Monday, April 16, 2012

A to Z April Challenge: N is for Nancy

This is day 14 of the A to Z April Challenge. 

is for Nancy.  On the television sit-com “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Frank Barone calls Raymond “Nancy” when he thinks Raymond is being a sissy.  My sister’s coworkers do not like the name “Nancy” because they view it as a slave name. 

I didn’t know “Nancy” came with such negative connotations.  It’s such a happy-sounding name. 

Everyone knows at least one person named Nancy.   The name enjoyed its peak of popularity from 1930-50 but has been on the decline since.  Yet one in every 407 Americans is named Nancy. 

I have 31 Nancy’s in my database, three of them in my direct line:  a 3rd, 4th, and 6th great-grandmother.
James Jollett and Nancy Anne Walker  (4G grandmother)

àFielding Jollett and Mary Ann Armentrout
àJames Franklin Jollett and Lucy Ann Shiflett
àMary Frances Jollett and Walter Davis
àOrvin Owen Davis and Lucille Rucker
àMary Eleanor Davis and Fred Robert Slade, Jr.
è ME

Burton Shiflett and Nancy Elizabeth Frazier (3G grandmother)

àLucy Ann Shiflett and James Franklin Jollett
àMary Frances Jollett and Walter Davis
àOrvin Owen Davis and Lucille Rucker
àMary Eleanor Davis and Fred Robert Slade, Jr.
è ME

William White and Nancy Chapman (6G grandmother)

àCatherine Caty White and Richard Bruce
àMelinda Bruce and Joshua Shiflett
àIsaac Shiflett and Susan Jordan
àSegourney Shiflett and George Eppard
àMary Sudie Eppard and Joseph Rucker
àLucille Rucker and Orvin Owen Davis
àMary Eleanor Davis and Fred Robert Slade, Jr.
è ME

But the Nancy nearest and dearest to my heart isn’t a family member at all.  It’s Nancy Danielson Taylor, one of my mother’s best friends.  They cheered together in high school.

Nancy Danielson at Cradock High School
Portsmouth, Virginia
about 1945

And they were pals throughout their lives.  We were neighbors, so my sister and I grew up playing with her kids. 

Nancy’s family was famous for their most unusual Christmas tree.  It was a cotton tree.

The Taylors' Christmas tree
They would go to the woods and cut a regular ol’ tree and remove all the leaves, then cover it with cotton.  They used to top it with angel hair too until the year the tree caught fire. 

Nancy was fun and funny.  When she laughed, she snorted, which made everyone laugh all the more. 

For Numerous Nice News and Notes, visit the A to Z April Challenge.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. I'm so glad you included Nancy Taylor. Although I am grateful for our great grandmothers, Nancy Taylor is by far my favorite. She was a ball of fun and she would have us all laughing, no matter what was going on. I still have my red coat she knitted for me. I sure miss her!

  2. I did not know the history of the name Nancy. I always thought it a pretty name, but not an old name until I found it in my family tree way back in 1731. There were 13 Nancy's including my Great Grandmother. Love your 'Favorite Nancy' story. Oh, BTW...Nancy is my Letter 'N', too!

  3. I've known a number of Nancy's in my life including one of my aunts.

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    1. My cousin is named Nanci and my BFF is Nancy. I didn't realize it was so common; I wonder what the stats are for people named Kathy? One in 200? Have a great day!

      Kathy M.