilippis78 » 14 May 2010, 20:46

The order of naming is first the paternal grandfather and grandmother, then the maternal grandfather and grandmother and then I guess after all 4 of those are used they go into the next generation of great grandparents and so on. At least thats the pattern in my family

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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby cvwalters » 14 May 2010, 21:44

Let us not forget Saint names either. I have more Mary's and Rose's in my all sides and branches of my Italian ancestors. And my non-italian ancestors liked the name Mary too. It is hard to keep track of sometimes.

John - I do believe that they may have used the names to honor a deceased child. Especially in the case of Antionette who was a little girl when she died.

I can't go much farther back into my italian ancestry except to the names of my great great grandparents, so I have no way of knowing who anybody is named after. It is amazing though when I go back and look at past generation family members and see the repeat of names. When I was little I thought it was so odd for gram Victoria to have 2 cousins both named Victoria and they all went by Vee. Now I understand they were all named for their grandmother, but only one was actually named in the traditional way. Cousin Victoria Coriale was named for her paternal Grandmother Vittoria Coriale. Apparently the others named their daughters after this grandmother because she was muched loved by her children.
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby mdvukas » 20 May 2010, 18:20

On my mother's side of the family my ggm had a baby girl she named "Gilsa". The baby died an my ggm named another child "Gilsa".

The family was also from Southern Italy.
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby jamiejamie » 22 May 2010, 19:54

Yes! I have noticed this too! I can go back six generations in my father's paternal line and find at least 2 "James" per generation. For example, my grandmother had 6 children, only two lived past 16, and 5 of them were named James. My mother's maternal line (Irish, though) were also big fans of "James". That's why, according to mom, I'm Jamie.

And the "Mary/Maria/Rose"s! Geesh!
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Re: Naming Children Traditions

Postby jamiejamie » 22 May 2010, 19:54

Yes! I have noticed this too! I can go back six generations in my father's paternal line and find at least 2 "James" per generation. For example, my grandmother had 6 children, only two lived past 16, and 5 of them were named James. My mother's maternal line (Irish, though) were also big fans of "James". That's why, according to mom, I'm Jamie.

And the "Mary/Maria/Rose"s! Geesh!
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