- Posted July 24, 2013 by
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This iReport is part of an assignment:
Were you named after someone in your family?
What's in a Name?
Kane is proud of his name and says he would like to continue the tradition. "In an era of parents naming their children Magnus, Lion, Breeze, Marlowe, Clover, Blue and North, I have to say that should I have a son of my own, I will undoubtedly campaign my wife to bestow on him the mantle of William John the 9th."
The image below is a 1950s-era family photo of his great-aunt Margaret, the relative who started the genealogy research in his family.
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
(Photograph: Margaret Kane. Family Photo)
Anymore it is only a quirky bit of trivia that I tell people while I'm at a bar or sitting around a barbecue. We all get to know people by asking them about who they are, and where they came from.
Often the topic of conversation becomes that of family.
"Oh your name is Junior," I'll ask, "Is that your actual name or are you named after your dad?"
"No, It's Robert. But I was named after my dad, so they called me Junior instead."
That's when I mention, "Oh yeah, I was named after my dad, too."
"You're Junior, too?"
"No. I'm William John the 8th."
Chuckles immediately follow, quickly replaced with incredulity. Surely there aren't 8 direct Williams.
No, I tell them. And there rarely are, but wobbling along the same family line, I tell them it's a family name that's been carried down from generation to generation.
My family calls me John, my middle name, instead of William, and my dad goes by Bill.
My father is a big genealogy guy and had me write him a website to track it. He has nearly 5,000 individuals dating back to as early as 1601 right now. Our family descended from the O'Cathain, the O'Kane, and Cavanaugh families. We apparently were Lords of the County Derry in Ireland. He has stories, and historical accounts, and census data all laid out.
He's William John the 7th. He knew the 6th. William the 4th lived in Ballycroy, County Mayo before he immigrated to the United States in 1880.
Are there pitfalls in modern-day society with having the same name? Certainly. My dad has one of my creditors on his credit report. He received a jury summons meant for me. These things happen, but it's taken in stride. I take great pride in knowing and seeing my history. I have a huge family, and they are patiently waiting for a 9th.
On a certain level I feel a modicum of responsibility, the pressure of carrying on this torch that has been passed to me, and passing it onto another generation. We are not royalty. We have no land, or subjects, or twitter frenzies anytime one of my family goes shopping, "Like a commoner!" At the same time, however, it's a tradition that I feel lends a bond to a family. It's an interesting factoid that people are amused by for a brief period, and then forget.
(Aside from the one guy who sang, "I'm Will-i-am the 8th I am," to the tune of Henry the 8th all night until everyone wanted to punch him.)
In an era of parents naming their children Magnus, Lion, Breeze, Marlowe, Clover, Blue and North, I have to say that should I have a son of my own, I will undoubtedly campaign my wife to bestow on him the mantle of William John the 9th.
If it's a girl? Probably Margaret.