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Nameberry favorite Twinkle aka WINNIE MONCRIEFF, who lives in London, enlightens us on the long line of fascinating British names chosen by her country’s prime ministers.

In the spirit of friendly, transatlantic competition, I couldn’t let a post about the President’s children go by without taking a look at the naming habits of Prime Ministers past. With a few more years of incumbents to consider(Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister in the modern sense of the position, was appointed in 1721), I discovered a veritable mountain of lovely, classic names.

The most commonly occurring name for the son of a Prime Minister was William, which popped up twelve times.  In fact, one PM, William Henry Cavendish-Bentwick used it twice, naming his first two sons (who both survived childhood) William and William Henry. In second place was George, with nine. The middle name Augustus appeared four times.

As for daughters, the most popular name was Mary, which occurred seven times, as well as there being two little Marias. The Catherine variants numbered seven – five Catherines, one Katherine, and, most recently, a Kathryn. Other names which proved surprisingly popular were Hester and Louisa.

Strange naming trends abounded; naming children after relatives and friends, for example. ‘What?’ I hear you cry. ‘I named my daughter after so-and-so.’ Well, of course, but not like PM George Canning did when he named his second son William Pitt Canning, after friend and former Prime Minister, William Pitt the younger. Robert Peel also named one of his sons after a former Prime Minister who had supported his career, bestowing upon him the name Arthur Wellesley Peel.

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Cornish Baby Names

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Guest blogger and name lover Eleanor Nickerson, aka nameberry’s own Elea, tells us all about the exotic and gorgeous names from Cornwall, the exotic and gorgeous region in the southwest of England.

The first time I visited Cornwall was at the tender age of one. Sadly, my dad’s abiding memory of that holiday was a grouching baby grizzling all through his long-awaited sailing trip (something he has yet to fully forgive me for to this day). A few years later my parents bravely returned again, one more child in tow, and fortunately much fun and sandcastle-building ensued.

It wasn’t until several years later when I returned to the region as a fifteen year-old that I was truly able to appreciate the breath-taking beauty of the Cornish coast and countryside. In the intervening years since my last visit I had developed an avid, border-line obsessive, passion for names and their meanings. What struck me was that many houses were named instead of numbered, and these place names, along with those adorning road signs, quickly caught my attention both due to the foreign sound to English ears, and the similarity to my greatest name-love: Welsh names.

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WELSH NAMES: Beyond Gwyneth and Griffin

welsh_doll

 Because of its relatively small population, Wales has sent fewer immigrants to the US than Ireland and Scotland have–a mere 100,000 between 1820 and 1976–so that  Welsh names are not as well known here as the other Celts. Which is a shame, because  it’s a lilting, rhythmic language, offering lots of fresh and beguiling choices.

Like the Irish, the Welsh have only rediscovered some of the rich resources of their own language and culture in the past century. Ater the Welsh language was suppressed for hundreds of years, baby namers are now digging back into their native history and myth, traditional literature and legends for inspirational namesakes of ancient heroes, princes and other royalty, for example increasing the popularity of names like the mythological Rhiannon.

Unlike the Irish names, Welsh choices present far fewer pronunciation challenges–their spelling is much closer to phonetic. Also note that the yn ending is usually masculine (even though, for example, Gwyn might sound feminine to us), and the en ending, as in Gwen, is for the most part feminine.

Here, a selection of some rich Welsh possibilities:

GIRLS

ADWYN
AELWEN
AERON/AERONA
ALYS
ANWEN
AURON (AYR-on)
BEDELIA
BETHAN
BRANWEN
BRIALLEN
BRONWEN
BRYN (unisex)
CERYS
DELYTH/DILYS
EIRA (AY-ra)
ELERI (el-AYR-ee)
ELEN/ELIN
ENID
FFION, FFIONA
FFLUR (FLEER)–Welsh word for flower)
GLADYS
GLENYS
GWENDOLEN
GWENNO (a nickname-name for Gwen names)
GWYN/GWYNETH
IOLA (YO-la)
KENDALL (unisex)
LLIO (LHEE-oh)
LOWRI
MAIR
MARGED
MEGAN
MELERI (mel-AYR-ee)
MYFANWY
NERYS
NIA

NESTA
OLWEN
RHIANNON (ree-AHN-un)
RHONWEN
SIAN (SHAN)–Welsh form of Jane
TEGAN
TELERI (the-AYR-ee)
WINIFRED

BOYS

ALUN
ALWYN
ANEIRIN (an-EYE-rin)
ARVEL
BEVAN/BEVIN
BRYN
CADWELLEN
DAFYDD (DAY-veth)
DEWI
DRYSTAN
DYLAN
ELIAN
ELLIS
SMYR
EVAN
GARETH
GRIFFIN
GRIFFITH
GWILYM (GWIL-um)
GWYN
HUW/HEW/HUGH
IAON (ee-oo-an)
IOLO (YOH-lo)
JEVAN
KYNAN
LLEU
LLEWELLYN
LLOYD
MADDOX
MARCH
MORGAN
NYE
PADRIG (PAHD-rig)
PARRY
RHYS
SIAM (SHAM)–Welsh form of James
SIARL (SHARL)–Welsh form of Charles
SIOR (SHOR)–Welsh form of George
SULIEN (SIL-yen)
TALIESIN (tahl-YES-in)
TEILO (TAY-lo)
TUDOR
VAUGHAN

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