While most eponyms have fairly extensive histories behind them, there is one category of naming for which there is often very minimal information on; eponyms gifted to family members. While in some instances the family member in question may be noted figures in their own right, a substantial number of them received these names purely due to their relationship with the one naming the species, and history tends to record little of them while focusing on the namer.
Sadly, a high proportion of the women who have eponyms named for them fall into this category; there are wives, daughters and grand-daughters whose widely recorded legacy is limited to an eponym and a few brief snippets.
This page is specifically for those for whom little in known beyond their relationship to a more prominent figure. Where such a relative had a direct personal connection with the bird species or were otherwise noted in history in their own right will be covered in their own articles.
Adelaide was the daughter of Robert Swift, an American financier and patron of a number of collecting trips who recieved the first specimen of this species. Little information is readily available on either.
- The Eponym Dictionary of Birds, p.16
Adelaide’s Warbler – photo by Jaro Nemčok [link]
Johanna’s Sunbird [link]
Hume, Mary Anne Grindall
Mary Hume (1824-1890) was the wife of Allan Octavian Hume, with whom she had one daghter. Little further information is available.
Mrs Hume’s Pheasant [link]
Rachel’s Malimbe [link]
Zoë Lesson was the wife of the naturalist René Lesson. Little further information is available.
- The Eponym Dictionary of birds, p. 420
Zoe’s Imperial Pigeon – photo by Doug Janson [link]
Adélie Penguin – photo by Liam Quinn [link]
Letiza del Gallo Roccagiovine
Letiza del Gallo Roccagiovine (1848-1853) was the grand-daughter of ornithologist Charles Bonaparte, and thus also a part of the wider Bonaparte dynasty. She died at age 15.
The hummingbird named for her is only known from two old specimens.
- The Eponym Dictionary of Birds, p. 330
Letitia’s Thorntail [link]