So many times in genealogy research, we see a long line of males with the same given name. First there is John, and then another John, and so many more John’s after that. Add in a common surname and it’s enough to make your genealogy mind go crazy! One thing you don’t normally see is when the female line of the family uses the same name time and time again.
On my maternal side, I have found that I come from a long line of women named Lydia/Lettie. I had seen lines of more popular names like Elizabeth and Mary, but for some reason, this naming pattern really stuck with me. If you look at traditional European naming patterns, the first daughter is usually named after the father’s mother and the second daughter is named after the mother’s mother. This line kind of followed that pattern, but what do you do when both the paternal and maternal grandmother are named Lydia?
The line begins with my maternal 5x Great-Grandmother, Lettie Virginia Mantooth. Lettie was born in 1796 in Shenandoah County, Virginia to Thomas Mantooth and Elizabeth Phariss. She married William Hall and together they had seven children; Samuel, Hannah, Mary, Lydia, Herman, Thomas, and John Hall. Lettie passed away in 1850 in Cocke County, Tennessee.
Lettie’s daughter, Lydia Hall (my 4x Great-Grandmother), was born in 1832 in Cocke County, Tennessee. She married Solomon Price and together they had nine children; John, Lettie A, Sarah J, Nancy, Elizabeth, William, James, Mandie, and Solomon. Lydia passed away in 1890 in Cocke County, Tennessee.
To make matters a bit more complicated, Lydia Hall’s mother-in-law was also named Lydia. Lydia Messer was born in 1806 in Burke County, North Carolina to Christian Sargent Messer and Jane Barnett Freeman. She married Richard “Big Dick” Price on February 11, 1825 in Haywood County, North Carolina and together they had five children; James Turner, Solomon, Sarah, Joseph, and William. Lydia passed away in 1876 in North Carolina.
Now…back to Lydia Hall. Her daughter, Lettie A. Price (my 3x Great Grandmother), was in January 1856 in Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee. She married William Howard Henderson on February 24, 1884 in Cocke County and together they had five children; Lydia Jane, James, Delia, Amanda, and Winnie. Lettie also had two other children with an unknown man; Ruben B and Abraham Benjamin. Lettie passed away on May 1, 1899 in Cocke County, Tennessee.
Next in line is Lettie’s daughter, Lydia Jane Henderson (my half 3rd Great Aunt). Lydia was born on March 20, 1888 in Cocke County, Tennessee. She married Benjamin Lewis Ford on January 21, 1908 in Cocke County and together they had 13 children; Rufus, Martha, Lewis D, Pauline, David, Fanny, Lettie Ellen, Dolophos, James Ike, Creola, Mack, Laurie, and Carrie. Both Benjamin and Lydia had children from previous relationships. While they did raise these 13 children together, I am still working on who exactly belongs to who. Lydia married for a second time to Joe Stokely Shelton on July 24, 1965 in Cocke County. She passed away on June 25, 1977 in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey.
The last of the Lydia/Lettie line is Lydia Jane’s daughter, Lettie Ellen Ford (my half 1st cousin, 3x removed). Lettie was born on October 10, 1914 in Cocke County, Tennessee. I have not found a record of Lettie being married and her headstone shows her maiden name. She did have one son, Nicholas Ford. Lettie passed away on September 18, 1977 in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey.
I will admit that this line got a bit complicated when researching. I had to work hard to keep all my Lydia and Lettie ancestors straight! So, to recap, the line is Lettie Virginia Mantooth to Lydia Hall (who’s mother-in-law was Lydia Messer) to Lettie A. Price to Lydia Jane Henderson to Lettie Ellen Ford. Hmm…maybe I should change my name to Lydia!