Aside from the “cock” part and the inherent playground emotional trauma that comes with bearing it, the Hedgecock name has a lot to be proud of.
Since I only adopted that name after my marriage, I confess to letting a giggle of two escape at some of the Hedgecock name jokes. “Bush-chicken,” for instance. My husband and sons fail to see the humor.
Whether the young’uns appreciate it or not, passing on an understanding of our surnames is part of passing on our family’s history. And, of course, I’m not just referring to the name that we carry on our drivers licenses. Although I go by Hedgecock, I think of myself in terms of Wilkinson, Crymes, Lewis, McKinney, and Carmichael, just to name a few.
I’ve seen instances of why sharing surname history matters. I have a friend who was raised by a hippie. His mother chose surnames on whims. As a result, he has very little attachment to his name—it’s not really part of his sense of identity. (And, in case he’s reading, I hope he’ll do a guest post about that soon!)
At some point, we all wonder about our heritage. Sharing surname history with kids not only educates them, but also spares them having to make it up. Before I knew anything about genealogy, I already imagined what my ancestors were like. Exposed to too many commercials, having a vivid imagination and a tenuous grasp on history, I assumed that the early Wilkinsons were barbers to British royalty.
When it comes to the Hedgecock name, I’m giving practicing what I preach a shot. I keep trying to instill a sense of pride in the name despite the “cock” part. I’m impressed by their progenitors. It was a name born by early immigrants, settlers and pioneers. It’s also a family that had an imexplicable (to me) wont to change the spelling of their surname—Hitchcocks to Hedgecocks, Hedgcocks and Hedgecoks.
In the 1850’s, my husband’s line of Hedgecocks were part of a group of that left temperate North Carolina, where they already owned land, to homestead in abolitionist territories. This fills my imagination! How hard did this decision fall them? How much discussion—and disagreement—was there between families? I wonder what the cost of this decision was between the Hedgecocks that left and the Hedgecock’s that stayed. It wasn’t like you could just call people up and have a nice chat over the phone to smooth things over.
The name also seems synonymous with work ethic, at least from my research. There may be a slackard or two in the bunch, but they would be the exception. Farm folks became homesteaders—not an easy feat in Nebraska on acreage with no trees! They built homes, churches, and communities…
But you get my point. Whatever your moniker, share your surname history!