Friday, December 10


Austin Burgess Higgins. So much name for someone so little -- an infant only a little more than three days old and just tipping the scales at a mere 7+ pounds.
He's hardly ready to enter law school, run for office or become a judge! My goodness, the little man's name could just as easily be a law firm: Austin, Burgess & Higgins. Indeed, so much name for this little bundle of joy to wield about.

But what does the name mean, apart from heralding the fact that this baby boy's first name is his Grandpa Higgins' middle name (and his Great Grandpa Cotie's first name); and that his middle name was his Grandpa Davis' first name?

The name Austin is Latin for "majestic dignity."

The name Burgess is Celtic for "citizen."

The name Higgins is Irish through and through, and is derived from native Gaelic Septs, who adopted it as the Anglicized version of their name. Indeed, the name Higgins is an ancient one and has been given two historical meanings. The first is "knowledge"; the second is "viking." The Higgins' clan eventually occupied what are today the counties of Sligo and Mayo in Ireland. Even today, the name Higgins is among the 100 most commonly found in all of Ireland.

As the story goes in our family, Patrick James O'Higgins (resided in Ireland) gave birth to James Patrick O'Higgins, who subsequently migrated to America. Once here and once married, his German wife prevailed upon him to drop the "O" and for reasons that are not clear. James Patrick Higgins (with the "O" no longer in his name) gave birth to Bernard William Higgins. Bernard William Higgins gave birth to Bernard William Higgins, Jr. (the writer's father). Bernard William Higgins, Jr. gave birth to Bernard Austin Higgins (the writer). Bernard Austin Higgins gave birth to Joseph William Higgins (the writer's youngest son). And now (drum roll, please) Joseph William Higgins has given birth to his firstborn, Austin Burgess Higgins.

Interesting, it is, that the name Higgins means "viking." Young Austin's mother, Krissy, is first generation American. Her mother, Hilda, is from Iceland. She was born to Jon Sig Gudmundsson, Sr. and Sesselja Gudmundsson. The Vikings discovered "The Land of Fire and Ice" -- Iceland -- in about 860 AD. Predating their arrival was the arrival of Irish monks. The monks fled the country after the arrival of the Vikings, who themselves were fleeing the harsh, oppressive rule of the Norwegian king, Haraldur Harfagri. The Vikings were a fearsome people, but also a keenly intelligent civilization. Indeed, the Vikings established in Iceland in 930 AD what is regarded to be the world's oldest parliament -- the Alpingi -- as well as a constitutional code designed to secure peace and stability throughout the land. In around 1000 AD the Vikings of Iceland were converted to Christianity.

Which all comes to suggest that our newest lad in the family, Austin Burgess Higgins, is predominantly of Irish and Viking stock.