Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Coolidge/Coollidge/Coollidg/Cooldige Family of Watertown, MA

Here's some more evidence that gravestone carvers didn't spend too much time worrying about spelling family names consistently. In some ways, it's more surprising to see these inconsistencies in Watertown, MA than in Pomfret, CT because the Watertown carvers were professional, full-time carvers in the Boston market, rather than part-time carvers and masons. According to the plaque on the graveyard fence, these Coolidges are the ancestors of President Calvin Coolidge. Interestingly enough, "Coolidge" among the least common of the four spellings that appear on the Watertown stones. "Coollidge" is a much more common spelling, as seen on the Thomas Coollidge stone (1737). One stone, the Mary Coolidg stone (1700), spells the family name two different ways in the same epitaph:
In some cases, the spelling changes the pronunciation of the name, as on the Priscilla Cooldige stone (1717):

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