Category: biblical names
It seems that just about every few decades since the 1940’s, one Old Testament patriarch name has entered the popularity list’s Top 5, some lingering longer than others. From the forties through the early eighties it was David, joined by Joshua in 1983, Daniel for the single year 1985, Jacob ten years later– and holding first place for the past thirteen years– and Ethan (a more minor biblical figure) in 2002.
And now we have Noah, which entered the golden circle last year at Number 5.
Noah fits right into this group—like the earlier Joseph, and David, Jacob and Ethan, it’s a simple, modern-sounding two-syllable name with a strong first syllable and softer second. And like Joseph, David, Daniel, Joshua and Jacob, Noah comes with a dramatic narrative that’s well known to most children.
As every Sunday school alumnus knows, Noah was deemed the only righteous man of his time, singled out by God to survive the great flood sent to punish an evil world, and instructed to build an ark to save his family and all species of animals from the flood.
Washington State berry Katy is a mother to three girls with meaningful names and spirited nicknames, a tradition she’d like to continue with her fourth child. Can this berry find a name that fits her criteria and her sibset? Here is what she says:
“My husband Colin and I are expecting baby #4! We have 3 daughters, 6 year-old twins Isobel Rose & Liv Michaela, and a 3 year-old Zoie Grace. Isobel‘s name means pledged to God, Zoie and Liv‘s names mean life.
We don’t know the gender of the baby yet, but we’ve been searching for a name that has a meaning similar to Isobel‘s. We want to stay consistent. So far we’ve come up with Jack, Matthias, & Theodore (our favorite) for a little boy and for a little girl we found Elliot (our favorite), Libby, & Thea.
It is an interesting debate, but for parents seeking inspiration, it isn’t necessarily helpful. Often we read lists of the most popular names as a collection of those to avoid, lest our little Charlotte complain that she’s one of three in her kindergarten.
One of the reasons I became so interested in names is because I discovered the two-volume edition of the Brewster Genealogy in my grandparents’ house in Maine. I pored over the pages, discovering unusual family names –Ohel, for example – and names I found beautiful, such as Solace and Wrestling. I discovered ancestors who were famous and who led incredible lives. I discovered information that surprised my family. The books, however, disappeared, much to my great disappointment. But recently, I was able to download a copy of Volume One from the Boston Public Library, and I am back to using it to make lists and rediscoveries.
William and Mary Brewster had five living children, all of whom eventually came to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Elder William Brewster was the religious leader of the colony, the only one who had to leave England (there was an arrest warrant for him, for treason), and it was his tireless work that kept the survivors alive during that first hard winter, according to Governor William Bradford’s account in Of Plimouth Plantation. The first names of the Brewsters, who married into the most prestigious New England families, fall into several categories: Puritan virtue names, Biblical names, classic English names, and what I call Stuart/Georgian names.
Here are twelve girls’ and twelve boys’ names that I’ve found repeatedly throughout the genealogy and that could hold some interesting possibilities for an adventurous nameberry: