For nearly every person we encounter at the grocery store or while out on errands, my toddler daughter is always asking “What’s her name? or What’s his name?”
It got me to thinking about names, which got me to thinking about my genealogy research.
I have two ancestors on my father’s maternal line who, at first glance, appear to be named after famous people in American history: brothers Francis Marion Tyrey and Henry Harrison Tyrey.
I’m only directly related to Henry Harrison Tyrey, (whose father also was named Francis). These names jumped from the pages of “The Family Tree Problem Solver” by Marsha Hoffman Rising as I was reading this weekend.
In a chapter about researching collateral kin, Hoffman Rising says,
“Your research with names, however, must take into account popular naming patterns outside the family. … A child born in 1800 may have been named for the heroic “Swamp Fox” of the Revolutionary War, Francis Marion, but the Francis who was born in 1870 was more likely named after someone in the family who had been named for the “Swamp Fox.”
… Evaluating naming patterns can be a helpful tool in research, but it can also take you far astray. We may never know what motivated our ancestors to choose some of the names they did. … Do examine naming patterns but be ready to discard a theory if no data from other sources can be found to support it.”
So, it occurred to me that Francis Marion Tyrey, born Jan. 16, 1870, is likely named after his father, Francis Tyrey, who could have been named for the “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion. The younger Francis Tyrey died in 1873.
Henry Harrison Tyrey, born in 1872 isn’t likely named for William Henry Harrison, the first U.S. president to die in office in 1841 — he was born about 30 years too late. There goes my naming theory.
A search of historical records on Ancestry tells me that the elder Francis Tyrey also had a middle initial M, possibly for Marion, as noted in the photo at left. He served in the Civil War in Missouri as a Union soldier so I can write off for his military file and pension records to see if the M actually is for Marion. Perhaps, he is the one who was named for the “Swamp Fox” after all.
Francis Tyrey was born Aug. 2, 1841, in Wisconsin, the son of Jacob Frederick Tyrey and Celicia Kirkpatrick. He had four sisters and three brothers. He was the oldest of the boys in the family, and the second oldest child.
By age 19, he had moved to Missouri and was living in Richwoods, according to 1860 census records. He married Adele Sophia Alexandrine Mariat in 1864. He fought in the U.S. Civil War in 1865, as a Union soldier. By 1870, he and Sophia and their young family were living in Jefferson County, Mo., next door to his parents. Both Francis and his father, Jacob, were listed as miners.
Francis fathered 10 children with Sophia, although not all of them lived past childhood.
Francis Tyrey died at age 82 in 1924, in Franklin County, Mo. He is buried in Jefferson County.
- death certificate, grave headstone
- U.S. federal census database, Ancestry.com, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920
- 1890 U.S. Veterans Schedules database
- U.S. Civil War Pension Index
- U.S. Civil War Draft Registration