Happy Easter, Everyone!
Some of my fondest Easter memories come from celebrating with my grandma, Lillie Mae. Here’s the story behind her maiden name.
The other day while poking around online, I found my uncle’s social security death index record and listed under mother’s maiden name was “Daniel.” But my paternal grandmother’s name was Lillie Mae Daniels, with an “s.” I assumed the informant got it wrong or the recorder dropped the S until, I was chatting with my cousin in Mississippi and she mentioned our grandma.
“I always thought Granny’s maiden name was Daniels, but it’s Daniel,” my cousin said. She was reading from our grandparents’ marriage certificate, tickled over the fact that they were married on Halloween. It’s funny how both of us had somehow absorbed the same erroneous information. Just goes to show the importance of documentation.
Our paternal grandmother, Lillie Mae Daniel was born on August 3, 1909 according to census records. Grandma didn’t have a birth certificate and she always assumed she was a little bit younger (a woman’s prerogative, no?). Her father was Walter Daniel but he and Granny’s mom died when she was just a little baby. We don’t know anything more about the Daniel line and I haven’t been able to find anything more about them – maybe because I was researching the wrong name.
Turns out that Daniels is a variation of the surname Daniel, according to several online sources. From the Hebrew personal name, “Daniel” it means “God is my judge,” after the prophet and eponymous book in the Bible. Daniel has various European roots and is most prominent in France, Australia, USA, the United Kingdom and Hungary according to World Names Profiler.
I wonder how much difference a little letter s can make? I guess I’ll find out as I go forward researching Lillie Mae Daniel, not Daniels and her ancestors.