My second cousin, 4 times removed, Permelia [in the list of names I wonder where they came from] Jenks was born 191 years ago in Franklin County, Indiana, on 18 July 1829, to Gideon and Sarah Shaw Jenks.
In the 1950 publication, The Jenks Family of America by William B. Brown, p 251, there seems to be a denial of Permelia’s name as it is recorded as Pamela. Now, the Browne compilation of the family history is a work to be in every descendant genealogist’s library; it is also to be taken with a few grains of salt as there are no source citations in the huge volume. I have been fortunate enough to be in contact with cousins that have supplied me with the information that was submitted to Browne and I know of the inaccuracies in those communications.
I have found Permelia listed multiply in the U.S. Population Census with that spelling. Never once have I seen her listed as Pamela. Her headstone in Conwell Cemetery, Laurel, Franklin, Indiana, is engraved as Permelia. I am going to conclude the name Parmelia was strange 70 years ago when Browne was compiling that history. Of course, the surname was being modified to one of the many versions – Jinks in this case. Cousin Permelia was only 27 when she died on 12 April 1856.
And, with all my cousins names that fall into the What Were They Thinking, I had to Google to see if anything might shed some light:
“From Latin, meaning “by sweetness”. Another form is Parmelia. Some sources give it as a form of Pamela [so the Browne manipulation was not far off]; others as an “American invention”. It appears fairly often in American colonial and 19th century records, but seems to have dropped out of sight in the 20th century.”