Monday, June 3, 2019

Two Boys Named Royal

For Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors prompt of "Namesake," I want to look at two boys in my husband's family tree, both named Royal. Who were their namesakes? In one case, I have a very good guess. In the other case, not a clue.

Royal Hathaway

My husband's 1st cousin, 2x removed, was Fanny Fay McClure (1882-1962). She lived her entire life in or near Emmet county, Michigan, where she married Royal D. C. Hathaway (1869-1946) in 1899.

The seventh and last child of Royal and Fanny was Roy Hathaway, born on August 26, 1912. He died just two days later, unfortunately (see vital records search result at left). My guess is that baby Roy was actually "Royal Hathaway."

Royal D.C. Hathaway was the son of Albert L. Hathaway, and by the time baby Roy was born, the family had already named a son after Albert.

Therefore, it would make sense to name this new baby Royal after his Dad, and then nickname him Roy. At least, that's my reasoning. So far, I've not found any other boys named Royal as descendants of the Hathaway line.

Royal Hilborn

Another Royal in my husband's family tree was his 1st cousin, 2x removed Royal Edgar Hilborn (1879-1955). This Royal was the son of Mary Elizabeth Rinehart and Samuel Hilborn. Like his parents, he lived his entire life in Ohio.

I haven't found any ancestors named Royal earlier in the Rinehart or Hilborn lines. Why did the parents choose the name Royal for their fourth son?

At the age of 22, Royal Edgar Hilborn married Alpha Omega Caldwell (1882-1919)--who is, to my knowledge, the only Alpha Omega in the entire family tree. Alpha Omega died, and something interesting and significant happened.

Within a year after Alpha Omega died, Royal adopted a 2-year-old girl named Mary Jane. Royal was enumerated in the 1920 US Census as the widowed head of the household, living with his sister Mabel Hilborn and little Mary Jane.

Who this little girl's parents were and when/where Royal adopted her, I simply don't know. This might not even have been a formal adoption, for all I know!

In 1921, Royal married Laura Helen McGann and the household of three settled was enumerated as a family in 1930 and 1940. No further boys named Royal have been found as descendants of this line at this point.

This is what I love about #Genealogy: Answers to one question lead to many more questions and then more discoveries. Never a dull moment.


  1. Roy sounds pretty mundane after Royal, but I notice many parents resort to shortened names by the time the first census taker comes around.

  2. Interesting name, Marian. There were five 'Royals' recorded in the Irish BMD Index, including four births - Royal Hall in 1889, Royal Beattie in 1896, Royal Turkington in 1900 and Royal Eadie in 1914, while Royal Humphrys died in 1869.