The Passing Down of Names

Great-Grandparents Wedding Day
Great-Grandparents Wedding Day

One very important thing to my family when they originally immigrated from Germany to America back in 1817 was their Catholic religion. This heavily impacted how names are passed down in our family. When Anton Jansen, one of my great-great-great-grandparents, moved to America because of lack of work he brought his Catholic faith with him. With that the tradition of Baptism and the passing down either one’s parents name or one’s godparents name to a child. This tradition has evolved through generations in our family, now with the absence of religion. My middle name is that of my great- grandmother’s and her’s was of her mother’s and that of her father’s. When my great grandmother Clarice was married, her husband was not Catholic. He was then baptized into the Catholic Church before the wedding and since then the tradition of passing down names to honor one’s parents or godparents has never stopped. Clarice was given the middle name of her godmother, Alfrieda. Clarice's name was then passed down to her goddaughter, Elizabeth. This was a very common thing done within the Catholic Church and still continues in our family. I was given the middle name of Clarice along with two of my cousins in honor of her. We no longer identify with the church, but still continue to pass down names and a symbol of respect to our relatives and as a reminder to remember our story. 

Place(s): North America
Year: 1817

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Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more