Can a name die?
You wouldn’t really think so, but it’s surprising how close both my parent’s surnames have come to extinction. Reasons why? Mostly not enough sons having sons.
Let’s start with the Geoghans.
John Geoghan (My Grandfather) had five children:
- Son 1
- Son 2
- Son 3
Son 1 had one son with the last name Geoghan
Son 2 had one son that does not have the last name Geoghan
Son 3 had two sons, one with and one without the last name Geoghan
So from John Geoghan, of his 12 grandchildren, 8 boys and 4 girls, only TWO BOYS have the last name Geoghan to carry it on to the next generation. Yep, you read that right, only two! Why only two of the four you ask? Those are two really long stories of family drama you wouldn’t believe!
Now let’s go back another generation to my Great Grandfather, Thomas Geoghan.
Thomas had six sons and one daughter. Of all of those children, the only one to produce a son was my grandfather John. So now my brother and cousin are left to carry yet another generation of Geoghans!
My brother has two boys and my cousin has one. So it’s up to those three boys to carry on the name Geoghan if we want to see it survive for our family line.
No pressure there!
So how about the other half of my family, the Wells side. I’m sorry to say they’re not fairing much better.
My grandfather, Williams Rogers Wells, had nine children, six boys and three girls. Here’s how he fared for name carrying male grandchildren:
- Son 1: 3 sons
- Son 2: No Children
- Son 3: No Children
- Son 4: 3 daughters
- Son 5: 2 daughters
- Son 6: 1 daughter
No pressure on “Son 1”, my mom’s uncle Everett Stillman Wells!
So how did Everett’s boys do?
- Son 1: 1 son and 1 daughter (this son has 2 daughters) DEAD END
- Son 2: 1 son and 3 daughters (This son has 2 sons and one daughter!!)
- Son 3: 2 daughters
So it’s down to the two sons of Everett (son of James Wells) to carry on the Wells name!
If you go back another generation in the Wells family, to Williams Rogers Wells’ father, Jonathan Russell Wells, Williams was the only son who produced any children.
If you go back yet another generation to Jonathan Russell Wells’ father Russell Wells, it’s not much better. Russell had three sons, Silas Crandall Wells, Thomas Randall Wells and Jonathan Russell Wells.
Silas had two sons, Wallace Ray Wells and Ray G Wells. Ray died when he was ten. Wallace Ray Wells had a son named Edward Gray Wells, but so far as I know, Edward only had one daughter. So Silas is a DEAD END.
Thomas Randall Wells had three sons. Sounds promising, but sadly they all died under ten years of age. So again, DEAD END.
You have to go back to my 4th great grandfather, Randall Wells (my personal favorite ancestor! Read my books to find out why!) to find a wealth of sons with sons. Randall had five sons. His son Russell (my ancestor) as we know only has two male descendants that carry the Wells name.
Randall Wells Jr doesn’t seem to have any living descendants bearing the Wells name. It is possible that the other three sons may have produced enough male heirs to carry on the name. More research on those branches of the family is necessary though.
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