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Written by Anielka
(2/17/2003 4:33 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Very interesting! And a question..., penned by LindyS
] P.S. Thank you for writing such an interesting post.
Philadelphia definitely comes under the heading of "names that prove one is of rather an Important family". But which? that's the trouble with maternal names, unless you are absolutely sure of the lines of descent it's almost impossible to tell. The name was obviously considered important by JA's paternal family as they used it at least three times (Philadelphia Austen-JA's aunt, Philadelphia Walter-JA's half 1st cousin, Philadelphia Stockdale - JA's half 1st cousin twice removed). Have to remember that unusual names signal maternal lines of descent and therefore surnames change.
The first Really Important Philadelphia I can find (and it's a very rare name) is Philadelphia Carey in the 1500s who was descended from a miriad of very important people such as Thomas Boleyn, (Earl of Wiltshire, sister of the unfortunate Queen Anne), Elizabeth Tilney and Thomas Howard (Duke of Norfolk).
The name Philadelphia pops up in various other famillies through time. Maternal lines are hard to trace in peerages so I can't guarantee that they are related but I have found an interesting line of Philadelphias related to the Wickhams and the Westons. Now this is interesting because in have traced nearly all JA's character names to her own family (which is fiendishly difficult because she always used the very-hard-to-trace maternal lines)and I haven't yet linked her to the Wickhams or Westons.
Because JA's mother's family are so well known (related to the Duke of Chandos) they often eclipse her paternal relatives. JA's father George and his sister Philadelphia were grandchildren of Sir George Hampson, 4th Bt. and his wife Mary Coghill. As Philadelphia would have probably been named from her maternal grandmother's family I am willing to bet that Mary Coghill's ancestors hold the answer to why Philadelphia was called Philadelphia. I would be very interested to discover if this line of Philadelphias is the same one as the Wickham/Weston Philadelphias.
Currently I am stuck at Mary Coghill, JA's great-grandmother. I know her father was John Coghill of Blechingden, Oxfordshire and I know Mary gave birth to JA's grandmother Rebecca in about 1697. Mary Coghill had 4 other children, George (5th Bt.) Elizabeth, Jane and Catherine-Margaret (the one who married John Cope Freeman and packed Philadelphia off to India). If anyone knows more about Mary Coghill's ancestors (have lots on her descendents), her mother or John Coghill's parents I would love to know as it may reveal the JA-Wickham/Weston relationship which I haven't yet found in her maternal family.
Thanks for a great question which has set me off on a new line of detective work.
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