Storm van der Zee

In October of 1636, Albert Andriessen Bradt and his wife Annetje boarded the Wapen Van Rensselaerwyck in Amsterdam and set off for the New World. (Interestingly, neither one was Dutch: Albert was originally from Norway, and Annetje originally from Germany.) They arrived in New Netherland in March of 1637.

During the sea voyage, they welcomed their third child. He was born on November 2nd during a violent storm, and so they named him, fittingly, Storm. (The word is the same in both Dutch and English.)

During his early adulthood, Storm adopted the surname van der Zee, meaning “from/of the sea.” This was the name he gave his wife Hilletje and their four children: Annatje Storm, Gerrit Storm, Wouter Stormsz, and Albert. (The “sz” ending in Dutch names is a contraction of –s zoon, or “-‘s son.”)

The name “Storm” ended up being passed down to many people — not just to Storm’s direct descendants, but also to Storms’ seven siblings’ descendants, and even to one of the children his widow had with her second husband (!).

What are your thoughts on the name Storm?

Sources: Storm Vanderzee – New York State Museum, Albert Andriessen Bradt – Wikipedia, Albert Andriessen Bradt (1607-1686) – WikiTree, Hilletie Lansing Vanderzee Ketelhuyn – New York State Museum, Hard to Kill (1990) – IMDb

Image: Dutch Merchant – Ships in a Storm (1670s) by Ludolf Bakhuizen

P.S. The baby name Storm saw a steep rise in usage (as a boy name) in the U.S. in 1990. The next year, it reached the top 1,000 for the first time and it remained there until 1997. Why the jump? My guess is the 1990 movie Hard to Kill, in which star Steven Seagal played Detective Mason Storm.

The Baby Name Fathergone

What’s the story behind the name Fathergone from yesterday’s list of rare names in early Boston?

Well, it’s similar to the story behind the name Posthumous.

Fathergone Dinely was born in late 1638, just after the death of his father, William (a barber-surgeon). On the 1638 baptismal list, Fathergone is described as, “son of William Dynely our gone brother”:

Fathergone son of William Dyneley our gone brother

After Fathergone himself was gone, the story of his name took on a life of its own. (The same thing happened to Ono Titchiner.)

The earliest account I found was in a 1869 speech by Oliver Wendell Holmes:

A little incident throws a glimmer from the dark lantern of memory upon William Dinely, one of these practitioners with the razor and lancet. He was lost between Boston and Roxbury in a violent tempest of wind and snow; ten days afterwards a son was born to his widow, and with a touch of homely sentiment, I had almost said poetry, they called the little creature “Fathergone” Dinely.

Here’s another account, from a 1885 book by the American Antiquarian Society:

William Dinely is perhaps remembered by most people rather through his son, Fathergone Dinely, than in his own personality. He was a barber-surgeon, and combined with this vocation the art of drawing teeth, as was then customary. He was a favorer of the heretical doctrines advanced by Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, and on account of his peculiar calling had a very great opportunity to instill these doctrines into the minds of his patients. But being sent for on a winter’s night by one of Roxbury (and may be read in Johnson’s Wonder-Working Providence, Book II. chap. xv.) to draw a tooth, he went forth with the maid who had summoned him, and there being a violent snow-storm, they both lost their way on going over the Neck, and died in the snow. His son, born shortly after this event, was baptized with the name of Fathergone.

I won’t list all the others, but here’s a smart-alecky one from 1922:

This grotesque naming habit [of the Puritans] overlapped into nonsectarian camps and all sorts of descriptive cognomens were hung about the necks of newly born babes. When Dinely, Senior, of Boston rushed for the doctor he fell in a snow-drift, and was brought home a stiffly frozen corpse on a shutter. It seemed infinitely appropriate to name the infant “Fathergone Dinely,” and throughout a long life Fathergone Dinely strode the Boston streets.

Sources:

  • American Antiquarian Society. Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society. Vol. 7. 1885.
  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell. “The Medical Profession in Massachusetts.” Medical Essays. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1892.
  • Sawyer, Joseph Dillaway. History of the Pilgrims and Puritans. Vol. 2. New York City: The Century History Company, 1922.

Babies Born in (and Named) Captivity

During the 1600s and 1700s, English settlers in New England were periodically attacked by Native Americans (those that were allies of the French). The New Englanders taken captive were then forcibly marched into Canada.

On a few occasions, babies were born to the captives — either during the journey north, or while in Canada. A handful of these babies were given names to reflect their circumstances. Here are the ones I know of:

Canada Wait & Captivity Jennings (1678)

Twenty-one captives were taken during an Indian raid on Hadley, MA, on September 19, 1677. The party reached Canada in early January. While there, two members of the group gave birth. Martha Wait had a baby girl on January 22 and named her Canada Wait, and Hannah Jennings had a baby girl on March 14 and named her Captivity Jennings.

The captives were released later that spring. Both babies lived to adulthood. Canada Wait is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of Sarah Palin, in fact.

Captivity Smead (1746)

Thirty captives were taken during the Siege of Fort Massachusetts on August 20, 1746. Two days later, captive Mary Smead gave birth to a baby girl and named her Captivity Smead. The party reached Canada in September. Mary died in March of 1747, and Captivity died in May.

The 14 surviving members of the group were released a couple of months later.

Elizabeth Captive Johnson (1754)

Eight captives were taken during an Indian raid on Fort at Number 4 in New Hampshire on August 30, 1754. One day later, captive Susanna Johnson gave birth to a baby girl and named her Elizabeth Captive Johnson. The party reached Canada in September.

In mid-1757, Susanna Johnson and some of her family members were released. Elizabeth Captive lived to adulthood, becoming the great-grandmother of Frederick Billings.

Susanna’s account of the ordeal, A Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Johnson (1796), became popular. Throughout the book she referred to her daughter by the name Captive — never by Elizabeth.

Sources:

  • Judd, Sylvester. History of Hadley. Springfield, Massachusetts: H. R. Huntting & Company, 1905.
  • Niles, Grace Greylock. The Hoosac Valley. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1912.

Baby Named Job-Rakt-Out-of-the-Asshes

This was recorded in the register of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in London on September 1, 1611:

Job-rakt-out-of-the-asshes, being borne the last of August in the lane going to Sir John Spencer’s back-gate, and there laide in a heape of seacole asshes, was baptized the first day of September following, and dyed the next day after.

Poor kid was named by a Puritan with a grim sense of humor. Job-rakt-out-of-the-asshes is a reference to Job 2:8, “And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.”

Source: Bardsley, Charles Wareing Endell. Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature. London: Chatto & Windus, 1880.

Pilgrim Baby Names – Oceanus and Peregrine

A few weeks ago I visited the pilgrim exhibit at the Provincetown Museum. A sign that was part of the exhibit read:

The Mayflower, a merchant ship of 181 tons and a length of just over 100 feet, carried on its historic first voyage to the New World [in 1620] 102 passengers and a crew of about 30. The voyage lasted 66 days. In the crossing, William Button died and Oceanus Hopkins was born. 102 passengers arrived in Provincetown. At Provincetown, Peregrine White was born, Dorothy Bradford, James Chilton, Jasper More and Edward Thompson died.

Oceanus, whose name is the Latin word for “ocean,” was born in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Peregrine’s name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, meaning “foreigner,” “traveler,” “one from abroad.” (The word Pilgrim is derived from the same source, in fact.)

Update: Here are all of the Pilgrim names, a post from several Thanksgivings ago.