As I look over my family tree I have started to wonder at the significance of what I call "biblical" names in a couple of branches.
For example my 6th great grandparents William Noake and Elizabeth Collis used the following names amongst their 12 children baptised at Long Burton, Devon, England:
- Isaac (1731)
- Israel (1734)
- Joshua (1741)
When I look for each name elsewhere amongst my direct ancestors and their siblings I find:
- Isaac is also used for Isaac Noake (1770) and Isaac Foot (1843). As an update I have now realised that Isaac Foot's father James lost his mother at the age of 6 and his father's second wife was Mary Isaac so in that case Isaac is a "family" name.
- Israel is also used for Israel Abel (1637), Israel Abel (1673) and his brother Israel Abel (1679), Israel Abel (1709), Israel Abel (1758), Israel Foot (1782), Israel Abel Foot (1834)
- Joshua was not used again until I look into some cousins of direct ancestors rather than just siblings
If I look at the strongest "signal" then I see that the name Israel was first used by Henry Abel and Alse White in Hatherleigh (Devon) to name their son in 1637, and that it has been passed on via the Foot family through another 5-6 generations. The name Israel in the Noake family seems to have arisen independently because those genes reached me from a different direction than the Abel and Foot genes.
The names Isaac and Joshua do not appear to have been passed on as strongly so I won't comment further on them.
I suspect that these "biblical naming patterns" in Devon may help me to deduce something about the religion of the people who were originally using them for their children but am uncertain what. Do you think my Abel (or White) or Noake (or Collis) ancestors are likely to have been of the Jewish faith, or maybe Quakers, or perhaps something else? Or in those times, in that English county, was it just fashionable to use such names?