Category: Thanksgiving baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
As we sit down to our Thanksgiving feasts in this divisive year, it might be a good idea to take another look at the traditional virtues embedded in these names.
In the seventeenth century, for some of the most puritanical of the Puritans, even biblical and saints’ names were not pure enough to bestow on their children, and so they turned instead to words that embodied the Christian virtues. These ranged from extreme phrases like Sorry-for-sin and Search-the-Scriptures (which, understandably, never came into general use) to simpler virtue names like Silence and Salvation.
The virtue names that have survived in this country were for the most part the unfussy, one-syllable girls’ names with positive meanings, such as Joy, Hope, Grace and Faith. But then, in the late 1990s, a door was opened to more elaborate examples by the popularity of the TV show Felicity, and its appealing heroine. Felicity (also the name of an American Girl Colonial doll) reached a high point on the girls’ list in 1999, a year after the show debuted, leading parents to consider others long forgotten relics.
Here are the Nameberry picks of the twelve best virtue names:
Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, let’s take a look at some names that were used in Colonial America and could be still considered fashionable today. Colonial names are chock full of history and laced with virtues and biblical associations.
You probably won’t see many boys named Comfort or girls named Modesty today, and something like The-Peace-of-God or Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith wouldn’t exactly work well for official documents. Which led me to wonder what the most usable, wearable names that were favored in early America might be. I narrowed it down to my top 5 boy names and top 5 girl names that date back to the Colonial Era but can still sound fresh today.
I’ve also added a few middle name combo suggestions.
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.