What’s in a name? By J.E.B. Spredemann

Do you find names fascinating? I know that I sometimes wonder how people come up with names for their children.

For our children, my hubby and I chose names depending on what we agreed on – not much – and which names we liked. Our first daughter’s name came from a song, our second daughter was named after a relative, and our third daughter’s was a name I’d always admired. All three of our boys’ names were derived directly from the Bible.

The Bible says that a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.

In Biblical times, names often either had a specific meaning (Eve – the mother of all living, Peter – a stone) or children were named after relatives. Notice in the story of the birth of John the Baptist from Luke 1:59-63 KJV:

And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.

I’ve noticed that the Amish also name their children after relatives in many cases, as well. For example, my friend Samuel was named after an uncle. Same first name. Same last name. So, how do they keep each other’s names straight?

I know that I used to get annoyed because I had a popular name. I couldn’t go anywhere without someone else having my name. It just so happened that my name was the most popular name for girls the year I was born. Go figure.

So, back to the Amish. How do they distinguish who is who? Well, my friend Samuel has his father’s first initial as his middle initial, as do all his siblings.

Some Amish groups give names based on a person’s character or how they look. Think: Curly Mose or John’s David or Lazy Pete. Mose is the Mose with the curly hair, and David is the son of John, and everyone knows about Pete.

What about you? Were you named after someone? Do you know what your name means?

I put together a fun little game. It’s called, ‘What is your Amish name?’

Please comment below and let us know:

1. Were you named after anyone that you know of?

2. Do you know your name’s meaning?

3. For fun – What is your Amish name?

Amish Name GameBlessings,

J. Spredemann aka Hannah Hostetler of West Kootenai, Montana 😉

22 thoughts on “What’s in a name? By J.E.B. Spredemann

  1. Like you, my name was popular the year I was born, it means beautiful. My Amish name is Rebecca Mast from Cashton, Wisconsin! Love it!!

  2. I am Margaret Ann but go by Ann. I was named after an aunt. Margaret means Pearl and Ann means Grace. Amish name would be Joanna Keim of Charm, Ohio. Fun post.

  3. I was named after my Aunt and my Uncle and my Mam’s best friend. My Amish name would be Annie Zook of West Kootenai, Montana

  4. I was named after a diamond mine in Africa, Kimberly, and a Dallas philanthropist Kay Kimball. I’m Kimberly Kaye.
    My Amish name is Rosemary Yoder from Cashton, Wi. Lol

  5. Susannah Riehl from Ethridge, TN. I was named so that my parents could call me “Christy but the name never stuck. It has been “Christine” ever since.

  6. I was named after my father Paul and my mother Mary. My name means little one and I’m short: 5’2”. My Amish Name is Sarah Ann( Sarah is my sister’s name) and in from Shipshewana, Indiana. My father grew up in Pennsylvania— Pennsylvania Dutch Country. So a lot of relatives have Biblical names.

  7. Okay i win this one! My parents were sitting at a roadside park , where there was a brook. My Mother said to my father,” If you had a daughter you could name her Bablynn Brooks, like a babbling brook.” ( my maiden name is Brooks). My Mother’s name was Mary and she thought it was so boring. So here I am! Rumor has it mom chickened out after I was born and almost named me Barbra Ann, oh to be saved from hearing that song a hundred times a day! They also thought I could drop the Bab and go by Lynn, never did. I am usually called Babs. I have relatives who last names are Schrock and Eicholtz. My new Amish name is Miriam Hoewstetler of Pinecraft, Fla!

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