Sunday, December 30, 2018

Six Days In . . .

...and I've already lost my way.

I can see why the urge to celebrate all twelve days of Christmas has waned—amend that: waned over the centuries. When I looked up the designation for today, the Sixth Day of Christmas, I had to ask, "Who?" The only explanation on the website I'm using as my guide was:
Day 6 (30th December): St. Egwin of Worcester.

Like I said: Who?

It wasn't easy to find an answer. For one thing, poor Egwin lived during a time period when spelling wasn't all that big a deal, apparently. He was also known as Egwin of Evesham. Or Ecgwin, Ecgwine, Eegwine, Egvino, or Egwinus. Take your pick.

His claim to a spot on the Christmastide calendar seems to have been based upon the fact that he died on December 30. In 717. Of natural causes.

Not too much oomph on celebration-worthy status. While the saint was apparently strict—so much so that he irritated some of his superiors—and certainly willing to suffer, at least on a pilgrimage to Rome, traveling with his feet voluntarily locked in shackles, his was a life of diligent work as bishop, where he became known as a protector of orphans and widows. Oh—and he founded the Benedictine monastery of Evesham, England.

The distant timeframe of the saint's life may be one reason why the story doesn't still resonate with any but the most dedicated of worshipers (or fans of medieval history, perhaps). We may remember vividly when a famous person in our own lifetime died—how many people, after all these years, still recount just where they were and what they were doing at the time of the news flash about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? But someone in another millennium? His may have been a noteworthy life—Egwin was, after all, designated a saint—but his story is so lost to folks in our generation. We may have many relatives named John for Saint John, but how many Egwins are in your family tree?

That made me go take a look. Today, after all, is the day I usually reserve for counting my research progress. Out of the 16,448 people in my mother's tree—the largest of all the trees I research for my extended family—I have (count it, now) a big total of zero people who can boast being named after Saint Egwin.

Granted, my mother's line wasn't very Catholic (except for the few distant relatives in recent years who converted for the sake of their proposed marriage), so let's take a look at the second largest tree in my collection, that of my Catholic-born mother-in-law. There, amidst the 15,816 in her tree, one would expect to spot at least one Egwin. However, there are no more and no less than in my mother's white-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant tree. And you know that, among the 1,514 in my Irish-American father-in-law's tree, there won't be any Egwins; certainly not any in my Polish-American father's tree (though I'd find it doubtful to find any in so small a tree as his count of 516).

It's not for lack of trying that I don't show any Egwin namesakes. In the past two weeks, I've added 130 names to my mom's tree. Not as many as my usual breakneck speed, but hey, it's been Christmas. I still have six more days to celebrate, remember?


  1. All it will take is for a Kardashian to name a baby and Egwine's will be popping up everywhere LOL. I will admit that I have never heard of him.

  2. No Egwins here either that I know of. Aloha...warm

    1. Ah! I see you made it to paradise! Wonderful. And I doubt you'd find any Egwins there, either ;)


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