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Category: old lady names

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Are you lucky enough to know the names of your great-grandparents?

I know most of them: Garrett and Elizabeth/Lizzie, Patrick and Catherine, William and Margaret, and something and Eugenia.

They were born in Ireland and Austria and Scotland and  right here in the U.S.A., and their names make a combination of classic standards and intriguing vintage names.  Plus at least one great-grandmother had an intriguing maiden name that might work as a middle: Early.  Love it.

What were your great-grandparents’ names?  Do you know anything about their names or the lives of those more distant ancestors?  Where did they come from and what did they do?  Would you name a child after them?

Here, some notable names of famous people’s fathers.

Augustine Washington

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George Washington’s father was a Virginia Colony-born tobacco planter. Augustine, the influential saint’s name, snuck back onto the 2012 Top 1000 list at Number 999, after being in limbo for decades, perhaps slip-sliding in the wake of the growing popularity of August.

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What Are Your Grandparents’ Names?

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Do you want to share that with the class, Sarah?

Sarahmezz’s thread in the forums, which asks What are your grandparents’ names?, sounded like an intriguing one to put to the Nameberry community.

Indeed, the question has been asked before, but never as our official Question of the Week.

So please let us know your grandparents’ names, your great-grandparents’ names, and which you’d pass on to the next generation.

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Looking Beyond Emma and Ella: Who’s next?

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It’s pretty obvious that some popular names start a daisy chain of cousins that become equally popular, as was seen most recently in the progression of a group of top girls’ names beginning with E.  First there was Emily, which was the Number 1 name from 1996 to 2007.  One year after that, Emma reached the top spot, only to be trailed by Ella, who has now been in the Top 20 since 2008.

Yet as recently as the 1980s, Ella wasn’t even in the Top 1000, seen as a rather frumpy has-been, stuck in appellation limbo.  Which leads us to wonder who will be next?  Which two-syllable E-name will escape from the lower depths to follow in this progression?

The leading contenders:

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Elaine seinfeld

Elaine, a young berry with what she feels to be an “old-lady name,” prefers to go by the sprightlier nickname, “Laney.” But she doesn’t love Laney either and so poses her dilemma to her fellow berries. Can she learn to love her name? Or is it time to start over with something new?  She writes:

“My name is Elaine. I’m 16 and have always hated it. I’ve gone by Laney for my entire life, but Elaine‘s still my name.

I want to love my name. Even from when I was little, I thought of Elaine as an old-lady name. I love that my name’s uncommon(ish) and do like Laney, but it just makes me sad sometimes.

I come on your site daily to check out name reviews. Sounds crazy, since I’m only 16 and definitely not expecting anytime soon. One day I just hope I’ll find some celebrity who named their child Elaine or maybe it somehow made a miraculous comeback. It frustrates me that my name won’t sound fresh until the 2040s. By that time I’ll be 45 years old!

Like I said, I want to love my name. I want advice more than ‘it’s your name: love it’ or ‘you go by Laney so it doesn’t matter.’ That’s the advice given to me by other forums and friends who clearly don’t have my problem with names like Hannah or Emily. I’ve felt this way for years. It’s not just a stage. I don’t know what to do!

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One of my favorite poems, for reasons that will soon be obvious, is called “Mourning the Dying American Female Names,” by Hunt Hawkins.  You can read the whole poem here, but I’ll give you a few choice lines:

Many names are almost gone: Gertrude, Myrtle,

Agnes, Bernice, Hortense, Edna, Doris, and Hilda,

They were wide women, cotton-clothed, early rising.

You had to move your mouth to say their names,

and they meant strength, speak, battle, and victory.

While many of the names Hawkins mourns do indeed seem to be dying, a few he goes on to mention  — Ada, Florence, and Edith– are stirring back to life.

But then there are the new names headed toward obscurity, my own among them.

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