Category: Classic Baby Names
Just as the billows of white smoke emanating from the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City signal the election of a new pope, so does the name he chooses for himself signal his aspirations for his papacy.Â Pope FrancisÂ broke precedent by picking one that had never been used before, but which has deep meaning for him and projects a strong symbolic resonance to the outside world.
The new Pope revealed that the inspiration for his chosen name was St. Francis of Assisi (born Giovanni), the venerated patron saint of animals and the environment, known for his humility. Â He also stated that in the cardinals’ name discussions some of the papal appellations put forth were Adrian, and Clement, while others were hoping for Leo, who had been a beacon of social justice.
For the past couple of years, Charlotte has been at or near the top of the list of Berry favorites, and itâ€™s not hard to see why.Â Itâ€™s a name at the very center of the Sweet Spot of names with a ton of great attributes and referencesâ€”literary, historic, and royal.Â Sheâ€™s demure, yet solid and strong, classic but not stuffy, British with the slightest trace of a French accent–one of the very best classic girls’ names.
She has so much going for her that we thought that she deserved a whole blog to herself.
Like her cousin Caroline, Charlotte is a feminine form of Charles, but arrived there in a roundabout way.Â Charlotte is actually the English and French version of the Italian Carlotta, itself a feminine version of Carlo, the Italian Charles, and has been in English-speaking use since the seventeenth century.Â In the fifteenth century, Carlotta of Savoy married King Louis XI of France, where her name became Gallicized as Charlotte, a form which then emigrated to England during the next century.
Yes, there are baby names that have had longer runs at the top of the popularity list.Â Mary and John, certainly, and, more recently, Michael, who ruled for 44 years, yet none of them came to be seen as an epidemic or to signify a whole generation in the way that Jennifer did, though she was Number 1 for a mere fifteen years.
But in that time, between 1970 and 1984, there were 859,112 little Jennifers born in the USâ€”enough for online Jennifer identity-loss support groups to spring up as they matured, enough for future parents to bemoan â€śI donâ€™t want my child to be one of five named Jennifer in her class,â€ť and enough for us to call our first book Beyond Jennifer and Jason. Â Jennifer became a one-girl baby names trend.
But why Jennifer?Â A once obscure Cornish form of the old Welsh Gwenhwyfar, aka Guinevere, a name that was hardly heard here before 1938â€”except for an appearance in a 1905 Shaw play– and which didn’tÂ enter the Top 100 till 1956.