Family Mystery: Solved!

In every family tree there are squirrelly branches. There are stories, legends, secrets, and it’s hard to tell what is real and what was exaggerated for the sake of a better story. For me, one of those stories was the reputed last name of my great grandfather. My father’s, mother’s father’s last name was Delpino, but he had been adopted by his step father. According to family legend, his biological father was Polish and their last name was “Shibbiwubbish.”

Helen Garvey Performing at Assumption School Minstral
My grandmother, Helen Garvey, singing at the Assumption School

As kids, we found this name hilarious, but as I got older I thought this couldn’t possibly be true. It had to be some sort of whisper-down-the-lane situation where the actual name had been modified across four generations. I became so convinced of its inaccuracy I stopped telling the story and forgot about it.

My Aunt Peggy on my mom’s side is a genealogical genie. She’s worked for years on mapping out their extensive family history across the world and has now branched out to other parts of the family, like my Dad’s. A few weeks ago, Aunt Peggy was in town reviewing the 1920 census records and interviewing people. I asked her about the name and she gave me the spelling: Przybylowicz

Przybylowicz didn’t seem anywhere close to the family legend. My mom and I discussed how to find out the actual pronunciation and luckily, I work with a guy from Poland named Andrzej Borysewicz. Without telling him any backstory, I showed him the name and asked him how to pronounce it.

Here is the result:

!!! I couldn’t believe how close the passed down pronunciation was! Phonetically it’s something like “Shi-bee-WO-vich.”

Owen Ryker Garvey

I’m a dad. Again!

Owen Ryker Garvey was born on September 18th, 2009 at 2:39PM. He was 7lbs, 12oz, 20″ long, and a great addition to our family.

Isn't he cute?
Isn't he cute?

He’s named after a character in the John Irving novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany. It’s Jeanne’s favorite book and I liked it a lot as well. I definitely liked the name. We sweated the middle name for months and finally settled on Ryker. Some other candidates were Issac and Elias. I hope he likes it!

Naming someone is freaking hard. My wife says I overthink it, but sometimes I feel like giving someone a name is like letting someone else pick our your tattoo. He’s the one who has to live with it for the rest of his life. What’s in a name? Sure you can say that, but I think we all have been influenced by someone’s interesting, odd, or boring name.

Jeanne and Owen are both doing great and we’re settling in at home. So far Sasha has been great with him. I’m headed back to work tomorrow.

People always say the day their kids are born is the greatest day of their lives. I think they are insane or kidding themselves. Even if everything goes 100% well, it’s an immensely stressful and uncomfortable day. For me the best day is when we’re all home and everyone is doing great. Like today.