My great grandmother’s name is Margaret Electa Jerry (nee Cranston) and she has an aunt called Jane Electa Barclay (nee Taylor). I always wondered if this odd name was passed down from a long ago ancestor.
For some reason I thought the name Electa came from the Mulholland side of my tree. I did some research and found a 3 year old Electa Mulholland in the 1861 Census in Beverley Township, Wentworth County, Ontario, Canada. Her parents were George and Jennet Mulholland. She was a twin and her sister was called Celesta. Electa Mulholland married John Morris Peregine on May 19, 1883. She died in 1899.
Further research uncovered an Electa Mulholland born in New York about 1826
She was living in Pennsylvania in the 1880 Federal United States Census. Turns out maiden name was Whitman. Then I found the tombstone Electa Mulholland born about 1800. Her maiden name was Trowbridge. Obviously, it wasn’t just the Mulholland family calling their daughters Electa.
That’s when I decided to google the name Electa. There is a lot of conflicting information surrounding this name. It either comes from Latin and means “selected” or “chosen one” or it is a Greek term meaning “ceaseless” or “amber”. I tried using Google Translate but it wasn’t recognized in Greek and the Latin translation came up as “picks”
It turns the name “Electa” was quite popular in the early years of the New England States which explains why I found it in my loyalist families. I’m quite glad it’s use has been discontinued. It’s a name I don’t like. Thankfully, my ancestors chose it as a middle name.
Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll: C-1086; Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
Ontario Marriage Registrations; Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada). Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1936 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Book Title: George Wightman of Quidnessett, R I , 1632-1721/2, and descendants : Waitman, Weightman, Whiteman; Ancestry.com. North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.