Name Recycling



See:Transcript:Colonial Walker Birth and Baptism Records Maryland Eastern Shore. Note especially caveats on accuracy of the transcription.


During the Colonial period, when large families prevailed, when a child died their name might be used again for a later child. This might have been intended to commemorate the first childs name, or it might have been an insistence by the parents about having a specific given name preserved in the children. A possible example of this is found in the family of Daniel Walker and wife Phyllis in Talbot County, MD (children born 1705-1724). Baptismal records for this couple show three children who apparently died young, whose name was "recycled" for children born later (Daniel, Elizabeth, and Nathan).

James Walker 29 Aug 1705
Danll Walker 31 Oct 1707
Elizabeth Walker 21 Dec 1709
John Walker 2 Mar 1711
William Walker 11 Mar 1713
Nathan Walker 13 Jul 1716
Mary Walker 12 Jul 1717
Nathan Walker 24 Nov 1720
Elizabeth Walker 12 Jan 1722
Danl Walker 14 Feb 1724

This practice seems to occur with some frequency in genealogists records. However, most instances of this are not so well documented as the above example. It is entirely possible that purported occurrences of this reflect an attempt to reconcile conflicting information, such as wehre where child lists of two similarly named couples have been merged.