Genealogical Detective Work
Among the colonial families with their large numbers of children there appears to be a name pattern in the naming of the children that gives some interesting genealogical clues.
Assuming that the first born child was a male, it would be likely named for the father. The next born male frequently was named for the paternal grandfather and the next son for the maternal grandfather. For the subsequent boys the names of favorite uncles or brothers would be given.
For the girls, the pattern is not so clearly defined but does follow a somewhat similar naming scheme. Starting with the maternal grandmother and then following through in a pattern as outlined for the boys. Surprisingly, the duplication of the mother's name usually came toward the end of the line.
Since there were no official birth records, children that died as infants would not be known. Thus, the searcher would not know if there was a missing name in the general pattern as outlined above.
In the earliest of colonial times, if a child died as an infant, the next child of the same sex would be given the name of the deceased child. For example, if their first son John died, the next son would be named John also.
The useof middle names or initials was not a common practice but as the population grew and family members more numerous distinguishing middle names or initials became common.
The use of the suffix Junior (Jr.) for a son with the same name as his father was usually not a part of the given name. But, the officials in government would frequently designate the father and son as Senior and Junior. Numerals: i.e., John I - John II, etc., was somewhat restricted to upper-class folks.
Often those with duplicate common names would insert a middle name or initial on becoming adults.
With the foregoing in mind, the reader should study the name comparison chart for the Hall family on page 42.