Often times while researching, I’m humbled by my lack of knowledge of word roots and naming traditions. Several years ago while working in Azorean records, I came across a name that made my laugh. Geronimo!
I don’t know why, but I really thought this was a Native American name. There is the famous Apache, Geronimo, after all. I never stopped to think where the name might have originated from. His birth name was Goyaale. According to Wikipedia, the name Geronimo was given to him by Mexican soldiers during battle.
According to the Think Baby Names website, Geronimo is of Italian and Greek origin. It means “sacred name”. It has many spelling variations and can start with G, J, or H.
Tonight while doing marriage research in the records for Achada I came across a female named Geronima. I smiled because it reminded of my earlier ignorance. You really do learn something all the time with genealogy!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com