Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What’s In a Name

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When I first found out we were expecting a sixth child, I thought, as you may recall, that it would certainly be a girl. So, I gave very little thought to any possible boy names. Still, I did glance through the boy names in one little book. I don’t think many names stood out to me, but several Scandinavian names did. One of which was Anders.

I brought it up to Mike and told him all about “The Cap That Mother Made” – a book I loved from my childhood. I immediately began to look for the book at the library, and, when I couldn’t find it, stole my mother’s copy. I planned on returning it because, after all, we were most likely having a girl, and, if, on the off chance that my intuition proved wrong, it was a boy, well, we hadn’t decided on Anders for certain.

Still, if you know this tale, as I do, you can’t help but love the name Anders.
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Anders is a young boy growing up in Sweden. And, to his delight, his mother knits him a beautiful cap. It is so extraordinary, that all sorts of folks want to have the hat and are willing to exchange nearly anything for it. In the end, the king himself offers Anders his own crown for the cap, but nothing can induce Anders to part with the cap his own mother made for him.

Of course, when he returns home, his brothers are furious. How could he be so foolish? He could buy any number of caps with the king’s crown!
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But Anders mother only hugs her boy – and sets to making another cap he can take along should he visit the king again.
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And you can tell I just had a new baby because I just started to cry when I typed that. Heehee.

Anyway, so Anders was on my mind as a possible name, but our other boys all have family names, so I wasn’t sure Mike would go for it.

Not long afterwards, I was at my mom’s house looking at some names along our family line (she is quite the genealogist) and lo and behold, what do I see, but both a 6th and an 8th great grandpa named Anders!

I’ve always known the story of my 2nd great grandfather – Edward Allison (which is where my middle name of Allison comes from). He set off from England as a young boy to “make his fortune” – times were hard, his mother had passed away, and that was just what you did. One brother went to Australia, I think one stayed there, and Ed headed for America.

I don’t know his whole story, he ended up eventually in UT as the Sheriff of Summit County, but, in the mean time, he worked for awhile on a ranch where his friend had just married a girl from Norway. Edward took a liking to, and later married, this girls’ younger sister – Eliza Bruun. The Bruuns had been baptized into our church back in Norway and had made the trek to America with their father, mother, and brother; only to have their mother die at Winter Quarters – leaving their dad to make his way to UT alone with the three kids.

It was in tracing back along Eliza’s line that I found, on both her mother’s and her father’s side my Anders grandpas. One was born as early as 1650. One in Norway and one in Sweden.

Also, while we don’t yet know much about them, Mike recently discovered some Anderses exist on his side as well.

I keep wondering about them. Wishing we had more information. Wondering what they would have thought had they known, back working their land in Norway several hundred years ago, that some day, generations later, a little boy would be born in America and named after them. I wonder a little if there is any pull between between the generations; if the fact that this ninth and seventh great grandson was about to be born and given their name forged a connection between them; if they were there to send him off and bid him good luck; or, maybe if he already knew and was connected to them and that is what influenced Mike and my decision on the name. Maybe not, but I feel very happy with the name of Anders for this strapping new boy of mine!

P.S. While I have no skills or knowledge in knitting myself, my sweet niece Ashley did knit him the hat in the above picture. It came a few days before he was born and I couldn’t help but think again that Anders would be just the name for a boy with such a fine cap!

3 comments:

jami said...

i love knowing where little people get their names - because to me it's such a huge thing, having to name a baby. thanks for sharing where you came up with anders. i love it, by the way!!!

jami said...

ps-that hat is ADORABLE!!!!!!!! (only falling second to the adorable baby wearing it!)

Perla said...

what a great post, sister. although i didn't cry, i did get chills and felt emotional all through out it. when i was little i always thought i'd love a little boy named anders because of this story. then i had an andre and anders was out of the question. i'm so glad he gets to be yours and i am so excited to hear about the name connection to our past. i think we are going to be so amazed and even shocked at how close the ancestors are to us all of the time. i wonder if they'll tell us how they were at a certain place with us or one of our children. i bet they will. i can almost envision lila and pearl in my delivery room right as i type this. but they are both about 35 not like the pictures i've seen them. hm. i do not know but i can't wait to find out one day and in the meantime i have faith in the feelings i have and believe that these things are all true, even if we don't know the details here.

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