What’s in a name?

‘Jack Baker Pady’. A somewhat common and popular first name – most common first name for 14 years running nonetheless, followed by an unusual middle name, and a fairly uncommon surname. But it all has a reason, as I’ve been finding out.

A sure sign of getting old before your time, or so I’ve found from a lot of the comments I’ve had, is showing an interest in one’s ancestry.

One of my paternal uncles, at some point in the past, had the patience to research his past as far back as the late 18th century. I’m not sure how much research he did into each individual, but I know he at least found out their names, as a piece of paper in my mum’s loft contained a lot of them in the form of a family tree. Being a user of the internet and in possession (of sorts) of this piece of paper, I decided to transfer it to Genes Reunited, which not only meant it was now much more understandable, I could also add to and edit it easily.

Since signing up on Genes Reunited, however, a lot of comments I’ve had from people who have portions of their family tree shared with mine have consisted of ‘Is my [their ancestor] the same person as your [my ancestor]’ in addition to ‘oh I wish I’d been more interested in genealogy at your age’, which at the same time as sounding condescending to someone younger, makes it sound as if they’re implicitly saying ‘this is an old person’s pursuit, what are you doing here?’

Regardless, and on my limited student budget, I plough on and even take out a six-month subscription to allow me to view other members’ family trees and compare them to my own. And I make contact with a couple of relevant people. Some (seriously) distant relative, and a cousin (or second cousin) of my maternal grandmother’s, who had a lot of information about her family that she enjoyed looking at very much.

In addition to some really strong connections, I’ve also had some sketchy hits and misses, people asking if my ancestor was married to Mr/s X with children Y and Z, and it’s apparent they’re related to someone with the same name, but not in the same tree. And there’s also the very interesting case of my great-grandfather, also Jack Baker Pady, born in 1901, who I know lived first in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, and moved to Chertsey before he was ten. And then there’s the imposter Jack Pady, born two years prior to my grandfather in or near Hastings, and who spookily enough was living in this very town of Brighton one hundred years ago today. I know nothing about the latter Jack other than what is available on Genes Reunited from the censuses of 1901 and 1911 – his name, his birth place – Hastings, Sussex, and his (approximate) location at the time of the two censuses – South Molton, Devon in 1901 and Brighton ten years later. Other than that, nothing. Nothing about his family, nothing about how he’s related to me (as he most probably is). All this information and more is probably out there somewhere, I just can’t afford to get to it.

In further addition to these strong connections and hit-and-misses, I’ve also discovered why I have a middle name that is so unusual. Thanks to my uncle’s research on his, and consequently my, male ancestry it turns out that the ‘Baker Pady’ combo goes back to at least my great great great great great grandfather, Jacob Baker Pady, who married a lady named Susannah Baker at some time after his birth in 1779, and, I’m just speculating here but, maybe that’s what started 8 generations of ‘Baker Pady’s. I’ll just have to wait until I can afford to find out.

Jack out.


About Jack
A small-time traveller in a big-time world

One Response to What’s in a name?

  1. Luke says:

    Have you tried the country archives at Lewes and/or Brighton council halls? Their free entry and there’s hundreds of city and parish records. My mum and dad found a lot that way.

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