Category: Historic Names
The last month of the year, December is a time filled with holiday festivities and family gatherings.
December gets its name from the Latin word decem, meaning ten, as it was originally the tenth month of the year. The names Decimus and Decima share the meaning ten. December also has ties to many notable leaders and visionaries. Let’s deck the halls with these wonderful namesakes!
For many people (especially the non-name obsessed), names tend to fall into categories typically defined by their era.
There are the “classic” perennial choices like Elizabeth, William, Anna, James, which never seem to go out of style; the biblical choices which have been used, in various forms, for millennia (even if their popularity has fluctuated); the “old-fashioned” choices, which encompass anything popular 50+ years ago which have since fallen out of favour; and, of course, “modern” names.
Modern names feel like fresh, new creations. They may be inspired by words (Miley, Nevaeh, Serenity), a newly discovered import (Isla, Mila, Leonardo) or a surname adopted for use as a given name. All feel like they break the mold, treading a new path from the popular given names that have come before and perhaps raising eyebrows among the older generations.
But our perception of “modern” can sometimes be misleading. Here are some names – which appear to be modern coinages – that were used as given names centuries ago, back in the Middle Ages.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
As we sit down to our Thanksgiving feasts in this divisive year, it might be a good idea to take another look at the traditional virtues embedded in these names.
In the seventeenth century, for some of the most puritanical of the Puritans, even biblical and saints’ names were not pure enough to bestow on their children, and so they turned instead to words that embodied the Christian virtues. These ranged from extreme phrases like Sorry-for-sin and Search-the-Scriptures (which, understandably, never came into general use) to simpler virtue names like Silence and Salvation.
The virtue names that have survived in this country were for the most part the unfussy, one-syllable girls’ names with positive meanings, such as Joy, Hope, Grace and Faith. But then, in the late 1990s, a door was opened to more elaborate examples by the popularity of the TV show Felicity, and its appealing heroine. Felicity (also the name of an American Girl Colonial doll) reached a high point on the girls’ list in 1999, a year after the show debuted, leading parents to consider others long forgotten relics.
Here are the Nameberry picks of the twelve best virtue names:
Prominent politicians often have an influence on baby names — particularly when there’s an election coming up.
Below are some distinctively-named politicians that didn’t just affect the charts, but propelled their names onto the U.S. baby name data for the very first time. Some of these folks were in the public eye as far back as the early 1900s. Several weren’t even from the U.S., interestingly enough.