walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

A Genealogical Story: My Son's Middle Name.

Once upon a time, there was a priest named Menno Simons. That name means that Menno's mom and dad named him "Menno", and his dad's name was "Simon". Anyway. Menno was born in Witmarsum and after he became a priest, he was assigned to Pingjum. These names probably don't mean anything to you. They didn't, until quite recently, mean anything to me.

Menno saw a beheading in Leeuwarden, which is a big enough town now that I've both heard of it and actually visited it. The guy was killed for being rebaptized, for having a "believer's baptism", or doopgezind. I think it's a little nutty that seeing someone be killed for something might prompt investigation and concluding that the guy was right, but to be fair, it sounds a lot like something I, or a number of people I'm related to, might do. At least he's our kind of nutty. It was his brother Pieter dying for similar reasons that pushed him over the edge. Menno died in his 60s, a pacifist to the end.

My mother is descended from a long line of Mennonites, really, really nutty ones at that. They traveled all over Europe, went to Canada, etc. I've posted a little about that story here. _MY MOTHER_ That's important.

I've been tracking back my father's ancestry in Friesland for a variety of reasons, which I will not get into here. I may have noted that I discovered some of my relations came from the same village in Wonseradeel that Menno was posted to: Pingjum. Today, however, a couple of things occurred to me. (1) My great-great grandmother's family was all from Pingjum. (2) I picked my son's middle name because it was my grandfather's first name. It was his grandmother's patronymic -- his great grandfather's name. Simon.

True, it's a common enough name anywhere, and especially in Friesland. But there's a headspinning weirdness that I gave my son a middle name to recall MY FATHER's Dutch ancestry, and it just so happens that it readily traces up our particular tree to Pingjum. Which is where my mother's side got its odd religion. Would I do it again, if I'd known the implications?

I'm not sure. Maybe he would have had the middle name Marinus, instead.
Tags: genealogy

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