Yo, Dorcas!

Some of my female ancestors.

Some of my female ancestors.

My ancestors had weird names. I was looking through a genealogy book for my mom’s side of the family recently, and came upon gems like “Experience.” Actually, there are several “Experience”s, and they were women who lived in the 1700s. Tell me, how can you make a nickname out of “Experience?” Spiery? Expy? It just doesn’t work. Maybe they didn’t use nicknames in the 1700s.

I know that names of virtuous traits were popular then – such as Prudence, Virtue, Hope, but Experience? Maybe it meant the opposite of Chastity? (Smirk)

Then there was Dorcas. And there are several of those poor women in my tree from the 1600s and 1700s. The name connotes whiffs of Dork and Doofus. I was so curious and disturbed by this name that I had to look up its meaning on several baby name websites.

One said: Dorcas — Derived from the Greek dorkas (gazelle). The name was borne by a Christian woman of Joppa who devoted herself to works of charity. She was raised from the dead by the Apostle Peter and converted many to Christianity.

Another said the name was used in America. The Aramaic version is “Tabitha” and that it means gazelle. In the bible, Dorcas was called Tabitha by the Jews.

Personally, I like Tabitha better, too.

With names like Ephraim, Menzies and Ruben, my male ancestors didn’t fare much better. There’s even an Ebenezer.

I suppose in the far future, should I be so lucky to still have descendants, they can laugh at my name, Marie. The urban dictionary (my favorite dictionary!) says it’s the French version of Mary. It’s a universal middle name. Also that it’s “the name for that irresistibly mysterious girl whom you see around often, yet know nothing about. An outrageously cute spontaneous person. Lovable, extremely intelligent, and slightly eccentric. Often resembling a nymph of sorts. Beautiful and trustworthy.”

Yeah, a nymph. That’s me! Actually, my mother told me I was named after a Catholic nun who took care of her when she was in the hospital having me. Sister Marie later left the order. Maybe because she was such a nymph.


10 thoughts on “Yo, Dorcas!

  1. I knew of one Dorcas. She was in the generation before me, meaning she was older. Alas, poor Dorcas is no longer with us. She went on to, what is according to all rumors, a better place.

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