A few days ago I wrote a post about my 4th great grandparents, Jesse and Mary (BEAR) BAKER. In the post I discussed where all the children went after they were orphaned. I’ve continued researching since I wrote that post and have discovered more information about that. I’ve discovered that the oldest sister Nancy (BEAR) LITTRELL, who was married when her mom (her last living parent, Margaret Jane) passed away, took in her youngest sister Ellen Adaline BEAR. Siblings Sarah and Hugh moved in with the James and Isabel FRAYSER/FRAZIER family. Sarah was listed as their “hired hand” on the 1860 census. It turns out Isabel FRAYSER was Margaret Jane McCUISTION’s sister- Sarah and Hugh’s maternal aunt. I still haven’t found Hill or Thomas yet. You’ll recall that Eliza Jane was a live-in domestic servant for the Isaac and Jane (HINDS) ANDERSON family. I have not yet found any connection between the HINDS-ANDERSON family and the BEAR family other than location so perhaps they were trusted family friends or neighbors. However, I also don’t know the majority of their father Hugh F. BEAR’s family.
Now that I’ve updated a little bit, I also chose this family to write about for this week’s 52 Ancestors theme: Namesake. This family has been difficult to research in part because they had a tradition of re-using family names. Generations of the family will have many with the same names. Let me give you a couple of examples. I used Eliza Jane BEAR SCHELL as my “homebase” person since I’m most familiar with her family and I know for sure that we connect with her. Jane is a common BEAR family name. Eliza went by Jane and so did her mother even though Jane was a middle name for both of them. Eliza also had an aunt (her mom’s sister) who was named Jane M. In addition to Eliza, her mother and her aunt, Eliza Jane had a niece named Rebecca Jane, two first cousins named Margaret Jane (Eliza’s mother’s exact name!), three first cousins named Mary Jane, and first cousins named Elizabeth Jane, Darlutha Jane, and Patsy Jane. Eliza Jane also had a first cousin name…Eliza Jane Isabel! Thankfully some of the ‘Margaret Jane’, ‘Mary Jane’ and ‘Eliza Jane’ women had different last names. In addition to all of this, some BEAR family researchers believe Eliza Jane’s sister Sarah also had the middle name Jane! The earliest Jane I can find in the family at the moment (keeping in mind I have no information about Eliza Jane’s paternal family) is Eliza Jane’s maternal great grandmother Catherine Jane TENNANT (for whom several females in the family are named) so it’s likely this is where the ‘Jane’ name originated.
This naming tradition holds true for the men in the family as well. Eliza Jane’s maternal great grandfather was James McCUISTION. He was married to Catherine Jane TENNANT. Like Catherine, he had quite a few namesakes in the family. Eliza Jane had a nephew named James T., a nephew named James Hill (Hill was a name repeated frequently in this family), a nephew named James Isaac who went by Ike, uncles named James Conway (Conway being another frequently repeated name in the family) and Thomas James P. (Thomas is another repeated name in the family), and first cousins named James Holland, James O., James Marion, James Rankin (Rankin being a family surname and also often repeated among both the males and females of the family), James L., James Stanley, James Lafayette, James J. who went by Jethro or Jim, and James Berry. It seems like every child and grandchild he had must have named at least one son James!
I have so many more examples of namesakes in this family but names without stories is no fun. So I’m going to leave you with this small update and just an inkling of how complicated it can be to research this family because of the namesake situation. I’m continuing to do in-depth research on the family trying to find our BEAR/BARE connection. The phrase “so close, yet so far” certainly sums up the research situation.
Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog