Personal Names

People receive their names according to a number of social conventions. Often those conventions reflect regional differences. Biblical names and names derived from classical Greek and Roman history, for example, have remained somewhat more popular in Appalachia than other parts of the country. Appalachian people rely more on using double names like Billy Joe or Sarah Jane to distinguish among individuals with identical first and last names. Nicknames based on personal characteristics like “Big Joe” or “Little Billy” are often assigned in Appalachia to identify people with similar names. Interestingly, more Appalachian men are called by their middle names than in other parts of the country, and some children are referred to by a parent’s name, such as William’s Tommy.

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