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French Naming Customs - Early 18th Century

French Naming Customs - Early 18th Century

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 11:50AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 21 Mar 2012 1:27PM GMT
I'm wanting to know how the French named their children in the early 18th century. I'm stuck on an ancestor who came from France circa 1711 & settled in Delaware Co., PA. The earliest known document, a land deed, has his name spelled as William Armond. He named his children (in this order): James, John, Sarah, & William.

The man who sold him land in the deed (the first bit of land he got after arriving in America) was James Chevers. Now, would William name the first born after him out of gratitude instead of his father or would he stick to family names first & use a traditional naming system? I did do a little digging and found that the French were big into naming children after family & saints. Naming the first born sons after grandfathers & daughters after grandmothers. But with the fact William left France & settled in America, would he keep or abandon the naming system? I thought with it being that far back in history, that there's a chance he'd stick to the naming system. Any help appreciated.

Re: French Naming Customs - Early 18th Century

Posted: 22 Mar 2012 7:32AM GMT
Classification: Query
In France, it was the godfather and godmother who named the baptized. So often, the godfather gave his first name if it was a boy, and the godmother if it was a girl.
Often they weres the grandparents for the first born, but it is far from systematic, often they died before.

Re: French Naming Customs - Early 18th Century

Posted: 12 Dec 2013 5:12PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Coqugine, Boite
I would like to continue this conversation if possible.

My 5th g-grandparents Jean Pierre Coquigne and Marie Madeleine Boite lived in the Jouarre area of France, apparently Catholic. Their first-born son, born in 1759, was named Jean Pierre Coquigne. The godfather for this child was named Etienne, so from what I can tell, it was not a custom in this area of France to name children for their godparents. Then six years later, a second son was born who was also named Jean Pierre. The first JP married in 1779, and the second married in 1785. So what's up with that? Surely I have made some kind of mistake? But no matter how many times I check both the baptism and marriage records for both boys, the fact remains that both boys seemingly had the same parents. Why would a family name two sons the same name as their father?

It has been suggested here that it was the godfathers who did the naming. Does anybody know of a source that might confirm that? I've been looking for any sources that talk more about French naming customs, so if you can add more to the list or give additional ideas about my particular family, I would love the feedback.

Re: French Naming Customs - Early 18th Century

Posted: 27 Dec 2013 4:19AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames start around the 12 century. At the end of the Middle ages children are often named for Saints. Each day of the year being given over to a particular Saint. Children were often named for the Saint's Day they were born on or being baptized on. (so says

Mary Anne, in my personal experience and research it non-existant for siblings to have the same exact name when both survive. Though, I would caution you that the name Jean Paul and the name Jean-Paul are not the same and perhaps that is a difference between the two you're looking at? It is also possible that there is an other middle name (producing distinctions) but that gets dropped. The french can be fond of loading a child down with names.

Jere, I don't think your William would have named his first born for a man named James who sold him property, but rather for his eldest brother James. All of my french researches are riddled with siblings naming their children after their siblings and/or parents.
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