2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 3 (Jan. 15-21) Unusual Name

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 3 (Jan. 15-21) Unusual Name

“first” joined Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on its “first” year in 2014… and what a whirlwind year that was… writing, editing and researching daily for 365 days! As much as I wanted to continue the following year, I found that I didn’t have the time to continue another year with that type of research… although I did continue blogging and writing stories at my own pace, which allowed me to write on other topics as well as family stories when ideas came my way… but I’ve often missed it. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. Head over to 2014 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to read about my ancestors in the first years challenge.

If you’re new to genealogy, make your “first” stop to Amy’s website for genealogy ideas or even join in on this 52 Week challenge… you learn by doing… not procrastinating! There is no right or wrong… anything you do is a start!

Week 3 (Jan. 15-21) Unusual Name

The most unusual name I first discovered in my beginning family research was of my 3rd great grandfather… “Berrien” Clark Bryan, also known as B.C. Bryan and later only as Dad by the family. I’ve often wondered how his name came to be and I haven’t found it used again in the family. Well, at least having an unusual name, made for finding him easier in records! His wife’s name of Berilla really matched up well with his name… how did that happen?

 So where did the name Berrien come from?

John Macpherson Berrien (1781-1856) was a wealthy and prominent attorney, a District Circuit Court judge in the eastern part of Georgia, a U. S. Senator and the attorney general of the United States during U.S. president Andrew Jackson’s administration. He was even later honored (1856) in Georgia by the naming of Berrien County.

Berrien gained much recognition for his military career during the War of 1812… he served as a captain in the Light Dragoons in Savannah, Georgia and later a colonel in the First Georgia Cavalry.

Was my Berrien named after John M. Berrien? Well, that’s a question I can never actually answer for sure. My James Bryan, Berrien’s father, also served in the War of 1812… so possibly it was a name they knew from his reputation when my Berrien was born in 1823. It was customary in those times to name a son in honor of an influential person… haven’t we all seen George Washington’s, and James Madison’s in our family trees?


Even though my grandmother’s plain three syllable name of Ola” Askew McKinley isn’t that unusual, I’ve always been intrigued to know if it really was her name and not just a nickname. It seems she was named after her Aunt Ola Askew, sister of her father Samuel Askew. It seems that Ola was a liked name in the family!

In questioning my mother, she said… “I never heard anyone ever call or refer to her to any other than “Ola.” My thoughts were always, could her name have been Viola… and shortened to Ola, but any documents I’ve found, even her marriage license… was just plain Ola!


Ola Askew “marriage license” to E. T. McKinley


When I first heard the surname “Gooch”... I was like… well I’ll never find anything on that name! Boy was I wrong! I quickly learned that there was more info on that name than ,u maiden name of Bryan… I found a Gooch Newsletter, Gooch Mountain, Gooch Gap, Gooch genealogy groups, and even an on-going Gooch Family Reunion held yearly in Lumpkin County, Georgia. This name is more well known throughout Lumpkin County than my Bryan surname… boy did that shock me! It quickly taught me to never second guess a name!

One of the earliest Gooch names found was Tillman Gooch… the two names in itself was pretty unusual to me, but in searching my database of names I also found a 5th great uncle, Tillman Bryan and a Tillman Sneed, 1st cousin, 6x removed… so I guess it wasn’t such an unpopular name. Further search on the name Tillman revealed 15,801 records as a surname in over 5000 trees. I have yet to discover that as a surname in my research on Gooch… but it leads me to believe there is a maiden name of Tillman buried somewhere in that line!

Gooch Mountain Map

Gooch Mountain and Gooch Gap named after my Gooch family lines

gooch gap marker


When I first found Keziah Ann Hart (1730-1756 circa), my 6th great grandmother, who married William W. Gooch (1725-1802)… it became another new name to me… one I had not encountered before. I’ve also since discovered another researched who posted this name being unusual for her… and ironically we both connect to this very same Keziah Ann Hart.

In researching the name I found:

  • The name Keziah means Cassia, but it also means It Is Done (John 19:30)
  • Keziah is the second of three daughters of Job in the Hebrew Bible (Job 42:14)
  • Was she so-named being part of their religion?

I have many unusual names… at least to me… throughout my family lines, but if I wrote on them all… my post would never end!

Stay tuned for Week 4… “I’d Like to Meet” – that should be interesting!

week 1

Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.


© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 3 (Jan. 15-21) Unusual Name

  1. I have a Keziah on my tree also (but not the same lady as you have). Sure helps in finding records if they aren’t all named Mary or Sarah.

    Liked by 1 person

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