Jan 7, 2022

Finding Genealogy Everywhere

January 7, 2022

I don’t know if I’m a real genealogist or just obsessive, but I see genealogy everywhere. The other night my husband and I were binging on the popular comedy series Ted Lasso. If you’ve watched the series, you know that the comedy involves the adventures and misadventures of an American football coach who goes to England to coach soccer.


One of the highlights of the show is the ensemble cast of British actors who support the American lead. One of them had heretofore only been referred to by his surname Higgins. In the episode we watched, we learned that his first name was Leslie. He explained he was named after his mum. He was an unusual feminine junior.


As a genealogist, I’ve run across a lot of “juniors.” Junior is usually used to denote the generation of someone who is named with the same name as his parent. The numerals III and IV and so on are used for subsequent generations. These generational indicators are most often used for males. They are sometimes used for females who have the same name as their mother, although this is fairly rare since women usually marry and change their surname. This makes the junior designation unnecessary.


In earlier times, the use of junior was also used to identify men with the same name who were not sons of someone with that same name. In those cases it merely meant that the man with the junior behind his name was the younger of two men with the same name. For example, two cousins might be named John Stetser. To help determine what records belonged to which, the appendage junior was given to the younger man.


However, these are not the situation that Higgins on Ted Lasso was in. He was given the first name of his opposite sex parent. I don’t think I’ve ever run across this type of feminine junior before. If a family wants to memorialize a woman, her son is often given her maiden name as a first name. In my family that means there are Parshall’s, Terry’s and Bagwell’s – all maiden names of the mother of man so named.


Women are sometimes also named after their fathers, but usually the male first name is feminized. One of my grandfather’s named his eldest daughter Georganna because his name was George. I’ve also seen Davene, Roberta and Stephanie. All female versions of their father’s name of Dave, Robert and Stephen. In fact, I suppose my own name is an example since my father’s name was Carl, and Carol is a female version of that name. In my case, I’m not sure that my parents really meant to name me for my dad since Carol was just a popular name in the late 1940s and early 1950s.


From now on as I add new folks to my family tree, I’ll be looking for feminine juniors. In particular I’ll be looking for opposite sex feminine juniors. Apparently, they’re rare, but maybe I’ll run across one. At least I know what they are – thanks to an unlikely genealogical resource. I guess you can find genealogy hints almost anywhere.


Carol Stetser