Darwin? Hmm, Darwin.

Ever since learning his name, his full name, I’ve wondered about it. Ezra Darwin Darling. That’s his name, the last born child of Jabez and one of my ancestors.

Little is known about the family. Even the name of Ezra’s father was riddled with confusion for years. It has to do with handwriting, probably a cursive script, and folks misinterpreting it for generations.

Some thought it was Zalig or Jalig. But a cursive z can look like a g. I know firsthand because a kid in elementary school, an odd know-it-all who I still detest, mocked my writing of pizza, declaring that it looked like pigga. Well, the same happened with someone, probably my great gandmother Geneva, jotting down the name Jabez. Maybe it’s a genetic thing.

But, in the end, after meeting up with distant cousins, I was convinced that Jabez was Ezra’s father. In a cafe on the campus of the local community community in Salem, Oregon, she, who lived on the Oregon coast for years, presented a transcribed copy of a probate record for Jabez. It listed every child, including Ezra, with his entire name for posterity, Ezra Darwin Darling.

His middle name, Darwin. What is the story there? How did that come to be?

Today, the name has a different meaning than in 1830, when Ezra was born in Ontario County, New York. Of course it has to do with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.

But Ezra was named long before this. So that got me to digging around.

Wikipedia has the following:

Darwin is a surname that is a modern spelling of the Anglo-Saxon and Old English name Deorwine.



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