Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Another Name Puzzle

This week's gravestone is my greatgrandmother, Mary F. Orand, at least that's what it says on the stone. She is buried in the Ralls Cemetery, Ralls, Crosby County, Texas. My mother never talked about her very much. About the only thing I knew was that before I was born, I was supposed to be named after her and my father's mother. I was supposed to be Francis Ann Cheek. My parent's were sure I was going to be a girl because they already had a boy. Many of us remember the days when you didn't know ahead of time. After my surprise entrance, they quickly changed my name to Richard Orand Cheek. I never knew for sure where the Richard came from. The Orand is my mother's maiden name. I am eternally grateful that they didn't decide to just go ahead and use Francis or Frances as a boy's name. When I began to research our family history, I looked for the only name I knew, Francis Orand and had a hard time coming up with anything. I found Mary Orand and even Elizabeth Orand in the right places and the right times but no Francis. I finally came across a cousin who clued me in. Our greatgrandmother Orand was originally Mary Francis Elizabeth Brandon. Shazam, the pieces all fell into place. I am grateful to Dave, a FindAGrave volunteer for this picture.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: What's In A Name

My mother's mother, who's gravestone is shown here, is a classic example of why we have problems with names when researching our family histories. The stone has Pauline T. Smith, Sept 22 1886, Feb 5 1965. When she was born her parents named her Paralee Tennessee Lancaster. Her first husband, my mother's father, was named Orand. Her second husband, who is buried near her with his first wife, was named Bex. She divorced the first and outlived both of them. Her third husband was named Smith. Somewhere along the way (I never found anyone who knew when) she changed from Paralee to Pauline, but not until after she passed on the Paralee name to two of her children.