What's in a Name

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The name that appears on my birth certificate is - Tamika Richenda Frankson.

I always felt a disconnect with my name. I feel it the most when I would look at the name of the man listed as my father on my birth certificate - Dougal Wellesley. Frankson. Whenever I ask my family to enlighten me about what role he played in my life they suddenly catch a bad case of amnesia.

From what I gathered in my sleuthing, Jean was married to Mr. Frankson and she gave me his name because I was conceived out of wedlock. But where is he? Who is he? What is his story? What is their love story?

Esmie Agatha Davis Frankson + Dougal Wellesley Frankson.


Maiden Name


I never understood why I wasn't given the name of the man who actually claims to be my father - Isiah Richards. I guess my middle name, Richenda, is an extension of his name. However, I would have felt more complete if I had my mother's maiden name - Davis.

Tamika Richenda Richards vs. Tamika Richenda Davis.

Whenever I heard other family members from my mother's circle recite the Davis name, I always felt like the black sheep. I felt that I didn't belong to the Davis clan. And those feelings still linger.

My older sister, Sharon, received the Davis name. "You're not a Davis, Tamika," she would say to me. Boy did this make me feel like shit. I felt even more shitty to learn that Sharon also had her father's name, Fox.

Sharon Lee Davis Fox.

Sharon knows her father. She has that daughter father relationship that I never had. She is proud to be a Davis. She is so proud that she named her first child Tamika Davis.

So her daughter, my niece, is a true Davis, but not me?


First Name


Over the years, I've gone through a love hate relationship with my first name. Tamika.

My graduating high school class of 1993, had at least five Tamikas. I didn't feel unique. My grandmother would say to me, "What kind of name is Tamika? I'm just going to call you tomato." This made me hate my name even more.

It wasn't until my mid-20s did I start to like my first name. A woman who owned a Japanese restaurant told me that my name originated from Japan and usually ends with the letter O. So, Tamiko.

I forgot what she said the meaning of my name was but I do know it was a popular name back in the early 1970s. The website, BehindTheName.com, states that the Japanese name Tamika means 'child of the people.'

After further research, I found out the name Tamika was most popular in 1975, which is the same year I was born. Based off of information collected from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States, a total of 2,159 baby girls were named Tamika.

Got it. The name was hot in 1975 and it started to creep into Black-American homes in the late 1960s. But why? Of course, I did some more digging and found the American singer, Tamiko Jones.

Jones' name at birth was Barbara Tamiko Ferguson. Whoa...could it be that my mother named me after Tamiko Ferguson and tweaked my name to Tamika Frankson? I don't think it's too far-fetched, especially since everyone in my family can't seem to tell me anything about Dougal Frankson.

Tamiko Jones was born in Kyle, West Virginia and was raised in Detroit, where she started her music career. She was part Japanese, part British, and has Cherokee ancestry in her blood.

After I found this information, I started to feel like my name had even more meaning. She was a singer and I always wanted to be one. Tamiko Jones first hit was "Touch Me Baby" and in 1975 reached No. 12 on the R&B charts in the U.S.

Her voice reminds me of Donna Summers and Diana Ross. Both women whose albums I used to dance to while cleaning the house on Saturday mornings growing up with Jean.

Mommy never told me why or how she came up with my name, but these days I'm feeling much better about my name Tamika. Or should I just start calling myself Tamiko?

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