So, when last we left this seemingly never-ending search for answers, I had found two names that also occur in our Keene family lore, Shadrach and Tubal.
What I hadn’t found, though, was any direct connection between those two names and Washington E. Keen (my great-great grandfather) or his son, George Augustus Keene (my great-grandfather).
I am fairly certain that Shadrach (born circa 1797) and Washington (born circa 1810) are not father and son. They could possibly be brothers. And, if brothers, then Tubal and Sarah are Washington’s missing parents. But, there is no proof; just proximity.
And, just how does this relate to George Augustus and his rumored name change? According to the family story, George was born in 1833 as Tubal, but changed his name at the young age of 10. Well, there’s that name, Tubal, that we also see as the father of Shadrach. It was very common in early American families to repeat names from generation to generation. Tubal wasn’t a very common name. In fact, there is only one Tubal or Jubal Keen in Massachusetts at this time. So, I think that it might be significant. But, again, no proof.
Now, let’s take a moment to think about George Augustus and his siblings. Why? Because there might be clues in his siblings’ names as to how his parents named their children.
George’s surviving siblings were: Edmond S., Lydia A., and Washington E., Jr. There might have also been another Washington E. Jr. who died at the age of four, years before the surviving Washington Jr. was born.
Do you notice anything? None of those names are what might have been considered old-fashioned in their day. None of those names are Old Testament names like Shadrach, Meshach, Abednigo, or Tubal. Or, Sarah, Rebecca, or Hannah.
No, they are more “refined” if you will: George, Edmond, Lydia, and Washington.
I think it unlikely, but not impossible, that George Augustus’ parents named him Tubal. It just isn’t consistent with the names of the other children in the family.
But, what if his father, Washington, was born as Tubal? After his father??? Hummm…
It’s a theory that nicely ties up some of the family lore into a neat and tidy package. Which rarely happens in family history! So, there is that. But, at this point, until I discover something else, it’s the best I have.