From legal testaments to biblical atonements,
from genealogy to numerology, names serve
many purposes from proving rights to inheritances
to providing lineage to tie families together.
Names serve to identify us.
An "identity" encompasses every
aspect of our lives. It proclaims our "station"
in life. It tells the world who we are, where
we came from, what group we are part of, and
in some cases, where we are destined to go.
In 1848, the first women's rights convention
sought recognition from the world that women
were equals in humanity, not the subservient
factor. Six decades later, the Senate responded
by approving the 19th Amendment. In the 70's,
women took back their identity by reclaiming
their maiden surname, typically hyphenated
with their married surname. In the 80's, the
trend dropped the hyphenation, with many women
retaining their maiden surnames, or reclaiming
them after divorce. In the 90's, couples began
hyphenating with both surnames. Perhaps the
most startling and saddest name change that
has come about in the last 10 years has been
a trend towards children changing their surnames;
divorcing their fathers, in a manner of speaking.
Volumes could be included here that have
been published on the element of identification
through names and the identity crisis that
truly exists today. Identity has played a
crucial part in our history, from suffrage
to civil rights, and every four years in political
parties. This past election was one of the
strongest 'singular identity' crisises in
political history. Names cause psychological
The desire to know where one has come from
and to which group one belongs has existed
since the beginning of time, it is only the
process of genealogy studies that has intensified
in the last decades becoming commonplace hobbies
for men and women alike. For some of the volunteer
work that we do, they are a necessity, one
that provides multiple benefits.
We volunteer time to single-parent families
to help them find lost dead-beat parents for
back child support. In the process, we assist
them with beginning, or enhancing genealogical
studies. In doing so, an amazing benefit comes
to the children of these single-parent families:
they gain an identity.
Even children who have changed their surnames
to their mother's, or a stepfather's find
a completeness that was otherwise unknown.
One mother wrote:
My son's middle name is the same as his father's
first name; his father's middle name is the
same as his father's first name, and so the
pattern goes back into history, along the
lineage. My eldest daughter's middle name
is the same as my middle name. My youngest
daughter's name is the same as her great-great
grandmother's name. All three of my children
dropped their biological father's surname
after years of not hearing from him, taking
their stepfather's surname. Even after we
were divorced, they continued to carry their
stepfather's name. When the school counselor
questioned it, their response was, "He
divorced us, so we divorced him. I'm more
like my Uncle anyway, and sis here is like
her Grandma, and my other sister, she's just
like her Mom."
We commonly refer to all this as "The
Name Game". It isn't that we are making
fun of names, it is that we hope we understand
how names play a part in determining an identity
As children grow, they seek role models,
people whom they believe to be fault-free,
glorified, if you will, and inspirational
for their own lives. A child's first role
models are his/her parents who play the greatest
part of all, whether the children are preschool
or high school. The old antage', "do
as I say, not as I do" is an illogical
parental statement and paradoxial defeating
the very respect parents need to achieve in
order to influence their children.
As children become older, and parental worship
goes out with peer pressure, they are still
proud to say, "My Mom does this. My Dad
does that. My name is Francis, after the first
lady in the cabinet."
Some say that today's teens are troubled
by prayer having left the school, respect
leaving with it. Others claim that sociologists
have taken the authority away from the parents.
Whatever the reason is for today's teens to
be where they are, the common thread they
talk about is 'uniqueness' and that one attribute
is a direct desire from the lack of identity.
Your study need not be a mammoth book dating
back 100+ years. A simple family tree going
back three or four generations will suffice.
Of course, a King or Queen in there is always
of interest. The most important aspect is
that your genealogical study will give your
child a lineage from which they may pick and
choose their identity. If you don't give them
a road map, they'll draw their own.
Another version printed in "Family"
Family is the heart of life and society.
Wisconsin laws prohibit bigamy and adultery.
Wisconsin laws also attempt to make it difficult
a divorce. Divorce litigation can be nasty
stuff. During divorce
in Wisconsin, child
support and child
custody issues arise. Those and other marital
property issues can be resolved through
mediation, collaborative divorce and counseling.
On Gitchee Gummee - It was a good day
Endless Road To The Remembered Land
Bed Of Life, Unknown Author
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