Following on the previous post, here are seven suggested boy’s names from our family tree:

  1. Henry
  2. Nelson
  3. Peter
  4. Lars
  5. David
  6. Thomas
  7. Stephen

HENRY – This is a great example of how genealogy can illustrate an ancient name one might not consider otherwise.  No one in our family has used Henry for at least a century, so this does not honor any living or recently living family members.  Instead, it is a nod to our ancestral Welsh heritage.  Specifically, it honors three Henry Joneses in my paternal line:

  • 3GG Henry Jones (1791-1871)
  • 5GG Henry Jones (1734-1806)
  • 6GG Henry Jones (1708-1749)

Henry and Rachel (Corken) Jones, circa 1860s – note goiter on Henry’s neck (Source: David Westfall)

The first two Henrys were Orthodox Quakers who practiced the craft of cordwaining in old Gloucester County, New Jersey.  Their immigrant ancestor, 7GG John Jones (1670-1727), was a Quaker and cordwainer as well.  It is likely that even in the 19th century 3GG Henry Jones had some knowledge of the craft since his father, 4GG Thomas Jones (1766-1849), still worked at it in old age.  That’s at least 4 generations in a row of cordwainers, so I suspect this was the trade practiced by previous generations in Wales.

5GG Henry served in the New Jersey Line during the Revolutionary War despite being a Quaker.  That might signify when the Quaker spirit began to dissipate in the family.

On my Mother’s side, the name honors 4GG Henry King (1796-1848), who was Fred A. King’s paternal grandfather.  I only recently discovered him.  I’m not sure where he was born, probably New York state, but he farmed and raised a family in northeastern Ohio, and then moved to Milford, Oakland, Michigan in 1844, where he is buried.[1]Henry King is discussed in blog posts here and here.

Henry has been a pretty popular name for a long time and remains so today.  It was #10 in 1900 and is #12 today.  It generally declined in the last half of the 20th century but has surged this century.[2]I’m relying on the Social Security baby name website for the rankings.

NELSON – This name honors our paternal ancestry as well.  It honors my Dad foremost: Nelson Jonnes (1926-2011) – teacher, chemist, inventor, entrepreneur, and all-around interesting character.  But the name also honors the first Nelson Jones, my 2GG, Dr. Nelson Edward Jones (1821-1901).  He was the first of several doctors in the Jones/Jonnes line.  He also was the father of Genevieve Jones (1847-1879), who initiated the family Nests & Eggs of Ohio project, described in the last post here.  It was Nelson who funded the whole thing, losing a fair amount of money in the process.

Nelson was named for Admiral Horatio Nelson of British naval fame.  At least that’s the story I remember hearing from my Father.  The Admiral’s fame was so vast after his victory and martyrdom at Trafalgar in 1805 that the name Nelson instantly became popular on both sides of the Atlantic.  Nelson as a given name was unheard of before then, I believe, although it was a common surname based on the patronymic Neil’s son, both in Britain and Scandinavia.

The name also honors Nelson Howard Jones (1886-1901), my granduncle.  His death at age 15 of meningitis in 1901 was a great shock and the repercussions reverberated for decades.  Nelson H. was considered a genius and great things were expected.  My Father believed his father, Dr. Lloyd Jonnes (1890-1952), was deeply affected by the death of his older brother and suffered from feelings of inadequacy the rest of his life.  Their father Howard Jones reportedly favored Nelson over his other two sons, Lloyd and Habe.

2GG Dr. Nelson E. Jones as a young man, circa 1840s/50s, tintype (Source: Author’s collection)

Nelson Howard Jones (1886-1901), circa 1899 (Source: Author’s collection)

For almost the entirety of the 20th century, Nelson was ranked between #150 and #250 in popularity.  That’s unusually consistent.  Then, beginning in 1990, its very gradual decline accelerated, especially dropping in the last decade.  It now stands at #656.

PETER – When we named my son Peter Bonn Jonnes, we had no ancestors or family members in mind.  I just liked the name.  As I’ve delved into genealogy, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that we have several Peters in our lineal ancestry.  All are Aaberge ancestors from Sogndal, Norway.

So in addition to honoring Peter Jonnes, the name honors 2GG Petter Pettersen Aaberge (1835-1909).[3]Norwegians sometimes used the spelling Petter.   Petter was the father of Mrs. Bertha Bonn (1865-1937) of Montevideo, Minnesota.[4]See a relevant blog post here.  I believe the photograph below was taken in 1866 at the time of 2GG Petter’s wedding to Dorthe Eriksdatter Aabyrge (1838-1938).  It looks like when you pick the name Peter, you are basically honoring Abraham Lincoln!

2GG Petter Pettersen Aaberge (1835-1909), circa 1866 (Source: Odd Dagfinn Lereim)

Petter Larsen Aaberge (1909-1995), 1984 (Source: Author’s collection)


Petter’s father and great-grandfather were also named Peter.  3GG Peter Johanessen Aaberge (1808-1835) was a schoolteacher who died quite young, reason unknown.  He died one month before his only child was born.  He in turn was named for his paternal grandfather, Peter Johannissen Aaberge (1747-1792).  That’s three Peters in the Aaberge line:

  • 2GG Petter Pettersen Aaberge (1835-1909)
  • 3GG Peter Johanessen Aaberge (1808-1835)
  • 5GG Peter Johannissen Aaberge (1747-1792)

2GG Petter also was the father of Lars Pettersen Aabyrge (1879-1964), Bertha’s baby brother.  Lars inherited the Åbyrge Farm and was the only sibling to remain in Norway.  It is Lars’ descendants – our lovely Aaberge, Lereim, and Olstad cousins – who are still in contact with us today.  One of Lars’ children was also named Peter – Petter Larsen Aaberge, who died in 1995 at age 86.  I believe the only American cousin he ever met was Jack Bonn in 1960.  So, the name Peter also honors him, and by extension, all our Sogndal cousins.

Jack Bonn and Sogndal cousins, 1960, L-R: Jack, Anna, Borgny, Ella, and Petter (Source’s Author’s collection)

Peter has been a rock-solid name for a long time, based on its affiliation with Saint Peter, the rock upon which Christianity was built.  It was a top-100 name in America for most of the 20th century, but has declined somewhat this century and stands now at #212.  It was #55 when my son was born in 1980.

LARS – While we’re banging the Norwegian drum, here’s a name I would not have considered even three or four years ago.  My explorations in Norwegian genealogy have revealed a number of ancestors with the Lars name, including from Eidsvoll and Hafslo.

According to his Minnesota death card, 2GG Ole Larsen Bohn (1820-1902) was the son of Lars Larsen and Marie Mork.[5]“Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990,” database; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 August 2018), Ole L. Bohn, 12 February 1902, … Continue reading  I have not been able to identify which Lars Larsen in Eidsvoll parish is the correct one; there are several candidates.  This is a major mystery yet to be solved.  But we have the name at least – and because his patronymic is Larsen, we know that his father was named Lars as well.[6]3GG Lars Larsen is discussed in the blog post here.

Thus, from Eidsvoll, we have these two Lars ancestors:

  • 3GG Lars Larsen
  • 4GG Lars (patronymic unknown)

The Hafslo line has ancestors named Lars, too.  2GG Dorthe Eriksdatter Aabyrge’s maternal grandfather was Lars Larsen Lad (1759-1849), and his father was Lars Larsen Ugulen (1721-1789), whose father in turn was Lars Baardsen Høgi (1688-1757).  All lived and died in Hafslo Parish, Sogn og Fjordane County.

  • 4GG Lars Larsen Lad (1759-1849)
  • 5GG Lars Larsen Ugulen (1721-1789)
  • 6GG Lars Baardsen Høgi (1688-1757)

Lars was a popular traditional boys name in Norway, but is rare in the United States.  I’m not sure that Lars Jonnes sounds very good, but Lars McDonald sounds great – so Sara needs to get cracking if she wants a boy!

DAVID – Speaking of popular, here’s a name that has never been ranked lower than #33 in 120 years.  David has declined marginally since the 1980s, but is still popular today at #27.  I’ve always like this name.

Of course, the name honors my uncle David Bernt Bonn, who was born only three years before me and is more like an older brother than an uncle.  David was named for his maternal grandfather David Mead Vermilyea (1882-1950), my great-grandfather.

David Mead Vermilyea was raised in Dexter, Mower, Minnesota in the southern part of the state, but lived in northern Minnesota as an adult.  After attending Metropolitan Business College in Minneapolis, he found an opportunity as a cashier at the First State Bank of Grand Rapids in 1902.  He remained a banker in Itasca County for the rest of his life, the last 29 years in Coleraine.  He married Mabel Alicia King (1885-1938) and had an especially good relationship with his father-in-law Fred A. King (1857-1920) because both were bankers.  David’s eldest son was also named David but we always called him Bud.

Great-grandfather David Mead Vermilyea, circa 1906, Bovey, Minnesota (Source: Author’s collection)

Father-in-law Fred A. King, children Helen and Bud Vermilyea, and David M. Vermilyea (L-R) circa 1913 (Source: Author’s collection)

On my Father’ s side, the name honors 4GG David Homan (1762-1823).  I don’t know too much about him.  He may have fought in Revolutionary War as a New Jersey militiaman.  He migrated west from New Jersey in 1815 and settled in Clermont County, Ohio.  I believe our Homan line goes back to New Sweden in the Wilmington, Delaware area in the 1640s.

THOMAS – This is a huge nod to our Matthews heritage on my Father’s side.  It primarily honors 3GG Prof. Thomas Johnson Matthews (1788-1852).  Like many Matthews ancestors, he was highly intelligent.  His talents were legion: he was a professor, mathematician, surveyor, literary magazine editor, insurance executive, astronomer, and school president.  Probably his most meaningful legacy involves his promotion of equal and universal education in America.  One of his sons, Thomas Stanley Matthews (1824-1889) became a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Thomas also honors several of the professor’s paternal ancestors, including his father, great-grandfather, and 3rd great-grandfather.  That’s four Matthews named Thomas.

  • 3GG Thomas Johnson Matthews (1788-1852)
  • 4GG Thomas Matthews (1749-1832)
  • 6GG Thomas Matthews (1693-1766)
  • 8GG Thomas Matthews (1633-1693)

They were all devout Quakers except the professor.  (He switched to the Presbyterian church upon his marriage to Isabella Brown (1804-1877) in 1823.)  The first Thomas Matthews was a Quaker minister from Cumberland County in northern England who came to America about 1685 and settled in New Castle County, Delaware.  Reportedly, he served under Gen. Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War, which is why he named one of his sons Oliver.[7]That’s my 7GG Oliver Matthews (1667-1708).

3GG Prof. Thomas Johnson Matthews (1788-1852), c. 1820s (Source: Aaron Houghton Corwine, painter)

Great-grandfather Thomas Wilber Lukemire (1868-1946), late in life    (Source: Janet Proknichak)


The name could also be said to honor my father’s maternal grandfather, Thomas Wilber Lukemire (1868-1946), even though he always went by Wilber.  He was the sexton of the Williamsburg, Ohio cemetery.

Lastly, it honors 4GG Thomas Jones (1766-1849), the progenitor of all the Ohio and Nebraska Joneses.  He was the Jones who migrated from New Jersey to Ohio in 1803 or 1804 and established the long-standing Jones homestead next to Rattlesnake Knob in Ross County, which they called Fruit Hill.  He had 11 children, including 9 sons, most of whom also had large families.  Reunions were held for many years at the Concord Church next to Jones Rd. in Liberty Township for the descendants of Thomas and Elizabeth (Cox) Jones.  My parents attended once in the 1990s.

Thomas is one of the most consistently popular boys names.  It was a top-20 name for the first 75 years of the 20th century.  It declined somewhat to #62 by 2010 but has rebounded and is now #47.

STEPHEN – I hesitated to add this to the list because we already have a goodly share of Stevens in the family, including moi.  On the other hand, I really want to promote honoring my uncle Stephen Alan Bonn and there are ancestors named Stephen.

The primary ancestor this honors is 3GG Stephen W. King (1824-1865) on my Mother’s side.  He was Fred A. King’s father.  Stephen was born in Ohio and came to Michigan at age 20 with his parents and sisters.  In 1850, he moved to Saginaw, Michigan to take advantage of the lumber boom there.  His lumber firm Curtis & King did very well and the family became well-to-do, if not wealthy.  Unfortunately, he died suddenly in 1865 of what was probably a heart attack.  He was only 41.

Steven is ranked #200 in popularity today.  It boomed in the 1930s and 40s and was a top-15 name in the 1950s and 60s.  Since 1990, it has consistently but gradually lost popularity.  Stephen is #311 today.  It also boomed in the 30s and 40s.  Stephen was more popular than the Steven spelling before 1950 and less popular after.

Other Names –  Additional male names from our family tree in the past two centuries include Lloyd, Howard, Robert, Anson, Joseph, Samuel, John, Leonidas, Joel, Wesley, Bertram, Bernt, Erik, Fred, Charles, and Lorentz.  My grandnephew Parker Jonnes was given the middle name Wesley in honor of Wesley Blalock (1825-1895), a Civil War veteran.


1 Henry King is discussed in blog posts here and here.
2 I’m relying on the Social Security baby name website for the rankings.
3 Norwegians sometimes used the spelling Petter.
4 See a relevant blog post here.
5 “Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990,” database; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 August 2018), Ole L. Bohn, 12 February 1902, Fork, Marshall, Minnesota; citing FHL microfilm 2,117,533.
6 3GG Lars Larsen is discussed in the blog post here.
7 That’s my 7GG Oliver Matthews (1667-1708).