Babcock Family Names

The Babcock family has had a penchant for using family names for many years. Alida, Kelsey and Carlile have appeared in the family for many generations. We all like the names, but most of us don't know their history. Alida is the easiest of the names to trace. The first Alida, Alida Livingston Sturges was born August 9, 1846 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the daughter of Charles Edmund Sturges and his wife, Louisa Ewing Sturges. She was the third daughter and seventh child of the eight born to her parents. All the other children have names that can be traced to either the Sturges or the Ewing families; the other girls do not have middle names, so Alida most probably was named for a close family friend. (1989)

In my 1991 book I add the following page: In the previous Babcock Family book I stated that Alida Livingston Sturges Kelsey (1846 - 1929) was probably named for a close family friend. While that might still be true, I have discovered who the first Alida Livingston in this country actually was. In 1679 Robert Livingston married Alida Schuyler Van Rensselaer, the twenty two year old widow of Nicholas Van Rensselaer. He was a newly arrived businessman in Albany, New York. She was an attractive, talented daughter of one of the leading families in the area. Together they managed one of the largest pieces of property in New York state.

In a book about the Livingston family, Clare Brandt describes Alida: she "had naturally been instructed in the traditional womanly skills - sewing, spinning, gardening, preserving and so fort. But Dutch tradition demanded more of its girls: they were also expected to run thrifty households and to take part in the family business. Albany housewives kept stores and taverns; they traded, signed contracts and appeared in court. Robert soon learned that he could rely not only on Alida's skills but also on her good sense; and throughout their long married life he always sought her advice on matters of politics and business. Finally, and indispensably, she refuted the record of her first marriage (it had been childless) by producing ten children, six of whom lived to maturity."

There was a daughter Alida in this generation and at least one in each succeeding generation. Whether our Alida was named for the original and famous Alida Livingston, or for a later Alida is open to speculation. Since we don't know who the parents of Alida's grandmother (Charlotte Griffith (ca 1780 - 1843) might be, but only that they came from New York state, maybe she is actually a relative after all...and a famous one at that!

The name was repeated in the next generation, when Alida and her husband, Percival Gates Kelsey named their first daughter, Alida May Kelsey on September 29, 1874. Alida May Kelsey and her husband, Guilford Carlile Babcock, named their first daughter, Alida Kelsey Babcock on September 1, 1895. This Alida and her husband, James McKay, had two sons, James Marshall
McKay, Jr. and Kelsey Babcock McKay, but did not have a daughter. James Marshall McKay would name his only daughter, Mary Alida.

Guilford and Alida's eldest daughter, Mary, had two children, Guilford Babcock Peters, and Ann Babcock Peters. Ann Babcock Peters and her husband, Henry Clark Thacher named their fourth daughter, Alida McKay Thacher, after her aunt.

Guilford Carlile Babcock, Jr. and his wife, Dorothy Beck Babcock, named their second daughter, Alida Kelsey Babcock on January 16, 1930, and she named her first daughter, Alida Kelsey Croft on April 29, 1963.

The Kelsey name can be used interchangeably, for boys and for girls. It has been used as a middle name in all branches of the family, especially with the name, Ann. Ann Babcock Peters Thacher named their second daughter, Ann Kelsey Thacher on April 16, 1948. Alexandra Babcock Marshall and her husband Robert Wilson Marshall, named their daughter, Ann Kelsey Marshall on July 9, 1951. Guilford Carlile Babcock III and his wife, Gwendolyn Chandler Garland, named their second daughter Ann Kelsey Babcock on March 12, 1963.

As a boy's name it has been used three times so far. Kelsey Babcock was born to Guilford Carlile Babcock and Alida Kelsey Babcock on July 18, 1906. His nephew, Kelsey Babcock McKay, the son of Alida Babcock McKay and James McKay, was born on November 4, 1924. Alida Babcock Croft and her husband, Eugene Lewis Croft named their third son, Kelsey Lochridge Croft on May 27, 1957.

Kelsey Marie Corbett was born to Mary Babcock Nagel Corbett and David Corbett on January 8, 1986.
No one has been able to determine where the names Guilford and Carlile came from. The first Guilford Carlile Babcock, born March 8, 1874, was the tenth child of Henry Oliver Babcock and Mary Houser Babcock. With the three older brothers, Elwood, Morgan and Howard, it is possible to trace two of their names to Mary Houser Babcock's family. Morgan was the surname of her aunt Matilda Fisher's husband, Dr. Daniel Morgan; and since they raised her after she was orphaned, it was not an unusual choice. Elwood came from her uncle Thomas Elwood Fisher, the only boy among the five girls in the Fisher family. The Morgans named their only son, Thomas Elwood Morgan as well. Howard and Guilford are the only names that are untraceable. There have been four other Guilfords: Guilford Carlile Babcock, Jr., born January 6, 1899; his son, Guilford Carlile Babcock III, born April 11, 1931; Mary Babcock Peter's son, Guilford Babcock Peters, born September 13, 1924, and his son, Guilford Joseph Babcock Peters, born October 11, 1950.

The name of Carlile has been used extensively throughout the family: Carlile Babcock Marshall, born April 20, 1949, Alexander Carlile Croft, born August 30, 1958; Scott Carlile Babcock, born August 22, 1960, and John Carlile Babcock, born July 14, 1969. Benjamin Carlile Croft was born in August of 1988.

Henry Oliver Babcock married Mary Elizabeth Houser on June 8, 1848. They would name their second daughter Mary Kate. Guilford Carlile Babcock would name his second daughter Mary Elizabeth Babcock. Ann Babcock Peters Thacher named her first daughter Mary Babcock Thacher on July 20, 1946. Margery Babcock Nagel named her third daughter Mary Babcock Nagel on June 16, 1964.

From the Beck side of the family, there have been several Alexanders. Alexander Beck (1819 to 1884) emigrated to this country in 1828. His great grandson Alexander Beck was born on March 30, 1897. Alexander's great-nephew, Alexander Beck Babcock was born March 18, 1933. His son, Michael Alexander Babcock, was born June 13, 1957; and his grandson, Alexander Loyal Babcock, was born September 28, 1988. Alexander Carlile Croft was born July 30, 1958.

There have been three Margerys: the first Margery Elizabeth Beck, born December 29, 1895; her niece, Margery Elizabeth Babcock, born May 30, 1927; and her great-niece, Margery Beck Nagel, born September 5, 1956.