Names of Chicago Sextuplets

Long before the Dionne family of Ontario welcomed quintuplets in 1934, the Bushnell family of Chicago welcomed sextuplets — way back in 1866.

sextuplets
Alincia with one of her brothers
© 1953 Life
In early September, 1866, James and Jennie Bushnell welcomed three boys and three girls on a single day — and all were born alive, remarkably. The names of the babies were:

  • Alberto
  • Alice
  • Alincia
  • Laberto
  • Lucy
  • Norberto

While all six survived birth, two died during childhood due to illness. The four surviving children were not told that they’d been part of a set of six until they were teenagers.

The longest-lived sibling was Alincia, who passed away in 1952.

If you had sextuplets, three boys and three girls, what would you name them?

Source: “Sextuplets once lived in city.” Union-Sun & Journal 6 Sept. 2014.

Sir Walter Raleigh’s Sons: Damerei, Walter, Carew

sir walter raleighSir Walter Raleigh, the English gentleman and New World explorer, didn’t have a whole bunch of kids — just three sons. But two of those three sons had rather unusual names:

  • Damerei, born in 1592
  • Walter, born in 1593
  • Carew, baptized in 1605

Walter’s name is easy enough to figure out…but where do “Carew” and “Damerei” come from?

Carew was a surname that could be found on both sides of the family tree, coincidentally — both in Walter Raleigh’s family and in the family of his wife, Elizabeth.

Damerei was based on the surname D’amerie, which was supposedly a surname in Walter Raleigh’s tree that connected him to Henry I. (This was according to a historian Raleigh had hired, probably for the very purpose of cooking up some noble/royal ancestry.)

Which of these three names do you like most?

Sources:

The 24 Children of Isaac Singer

isaac singer
Isaac Singer: businessman & baby-daddy
A reader got in touch recently to ask about several unusual names. One of them was “Vouletti,” which belonged to a daughter of Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-1875).

Isaac Singer is best remembered for his successful sewing machine manufacturing company, founded in 1851 and still going strong today. Also notable, though, is the fact that he had a total of 24 children with five different wives and mistresses.

With Maria Haley, he had two children:

  • William Adam (b. 1834)
  • Lillian C. (b. 1837)

With Mary Ann Sponsler, he had ten children:

  • Isaac Augustus (b. 1837)
  • Vouletti Theresa (b. 1840)
  • Fanny Elizabeth (b. 1841)
  • John Albert (b. circa 1843)
  • Jasper Hamet (b. 1846)
  • Julia Ann (b. circa 1847)
  • Mary Olivia (b. 1848)
  • Charles Alexander (1850-1852)
  • Caroline Virginia (b. 1857)
  • …plus one more

With Mary McGonigal, he had five children:

  • Ruth
  • Clara
  • Florence
  • Margaret
  • Charles Alexander (b. 1859)

With Mary E. Walters, he had one child:

  • Alice Eastwood (b. 1852)

With Isabella Eugenie Boyer (of France), he had six children:

  • Adam Mortimer (b. 1863)
  • Winnaretta Eugenie (b. 1865)
  • Washington Merritt Grant (b. 1866)
  • Paris Eugene (b. 1867) – Palm Beach developer, namesake of Singer Island
  • Isabelle Blanche (b. 1869)
  • Franklin Morse (b. 1870)

These are traditional names for the most part, which makes “Vouletti” all the more intriguing.

Vouletti Singer was born in 1840, married William Proctor in 1862, had three children, and died in 1913. Though her name was definitely spelled Vouletti — that’s the spelling passed down to various descendants, and the one used by her friend Mercedes de Acosta in the poem “To Vouletti” — I found it misspelled a lot: “Voulitti” on the 1855 New York State Census, “Voulettie” on the 1900 U.S. Census, “Voulettie” again in a Saturday Evening Post article from 1951.

So…where does it come from?

I have no clue. I can’t find a single person with the given name Vouletti who predates Vouletti Singer. I also can’t find anyone with the surname Vouletti. (There was a vaudevillian with the stage name “Eva Vouletti,” but she doesn’t pop up until the early 1900s.)

Theater could be a possibility, as Isaac Singer was an actor in his younger days. Perhaps Vouletti was a character name he was familiar with?

My only other idea is the Italian word violetti, which means “violet.” Her parents might have coined the name with this word in mind.

Do you have any thoughts/theories about the unusual name Vouletti?

Family of Food Names: Taco, Apple, Chili, Bran…

Florida-born rugby player Taco Pope — who’s in the Jacksonville Axemen Hall of Fame and who made it to the NOTY Final Four last year — comes from a family full of food-names.

He has brothers named Apple-Joe and Pepci. His mother, Chili-Lu, has a brother named Pepar and a sister named Cofi. Pepar has a daughter named Colby (“after the cheese”). Cofi has four children named Sage, Bran, Cinnamon-T and Dentyne (“after the American chewing gum brand”).

The initial food names were thought up by grandparents Rex and Dortha Lou. Dortha Lou’s nickname? “Pork.”

So does Taco Pope like his name? He told one reporter that it had never been a hindrance. On the contrary, it was “a good conversation starter.”

Sources: Taco and Apple take the cake, Obituary of Rex Marion Anspaugh

[For more edible appellations, check out this list of unusual names, which includes Apple Pie, Apple Seed, Lemon Lime, Orange Lemon, and more.]

Baby Nearly Named After Police Officer

On July 30, 1946, Los Angeles police officer Harry Dowty helped a pregnant woman named Edith Runfola deliver a baby girl.

According to the LA Times, Edith “said she [would] name the baby Harriet in honor of Officer Dowty.”

But what do the records say? The California Birth Index shows that Edith’s daughter got the first name Josephine and middle name Katherine. No mention of “Harriet.”

Did Edith change her mind? Did her husband veto “Harriet”? We shall never know…

But we do know the names of Edith’s other children. The article listed the 10 born before Josephine and the California Birth Index revealed that at least two more came along after:

  • Florence
  • Pearl
  • Ruby
  • Willie
  • Hazel
  • Marie
  • Daniel
  • Grace
  • Edith
  • Kenneth
  • Josephine (and not Harriet)
  • Jack
  • Helena

Source: “Police Officer Assists at Birth of Baby Girl.” Los Angeles Times 31 Jul. 1946: A1.