Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature
Students of Puritan New England genealogy will appreciate Bardsley’s lively discussion of the eccentricities of Puritan naming practices, which occupies nearly half of this volume. It was left to the English Puritans to take Biblical naming one step further, by “baptising children by scriptural phrases, pious ejaculations or godly admonitions,” as if to “separate the truly godly and renewed portion of the community from the world at large . . . .” Thus Merciful, Accepted, Truth, Temperance, and so on were similarly placed into use, and, as Bardsley points out, imported to New England where they and names like Increase, Reliance, Welcome, and Pardon were much in evidence among the first generation of native-born Americans. All in all, this is a masterly work on Puritan and other English naming practices.
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