Subject: Re: Origin and/or Meaning of given name REASON
Author: Cleveland Kent Evans   (Authenticated as clevelandkentevans)
Date: April 26, 2009 at 6:55 AM
Reply to: Origin and/or Meaning of given name REASON by tehoop

Sorry I've been so busy I didn't reply before now.

This is a confusing name. There are a few records of men in England with the first name Reason on Ancestry Library where the name might have had a Puritan background, but that's only one possibility.

In the USA I think it is unlikely that Reason as a male first name is a Puritan "word name", because you don't find early examples of it in New England. It is mostly a Southern name, concentrated in Maryland and the Carolinas. Maryland is the state where early examples are the most concentrated.

There are two possible origins for Reason as a male first name.

First, it could be a surname transfer. Reason is an English surname (probably meaning one's ancestor in medieval times was considered an especially "reasonable" person), and there are examples of the surname Reason in Maryland in early records.

But it also could come from confusing the surname or word with the Biblical name Rezin. Rezin is found in the Old Testament in several places, mostly in references to a particular king of Aram, but also in a couple of genealogy lists in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. According to Who's Who in the Old Testament, it goes back to a Hebrew word that meant "firm".

The problem is that the early records in Maryland and other places go back and forth between listing the same persons as "Reason" in one record and as "Rezin" in another. One can see how the two names being pronounced the same could have easily become confused. So far I haven't been able to figure out which form came first. My guess is that the first man with the name was a Rezin, and that "Reason" was an understandable respelling of it when the name's obscure Biblical origin was forgotten. That seems more likely to me than a name starting out as Reason being confused with the name of rather minor Biblical characters. But at this point that's still just a working hypothesis.

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