What’s in a Name?

April 30, 1918 – Full diary entry:

“Lots of the boys are seasick but I feel good so far. Elinore says I must name baby if it is a girl.

Muster today. Sea rough.”


In naming their children, Robert and Elinore deviated from the pattern and repeated names their parents and earlier generations had used. Elinore’s German family had a few names that were used repeatedly over the years – Gustave, Henry, Albert, Julius, Bertha, Martha, and Ida show up pretty frequently. 

The West side, going back several generations, had followed a traditional Scottish pattern, more or less: 

  • The first son was named after the father’s father.
  • The second son after the mother’s father.
  • The third son after the father.
  • The first daughter after the mother’s mother.
  • The second daughter after the father’s mother.
  • The third daughter after the mother.

Had they followed this tradition, Elinore would have been carrying John or Amelia. As it turned out, Robert and Elinore named their first two children after themselves:

Robert Donald West (Jr.), born 1918

Eleanor Jean West, born 1923

Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

Next: Rough Seas

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