E is for elephant. I have always had a fondness for elephants, but thanks to family history research, elephants have an even more special place in my heart.
Oliphant means elephant. It is an obsolete form of the word, circa 1200.
One of my 2nd great-grandfathers was named Samuel Oliphant Alexander Williams. I had never heard of the name Oliphant until I learned of this grandpa and wondered how on earth he ended up with a name like that. It is very unusual, in my opinion. So, I dug a bit deeper. Knowing that fairly often the maiden name of a mother was used as a middle name for a son (or even a daughter), I paid more attention to my maternal lines. I found the answer that I was looking for.
Samuel Oliphant Alexander Williams was the son of Carolina E. Walker and her 2nd husband, Samuel M. Williams.
Carolina E. Walker was the daughter of Eliza Ann Hollingsworth and her husband Abner A. Walker.
Eliza Ann Hollingsworth was the daughter of John Hampton Hollingsworth, Sr., and his wife….Beersheba Oliphant. While Beersheba was born in Edgefield, South Carolina, her father John Oliphant and her mother Nancy Frazier were born in England.
Often times people concentrate all of their efforts on the paternal lines. A wealth of answers can be found in our maternal lines. Don’t ignore the mamas, y’all! 🙂
Further digging helped me to locate a book that talks of the history of the Oliphants in Scotland. It is a very, very long, but fascinating book. Though it is written in English, at least some of it is, it isn’t today’s English, so that makes it even more of an adventure. I have always loved to read about history, but when I learn that the history that I am reading is also *my* history, well, that just makes it that much more fun to read!!
Further reading to add to my list of things to do:
Elephant image from Pixabay.