Although I would not have said that Ruhama is my favorite ancestral name, it turns out that I use it for various pseudonyms and handles and have done so for a long time. So I guess it is my favorite! It isn’t that there is a particular and single ancestor who had the name that is a favorite, I just like the name.
A little online research has shown me that Ruhama is a not-too common name and derives from the Hebrew name Ruhamah. There is still a kibbutz in the Negev desert named Ruhama. I haven’t found any information about how the name came to the United States or started being used, but I would guess that it was first a name used by religious families, as many of the early comers were.
I actually have known (or at least met) two of my relatives who had the name: my great aunt Susan Ruhama Salt Liverett and my second cousin twice removed, Ruhama Brown Fagley. Aunt Susan, who I have written elsewhere about, was a grandmother-proxy. Ruhama Fagley was a correspondent of my parents and provided a lot of family history which was an interest of hers.
The first woman of the name in my family tree so far is Ruhama Ingersoll who was born in 1755 in Connecticut. She is my 5th great grandmother and I have not tracked the family back beyond her yet. She named her first daughter Elizabeth Ruhama. My 4g grandmother Elizabeth Ruhama named one of her first daughters Ruhama who was my third great grandmother. And there my direct ancestral line of Ruhamas ends.
My 3g grandmother Ruhama Blackman Justice
did not pass along the name Ruhama until her last daughter, and that daughter did not live a full year. My 2g grandmother, Ann Justice, only had one daughter who did not live to adulthood and was not named Ruhama. Her son John Clifford Salt however, named his second daughter Susan Ruhama.
Two other children of Ruhama Blackman Justice passed the name Ruhama along to the next generation as well giving us Mary Ruhama (“Ruie”) Ely and Ruhama Bell Justice. Ruie Ely Brown passed the name to her younger daughter and youngest child, Ruhama Brown Fagley. Ruhama Fagley had only one son and the name did not get passed on in her family. Ruhama Bell had two sons and as far as I know neither of them passed the name along. So the name seems to have run its course in my families. I’m sorry to see it end.