HINXMAN Personal Names
Naming Practices, with HINXMAN examples

This page provides an overview of common naming practices, each with HINXMAN examples.  The aims are to provide some historical background, as well informing the choice of names for modern babies of HINXMANs and their descendants.  On this page only, for the sake of clarity, the names of family branches are in italics and bold.

Personal names are often selected with great care, and reflect the interests and attitudes of the parents.  The key influences in choosing personal names – including middle names – are Tradition, Esteem, and Fashion.  Some personal names combine several aspects of these, creating multiple layers of allusions and meaning.

Henxman Names

The oldest personal names associated with the family are those of the mediaeval Henxmen.  One of these – we do not know which – undoubtedly founded our family, and his job title later became our family surname.  Of them all, the best known in modern times is Edward Henxman, alias Le Henchman (c.1519->1549).  He was the only Henxman who received a grant of arms while in post, which may be why his name has been used across all branches of the family. 

HINXMAN example:  Edward HINXMAN (c.1635->1660), of the West Dean branch, married Joanne ROE (<1640->1661).  Their son was also named Edward HINXMAN (1661->1697).  The latter’s son was Joseph HINXMAN (1698-1783), and for ease of reference he and his descendants are identified on this website as the Salisbury branch.  Joseph’s eldest son was named Edward HINXMAN (1739-1807).  This Edward in turn named his eldest son Edward HINXMAN (1779-1855) - illustrated here - and the latter’s firstborn son was also called Edward HINXMAN (1810-1896).

This sequence of Edwards could have resulted purely from naming boys after their father or grandfather.  But this upwardly mobile branch also claimed Edward Henxman’s coat of arms, by right of descent.  This was possibly true, although no proof has been found so far to validate this claim.  So the Edward names may have been a deliberate reference to this prestigious Henxman, perhaps to support the rising social status of this branch.

Illustration 1:  Edward HINXMAN (1810-1896).  Circa 1811.  For picture details, see footnote.

Traditional Names
Many traditional personal names remain in use today. 

HINXMAN example:  For many centuries until the 1950s, ‘John’ was the most popular male English personal name and it is still used.  For instance, the name has occurred at least 6 times in the London branch of the HINXMAN family, since the birth of John HINXMAN (c.1777-1856).  His eldest son was John Robert HINXMAN (1811-1855).  He named 2 sons after himself: Robert HINXMAN (1839-1904) and John HINXMAN (1845-1849).  Both of these died childless, but a brother of theirs named his son John Henry HINXMAN – although he seems to have called himself John Robert HINXMAN (1880-1964), probably after his grandfather.  The name of John still exists in this branch today.

Male Names
Male names tend to be linked more to the traditions of the surname family, as these typically follow the male line.  Sometimes male names even offer a clue as to which branch of the family they belong.

HINXMAN example:  The name of ‘Thomas’ has been associated with the HINXMAN family since circa 1636, with at least 17 Thomas HINXMANs known to have existed so far.  However, the distribution across the branches is far from even.  The Titchfield branch has produced 8; of which 7 were named in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The Andover branch produced 4, again in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The West Dean branch also named 4, but with 3 in the 19th century.  Barton Stacey produced only 1, in the 18th century, while the London branch produced none at all – so there is considerable variation.

Female Names

Female names tend to vary more widely.  This is because in each generation new maternal lines join the family, bringing their own different traditions with them. 

HINXMAN example:  An unusual personal name was brought into the family by Delitia EKINS (1784-1848), illustrated here, who in 1808 married Edward HINXMAN (1779-1855) of the Salisbury branch.  Her firstborn child was named Delitia HINXMAN (1809-1895) after her, and a great-niece was named after her in turn: Delitia Mary HINXMAN (1902-1992). 

The name survived in the family for 208 years in total (including a break of 7 years), but died out in 1992 because the last holder was also the last surviving HINXMAN of this branch.

Illustration 2:  Delitia HINXMAN née EKINS (1784-1848).  Circa 1811.  For picture details, see footnote.

Personal names often come with a ready-made informal nickname as well, offering two names from one choice.  Some popular names have multiple nicknames, to differentiate between people of the same name.  So parents also need to consider the nickname implications of any proposed ‘formal’ names.  Sometimes a common nickname is given as the formal name, but this can still cause problems if the nickname is popular too.

HINXMAN example:  The name of ‘Elizabeth’ has long been popular.  Common nicknames for Elizabeth include Eliza, Liza, Liz, Beth, Bess, Bessie, and Betsy.  For instance, Thomas HINXMAN (1833-1894), of the West Dean branch, must have felt surrounded by Elizabeths.  He had a younger sister called Elizabeth HINXMAN (c.1839-1907).  In 1858 he married Elizabeth HARRISON (1837-1875), and they named a daughter Bessie HINXMAN (1872-1953) – which must have seemed sensible at the time.  But this was soon complicated by another sister, who produced a daughter called Bessie SARGENT (1875-1???).  After his first wife died, Thomas married again in 1878 to Elizabeth BRAZIER (1843-1919).  Soon afterwards he gained another niece, named Elizabeth Sarah HINXMAN (1881-1910).  Different nicknames must have been essential in this family.

Naming Firstborns
There was a strong and widespread historical tradition, of naming firstborn children of each gender after their respective parents.  This used to be a significant method whereby naming traditions were passed down, although it is much less common now.  However, failure of descendants to survive could lead to loss of the name.

HINXMAN example:  In 1723, William HINXMAN (c.1698-1731), of the Barton Stacey branch, married Elizabeth WILKINS (c.1702->1730).  Their eldest son was baptised William HINXMAN (c.1724-1729) after his father, and their eldest daughter was baptised Elizabeth HINXMAN (c.1727-1728) after her mother.  Sadly, the early deaths of both children prevented their names being passed further down the family line.

Same Name Sequences
If the firstborn children survived, this could result in several generations bearing the same name.

HINXMAN example:  In 1610, Joseph HINXMAN (c.1585->1626) of the Andover branch married Elenor BLAKE (<1589-1657), and their eldest son was baptised Joseph HINXMAN (c.1611-1691).  He had a son called Joseph HINXMAN (c.1655-1690), who in turn also had a son Joseph HINXMAN (c.1676-1739).  Next in line was Joseph HINXMAN (1701-1764), illustrated here, followed by Joseph HINXMAN (1752-1783). 

The latter died without issue, thus ending this continuous sequence of six eldest sons, all bearing the same name – a nightmare for family historians to disentangle!

Illustration 3:  Joseph HINXMAN (1701-1764).  Circa 1730.  For picture details, see footnote.

Parents often give personal names to celebrate other people, who may be held in high regard for a variety of reasons.

Other Relatives
Personal names are often chosen to mirror those of other close or well-regarded relatives – not just the parents.

HINXMAN example:  In 1831 Charles HINXMAN (c.1808-1875), of the West Dean branch, married Sarah TUBB (1812-1894).  They both possessed brothers they liked, who were both called George: George HINXMAN (c.1814-1874), and George TUBB (1815-1887).  They therefore named one of their sons George HINXMAN (c.1836-1912), after his two uncles.  This George in turn later had a grandson, who was named after his grandfather: George HINXMAN (1890-1894).

More subtly, personal names can be chosen to create the same initials as someone else.

HINXMAN example:  The names of Derek Ernest HINXMAN (1924-1981), of the Titchfield branch, were chosen to form the same initials – DEH – as his mother, Doris Evelyn HINXMAN née DOWLING (1899-1972).


Sometimes godparents are honoured in this way too, to thank them for their friendship and commitment.

HINXMAN example:  In circa 1767, Jacob HINXMAN (c.1722-1774) of the Barton Stacey branch (whose charity board is illustrated here) married Ann COURTNEY (17??-1801).  In the same year, his brother-in-law John COURTNEY (c.1745->1774) married Betty CHILDS (c.1774->1774), and the two couples became good friends. 

When John and Betty’s son was born, Jacob agreed to be his godfather – so they named the baby Jacob Hinxman COURTNEY (c.1768-1803) after him. 

This distinctive name was repeated for the latter’s nephew, the second Jacob Hinxman COURTNEY (c.1812-1880). 

His grandson, the third Jacob Hinxman COURTNEY (1866-1931), also received the same name, but it has not been used again since.

Illustration 4:  Charity Board of Jacob HINXMAN (c.1722-1744).  Circa 1744.  For picture details, see footnote.

Death of a Child
Sometimes a child suffered an unfortunately early death – a common occurrence up to the mid-20th century. 

The parents typically responded to this situation in one of two ways, with regard to naming their subsequent children, and each is described below.

Re-Using a Name
Some parents, especially where the child’s death was at a young age, chose to commemorate the lost child, and perpetuate the name, by giving the same name to a later offspring.  This phenomenon, of parents bearing two children with the same name, was surprisingly common and can cause confusion in family trees. 

HINXMAN example:  In 1726 Thomas HINXMAN (c.1701-1744), of the Andover branch, married Naomi WOODFORD (c.1705->1732).  Their first son was named Joseph HINXMAN (1729-1729), but he died on the day he was born.  Three years later they had another boy, and he was given the same name: Joseph HINXMAN (c.1731-1783), in memory of his deceased brother.

Avoiding a Name

Other parents and descendants deliberately avoided using the same name again.  This could be because they saw the lost child as unique and irreplaceable, or because of painful memories, or due to superstitions of bad luck attached to the name.

HINXMAN example:  The name ‘Richard’ has been traditional in the Titchfield branch since the birth of Richard HINXMAN (c.1688-1726).  His name was apparently introduced into the family to honour his maternal uncle Richard MARSH (c.1664-1692).  A succession of Richards followed, but the seventh Richard HINXMAN (1828-1844), died of TB at 16 years of age.  His name was not used again for more than 100 years, until the family’s memory of his sad decline and death had faded away. 

The tradition re-started with the eighth Richard HINXMAN (1951-), who was named after the sixth Richard HINXMAN (c.1786-1834), illustrated here.  The latter was a well-known Hampshire farmer and agitator for Parliamentary reform, and is a significant ancestor of this branch.

Illustration 5: 
Richard HINXMAN (c.1786-1834).  1816.
  For picture details, see footnote.

Famous Names
Some personal names are given to celebrate famous people.

HINXMAN example:  In 1850 Charles HINXMAN (1811-1903), of the Salisbury branch, married Emmeline FISHER (1825-1864).  Emmeline’s mother was a first cousin of William WORDSWORTH (1770-1850), the famous Poet Laureate, and Emmeline herself became a successful, published poet, whose work was praised by WORDSWORTH.  When Charles and Emmeline had a son, they decided to commemorate their famous relative, who had encouraged Emmeline’s creativity, but who had recently died.  So they named their boy Lionel Wordsworth HINXMAN (1855-1936).

Fashionable Names

First names began to vary much more from Victorian times onwards, and became much more influenced by fashion and famous people.

HINXMAN example:  Albert, Prince Consort (1819-1861), was much respected and his death in 1861 was deeply mourned by Queen Victoria and the nation.  The name of ‘Albert’ therefore became very popular during the later Victorian era, as a mark of respect to the Queen and her husband. 

In the West Dean branch there were Albert 'Albie' William HINXMAN (1875-1947) illustrated here, Albert Frederick HINXMAN (1878-1885), Albert Victor HINXMAN (1889-1918), and Albert William HINXMAN (1899-1918), all named within 25 years.  This was in addition to at least 9 more Alberts in families related to this branch. 

But the name dropped out of fashion after Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, and it has not yet occurred again within this branch.

Illustration 6:  Albert 'Albie' William HINXMAN (1875-1947).  1915.  For picture details, see footnote.

Dated Names
A drawback of fashionable names is that they also go out of fashion.  A useful rule of thumb is that names which grow rapidly in popularity, will also lose that popularity just as quickly.  They can then become very dated, even within the owner’s lifetime – and a potential embarrassment to the owner.

HINXMAN example:  The female name ‘Christian’ was popular for a while, during the Puritan era in the 17th century. 

In about 1635, Joseph HINXMAN (c.1611-1691) of the Andover branch married Christian HARRISON (c.1615-1689).   Their eldest daughter was named Christian HINXMAN (1636-1???), after her mother.   She in turn had a niece named Christian HINXMAN (c.1683-1???), who herself had a niece also named Christian HINXMAN (1709-1710), making four generations in all.  But the latter’s infant death, combined with her name already becoming old-fashioned, meant that the name was never used by the family again.

Timeless Names
Names occurring over a long period (whether common, or uncommon) tend to lose their popularity slowly.  They are relatively timeless, and least likely to become outdated.

HINXMAN example:  The name of Katherine/Katharine/Catherine has been popular for centuries.  The earliest known HINXMAN example is Katherine HINXMAN (c.1712->1765), of the Andover branch.  More recently, one of the last HINXMANs from the now extinct Salisbury branch was Katherine ‘Kitty’ Demain HINXMAN (1904-1980).   In every intervening century there have been examples of this name amongst the HINXMAN family and their relatives – and there are some alive and well now.

Additional personal names are little used in everyday life.  But as the population has grown, middle names have been used increasingly to create distinctive name combinations – as well as offering additional opportunities to reflect tradition, esteem or fashion.

Middle Names from Relatives
Middle names are often used to celebrate a parent or grandparent.

HINXMAN example:  James HINXMAN (c.1835-1927), of the West Dean branch, married Maria BRITTAN (c.1835-1908) in 1859.  Their only son, Ernest James HINXMAN (1871-1957), was given the middle name of James for his father.   He in turn married Eliza Amelia LANGTON (1875-1957) in 1899, and their son was named Ernest Robert James HINXMAN (1900-1962).  Each of his personal names commemorated a close relative: the Ernest was for his father; the Robert for his maternal grandfather Robert LANGTON (1854-193?); and James for his paternal grandfather.

Surnames as Personal Names
Other surnames are sometimes adopted as personal names, usually as middle names.  These are usually to celebrate a family connection – such as godparents or the mother’s maiden name.  The latter is particularly common in Scotland and northern England.

HINXMAN example:  In 1843, Henry James HINXMAN (c.1814-1865) of the London branch married Betsy Thornes HAMER (c.1819-1879) – the daughter of a wealthy Lancashire cotton manufacturer.  Their second son, Edward Hamer HINXMAN (1849-1892) was given his mother’s surname as a middle name.  His own eldest son was in turn given the name of Ernest Hamer HINXMAN (1882-1953), thus perpetuating the Hamer middle name as well as his father’s initials.  Although he never married or had children, his name – including the Hamer middle name – was further copied (with a slight change of spelling) for his nephew Ernest Haymer HINXMAN (1926-2009).

Hinxman as a Personal Name
Several other families have celebrated their HINXMAN connections too, by adopting Hinxman as a middle name for their children.

HINXMAN example:  In 1854, James HINXMAN (1826-1871) of the Titchfield branch married Martha ‘Patty’ SPENCER (1832-1874).  Their daughter Ada HINXMAN (1865-1916) in turn married Thomas E. SPENCER (1854-1936), a distant cousin on her mother’s side.  The eldest son of the latter couple, Edwin ‘Eddie’ Hinxman SPENCER (1896-1977), was given his middle name to celebrate this unusual, double, SPENCER-HINXMAN marriage connection.

Illustration 7:  Thomas SPENCER - Ada HINXMAN Marriage Announcement.  1893.  For picture details, see footnote.

Single Personal Name
Middle names are a relatively modern phenomenon.  For many generations, most people had only one personal name, and in some lines this tradition still continues.

HINXMAN example:  The Titchfield branch had a strong tradition of single personal names.  This was an absolute rule until 1814, when Jane Amy HINXMAN (1814-1821) became the first in this branch to receive a middle name.  Even since then, some lines have largely continued the tradition to the present day.  This has become a distinctive feature, as middle names are now common elsewhere.  The use of a single personal name appears to be on the grounds that the surname is sufficiently unusual to avoid the need for further identifiers - which in itself is something quite special.

Next . . .
  • Click on Henxmen Names to see the personal names of mediaeval Henxmen.
  • Click on Branches to access information about branches of the HINXMAN family, including their specific naming traditions.
Webpage version 2018.1.  First version 2015.
Webpage copyright © Richard HINXMAN, 2015.


1.  Edward HINXMAN (1810-1896)
Detail from a family group portrait.  Pastels.  Unknown artist, possibly a family member.  Circa 1811.  Delitia HINXMAN & Children.  Private collection.  Public domain.  See Terms of Use.

2.  Delitia HINXMAN née EKINS (1784-1848)
Detail from a family group portrait.  Pastels.  Unknown artist, possibly a family member.  Circa 1811.  Delitia HINXMAN & Children.  Private collection.  Public domain.  See Terms of Use.

3.  Joseph HINXMAN (1701-1764)
Detail from a miniature.  Enamels.  Christian Friedrich ZINCKE (c.1684-1767).  Circa 1730.  Joseph HINXMAN.  Private collection.  Public domain.  See Terms of Use.

4.  Charity Board of Jacob HINXMAN (c.1722-1744)
Painted notice board.  Creator unknown.  Circa 1744.  Charity Board detailing the charitable legacy of Jacob HINXMAN, left in his Will of 06 Aug 1744.  All Saints Church, Barton Stacey, Andover, Hampshire, England.  Public domain.  See Terms of Use.

5.  Richard HINXMAN (c.1786-1834)
Detail from family group portrait.  Watercolour, plus pen and coloured inks, on card.  Adam BUCK (1759-1833).  1816.  Richard HINXMAN & Family.  London, England.  Private collection.  Public domain.  See Terms of Use.

6.  Albert 'Albie' William HINXMAN (1875-1947)
Photocopy of a monochrome photographic portrait, reproduced in a newspaper article.  Unattributed.  10 Jul 1915.  Pte. A. W. HINXMAN, Royal Army Medical Corps (motor driver).  Sons of Mr. & Mrs. E. HINXMAN, 32, South Street, Caversham (7 in Army and 1 in Police Force).  Reading Standard.  Reading, Berkshire, England.  Collection of Richard HINXMAN.  Public domain.  See Terms of Use.

7.  Thomas E. SPENCER (1854-1936) & Ada HINXMAN (1865-1916)
Marriage announcement.  Unknown.  10 Jun 1893.  SPENCER-HINXMAN.  Hampshire Chronicle.  Winchester, Hampshire, England.  Private collection.  Public domain.  See Terms of Use.