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Home: Surnames: Mulliken Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Mulliken, Ralph Franklin b. WA d. CA
Posted by: Terri Mulliken Allen Date: February 18, 2001 at 07:42:36
In Reply to: Re: Mulliken, Ralph Franklin b. WA d. CA by Don Mullikin of 220

Hi Don,

Naming patterns for children have changed a lot over time. While the name "Ermina" might sound different/odd to us, it may have been more common in those days then we might think. In the 1700s the naming patterns went something like this:

First born son - named for husband's father.
First born daughter - named for husband's mother.
Second born son - named for wife's father.
Second born daughter - named for wife's mother.
Third born son - named for husband's grandfather, uncle or oldest brother.
Third born daughter - named for husband's grandmother, aunt or oldest sister. get the idea.

Frequently, if a couple lost a child then they would name the next born child of the same sex after that child. In my Cutler family there are two Hodges Cutlers that have caused quite a confusion because the first wife died giving birth to the first Hodges. The child lived for awhile and then died. Meanwhile, daddy remarried and the first child of the second wife was also named Hodges Cutler. There was less than two years difference in the time the two Hodges were born. The second Hodges became fairly famous locally and also lived to his 90s. Many genealogists attribute the 1st Hodges' date of birth to him in error.

I have done a LOT of genealogical research on the Mulliken family of Bradford, MA(working in primary records) for the past 20+ years. I have NEVER heard of a "Seven Brothers Story". I think you are mistaken on that one.

Granted, there are various spellings of the surname. Sometimes that happens because the family doesn't KNOW how to spell their last name because they can't read or write. Some clerk somewhere spells it for them the best way he can. Then forevermore their last name is spelled some funky way because some clerk guessed wrong. I've also heard stories of a branch of the family changing the spelling because they no longer want to be associated with a ne'er-do-well in the family; i.e., my uncle robbed banks and killed people...I will change the spelling of my last name so people won't associate me with him. Those kinds of things did happen.

But, I can tell you, when families moved across the ocean to a strange land, they did NOT settle in different parts of the country. There were too many bad things that could happen to them and they wanted to be close to each other for safety reasons. Therefore, the Mullikens who came from Scotland and settled in Massachusetts were NOT closely related to those Mullikins who moved from Scotland and settled in Maryland some 50 years earlier.

There is a wonderful book called "Albion's Seed" by David Hackett Fischer that describes the differences/similarities between the people who settled the Northeast and those who settled in the Tidewater parts of this country. I suggest you read it.

I agree with you that you SHOULD keep your mind open to various spellings of a surname. It is possible that my grandfather's name could be spelled 'Mullikin' in a record. People aren't infallible. But that instance of misspelling our surname doesn't make it the correct way to spell our name. You also have to know if you are looking at an original record or one that has been transcribed. It makes a HUGE difference in the quality of the data.

Unless you can give me some more information to go on, I am unable to connect your family to the Massachusetts line. You still have not told me what area of the country your family lived in and came from. I'll be glad to help you if I can, but I need more information.


Terri Mulliken Allen

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