Sunday, April 27, 2008

Meeting the other Kit Ketchum/am

When I first attended a General Assembly, way back in 1995, I proudly wore my nametag emblazoned with my name (this was before I was in seminary) as Kit Ketcham, Jefferson Unitarian Church, Golden, Colorado. It was dripping with all the ribbons that one gets at GA---the green delegate ribbon, the various UUSC honor congregation ribbons, stickers showing support for Green Sanctuary, Welcoming Congregation, and what not.

I was casting glances about the registration lobby, looking for familiar faces and scanning nametags, just like everyone else was. I knew a few folks from the UUA because of having been a semi-finalist for the District Executive job in the Mountain Desert District and there was one particular fellow I had my eye on, to see if we might be, well, you know.

Anyhow, I was scanning, others were scanning, and out of the blue, a couple of folks who were also casing the room looked at my nametag and said, "Kit Ketcham! You're not the Kit Ketcham I know!" And in conversation, it turned out that there is another Kit Ketcham in UU Land. She spells her last name with a -um instead of an -am, but that doesn't matter much because Ketcham is one of those names with several spellings (-am, -em, -um, -im, and even -om, I suppose), and we assume we're all related.

So this piqued my interest. Another Kit Ketch-something, amazing! I had learned that she was a wellknown lay leader in the Twin Cities and I wanted to meet her. This has been a hope of mine for some years now.

Well, guess what! She found Ms. Kitty's the other day and we have been comparing family notes. I had some Ketcham stuff that Joel the Neff had dug up and I sent it to her, while she sent me some stuff.

It looks like we truly are related! Her family roots in England appear to be the same as my family roots in England. Our American ancestors lived in different parts of the country but there are similar names on our family trees.

Isn't this cool?


uumomma said...

Yes, that is so cool. Glad you all found each other.

Masasa said...

Wow! What a fun surprise!

LinguistFriend said...

It is an odd enough name that the chances are good that you are right. It is much harder when family names are limited, as in the Ashkenazic Jewish world, where a name most often tells one an area where a family was established at one time (Berliner, Breslauer, Warschauer) but has limited use for genetic relationship. And sometimes there are ringers; John Shelby Spong thinks his name has something to do with sponges (the word "sponge" is Greek; last night I got through the first 1/3 of his autobiography "Here I Stand" (sic)), but I'd bet that the Scandinavian name Spang is the same name.

ms. kitty said...

It is a very cool surprise, indeed. Several years ago, a young woman attending one of my earlier congregations mentioned that her aunt-by-partnership was also named Kit Ketchum. It turned out that she meant my name-twin. Thank you, Chris, wherever you now are!

Names are an interesting phenomenon, yes. I was once told that Ketcham might mean a KETCH-builder in a HAMlet. Since our roots are English, there's reason to take that seriously.

Miss Kitty said...

OMG! Who would have thought it? That is beyond cool.

Richard said...

Because of my unreasonable procrastination, I was lost but now am found. Do you still have my email address?

Richard Jones

ms. kitty said...

Hi, Richard,
I don't think I do still have it, but I do have a picture! Do you still have my key?

ms. kitty said...

So, Richard, try me at kitketcham at Let's catch up! It's been a few years, hasn't it?