Wednesday, December 11, 2013

French Customs - Children with Identical Names?

This Coquigne family is sure presenting me with some challenges.  This time it has to do with one married couple giving two of their children the same name. I have seen this seeming naming anomaly elsewhere in my genealogical research where a child in a family died, usually in early childhood, and the next child born of that gender was given the name of the child who died.

But such is not the case in the family of my 5th g-grandparents Jean Pierre Coquigne and Marie Madeleine Boite.  Their first-born son, born in 1759, was named Jean Pierre Coquigne.  The godfather for this child was named Etienne, so from what I can tell, it was not a custom in this area of France to name children for their godparents.  Then six years later, a second son was born who was also named Jean Pierre.  The first JP married in 1779, and the second married in 1785.  So what's up with that?  Surely I have made some kind of mistake.  But no matter how many times I check both the baptism and marriage records for both boys, the fact remains that both boys seemingly had the same parents.  Why would a family name two sons the same name as their father?

I've looked high and low for an explanation, but so far have not found one. I found only one blog that even talks about the existence of such a custom, so it seems I'm not entirely crazy!  One other message board post I found said that it was the godparents who actually did the naming - is this true?  In this case, two different godfathers might choose the same name?

If you have ideas or information about why some French families, specifically one family in Jouarre in the mid-1700's would name two different children with the same identical name, I'd love to hear from you.

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