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Category: Historic Names

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Names for a Yuletide Babe: The O Antiphons

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Holy Christmas Names

By Kate at Sancta Nomina (Katherine Morna Towne)

I recently went back through the Nameberry archives to see what posts have been done about Christmas names and found articles listing names relating to Christmas movies (Ralphie, Zuzu) and TV specials (Linus, Virginia), seasonal foliage (Holly, Ivy), colors (Crimson, Scarlet), Elf on the Shelf names (Buddy, Nick), and, of course, the major players (Mary, Joseph, Emmanuel). What can be said about names relating to Christmas that hasn’t yet been said?

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Treasures from One Family Tree

genealogy names

By Kate Massey

My love for genealogy came from my interest in discovering names I had never heard before. There is something special about being able to connect yourself to a rare gem of a name, and being able to connect that name to your ancestor’s history.

In addition to individual names, there are also some interesting patterns I’ve noticed while researching the branches of my various family trees. Some eras favored word names while others preferred patriotic names. Some branches were filled with unique names, while others stuck with the more traditional. One trend I’ve noticed is that “sibset” naming wasn’t considered until the 20th century. There often seemed to be a wide variety of names among siblings, yet, it wasn’t strange to have two sons named Joseph or three daughters named Elizabeth.

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Happy Hanukkah Baby Names

Happy Hanukkah names

By Hannah Katsman

We recently posted a blog about modern Hebrew names used in Israel; now, on the eve of Hanukkah, we turn to our Israeli correspondent Hannah Katsman, for a little history of the holiday and eight traditional names—one for each day of the holiday– that are still popular, with their standing on the latest lists.

This year, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah falls on Sunday evening, December 6th, and continues until nightfall on Monday, December 13.

Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Jewish people, led by the Maccabee family, over the Greeks who had defiled the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. According to tradition, only one bottle of pure oil was found to light the menorah (candelabra), yet it miraculously lasted for eight nights. Hanukkah also commemorates the spiritual victory over the materialistic, Hellenistic culture.  Traditional foods include potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts, both fried in oil.

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Notable December Names

By Meagan at TulipByAnyName

December welcomes in the winter season, holiday celebrations, and a great medley of names. There’s plenty of name inspiration this month, from holidays, to seasonal names, to notable birthdays. The weather outside might be frightful, but these names are so delightful!

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colonial children

By Linda Rosenkrantz

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:

  1. Amitylike all the virtue names ending in ity, Amity has an attractive daintiness combined with an admirable meaning—in this case, friendship.  It could be a modernized (or antiquated, depending how you look at it) namesake for an Aunt Amy.
  2. Clarity—we like it much better than Charity or—oh no—Chastity.  And Clare makes a nice short form.
  3. ClemencyClemency, the name of a character in one of Charles Dicken’s lesser known Christmas novellas, The Battle of Life, can be seen as an offbeat alternative to Clementine.
  4. Constance was originally used in a religious context which has been lost over the years. There are many Constances found in history and literature: there was Constance of Brittany,  mother of young Prince Arthur who appears in Shakespeare’s King John, a daughter of William the Conqueror, and characters in Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer and Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. Constance hasn’t been much heard in the 21st century—probably because of the dated nickname Connie.  The Puritans also used Constant.

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