52 Ancestors: The Name’s the Same but Different

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

L. to R., Marguerite Noble Furlani, Eileen Furlani, and Eileen Lorraine Gunther Noble

L. to R., Marguerite Noble Furlani, Eileen Furlani, and Lorraine Gunther Noble

My mother had always said I was named after both my grandmothers. My given and middle names are Eileen and Ann. I knew my Dad’s mother was named Anna, so I concurred with that but my mother’s mother was named Lorraine and that always puzzled me.

When I started my research into this family, I discovered to my surprise that I really was named for her. I found my grandmother in the 1900 US census as “Ilene” Gunther. In her application for Social Security, she entered her name as Lorraine Noble but in the block where it requests your full name given at birth, she wrote Eileen Anna Lorraine Gunther.

Lorraine Gunther Noble and her daughter, Lorraine Noble, Philadelphia, PA, abt. 1944

Lorraine Gunther Noble and her daughter, Lorraine Noble, Philadelphia, PA, abt. 1944

Later, I found out the story from my Aunt Lorraine, who was also named after her mother. Apparently, the family wanted to name my grandmother Lorraine, but got the name confused somehow, so it turned out Eileen. My grandmother went by Eileen until she married—from then on, she went by Lorraine.

My grandmother, Eileen Lorraine Gunther, the daughter of Andrew [Andreas] Gunther and Mary Eva (Meisberger) Gunther, was born on 9 October 1897 in Johnson City (originally Brady and later Ranshaw), Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

Lorraine married William J. Noble on 29 June 1917 in Elkton, Cecil County, Maryland. Elkton is the Gretna Green for folks in eastern Pennsylvania, although it would have been quite a trip for someone from Northumberland County.

Photo of Lorraine Noble, date unknown, location unknown

Photo of Lorraine Gunther Noble, date unknown, location unknown

William and Lorraine had three children, Marguerite Furlani (1918 – 1985), William Noble (1923 – 1999), and Lorraine Suder (1931 – 2017). All the children were born in Ranshaw. In 1941, they moved from Coal Township to 5134 Torresdale Avenue in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., Pa. I remember living there with my mother while my father was in the Army. It was during our stay here that my grandfather died.

My grandfather, William, died on 10 September 1945 and a short time after, my grandmother went to live with her son, William, where she lived until her death in 1977. She had broken her arm so the doctor put her in a nursing home in Feasterville, Bucks County, Pa. to recover. It is there that she died on 21 March 1977, at the age of 79. According to her death certificate, she was buried in St. Dominic’s cemetery in Philadelphia, Pa., on 24 March 1977. She is greatly missed.

Both her daughter and granddaughter were named after her, one with her married given name, Lorraine and, one with her maiden given name, Eileen–the name’s the same but different!


The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, initiated by Amy Johnson Crow, is a series of weekly prompts to get you to think about an ancestor and share something about them. The guesswork of “who should I write about” is taken care of. This week’s theme is Same Name.

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3 Responses to 52 Ancestors: The Name’s the Same but Different

  1. Wendy says:

    What a lovely story! I like how the name is the same but different. Clever.

  2. Ellen valli says:

    My mother is named Eileen Mary Payne , here grandmaother was Geraldine Gunther who married Thomas Perry, my name is Ellan Marie named after my grandmother Ellen Mary Payne ,daughter of Geraldine Gunther

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