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Category: 18th century names

Colonial Names: Great New Old Choices

abby-americanfolkart

I was in Williamsburg, Virginia not too long ago, where there was a wonderful show of folk art portraits at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum. I was transfixed by the art, of course, but even more transfixed by the colonial names.

Colonial names never cease to surprise and fascinate me.  Among the many (many many) people named Mary and Elizabeth, Henry and James, there are always several names that are real doozies.

These are names that are mostly rooted in the bible or mythology, but that you just don’t hear much in the modern world.

But that doesn’t mean that many of these colonial names aren’t ripe for revival. A few of the colonial names on this list — notably Mercy, Augustine, and Susannah — are being rediscovered by today’s parents.

The others, well, are they undiscovered gems or mere curiosities? What do you think?

This collection is simply based on the (real) 18th century people pictured in the portrait show.

girls

  • Burneretta — This is not a literally unique name — a few others are findable online — but seems to be an invention.
  • Debrah — Interesting to see that Deborah had spelling variations 300 years ago.
  • Delia — An old-fashioned name with a sleek modern feeling (like Celia), Delia can also be short for Adelia or Cordelia.
  • Dorothea — Coming back along with brother Theodore.

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4ofjuly2

With apologies to our dear Britberries, today we honor some of the heroes in the struggle of the US to gain its independence from the mother country, along with some of the more interestingly named Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD HEROES

AARON Burr—fought in the War for Independence before he served as Vice President and fought his famous duel

ALEXANDER Hamilton—served as aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, before his later accomplishments

ANTHONY Wayne – won major recognition for bravery as a general in the American Revolution, also known as (oops!) “Mad” Anthony Wayne

ARTEMAS Ward –  an important general in the war and a Congressman from Massachusetts

AUSTIN Dabney – a slave who became a private in the Georgia militia and fought the British

BETSY (Elizabeth) Ross—even though she well might not have made the first American flag

CASIMIR Pulaski – Polish-born “Father of the American Cavalry” under Washington

CRISPUS Attucks – a fugitive slave who became the first casualty of the Revolution when he was shot and killed in the Boston Massacre

DEBORAH Sampson — first known woman to impersonate a man in order to join the army and take part in combat

EBENEZER Learned – a brigadier general in the Continental Army

ENOCH Poor –another brigadier general, called by Washington “an officer of distinguished merit”

ESEK Hopkins – a Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Navy during the war

ETHAN Allen – war hero who formed the Green Mountain Boys and was responsible for the capture of Fort Ticonderoga

EVAN Shelby, Jr – a Revolutionary War militia leader

HAYM Salomon – Polish-born Jewish immigrant who played a key role in financing the Revolution

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