Monday, September 17, 2012

In Retrospect: 1880 - Given To Five Babies

It is now time to take a look at the names that were given to five babies in the year of 1800. I have selected ten of my favourites – or the ones I have found most interesting – for both genders. There are plenty of other gems on this section of the list, including names that see more use now including Adelle, Elisa, Adrienne, Johannah and Sibyl for girls and Zachariah, Sampson, Phineas, Payton and Brad for boys. There were some other wonderful, more obscure names that I missed but I would be here for days if I was to try and mention them all, and I am sure a few of them will pop up in the following years when I go and analyse them. But for now, enjoy 20 names that were given to 5 babies in the year of 1880. Hopefully, some may inspire you.

Albertine – (pronounced: AHL-bert-een) is a French female variant to the male name Albert. It has the meaning of ‘noble, bright, famous’. It was given to less than five, if any, girls in 2011 but the Old German female variant of Albert, Alberta fared better with 9 baby girls given the name. This name does have less appeal than the more snappy and prim Alberta.

Bulah – (pronounced: BYOO-la) is a variant of the Hebrew ‘Beulah’ which means ‘married’ or ‘bride’. For a biblical name, it hasn’t had much love over the years unlike other names that came from the Bible and would make for an interesting choice. Neither Bulah nor Beulah was given to five babies last year and was possibly given to none at all. The variant Beulah I find slightly more attractive aesthetically and has been in use since the Protestant Reformation.

Hassie – (pronounced: HASS-ee) is another one of those old time diminutive names. With Hattie now in the top 1000, could Hassie be the logical successor? It also has a similar style to Cassie but might also bring up connotations with the dog Lassie.
Juana The Mad c.1500
Juana – (pronounced: HWAHN-ah) is of Spanish origin and truthfully, if I happen to marry a man with an inch of Spanish blood, this could possibly be my daughter’s name. It is a female variation of Juan, which is a Spanish variation of John, and is highly popular in the States though Juana is not. Juanna is also seen as the Spanish variant of Joanna. Possibly best known thanks to the 16th century Queen of Castile, known as Juana the Mad (and sister of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII) it was given to 116 baby girls last year in the states. I would like to see it used more but I think it is one of those names where you might have to have the right cultural background.

Lavonia – (pronounced: la-voh-NEE-ah) seems to be a variant on the Roman name Lavinia. There is not much more on the name other than that and while it seems that not many, if any, babies were given the name last year, with 39 girls given the name Lavinia in 2011, maybe we might start to see some more Lavonia’s.
Mignon – (pronounced: meen-YAWN) is a name of French origin that means ‘cute, darling’ or ‘delicate and dainty’. Its first coinage was in literature that was first coined by poet and novelist Goethe and was later the name of a character in Ambroise Thoma’s Opera ‘Mignon’ in 1866 (based on Goethe’s work). It was given to less than five, if any, babies in the last year.

Mozella – (pronounced: moh-zell-AH) is a variant of the Hebrew name Moselle that means ‘saviour’. I could see this name being used today, or it variant form Mosella, both which did not even accumulate 5 babies with the name in the last year. I could see it fitting in with all the Isabella’s and Stella’s.
Parthenia – (pronounced: par-THEE-nee-ah) is a name derived from Greek Mythology that means ‘maiden, virgin’. It conjures up a sweet image as well as a powerful one in the form of the Parthenon in Greece. It was given to less than five, if any, baby girls last year which is a shame. This is a name for anyone who likes Penelope, Pandora, Persephone or even Aphrodite.

Tennessee/Texas – I have put these two name together, as they are in the same category so to speak, of place names being baby names. These are interesting place names that you don’t hear often. Tennessee’s best known bearer is actually male, Tennessee Williams who was an American playwright who wrote ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ among others. In 2011, 10 boys were given the name Tennessee and 12 girls were given the name. Texas did not have more than five, if any, female wearers but 7 boys were given the name.
Vertie – (pronounced: VER-tie) is a charming nickname-name that is hard to pin down with an exact origin. It is similar to Verdie which is a Russian/Slovak variant of Vera which has the meaning of ‘faith’. Less than 5, if any babies, where given the name last year.

Arvid – (pronounced: AHR-vid) is a Scandinavian name meaning ‘eagle-tree’. While not popular currently in the US and hasn’t charted since 1946, it is currently a top 20 name in Sweden, currently ranked #18.

Blaine – (pronounced: BLAYN) is an Irish name that means ‘slender, angular’. Currently sitting at number #572 on the US charts, I could see this name getting even more use thanks to popular shows like Glee where Blaine Anderson is a favourite among fans.
Ceylon – (pronounced: say-LON) is a place name from Sri Lanka. It makes for an interesting choice for a boy but it could also work for a female. If it was given to any babies last year, it would have been less than five for either gender.

Eliseo – (pronounced: e-lee-SI-oh) is a Spanish/Italian name that is a variant of the Hebrew Elisha that means ‘my God is my salvation’.  It is currently sitting on the US charts at #967 with 202 boys given the name last year.
Hardie - (pronounced: HAHR-dee) is a variant on the English name Hardy. It means ‘brave, hardy’ and in 2011, less than five or no boys were given the name last year. Could see it rising due to the popularity of actor Tom Hardy, whose surname Hardy was given to 20 boys last year.

Kit – (pronounced: KIT) is a diminutive of Christopher (and Katherine for females) that is of English origin that means ‘bearer of christ’. This name has been getting a bit more love recently as a fully fledged first name. Jodie Foster used it for her son and in 2011, Kit was given to 9 females and 13 boys. British Actor, Kit Harington (whose real name is Christopher) best known for his work on ‘Game of Thrones’ may increase the popularity of this name.
Merida – (pronounced: meh-ri-DAH) is now known as the feisty Pixar Princess in Brave but it seems to be like Vivien and Marion which were originally boys names that turned to female use. It was given not given to even five babies of either gender last year but that looks likely to change with its current exposure. It is of Latin Origin and means ‘one who has achieved a high place of honour’. I think this would be hard for parents to use on a male now, especially when kids are likely to see the movie. Disney likes to use old boys name on girls, look at Ariel.

Tilmon – (pronounced: TILL-mon) was a rare gem that was given to five boys in 1800. It has never gained popularity, which is quite a shame, and there is not much information on the name in general though it is similar to Timon (which is Greek for ‘reward, honour’) and Tillman (of Old English origin that means ‘one who plows the earth’). I would love to see this used on more little boys in the future.
Unknown – (pronounced: UHN-nown) was truly a name given to 5 boys in 1800. It has actually been found on the charts for both boys and girls and well, I am baffled by this name. I wouldn’t give it to a child but each to his own I suppose. Its peak popularity in boys was in 1953 and for girls it was 1951. In 2011, it was given to 67 females and 75 boys. According to Nameberry, for boys, it is a variant for Declan or Stellan. Join me in being a bit overly confused with this name.

Winston – (pronounced: WIN-sten) is a name of English origin that means ‘wine’s town’ though the name itself was derived from the Old English name Wynnstan which means ‘joys stone’. It has surprisingly never found itself on the British charts as far as I can tell, despite its most famous bearer being British Prime Minister Winston Churchill but in America first made it on the charts in 1833 but was most popular in 1941, in the middle of WW2. It has been given ‘celeb-cred’ thanks to Billie Piper (Doctor Who) and her husband Laurence Fox (Lewis) naming their first son Winston.


  1. Some great finds, several still very usable.

    I like Arvid, Blaine, Kit and Winston from the boys, and Mignon from the girls.

  2. I think Parthenia is just one of the most gorgeous and mysterious names ever, although I like to pronounce it incorrectly as par-THEH-nee-uh, like Parthenon, as it just makes more sense in my head. She's on my list with Athena as a nickname, as it was an epithet, but my family doesn't like it much.

    I just found your blog and love it so far, so I'm excited to see more!

  3. Just found your blog - you're a talented writer! Such a great collection of names, too.

    I've never thought of Tennessee for a girl, but phonetically, I totally get it. And it's actually kind of sweet, to my ear. I also drove through Tennessee once and thought the scenery was amazing, so I'm probably biased.

    On the boy's list, I'm really drawn to Eliseo. So interesting!


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