E is for Elephant #AtoZChallenge


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.


Eliza A. Hollingsworth Walker, my 4th great-grandmother

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:

Oliphant History in Scotland and England
Clan Oliphant
(Another) Clan Oliphant
Oliphant Clan History

Elephant image from Pixabay.


Have a blessed day, y’all!

About Suzanne Gunter McClendon

I am a South Carolina native, but have been living on the Texas Gulf Coast for 14 years now. David and I have been married for 34 years. Our children are grown. Some are here at home, others are out in the big world doing their "thing". I enjoy genealogy, reading, writing, photography, digital art, fiber arts, cooking and much, much more.
This entry was posted in 2017, A to Z April Challenge, Animals, Family History, Family Photographs, Genealogy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to E is for Elephant #AtoZChallenge

  1. 15andmeowing says:

    That is very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is fascinating! The Oliphant shield from the first book is very unusual with elephants and a unicorn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I think it is fascinating, too, and love the shield. 🙂 Since I’ve learned this about my family, I notice elephants in all sorts of places that I’d never paid attention to before. The Hobby Lobby has a beautiful, huge print that I hope to get some day.
      Have a blessed day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Vanessence says:

    How fun to find out all that fascinating information!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Suzanne, What an interesting family name! Oliphant sounds like elephant assuming I’m saying it correctly but you said Oliphant means elephant which is really interesting. I don’t know when sir names were introduced but I wonderful with your family origin stemming from the UK and Scotland if someone along the early lines one of your ancestors saw one of these great beasts on the African plains and decided to adopted elephant (Oliphant) to distinguish the family line. It’s just a thought anyhow. 🙂 Thank you for visiting yesterday’s Art Sketching Through the Alphabetedition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cathy. That is an interesting thought and anything is possible, I guess. I don’t remember when surnames first came into being either.
      You’re welcome. I am enjoying your series very much. 🙂 Have a blessed day.


  5. ghostmmnc says:

    Very cool to find out about your family history and how names came about. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge Round Up | McClendon Villa

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