Whats In A Name?


How often did you think about where your name came from when you were growing up? As a child everyone in our family knew that our middle names came from people in the family. Who they came from was not always clear. The middle names varied from May for a Jessie May HALL (our mother didn’t like the name Jessie), Rosemary from two great grandmothers Rose and Mary, Edward Waller the paternal family name and Grace a great great grandmothers name. We would always tease my youngest sister Rhonda Grace about her middle name. This would vary from us saying “Rhonda shall we say Grace to Gracie Gracie”, we were always keen to highlight the religious nature of her name. Children can be cruel.

During 2021 I delved into the history and family of Grace DUFTY, our great great grandmother. What the research revealed was that Grace was a name that has passed down and has been in the family in every generation from 1692 to the current day. From the research it would appear that a child was named for the their grandmother who was named Grace. Grace DUFTY was also named for her mother Grace PIPER.

Four Generation Fan Chart of the Ancestors of Grace DUFTY

The first Grace in the family tree was Grace SUSSEX born to Abijah Sussex and Mary BURDEN in16921. Grace is often thought to be a puritan origin, although this is disputed by George Redmonds who provides evidence that the name was used prior to the Puritans2. The name Grace was certainly a favourite of the Puritans and is was associated with divine influence and salvation and its use allowed for more abstract names such as Charity, Patience and Prudence to become attractive3. Grace Sussex’s father’s name Abijah suggests a strong puritanical influences in the naming of the children. No evidence was found when researching the family to determine that there were Puritans in the family. Certainly later generations turned to Methodism and Bible Christian faiths.

Grace DUFTY born in 1839 was named for her mother Grace PIPER who married William DUFTY in Shebbear Devon in 18314. She could also have been named for her paternal grandmother GRACE HOPPER born 17635.

Marriage Information of William DUFTY and Grace PIPER

Grace PIPER was born on December 28, 1811 and was baptised in Black Torrington, Devon6. What we see when we look at the family tree is that Grace is used on either the DUFTY or the PIPER line in each generation. There is a grandchild who is named Grace across both sides of the tree and so the name has continued over time.

Grace DUFTY burial place

After the DUFTY family migrated to South Australia in 1851 aboard to Osceola7. Grace DUFTY married George Drew NOSWORTHY in Yankalilla in 18628. None of their children were named Grace, but the name Grace continued to be used in the family one of their daughters was named Lydia Grace in 18699.

The use of Grace as a middle name was certainly to continue in the family of Herbert George NOSWORTHY and Rose Elania Tilbrook COOPER.

Grace has been used in the following 3 generations from Herbert George and Rose Elania:

  • Their daughter Gwenneth Grace NOSWORTHY born on the 17th December 1905.10.
  • Marion Grace COOPER daughter of Henry George COOPER and Phyllis Moira NOSWORTHY born October 1940, granddaughter of Herbert and Rose.
  • Rhonda Grace LOADES daughter of Moria Joan COOPER and Edward Waller LOADES born September 1959, great granddaughter of Herbert and Rose.

Would we have laughed and teased Rhonda about her middle name if we had realized the rich history behind the name and that it links the South Australian family back to their ancestors in Devon in the late 1600’s.

Little Torrington Church, Devon where Grace SUSSEX was baptised in 1692

  1. Baptism Parish Records, England, Little Torrington, Devon. September 28, 1692. SUSSEX, Grace. Devon Baptisms, South West Heritage Trust reference 4015A/PR/1/1. https://findmypast.com.au : accessed 11 November 11, 2021.
  2. Redmonds, George. (2004). Christian Names in Local and Family History. The National Archives : Kew, Richmond.
  3. ibid – see page 152 and 153 for a discussion of the name Grace by the Puritans
  4. Marriages Parish Records, Devon, Shebbear. December 14, 1831. DUFTY, William and PIPER, Grace. Devon Marriages and Banns images and transcriptions. http://www.findmypast.com.au : accessed October 24, 2021.
  5. Baptism Parish Records, England, Broadwoodkelly, Devon. February 15, 1764. HOPPER, Grace. Devon Baptisms South West Heritage Trust Reference 1772A/PR/1/6. https://findmypast.com.au : accessed November 2, 2021.
  6. Baptism Parish Records, Devon, Black Torrington. January 9th, 1812. PIPER, Grace. South West Heritage Trust 2907A/PR/1/3 Devon Baptisms. http://www.findmypast.com.au : accessed October 24, 2021.
  7. State Records South Australia. Passenger Lists 1845 – 1940. DUFTY, William and Family.  1851 Osceola. 3/1851 Osceola. https://www.archives.sa.gov.au : accessed November 23, 2021.
  8. Marriage Registrations, Australia, Yankalilla South Australia. May 1, 1862, NOSWORTHY, George Drew and DUFTY, Grace. District of Yankalilla, No 14, Page 194. Genealogy SA online database. https://www.genealogysa.org.au : accessed November 18 2021.
  9. Birth Registrations, Australia, Yankalilla South Australia. May 1, 1862, NOSWORTHY, George Drew and DUFTY, Grace. District of Yankalilla, No 14, Page 194. Genealogy SA online database. https://www.genealogysa.org.au : accessed November 18 2021.
  10. Birth Registrations, Australia, Reedy Creek, South Australia. 17 December 1905. NOSWORTHY, Gwenneth Grace. District Wellington, No 758 page 115. Genealogy SA online database. https://www.genealogysa.org.au : accessed 06 August 2022.

One thought on “Whats In A Name?

Add yours

  1. I so love the name Grace. My niece is called Grace and I always think of Grace Kelly and how elegant she was. Your sister was lucky to have inherited a name that has been handed down over so many generations.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: