Saturday, January 26, 2013

Surname Saturday: A Solitary Surname

We Are Multicolored: USA, Angola, Wales
My first instinct was to write this piece on my online journal, but second thoughts often prevail. Why is that? Perhaps because my surname is solidly connected to this site. And, this site is connected to writing challenges, like the Family History Writing Challenge that I will be participating in this February.

Thinking of my own surname as a family historian would years from now might prove challenging. If anything, they will most likely wonder why I chose to hyphenate my name, while our children bore their father's surname.

In all honesty, it was out of vanity...the vanity of a writer who wanted name recognition from her school chums. Newton-Carter. But more than that, it established my own personal identity...something I had struggled with during my youth.

It is a melding of two families...with distinct and differing backgrounds...coming together as one.

My heritage is one of struggling immigrants: Russian Jewish refugees, Welsh coal miners, English farmers and religious dissidents; while, my husband's family was captured, sold at auction, emanating from a continent, not a nation in our minds, because their origin had been lost within the slave system. My family came to this nation with husband's family came with their hopes scattered upon the waters of the long voyage to an emerging nation called America.

And so, Newton-Carter is a solitary surname, lasting only one generation, held by only one woman. It is my duty to tell the stories to future generations so that our origins might be re-discovered in the telling. The challenge of this vanity is that future generations will have to search for my records among those for three surnames: Newton, Newton-Carter, and Carter.

I hope you will join me here during the month of February for the Family History Writing Challenge, where I will work on telling the tale of our most present generation and begin the journey to uncover the truth of those who came before.

1 comment:

  1. I tried the hyphen thing for a couple years... then dropped it. There are a couple 'official' records with it on it. Should be interesting for someone 150yrs from now. :-)
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)