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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    174

    Onnolee: clunky, but endearing?

    While going through some New York State history, I came across the name Onnolee (“ON-ah-lee,” homophonous with the Swedish Anneli!). Onnolee looks clunky and sort of cre8tive, but it has a really interesting history and has been in steady use as a Real New York name since the 19th century (and earlier).

    The legendary Munsee nation Princess Onnolee was captured by a rival tribe in the 1300s (circa the Finger Lakes region/Western NY), but refused to submit. Onnolee killed her captors (warrior princess) and (sad) dove into Hemlock Lake where, supposedly, she still haunts about to this day. Legend is a little dark, but Onnolee is considered to be a really poetic & romantic name in its origin place (and it’s associated with lake houses and relaxation, so score one for this cozy name!)

    What do you think of Onnolee? Is it difficult to get past the clunky spelling, especially with our conditioned aversion to names that “look” “made up” (actually watched a really interesting docu-video that focused on the undeniable display of creativity that is inherent in making up ones own unique name, really great point of view!)? I think Nola may be a really sweet & up to date nickname, but excited to hear your thoughts! I liked Onnolee Winsome, but if you have any middle name suggestions, I’d be excited to hear those as well! Bonus—any idea what an Onnolee’s siblings would be called? x

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    New England, USA
    Posts
    235
    I like it. Onolee might be a bit less clunky and it looks like that spelling has been used historically as well. I assumed it was a more old fashioned name like Paralee, but possibly with some Native American roots, which apparently is correct. It does feel innately upstate New York. I imagine if you live in or around NY, many people would have heard the name. If someone gets fussy about cre8ive names, you can just tell them it's a regionally historic name and they can feel silly. It's their problem not yours.

    I would have suggested a common name for the middle, like Onnolee Dawn or Onnolee Cora (also a nod to upstate NY), but Onnolee Winsome is fantastic and I can't think of anything better. I like your style!

    Not sure what would be good sibling names. It seems like that would take some research.

  3. #3
    Sorry, it just doesn't look like a name to me.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2,855
    As a first name, it begs lots of explanation. It would most likely be often misunderstood, but I guess to those whom it really matters they'd be informed and educated about where the name comes from. She'd have people spelling her name Annalie ALL THE TIME.

    I'd say it could be usable as long as the parents really, really love it an are committed to any constant drama it might create.

    I'd also pair it with a very wearable name, so said daughter can choose that if she'd like later on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Greece
    Posts
    3,780
    Love the sound, hate the spelling. It'd get misspelled and mispronounced a lot.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    198
    I immediately thought of the song puff the magic dragon and would assume she was named after that! It’s different but not terrible! The more I say it the more I like the sound! Edited to say I looked up the song and that is spelled Honahlee.
    Last edited by sho; July 20th, 2019 at 09:35 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2,134
    I actually really like it. Sounds lovely.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,748
    I like the sound, and appreciate the history, however, I just do not like the appearance of Onnolee. It just looks so awkward to me, with the two O's & N's like that. Onalee or better yet, Onneli would look a lot nicer in my opinion - the latter being a rare Finnish variant of masculine Onni, itself meaning '(good) luck, fortune'.

    It could definitely work if you wanted it to, and Onnalee Winsome is an interesting, offbeat combo.

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,005
    I like the sound, and the history, and much prefer it to similar spellings (Annalee, etc, remind me of "anally").

    My only hesitation would be if it is considered disrespectful to use a Munsee tribe name if you do not share that heritage (I don't know your background, so disregard it if you are a tribe member yourself). However, I'm not from upstate NY, and I don't know how people there feel about it. I do have friends that belong to different tribes and they think it's great/don't care if anyone uses native names, but other people may not feel that way, which is understandable. I think you'd have to gauge the sentiment in your area and make an educated decision on whether it is acceptable for you to use it, and then be prepared to explain it to anyone unfamiliar.

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