Naming children ‘in a rather unusual fashion’

“Ms. Smith is but one of many Texans and former Texans named Texas. It’s not their nickname but the formal name given to them by their parents that appears on their birth certificates, IDs and, in some cases, obituaries….None of the other states I’ve lived in had such a hold on its residents that people felt compelled to name their children after it. ”

“The family of James Daniel (1790?-1870?) and Mary Ashley (1795?-1880?) Royster were residents of Raleigh, N.C. The couple had eight children, all named in a rather unusual fashion. According to his great-grandson, Henry P. Royster (the donor of a portion of these papers), James Royster had grown ‘weary of hearing names around the house such as Tom, Dick, and Harry.’  Thus started the ‘American states series’  with the eight Royster children being named after states. The boys were [Pulitzer-winning journalist] Vermont Connecticut, Iowa Michigan, Arkansas Delaware, Wisconsin Illinois, and Oregon Minnesota; the girls were Louisiana Maryland, Virginia Carolina, and Georgia Indiana.”

— From “Royster Family Papers, 1840-1979” in the Southern Historical Collection

Apparently the Roysters didn’t find “Texas” as appealing as do, well, Texans. Or maybe they just ran out of children?

 

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