Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fearless Females, March 3: Carrie McKee

Today's prompt:
Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

I do actually share a name with an ancestor, but it isn't my first name. My father's father's mother was Carrie Bernice McKee. She was born in Wayne City, Illinois on June 24, 1887, after four older brothers. Her father Albert Finley McKee Senior was from Chagrin Falls, Ohio and her mother Sarah Helen Smart was from Newmarket, New Hampshire. The family moved around a lot but eventually Carrie moved to Los Angeles, where she met and married my great-grandfather James Mathias Gammon on November 9, 1921 at her father's house. They were both 34 years old. They had two sons: my grandfather Howard and my great-uncle Newton (who died in 2005).

Carrie and James died in the early 1970s, over a decade before my older brother was born. My mother never even met her, but my parents decided to name both my brother and I after her because she was such an intelligent and powerful woman in the Gammon family. My brother's middle name is McKee and mine is Carrie.

In about a month I will be going down to Maryland to meet the descendants of one of Carrie's brothers. She was the last of the McKee siblings to pass away (she outlived them all by at least 29 years) and when she did, my branch of the family lost touch with the others. It has been a particular joy of my research to rediscover these relatives. I was always very interested in Carrie because I was named after her, and she's always meant a lot to me.

For more photos of Carrie, check out her tag (CBM) on my Flickr photostream.

As a bonus, here are some of the extra-special female names in my family tree: Aralinda, Armilda/Artmilda, Auleen, Calantha, Coloma, Docia, Elender, Erman, Fairy, Firm, Junale, Marilda, Philonise, Philura, Treulie, Wilmartha, Zelina, Zilpha, and Zoa.

Do you have any of these names in your family tree? Have you even heard of them before? I've excluded any that are more modern than my grandparents.

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