Category: historic names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The Roman Empire reigned for more than five hundred years, led by 140 different emperors. In modern times, though, with a couple of exceptions, the names of these august figures were considered far too august and imposing for a twentieth/twenty-first century kid. But the times they are a-changin’ and lately several of these appellations have ridden into the realm of possibility.
Augustus—Augustus, Julius Caesar’s adopted son, who was born Octavian and given the name Augustus by the senate in honor of his great achievements, was the first of the Roman emperors. Augustus is a perfect example of a name that was well used in the 19th century, then deemed too fusty for decades, and now is back at Number 688 and a high 123 on Nameberry, recently modernized by the character nicknamed Gus in The Fault in Our Stars.
What better time than Thanksgiving to look back at the first names to arrive on our shores?
As you may remember from your third-grade history book, the first English-speaking settlement, called the Raleigh Colony, was established on the Atlantic coast in 1587, and although it didn’t survive for very long, some of its name records did. Not surprisingly, of the 99 men who settled there, 23 were named John, fifteen were Thomas, and ten were William, with a small sprinkling of Old Testament names in the mix as well.
When I was at University, I was lucky enough to study Ancient History as an undergraduate degree. l found the whole subject absolutely fascinating, but I must admit that I could often get sidetracked from my studies whenever a research paper or book contained a map or list of ancient cities. You see, the name-nerd in me couldn’t help revelling in the names of ancient places — I’d frequently roll the lyrical syllables around my tongue and scribbled them down on the corner of my research notes.
A whole heap of ancient place names are not only mellifluous but also aesthetically pleasing. Sadly, many are lost to us today or have long-since been renamed. Wouldn’t it be nice to reclaim a few of them back into nomenclature?
To the Western world and Northern Hemisphere, July marks the beginning of sunny beach vacations, shady afternoon barbeques and sweltering hot temperatures. To name nerds all over the world, it brings a fresh batch of names inspired by history. In addition to Independence Day fireworks and parades, we have a diamond tycoon’s birthday, a Continental Congress resolution and the anniversary of several record-breaking explorations to celebrate.
Cecil- Cecil J. Rhodes, a British businessman, mining tycoon, and South African politician, was said to have controlled about 90 percent of the world’s diamond production in the nineteenth century. Now his surname is most commonly recognized for the Rhodes Scholarship, which allows select foreign students to study at the University of Oxford. Though Cecil has lost much of its potency over the years, it still maintains a strong presence in the sports and jazz worlds and retains references to American filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille.
If you’re like me, your favorite baby names are ones that peaked at least 100 years ago. But I always seem to have an easier time finding great “century names” for girls than boys. (When we named our kids, my female list was much longer than my male one.)
So I was excited to discover a rich source of vintage boys’ names: the early auto industry.
Automobile pioneers were active in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which means they have fabulous names. (There’s not much in the way of girls’ choices here, but we can all take solace in the fact that the auto industry is less sexist than it used to be. America‘s largest automaker, General Motors, is currently run by a woman.)