Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. Since I don’t post about living people, I thought of another way to honor his special day (especially since I didn’t buy him a present yet!)
In my husband’s family there has been a tradition for several generations when naming a child to give them the middle name of WINCHESTER. Where did this start you may ask?
Read on to find out more
|No one in the family had the last name of Winchester –
but it makes a nice illustration for the post, doesn’t it?
According to family lore as written by my father-in-law, William “Bill” Winchester Holman:
So the tradition went. All my husband’s Holman siblings carried the middle name of Winchester, honoring the long-gone step-mother. By 1985, there were 14 grandchildren born…..not a one was given the Winchester middle name! Flash forward to September, 1989. My husband and I were expecting our second child, most likely the last grandchild in the chain. If the baby was a girl, the first name was a given – she’d be named after her cousin as it was thought she might “arrive” on her cousins birth date.
But…the middle name….really? Could we do that to a little baby girl? Give her an odd middle name, following a tradition about some woman we knew nothing about? We could…and we did.
I think she’s actually proud to be the only grandchild to carry on the tradition. Will any of this generation decide to keep the tradition going? Only time will tell.
|If you like the legend….don’t read any further!|
Today, I decided to research “Mrs. Winchester” Based on what I found either I have more work to do or my father-in-law’s story has some holes in it.
One step at a time:
- “My father’s grandfather, a widower with several young children….” I have not been able to locate the name of Bill’s great-grandfather.
However, using information in a Sons of the American Revolution application, I was able to determine that his grandfather’s name was Aaron John Holman. Aaron (born 1822 or 1823 in Indiana) actually did marry a woman with the last name of Winchester. Elizabeth Lucinda Winchester was born on May 5, 1842.
- “…married a widow….” From what I found, they were married on November 17, 1857. Aaron would have been 25. Elizabeth would have been 15!!!
Where does this leave us? If we choose to take Bill’s story as a gospel (pun intended, after all, he was a minister!) then I have some more work to do. It is possible that Aaron’s father married a woman named Mrs. Winchester and Aaron married one of her children. This is a very likely scenario, especially considering Elizabeth married Aaron so young. (shotgun wedding, anyone??) Except that….
- “Winchester it has been for Father’s father…” From my research , it appears that Bill’s father’s father was Aaron and his middle name was John.
No matter what the truth is (and I will work to find it!),
- “She raised the children who came to love her so dearly that they chose Winchester as the middle name for all their children.”
…the Winchester tradition has been long-standing and hopefully, the few members of our family who still have a shot at bearing children might consider carrying it on.
And, as Bill wrote, “…after 20 years of a wonderous partnership with Dorothy….”, stepmothers deserve the honor. (Dorothy and Bill married after his first wife died. Together, they raised his five children and her two, forming a strong and wonderful family that I am proud to be a part of.)
I would love to collaborate with anyone who may care to research this with me – it is a fascinating story.