The Story Behind My Name

I have had many names throughout my lifetime. I believe people live up to the name they are called and the feeling that name evokes in the person who owns the name. Not everyone believes as I do. I have this opinion because of my experiences within my life.

I was born Francene Marie Houle. Francene is after my father whose name was Frank. Francene means free. I was the first born and from what I have been told that meant my dad got to pick my name. It worked for me as my mom wanted to name me Kimberly. I would have been a whole different person with that name.

My dad was 100% French. He and his family were proud of their heritage. It was about ten years ago that I found out he was actually 1/2 French and 1/2 French Canadian. Grandma Houle didn’t want anyone to know that we may have some Native American Indian flowing through our veins. It was a different time with different views. I am sure there is a story there that would have been interesting to hear.

As you can see, I do not have the traditional spelling for my first name either which is Francine. Mine is France like the country then the ‘ne’ is added. I can only assume my dad thought that was more French. It probably made his mom proud. He was good like that.

Marie is after my dad’s sister. He had five sisters. I never really understood the relationships between him and any of his siblings. He died before I was old enough to know that I should ask about his past.

Houle is my maiden name. The French/English translation says it means ‘swell’ as in ‘the swell of the sea’. It also means ‘hallow’. The place name (which is thought to be the main origin) derives from ‘houle’ with the meaning ‘une cavité (a cavity), un creux’ (a hallow), in other words a cave. The surname Houle was mostly found in Normandy. Today the majority are in Canada.

When I was little my dad called me Francie. My mother called me Frani. My siblings, relatives and classmates called me Fran. When you are young you don’t have a choice really on what others call you. When I was in school the football player Fran Tarkenton became very popular. That was not a good thing for me and the teasing was relentless. I never thought I had the power to ask people to call me something different until many years later.

In 1982, when I was 18 I got married and my last name became Oachs. I went by Fran Oachs the majority of that marriage. When we were married almost 12 years I met a group of people online. This was way before the internet. It was a bulletin board system where you needed a handle, also called a user name. Some of the people I connected with on that bbs gave me the handle Treasure and it stuck. I will share in a different post the story behind the bbs but understanding where Treasure came from is important.

In 1997, when I was 33 I got a divorce and I changed my last name to Treasure. A future story, or multiple, will share the journey through my first marriage. Did you know during a wedding or divorce you can change your name to whatever you want on the marriage license or divorce decree. That was big for me.

Back to my new last name, the majority of the people that were my support system called me Treasure now. I found that I was more secure in who I was using that name. I believed I was able to reach my full potential on who I was supposed to be all because I was went by a different name. The name Treasure helped free me from my negative history that I wasn’t ready to dig into and resolve at that point in time. It was very powerful for me.

In 1998, when I was 34, I remarried again. Also, a future story. My last name became hyphenated because I didn’t want to lose Treasure. It became Treasure-Silhouette. Silhouette was a nickname of my new husband. I actually really liked the name but it was a huge pain to write all the time. I never used my first or middle name during that marriage. It wasn’t long before I realized that union wasn’t good for either of us. It took until 2002 to get a divorce. Yep, another future story. At that time my middle name changed from Marie to Treasure and I kept Silhouette as my last name because my daughter changed hers to that during that marriage. You will hear more about that when I share my daughters story.

I married my best friend in 2004, when I was 40. It was the ultimate love story for me. You guessed it; a future story will have to share those details. I became Francene Treasure Niemiec when I married for all the right reasons. I was incredibly excited to take his last name. I felt like a school girl who writes down a hundred times Mrs. Niemiec. It makes me giggle just thinking about how happy I was about that.

I never wanted to change Francene throughout my roller coaster name changing journey because that is all I had left of my dad. No one, except my siblings, calls me Fran any longer. This is a really good thing because there are not any good feelings for me associated with that name. It doesn’t suit me any longer. I either go by Francene or Treasure. The majority of the people in my ‘world’ call me Treasure. I always do my best to live up to that name. The name that makes me feel like the person I am meant to be. I like Francene as well but I feel like I am not as connected when I am called that. I do answer to both.

That is the long, drawn out, no detail left to divulge, story of my name. I hope you were able to keep up as this is just a small snippet on the journey of me.

4 thoughts on “The Story Behind My Name

  1. June Swart says:

    Fun journey. Love all the history. A name is deeply personal and can shape who you are. I think Treasure really does suit you and the world is a better place because you choose it.


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