This age-old saying has been bandied about a lot throughout the years, but it’s always remained just a conversational question. However, in the world of genealogical research for family trees, it appears that this interrogative statement has acquired greater significance than most would care to consider.
It is crucial to understand the role of names in a societal setting while attempting to answer the question of what they signify. Its most significant use in any given community is as an identifier. The name associated with the subject, whether it’s a person, animal, or thing, allows us to know if such a person, animal, or thing exists – either imaginatively or factually. This paper focuses on the significance of names, particularly when considering families and genealogies, and how their impact affects one’s identity.
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It will not delve into the various reasons why a person would want to learn about his or her ancestry, but rather it will focus on the consequences of such a quest for genealogical knowledge and its effects if any.
The social function of names is to grant recognition, and in a construct as complex as communities and societies, it allows for an organization. Familial names, particularly, operate as a kind of branding not just on goods or properties but also on real people. It groups them together by implying their relationship either by blood or law, and these connections are where the natural curiosity about how common the qualities of individuals from the same clusters – families – are truly lying.
This paper will argue that identities have two sides, much like every other tale. One would be the nominal identity, while the other would be the personal identity. The term “nominal identity” may refer to a person’s name-based connection in society, which is dependent on the clustering mechanism of society. Personal identity, as I’m sure you’re aware, is – for lack of a better term – personal; it’s what makes each individual unique.
These two forms of personhood are sometimes confused with one another, yet they will be shown to ultimately lead to the same destination: that of molding the individual. Now, nominal identities, or in their most basic form names, allow individuals to identify who is related to whom. It’s not just the given name of a person that gives him or her a brand; it’s also the family name.
Although it may appear as if the use of names is useful at best, there is much more to this than meets the eye. For one thing, it’s the family name that symbolizes their lineage. We’re not surprised to hear about people going to great pains to protect their family name because its reputation is on the line.
For others, particularly those who have illustrious family histories, protecting one’s reputation is a major concern. Perhaps the best way to express this preoccupation with family names and their protection is another well-known adage: “the fruit seldom falls far from the tree.” Alternatively, in this instance, the family tree might be interpreted as meaning something. The fruits would be the members of the household; the tree would be the entire lineage taken comprehensively.
Why would anybody want to make sure that their names or surnames are kept clean of shady accounts? That is why people take steps to guard and maintain their names or surnames. That’s why it’s important. Because, as the adage goes, name connection does not simply stop at sharing a name; individuals who descend from the same family tree are likely to have similar qualities.
The conclusion is that people with the same name, and hence the same genetic strands, are more or less sharing the same personality or character qualities. That is why in character assassination, it’s most typical to start by targeting the individual’s identity rather than their actions in life-based on their name alone.
It’s then up to the name to represent the individual and, as a result, hopefully, convey a favorable first impression. Consider, for example, the Uruguayan Hitlers. Leonardo Haberkorn investigated the existence of people in Uruguay with the name Hitler and the impact it has on those who bear it in his essay “The Hitler Dynasty.”
The term “Nigger” has a very terrible connotation, owing to Adolf Hitler, the man responsible for the Jewish people’s ethnic cleansing more than fifty years ago. While the Hitlers of Uruguay do not have any connection or affiliation with Adolf Hitler, by virtue of their name and personality, the stigma is passed on to them.
Despite this, there are still people who think that because they bear the name Hitler that it must be bad. Some of these individuals may even claim that they don’t mind having Hitler as a second name despite knowing about his atrocities since they have nothing to do with him (Haberkorn).
They’re only namesakes, really. This attitude, while optimistic, is somewhat brittle. Because in this instance, the prejudice is against the name first and then the individual it refers to, so as names are the doorway to know a person, having a name that evokes such preconceived notions already blocks others from at least wanting to learn more about the bearer of that name.
In reality, the majority of these people are well aware of the consequences of using their Hitler names for official documents or even casual conversations. We don’t have to go very far to find an example. Even during the ongoing campaign for the United States Presidential Elections, these same attitudes and preconceptions about names play their part – and this conclusion is devoid of any political biases.
The unfortunate fate of Barack Obama is to have “Hussein” for his middle name. While he had no control over what name would be given to him while he was born, and while “Hussein” had no negative connotation until recent history, opponents on the opposing side recognized how they may utilize this fact against him as a candidate worthy of inheriting the revered office in the White House.
At campaign events, the hosts would not hesitate to emphasize the “Hussein” aspect of Obama’s name, with the specific goal of linking him to Saddam. Of course, we all know he isn’t related in any way to Saddam Hussein; his name comprises a surname and a secondary name. But what is most important is that there is an associated stigma to Hussein, which stems from his position as leader of a renegade country once considered a danger to America and its citizens’ safety.
If that isn’t the case, it’s because Barack Obama has an “ungovernable” name that makes him un-American. We saw two examples in which people with the same name were condemned by the worldwide community as a whole because of their crimes against their own people, and thus to all of humanity, due to the aforementioned atrocities. They aren’t even related yet, but already we see how terrible the consequences can be for those who have the same name; what will happen if they are genetically or legally linked?
The second kind of identification is a personal one, and it’s more likely to be about someone’s desire to learn more about their ancestry in order to discover who they are. More and more individuals have taken on the role of detectives in search of long-lost relatives, distant or proximate, thanks to technology that has made research even easier today. It has evolved into an intimate crusade that bears no resemblance to its origins as a scholarly pursuit.
The layperson has become more daring in undertaking this historic journey themselves several years ago when DNA testing kits cost a fraction of what they do now. The New York Times’ “Stalking Strangers” (Harmon) showed the tremendous lengths people would go to obtain DNA samples from their suspected relatives. Of course, concerns of privacy must arise from these circumstances, but the urge to satisfy your curiosity if the guy you just ordered coffee from is a relative is far stronger.
Finally, as previously stated, this article will not attempt to explore the possible motivating force behind this recent interest in researching one’s family history. What is certain, though, is that people who are interested in genealogical research will want to know what these “amateur” Sherlock Holmeses might get out of all of this effort. It appears that it’s quite a bit – not in quantity but in quality. Chip Rowe, on his blog entry entitled Chip Rowe Lists His Family Tree Hates and Loves, listed several items about researching the family tree that he dislikes and enjoys.
He despises the time-consuming data gathering and unearthing less than flattering family legends. The things he enjoys, on the other hand, pretty much capture what “good” research can accomplish for a person’s personal identity. He emphasizes getting a sense of “the individuals” who created us, giving insight into how or why someone turns out the way he does. This basically reiterates the significance of knowing your history in order to truly comprehend and value today so that you may prepare for tomorrow.
While it’s unlikely that newly discovered relatives would want to rekindle whatever lost bond they might have had, the important thing is for the searcher to feel this sense of calm and security in knowing that he belongs to a family after all. “When you discover and meet a long-lost cousin,” says Rowe, “you realize you could have driven past her on the road or given him the finger at a traffic light without even recognizing them as family.” This mystery continues to pique these individuals’ interest in DNA searches to find their families.
Essentially, this all boils down to another old adage: no man is an island. That is why, in every situation, individuals will try to find out or at least be intrigued about the solution to the riddle of their identities. Because it’s in this finding that people are given a push to better themselves, whether because of a sense of duty to break away from a label associated with their names or out of a desire for knowledge that somewhere out there they still have family amongst the crowd of strangers.
What is the significance of a name? Is it true that a person’s name has meaning? My name contains three letters and a one-syllable. Which part of me does it represent? I believe that someone’s name has no bearing on their personality or character. It’s simply a form of help given to people at birth, with just three letters. My parents gave me the name Carla as my first name. It holds no special significance to them or to me. It seems to be mine because it is used repeatedly throughout time. familiarity with one’s names comes from repetition over time.
As a result, if I altered my name, it would cause a lot of problems for those around me because they are already acquainted with the name Carla. If that wasn’t an issue, I’d alter my name to Jade. Short, distinctive names rather than popular ones are more to my liking. The name Jade matches these characteristics.
People’s names, on the other hand, have no bearing on their personality or persona. One of the primary reasons why I believe that a name does not represent a person is that it is chosen by the parents during the birth of a kid. We don’t choose our own names, so none of our names are linked to us. In order for a name to portray an aspect of a person’s guise, it must be chosen by the individual who carries it. Personality may thus be expressed in this way.
If we were to believe this, our names would change with every shift in our beliefs and hobbies. As a result, it is better to accept the name you were given because it will eventually conform to you as a result of recurrence and familiarity. Your name isn’t who you are; it has no bearing on your identity. The words that have ever existed wouldn’t even come close to containing the whole self, much less one word.
The Itabari Njeri essay entitled What’s in a Name, which appeared on The Name Site (2010), presented various encounters the author had while interacting with individuals interested in the etymology of their names. According to The Name Site (2010), “your name is your identity and a window on your culture and self. Your name links you to your history, ancestors, and spirituality” (par. 1). Using this as a framework, the writer defined culture based on people’s perceptions, opinions, and shared knowledge of their reactions towards her unusual and distinctive name.
Njeri outlined culture as a symbolic collaboration of signs, writings, arts, and identification via name. When Njeri said that being referred to as African-American is problematic because terms such as “Black” and “Afro-American” are used interchangeably and identified by color, she had a conundrum over words like “black,” “Afro-American,” and other such phrases.
Njeri also understands culture as symbolic messaging transmitted through various media, such as television programs, cables, and movies, with different people from all walks of life and different generations reacting and responding favorably. Liz Taylor, who played Cleopatra in the film adaptation of “Antony and Cleopatra,” was a symbol for communication that disseminated traditions perceived and expressed differently through the eyes of other civilizations.
The images and slogans impacted by this campaign were based on preconceived notions about Blacks as “low-down, ignorant, drug-dealing, and deadly.” Information disseminated in the film is preserved in people’s memories today and future choices regarding marriage, particularly.
The author’s travels throughout different parts of the world helped her to prove that a person’s culture is influenced by his or her name. The name determines a person’s identity and establishes pre-determined beliefs that had been built over time in the minds of people she meets. People with similar cultural backgrounds develop shared assumptions about what a person must be like, which they then project onto others. “The history of the family name dates back to the matriarchal clan society, which is 5000 to 6000 years ago” (China Corner, par. 1)
The customs and traditions of different nations have distinct, often inexplicable reasons for calling their youngsters the way they do. The influence and effect of other cultures on a conventional naming system. The invention of new names based on external criteria made famous by more advanced media provoked by mixing marriages significantly changed historical names and gave rise to the need to adopt new names based on external variables promoted through newer media.
What exactly is a name? Aside from providing one with a sense of self, names reveal patterns of customs, way of life, a system of knowledge shared by a group of people passed from one generation to the next. Njeri also noted that other individuals who are sensitive to cultural orientations may have an inborn ability to determine which culture an individual belongs to without being told their name. Culture is shown and experienced for others to share and experience through examining one’s physical appearance and emitting a unique air or manner.
Example #4 – How to start?
What’s in a name? This is a famous line from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. So, what exactly does Juliet mean by that? If you rename a rose, it will retain all of its qualities, also if you change the name of someone his personality will not alter. He will always be the same person he was before.
The quotation, which is also known as “The Rose by any Other Name Smells So Sweet,” comes from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. A person who does not do their work is called a poor student or referred to as dead meat. Still, despite this, means didn’t get an excellent grade because they didn’t do their assignments until the last minute. However, if you want to connect ‘name’ essay to contemporary events-look at the politician’s name-calling. What does it imply to be an appeaser or a diplomat? The phrase what’s in a name is frequently what the speaker of the term wishes people to believe of him or her especially if he/she is a well-known liar such as Al Gore.
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