Wednesday, August 4, 2021

52 Ancestors - FAVORITE NAME: Hail to the Red, White and Blue

Decades following the birth of the United States, names honoring our heroes and places became popular. That is why we see so many boys named Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and even Fayette for Lafayette.

from wikimedia commons

Several women in my family carry patriotic names too. One is America Mallory. On November 14, 1833 she became the second of three wives of Leland Frazier, brother of my 3X great-grandmother Nancy Frazier Shiflett.

America and Leland had several children together but one daughter always stands out because of her patriotic name: Columbia. I can’t help thinking the choice was intentional for its patriotic associations. From the 18th century, “Columbia” has been used to personify the United States, often as a patriotic figure draped with a flag.

At the time of the American Revolution “Columbia” was a poetic name for the “colonies in the New World,” a nod to Christopher Columbus. Following independence, the name Columbia was assigned to many towns and institutions. Kings College in New York City was renamed Columbia College, now Columbia University. The area that became the seat of our national government became the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, and Connecticut all have a town or county named Columbia. South Carolina named its capitol city Columbia. Savannah, Georgia boasts a square called Columbia.

1890s political cartoon in which 
Columbia reaches out to the oppressed Cuba
(wikimedia commons)

In modern times the name has been applied widely from Columbia Records and Columbia Broadcasting System to the Apollo 11 command module and a space shuttle.

America and Columbia – those are two grand names that need to make a come-back.

World War 1 rercruitment poster
Uncle Sam isn't the only one
who wants you!
(wikimedia commons)

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. And somehow the goddess on top of the US Capitol building is Columbia as well.

  2. Love these patriotic names in the family!

  3. I heard recently about a woman who immigrated and became an American citizen and changed her name to America.