“Favorite Name” is this week’s prompt, and again, there are so many! My Heginbothams from Cheshire, England, win for favorite surname, and I do like that spelling more than some of the other variations (Higginbotham, Higinbotham, Hickenbotham, Higginbottom, Heginboth, and more). My family’s forenames are rather dull, with lots of Williams and Elizabeths (or Williams who married Elizabeths). “Hyman” was a good one, and “Jabez,” and my father’s middle name is Cleopheus, named for a long-dead uncle.
But my favorite name, and one of my favorite ancestors, is Green Thach, my sixth-great grandfather. He was born before 1738 in Chowan County, North Carolina, to John Thach and what was probably his first wife. He had to be at least 16 years old when he served in the Chowan County, NC Militia, his name appearing on “A list of men lately commanded by Capt. James Farlee, Deceased, taken the 25th day of Novr., 1754.” As another testament of age, Green witnessed his father’s sale of land in Chowan on 23 Jan. 1758, an activity for which he had to be at least twenty-one. Accordingly, Green was probably John’s oldest child and if not oldest, his second behind Green’s sister Ann. Since John didn’t marry Sarah Standin until 17 April 1748, Green and Ann (and their sister Mary) had a different mother.
But where did his name come from? Green isn’t your average forename, though it was a common and widespread English surname, and there were a few Green families in Chowan County at the time he was born. It’s possible he was named for a relative or neighbor, but as of yet, I haven’t found evidence in probate or other records with any clues.
His last name, though, is another story. Family and local legend has it that the Edward Teach, aka the pirate Blackbeard, had a child by his young wife, Mary Ormond, not far from where Green’s family lived. His father John may have been that child. Or he may not – who knows? Thach and its variant spellings of Thatch, Theach, and Teach, were found only in the Albemarle Sound area of North Carolina in the 1700’s, so at the very least, it’s likely that all or most of them were related to each other if not to Blackbeard!