Generations of Susan
The writer of the email said we were related. John and Susannah HETHERTON were our GG and GGG Grandparents. I’d never heard the name HETHERTON mentioned in any family story. It turns out they were bounty immigrants from Ireland who came to Australia in 1841 and were on my Mother’s, Mother’s side – the largely hidden maiden side itching to be discovered. But it wasn’t the ‘HETHERTON’ name that intrigued me most it was the name ‘Susannah’. It was my name – an elongated version.
I felt instantly connected to this Susannah and had strong and strange imaginings about her. What did she look like? What sort of a person was she? Am I like her in any way? Would I like her? Would she like me?
I knew I was named after my Mother’s Grandmother, Susan and her Great Grandmother, Elizabeth. What I didn’t know was that Susan was Susannah’s Granddaughter and Elizabeth was Susannah’s daughter. So, my connection to Susannah HETHERTON now felt more like a bond. A bond that grew stronger when I saw on Susannah’s death certificate that her mother was also named Susannah. How far back do our Susannah’s go? She was named after her Mother who was probably named after her Mother or Grandmother and so on, back through the centuries. How I would love to know all these Susannah’s.
Even without going back, links kept emerging. Susan is a Hebrew name for ‘Lily’, my maternal Grandmother’s name. Did her Mother, Susan, know this when she named her first daughter? One cousin named her first daughter ‘Lily’ after our Grandmother without knowing that she was continuing the ‘Susan’ tradition. But a real ‘Oh Susannah’ moment came when I told another cousin about the ‘Susan’ linkage going back through the generations and was told his daughter’s middle name was “Susanna” a name that was chosen out of the blue. But was it? Strange things seem to happen when your ancestors ‘call’ you and you probably don’t even know it.