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Name Origins: Sobriety

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Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

SOBRIETY (usually f): Widow Sobriete (Hilton) Moulton d. Hampton, N.H. 31 Jan. 1717/18 ae. 85 (Hampton VRs 1:125); Henry Moulton “and Sobrietie his wife” [no maiden name recorded], who were married at Hampton 20 9th mo. 1651 (VRs 1:555), had children rec. Hampton 1655-1666; a granddaughter was Sobriety Moulton, b. Hampton 13 Aug. 1694 (Hampton VRs 1:71), daughter of their son Josiah Moulton (b. 26 2nd mo. 1662) and wife Elizabeth (Worthington) (Hampton VRs 1:78).

This is one of the less common “virtue names” dear to Puritan parents. Sobriety — defined as a state of sedate or gravely or earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor — was no doubt especially valued when exercised in calm consideration of virtue and Biblical wisdom. Probably this meaning was first in Sobriety’s parents’ minds, rather than the simple avoidance of drunkenness.

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