The Power of Names

My last name is Pierson.  My father’s family came from Sweden and my dad has done some research into the Pierson line.  I was always told that Scandinavian names that ended in the “son” always meant that was the son of so-and-so.  So our last name meant the son of Pier.  Well come to find out that is not totally true.  When my great-grandfather came to the US in 1892 his last name was changed from Persson to Pierson.  He was the son of Per Persson.  Sons in the family took their last name as son of and used their father’s first name (i.e. Johnson is John’s son).  Daughters used dotter of and used the fathers’s first name (i.e. Johnsdotter is John daughter).  So sons and daughters had different last names and there really wasn’t a family name as 1st cousins wouldn’t have the same last name as their father’s would have different first names.  So I have learned that we are related to Johnsons and Andersons etc. because of the naming ways from that area.  I have always be proud of my Swedish heritage as that is really the only line we can trace back to a particular country.  I consider myself 1/4 Swedish and 3/4 mutt.

When I got married I did change my last name to that of my husbands for a traditionalist like I am I always knew that is what I would do when I got married.  After I got divorced he told me to change it back to my married name.  I didn’t run out and do it because he insisted on it.  I wanted to do it for me not him.  However, having children I understand the option of keeping the same last name as your kids too.  I did change it however, I wanted to be known by the name I grew up with not the name I took when I got married since I was no longer married.  I am also in a new relationship and for me taking back my maiden name was a signal to my current boyfriend that I was done with that part of my life and ready to move on.

My first name Jennifer is obviously product of the late 70’s and the popularity of it.  I couldn’t tell you how many Jennifers I went to school with.  I also work with about 5 of them.  I’m not fond of my first name.  I’ve gone by Jenn since 5th grade my family are the only ones that call me Jennifer.  My boyfriend calls me by my middle name Paige because he likes that more than Jennifer (plus his sister is Jennie and his brother had a girlfriend at one point that was Jennifer so we needed to distinguish between us.)   I was teased about my middle name in 4th grade so I never told anyone really about it, I never liked it until now that my boyfriend calls me that.

In thinking about names for my kids there is a lot to consider.  I named my first daughter Sydney and never wanted her to be called Syd.  Well what do you know I’m the one calling her Syd.  I know nicknames and how a kid will be teased are all things I considered when I was picking a name.  For my second that was harder.  We played around with a lot more names and someone suggested Hayden and that is what we picked.  Problem is most people think she is a boy when they just hear the name.  I don’t know how many times she has been called that and I have to correct people.  I think it is more associated with boys and that is why so I feel a bit sorry I gave her that name.  I hope some day when they are older they can find out about the heritage of their last name and be proud of it as I am mine.

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11 thoughts on “The Power of Names

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