Friday, May 6, 2011

What's in a name? That which we call a rose...

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Origin of the name Megan: Borrowed from the Welsh, Megan is a pet form of Marged,
the Welsh cognate of Margaret (a pearl).

Four generations - four Megans

We have an odd little tradition in my family. The first daughter of the first daughter always carries her mother's name. I am the third in a line of four living Megans. My grandmother is the first - her name is Megan Ellis Probert. She took her maiden name as her middle name. When my mother was born, her name was also Megan Ellis Probert. When my mom got married she changed her name, as most women do, but she also changed her middle name - and she became Megan Probert Karcher. Of course when I was born my name was also Megan Probert Karcher (sometimes I miss the girl whose last name was Karcher, but that is a post for another day. You get the idea. When I got married (we're gonna skip the messy part, for simplicity's sake) I changed my name to Megan Karcher Jeffery, and so Meg's name is Megan Karcher Jeffery.

I kinda hated it when I was little. Anytime anyone asked me what my middle name was, I just didn't want to say. It was weird. All the other girls had regular middle names. Mostly "Marie" - it was the 70's - every other kid I knew was named Jennifer, and many of them and lots of others had the middle name "Marie" - my sister included! So, not only was "Megan" a weird name (it was, I swear!) but I had this odd middle name that no one knew how to pronounce. I even had one school nurse ask me repeatedly what my middle name was, she thought I was being stubborn or stupid and giving her my last name over and over.

When I was pregnant with Meg, I had still not gotten over my dislike of having the same name as my mom. It had caused confusion at school, at doctor's and dentist's offices, just about everywhere I went, it seemed. I knew my mom would want me to name her Megan..., and I just wasn't feeling it - at all. I wanted to name her Jenna Rose. Well, since I was a pregnant teenager living at home with my parents, I decided that I would go with what my mom wanted - and now, I am so glad I did. I am glad I have my name, and that we I gave it to my firstborn daughter. There is something familial and special about being "one of the Megan's". Family members would love it when we all happened to be sitting together; "Oh look! There are three Megans sitting on my couch right now!" There were, of course the names that helped define which Megan a person was looking for. I think I have mentioned the number system, Megan 1, Megan 2, and so on. But there were variations on the theme: Big Megan and Little Megan. I hated being called "Baby Megan". That nickname lasted with all my Karcher cousins until I was nearing puberty. I felt so WRONGED by it all! (Please pause a moment in your reading for pre-pubescent dramatic effect.)

But all in all, I feel an extra little connection to my mother and grandmother by being named for them. And proud to be named after both of these beautiful women. Each with her own strengths and abilities, they both have taught me so, so much.  I think I have shared something lovely with my daughter, and no, I don't mean the crappy credit she will inherit because of my student loans - though she will probably have to deal with that (same name, same address, the credit folks don't bother to look any further).

Rose \r(o)-se\ as a girl's name is pronounced rohz. It is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Rose is "rose". Flower name. The name, which the Normans brought to Britain in the 11th century, can also be traced to the Old German words "hros" meaning "horse", or "hrod" meaning "fame, renown". The flower meaning is possibly more valid, given the Christian symbolic meaning of the rose. The "rosa mystica" is the Virgin Mary.

We have other names that pop up repeatedly in our family, too - this time on the Karcher side of things. My Grandma Karcher's name was Matilda Rose,(and she totally rocked) and so we have a plethora of "Rose"s. Each of her children has at least one child or grandchild named for my grandmother. Tricia Rose, Emily Rose, Leah Rose, Abbey Rose, Rebecca Rose, Mackenzie Rose, Annamarie Rose, am I missing anyone? And I am sure there will be a few more who come along. (I wish I had a picture of all these beautiful girls - making it a goal!)

Thomas \th(o)-mas\ as a boy's name is pronounced TAH-mas. It is of Aramaic origin, and the meaning of Thomas is "twin". Biblical: one of the 12 apostles known as "doubting Thomas" as he has an unusual mixture of pessimism and zealous faith. Some say his full name was Judas Thomas (Judas the Twin), and the nicknamedistinguished him from Judas Iscariot. The name has been popular since the 12th-century martyr Thomas à Becket. Other saints include Thomas Aquinas and Thomas More.

All have sandy hair and blue eyes - just like my dad as a kid!
My dad - my dad is fantastic. He is the kind of person you want your children to emulate. We all stand around and talk about how much this child or that one looks like Dad. Funnily enough, little Sam, who looks just like my dad, is named for his maternal grandfather(who happens to be amazing, so Sam is in good company with both looks and name!). But there are plenty of namesakes. Each of my sisters and brother have named a child after him, and my dad's nephew/godson has as well. And so we have my dad, the original Thomas, Thomas Geoffrey, Kolbe Thomas, Noah Thomas, Liam Thomas and Spencer Thomas.  A bunch of lovely little boys named for the one of the finest men ever born. It's more than fitting, in my opinion.


  1. I love that picture of all you Megans! And the Thomas one too. Good luck with getting one with all of the Roses - you're gonna need it!

  2. Great post! I've always been fascinated with names and their meanings and I smiled when I read about the similar names in your family. My daughter's middle name is also Rose, after Mary's title The Mystical Rose :)


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