The New York Times yesterday had its annual report on baby names in the city (“Prediction: You Will Meet Many Jaydens and Isabellas” by N. R. Kleinfeld). On top: Jayden for boys, Isabella for girls. Michael continues to decline (though it remains on top in New York State), as does Ashley.

Meanwhile, I’ve been coping with name puzzles in my research on the Daingerfield family and their kin: many names repeated over and over again across the generations, and many people referred to by different names.

Back in the New York City of 2011:

There are always marked racial and ethnic variations. Madison was the top choice among the city’s black families for girls, while Esther was the first among whites. Isabella led among Hispanics; Sophia was the most popular name among Asians.

For boys, Jayden came in first among both black and Hispanic families, with whites going for Joseph and Asians for Ethan.

In the Daingerfield extended family, we get: Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, Juliet, Henrietta, Sarah; and John, James, William, Foxhall. And tons of alternative names: one Elizabeth called Lizzie, one called Libby, one called Liz; one Henrietta called Nettie, one called Henderson; James called Keene; Foxhall called Fox; and so on. Two name puzzles from my explorations, both having to do with interpreting records, the second also having to do with the vagaries of memory.

Puzzle 1: James R. Keene and Maj. Foxhall Alexander Daingerfield. The financier and horseman James R. Keene (1838-1913) and the Foxhall Alexander Daingerfield (1839-1913) of a recent posting of mine. They were partners in the horse business, and each named a son for the other (Foxhall Keene and James Keene Daingerfield). Most sources say that they were also brothers-in-law, that J. R. Keene married the Major’s sister. But there’s a problem with the records.

Everybody has Sara or Sarah (known as “Sally”) Jay Daingerfield (1840-1916) as the sister of William Parker Daingerfield (a California judge, b. ca. 1824, died 1880); the daughter of Leroy Parker Daingerfield and Juliet Octavia Parker; the wife of J. R. Keene (so there’s definitely a Daingerfield connection); and the mother of two children, Foxhall and Jessica.

A 1922 history of Kentucky has Leroy Parker Daingerfield and Juliet Octavia Parker as the Major’s parents.

But a 1924 history of northern California has Leroy Parker Daingerfield as the brother of the Judge and the husband of Margaret Virginia Beard (with three daughters: Eliza Leroy, Juliet Octavia, and Lucy Brockenbrough).

So was Leroy Parker Daingerfield the father or the brother of William Parker Daingerfield? Eventually it became clear that there were two Leroy Parker Daingerfields, father and son. Leroy Parker Daingerfield Sr. (ca. 1786 – after 1840) was the one who married Juliet Octavia Parker. It turns out they had 8 children, among them:

(Judge) William Parker Daingerfield (ca. 1824- 1880)

(Capt.) Leroy Parker Daingerfield Jr. (1825-1904) [definitely worth posting about on his own]

(Maj.) Foxhall Alexander Daingerfield (1839-1913)

Sara(h) Jay Daingerfield (1841-1916)

(plus a Mary, a Maggie, a John, and a William, all born before these four).

So J. R. Keene did indeed marry the Major’s sister, though it took considerable rooting around on genealogical sites to verify this.

Puzzle 2: the Jenckses. In my own recollections of Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s family, I dredged up her cousin Mary Jenckes (in this world, cousins can be quite distant; all that’s required is that the family keep some memory that there is a relationship). In particular, I recalled Ann and me visiting Mary and her husband at their house in Belfast ME in the summer of 1963 or 1964, for a family wedding; and I remembered Mary as having two sons, about Ann’s and my age. At first, that’s all I could remember, but then some searching on ancestry sites jogged my memory.

First, I found Mary T. Jenckes (born 22 July 1906, died in Sarasota FL 21 Dec. 2000), and through the combination of Belfast and Sarasota found 7 more Jenckses: Frederick A. Jenckes, Mary’s husband, who lived with her in Darien CT in 1948-55; a Frederick L. Jenckes in Sarasota; a Rick L. Jenckes in Sarasota; a Jonathan Jenckes in Sarasota and Belfast; a John Jenckes in Belfast; and a Jon Jenckes in Sarasota and Belfast.

Well, Frederick and Rick were the same age; and Jonathan, John, and Jon were also the same age (a few years older than Frederick/Rick) — my age, in fact. So there are only two men here. Then I found that Jon/John/Jonathan has the middle name Addamen, and I figured out that this was Mary’s husband’s middle name — and recalled that he was called Ad (and that he was a successful businessman of some kind). And that their sons were called Ricky and Johnnie. And that Mary was immensely charming.

I still don’t remember the details of the family wedding, nor do I yet know how Mary Jenckes was related to my Ann; maybe I’ll remember some more things. Such details can be a lot harder to find than details about people and events from much further back.

2 Responses to “Names”

  1. arneadolfsen Says:

    Yes, genealogy of the near past can be exceptionally difficult. I’m glad I sat my father down 25 or so years ago for several long sessions in which he identified as best he could everyone in several dozen photos of large family get togethers (with his second cousins and so on) from the 1930s and ’40s, plus some select other pictures from before that of his grandparents’ siblings and cousins..

  2. Phyllis Farrington Says:

    Arnold, I literally stumbled on this blog, and of course had to read it when I saw the names….the wedding you attended in Belfast, Maine occurred on June 14, 1964, and I was the bride. I have a lot of the info on the family history, and will dig it out. Keene Daingerfield, Anne Curry, lots of names in there that I .never could keep straight without a score card. Mary was indeed charming and gracious, and You are right on the sons…only 2, Jonathan Addeman, born 1940, I think, and Frederick (Rick) Latimer, born 1943. Rick and I divorced 1990ish, but I stayed friends with Mary and Jon, in fact, he just left my youngest daughter’s house in NH for a return trip to Fl. I’ll leave my email, and if you want to contact me, feel free.

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