Names from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Family Tree

Hello everyone! I'm really excited about this article. I haven't done a historical family tree article before but it combines two of my favorite things: names and history. My latest names of the week were Laura and Wilder, inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder and thought it would be fun to talk about some of  the names from her family tree. I hope you enjoy!

We'll start off with the surname Ingalls:


Ingalls comes from the Norse name Ingjaldr meaning "to pay or recompense". Surnames as first names are certainly on trend right now. If names like Sutton and Collins (both in the top 1000 for girls) are being used, I think Ingalls or maybe Ingle could be usable.


Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder (February 7, 1867- 

I really think that this is a lovely name. Maybe I think it flows really well because she's so famous but I really do think Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder sounds lovely. Laura Elizabeth means "Crowned (laureled) and devoted to God", which has a beautiful spiritual meaning. When the Bible talks about receiving your crown, it's in reference to the laurel crown that Greek athletes would receive when they finished a race. I've actually considered the combination of Elizabeth Laurel before. Laura Ingalls Wilder is a fantastic namesake for a little girl.

Laura's parents:

Charles Phillip Ingalls (January 10, 1836-Died 

Charles- "free man"
Phillip- "lover of horses"

Charles Phillip is a combination of two strong, classic names. It's very fitting for a man in his time period but I can also see it on a modern boy whose parents love classic names, especially with the nickname Charlie. Charles Phillip means "a free man and lover of horses", which seems appropriate for the pioneer and homesteader that he was. Charles "Pa" Ingalls is a very beloved character in the books and TV show which provides another great namesakes for a young Charles.

Caroline Lake Quiner Ingalls (December 12, 1839-April 20, 1924)

Caroline- "free man"
Lake- "lake"

Something I think is interesting about Caroline L. Quiner marrying Charles Ingalls is that Caroline is a feminine form of the name Charles. It's also a form of Charlotte, which the name of Caroline's mother. Caroline, like Charles, means "free man". Caroline Lake means "free man of the lake".  Lake is certainly an interesting middle name choice and it made me think it might be a family name, but I couldn't find anyone with that name in her family tree. (If you have more sources on that, please leave it in the comments!) Caroline is a classic and it's gaining in popularity these days, though not as quickly as Charlotte. Caroline "Ma" Ingalls is also a very endearing figure in both the book and TV series and a great namesake.

Laura's siblings:

Mary Amelia Ingalls (January 10, 1865-October 17, 1928)

Mary- "bitter or strong"
Amelia- "work"

Mary Amelia Ingalls is Laura's beloved older sister who tragically goes blind from scarlet fever in their childhood.  In the TV series Mary marries a man named Adam Kendall, but in the books and in real life. Mary never got married. She lived with her younger sisters Grace and then Carrie in her later life. Mary Amelia means "bitter or strong work". Despite her challenges she achieved much in her life and was very industrious, as her name implies. There are many great Marys in history and Mary Ingalls is among them.

Caroline Celestia Ingalls Swanzey (August 3, 1870- 
Caroline- "free man"
Celestia "heavenly" 

I found Caroline Celestia Ingalls Swanzey, who went by Carrie, to be an intriguing historical figure. She was an independent and adventurous woman. She filed for a homestead in South Dakota as a single woman, which as unusual and she traveled to many different states. In her 40s, she married David Swanzey and helped raise his two children, Mary and Harold. Caroline Celestia means "heavenly free man". Celestia is one of the most interesting names I found in the Ingalls family tree. Caroline is already a pretty popular name in the 21st century but I think Celestia has a lot of potential to rise in popularity. It's a great name choice for someone wanting an on trend name that's not yet popular.

Charles Frederic Ingalls (November 1, 1875- 

Charles Frederic is the only son of Charles P. and Caroline L. Ingalls. He tragically died before his first birthday. In her books, Laura Ingalls Wilder omits the era in her family's life entirely. Charles Frederic means "free man who rules in peace".

Grace Pearl Ingalls Dow (May 23, 1877-November 10, 1941)
Grace- "Grace"
Pearl= "pearl"

Grace Pearl Ingalls Dow was the youngest child of Charles and Caroline Ingalls and their fourth girl. She married Nathan Dow in 1901. They never had any children. I found it interesting that they chose two word names for Grace, when they hadn't chosen any for any of their other children. Two consecutive word names is a bit much for my taste but I guess it was just perfect for Ma and Pa. Grace Pearl means "pearl of grace".

I hope you guys enjoyed reading about the names from Laura Ingalls Wilder's family tree. Be on the look out for a part two where I discuss some of her extended family and also an article about the names from Almanzo Wilder's family tree, which will include Laura and Almanzo's daughter Rose Wilder Lane.

Be sure to tell me which name you liked the best in the comments and if you learned anything interesting! God bless and thanks for reading!

I also can't recommend this series of books highly enough! They're wonderful to share as a family. If you purchase through this link, you're supporting this blog and I greatly appreciate it.

Or, if you'd prefer, this beautiful leather-bound edition would be a great addition to any library and would make a lovely heirloom.

The Little House on the Prairie TV show is also great to share with your whole family!


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  1. Replies
    1. I like the names Caroline and Grace. If we ever are blessed with a daughter, her middle name will very likely be Grace. :)

    2. I like the names Caroline and Grace. If we ever are blessed with a daughter, her middle name will very likely be Grace. :)

    3. Thanks! It was really fun to write! Grace is a beautiful name!

  2. I love the Little House on the Prairie books and was always fascinated with their names, especially Caroline Lake Quinner Ingalls. I really like the names Grace and Amelia.

    1. I thought Caroline Lake was really interesting too! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I love the show and books!

  4. This was such a unique blog post!

    I love history and the meaning behind names, and I LOVE Little House on the Prairie!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for reading! I love history and Little House too so this was very fun to write!

  5. What a neat post! I think that Laura Elizabeth would be a lovely name! Especially now knowing the meaning! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

    1. Thanks! I really like Laura Elizabeth too.


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