Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Story of Her Middle Name

Since people have asked, here's the story of the name "Zcharya," as I remember being told from my childhood, with additional material/insight from my Aunt Sandy...

In Jewish families (my Dad's side), it's considered an honor to name a child after a dead relative, but bad luck to name her after a living relative (I'm sure there's some ancient superstition about the mystical power of names tied up in this).

My paternal grandfather had always liked the name Zachary (it was a favorite uncle's name), and wanted to name a son that, but... when my uncle Stan was born, his grandfather Samuel had just died, so they named him that to honor his memory. Then, my dad was supposed to be named Zachary, but right before *he* was born, his grandmother Esther died, so he got the male version of her name (Edward).

Then, my grandmother promised my grandfather that if they had a third child, he could definitely be named Zachary... but my aunt was a girl. They really didn't like the female versions available (nor do we really - basically you've got Zacharina and Zelda), so she ended up being named Sandy, after her other grandfather Samuel.

My mom apparently said she'd consider naming me Zachary, but then decided she'd rather name me after my (recently deceased) "uncle" (actually, some variety of cousin) Daniel. My grandfather really liked the name, though, so named his house, boat, etc. Zachary in the absence of any children or grandchildren with the name.

Anyway, we were going to go with Zachary, were we to have a boy. We were originally just going to name her Ruth Zachary (since it's not such a big deal if she had an odd middle name, rather than a slightly odd first name), but I found Zcharya, which is the old Hebrew form of the name. It's still technically a boy's name, but it has less of a masculine sound to modern ears, and we also just thought it was kind of cool. If Ruth doesn’t agree, it’s just a middle name.

And that’s all.

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