Category: Berry Juice
One of the very first readers of my blog emailed me to ask about the connection between the names Eleanor and Helen. She and her husband had a darling baby daughter, already named Eleanor, a name they loved, which they had happily bestowed in honor of St. Helen. (You might see where I’m going with this.)
It wasn’t until months after Baby Eleanor was born that the mom discovered that Eleanor is not actually a form of Helen, but she wrote to me in a last-gasp attempt to find some loophole somewhere that allowed Eleanor and Helen to be related.
It’s a fact that my mother actually refused to tell her friends what I had chosen to call my third child. Instead she took the “I don’t think she’s decided yet” option. Which got a bit lame after about six months. She was actually mortified by our choice of name for each of the three children, but this last one was obviously one step too far.
Nickname-names have taken hold in the U.K., and the U.S. hasn’t been completely immune to this trend. The two countries may favor different nicknames, and the trend may be more popular in the U.K., but the trend is evident in both countries.
In Romeo & Juliet, Juliet faces a dilemma– she has fallen in love with the son of her father’s sworn enemy: a Montague. Juliet famously asks: “What’s in a name?” She concludes that names are irrelevant and uses the garden rose to illustrate her point “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
As I reveal in my book, Name-alytics, there are three spellings of Katherine that have been in the Top 100… Catherine, Katherine and Kathryn (the Big 3). Catherine reached its peak in 1914, Katherine reached its peak in 1988, and Kathryn reached its peak in 1951. That alone is quite fascinating to those interested in the history of name popularity, but it is not enough to satisfy my detail-specific thirst.