My Father’s Namesake

I have often teased my father, Lewis John Hadden (pictured right), about allowing me to be named after my mother’s favourite uncle, Gerald Foley, from whom I get my middle name, only to find out that Uncle Gerald’s name wasn’t Gerald. He was born Louis (after his maternal grandfather) Fitzgerald (his mother’s maiden name) Foley. It seems he preferred to go by a part of his middle name, ‘Gerald’, and it stuck throughout his life.

This conversation about naming had led to my father explaining that he had been told that he was named after an uncle of his named Lewis. Having studied the family for more than 30 years, I knew there was no uncle named Lewis but thought it best not to challenge the myth. But it is now a myth no more!

Some days ago, I recounted the information that I had gleaned from the newly released 1911 Scottish Census. In particular, I noted “Sadly, Jessie also reported that she had given birth to four children but that only three were still alive. I have no idea as to who this fourth child might as the only known child death in the family was Hilda who was born in 1914 and died in 1917.” I noted as well the need for further research to figure this part of the story out.

So, I did some more research and I found the missing child, a child that I quite frankly had never heard mentioned in any family story but whom appears to be my father’s namesake, just as he had always been told. Lewis James McKenzie Hadden was born on 17 April 1908 at 771 Great Northern Road, Woodside, Aberdeenshire. Lewis was the third son of Alexander Shand Hadden and his wife Jessie Hadden (nee Gaull). One week before his first birthday, Lewis lost a short battle with capitis and died at the only home he had known, 771 Great Northern Road, Woodside, Aberdeenshire. His grandfather and Jessie’s father, John Gaull registered his death on April 12th, 1909.

My father was the first grandchild for Alexander and Jessie and it appears that his father, John Gaull Hadden, named him Lewis to honour his brother’s memory and John after himself. After all these years, Uncle Lewis has been found at last!

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