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In time for NaNo--some oddball names from my family tree, Pt. 1 (women) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
In time for NaNo--some oddball names from my family tree, Pt. 1 (women)
Okay, I have two thousand people in my ancestry.com tree (they sucked me in! I'm going beyond the free trial!). There are 213 unique women's names. Most of them are English, though there are a handful of odd Welsh ones. The most popular in my family--with a bullet--is Elizabeth. Mary and Margaret come next, then, in order, Sarah, Alice, Hannah, Ann/Anne, Catherine/Katherine, Eleanor/Eleanore, Joan. Those are more or less regardless of date.

The reason I'm posting for NaNo is that I know I sometimes get stuck on a name and a list of oddball ones can be useful. I'll skip the Elizabeths et al, and put some of the less tip-of-the-tongue ones here. Some are just older and maybe not right at the top of your list, others I'm putting in because they're just odd! If you're stuck for a name of an Anglo-Yankee and/or Welsh sound, feel free.



Agnes
Christian (yes, a woman's name in the middle ages--I had eleven of them!)
Dorothy
Esther
Angharad (Welsh)
Margery
Martha
Elen (Welsh)
Gwenllian (Welsh)
Hawise
Maud
Mercy
Florence
Gwladys (Welsh)
Janet
Juliana
Mehitable/Mehitabel
Philippa
Ada
Adelaide
Adeliza
Amicia
Deliverance (Puritan--obviously)
Desire (same)
Electa
Eunice
Flora
Helen
Helena
Hester
Laurette
Margred (Welsh)
Millicent
Morfudd (Welsh)
Nancy
Patience (Puritan)
Polly
Tangwystl (Welsh)
Adles
Alianora
Aline
Alvia
Amabilia
Amice
Amilia
Anah
Anice
Annes
Aplonea
Appelona
Avice
Bathsheba
Berenguela
Beriah
Bethia
Betsey
Blanch
Bridget
Catharina (German)
Catrin (Welsh)
Cecilia
Christobel
Corabel
Cornelia
Damaris
Dangereuse (French)
Demaris
Dolly
Dorcas
Doris
Dorothea
Edna
Ela
Eleanore
Ella
Ermisinde
Erneburga
Eustachia
Eva
Felix (Yes, on a woman, late medieval, I think)
Genris
Gersinde
Goldie
Helewisa
Henrietta
Hetta
Hunydd (Welsh)
Ida
Iranah
Iwerydd (Welsh)
Jacquet (French)
Jonet
Joyouse
Leucu (Welsh)
Lewellyn (on a woman; probably didn't know it was a man's name)
Lois
Lora
Louisa
Lucia
Lucretia
Magdelena
Mindwell (Puritan)
Minna
Nele
Nest
Nesta
Neyle
Nichole (believe it or not, after swimming back through all the Welsh names, this was in the middle ages!)
Odiam
Petronilla
Remembrance (Puritan)
Rhoda
Rohese
Roxana
Ryksa (Polish)
Sanchia
Sara
Sedzilla
Senena
Sophie
Submit (Puritan)
Tamar
Tamasyn
Thankful (Puritan)
Thomasine
Tibod
Ursula
Veronica
Waitstill (Puritan)
Welthy
Yolande
36 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
st_aurafina From: st_aurafina Date: October 30th, 2009 06:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the Puritan names - so cool.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I know... I like them in the weirdest way. There's one on a lateral line named Reconcile, which I've always thought was a fabulous name, and could be called the simple "Connie" in everyday situations.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 31st, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Though on the other hand, who on earth would call their daughter "Dangereuse"?
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: October 30th, 2009 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
This list makes me want to throw my Nano away and write the torrid romance between Dangereuse and Desire, while their sisters Mindwell and Welthy keep the family businesses afloat!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)
That would be very Joyouse.
snuggle_muggle From: snuggle_muggle Date: October 30th, 2009 07:14 am (UTC) (Link)
My grandma's name was Ada and her sisters were Wanda and Freida, less unusual but parents really liked the *da part apparently. And they were all born in Nevada to a plain-jane American family, too. Of course, this was way back at the turn of the last century. These names are great. I do love really odd names. This was a fun list. Thanks for sharing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
My grandmother's best friend was Ada, known to all of her friends as "Dade."
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)
How the heck DO you pronounce Tangwystl?
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, now, I will try to pronounce some Welsh words... they look scary, but it looks like it's decodable. ;p

Thank you!
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From: (Anonymous) Date: October 30th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
The ll is sort of like the Spanish, if I'm doing it right.
toastedcheese From: toastedcheese Date: October 30th, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it's like Spanish - ll in Spanish is a "y" sound, right? The ll in Welsh is a sort of a "hl" sound. You can hear it here.
From: severely_lupine Date: October 30th, 2009 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
How does that site manage to find all those ancestors? It sounds fascinating, but how do you know it's accurate?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, the more people who are on it, the more trees coincide. Then, they also have digitized census records, genealogy logs, birth and death records, etc, which you can use to back it up or search. I'm in the process at the moment of trying to track down a really, really common name, and I'm going through census records from the 1840s and 1850s, looking for all the families with it. This ancestor, we have the filed death certificate for--unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have known exactly how old he was (it changed with every census) or where his father might have come from. I'm sort of thinking he might have been an orphan and/or foundling, and I'm flummoxed as to how I'll source him at all! They have good stuff, but they can't make records appear if they didn't exist.

That said, I've spotted some bone-headed mistakes in the family trees, like someone who died in Sicily, Nebraska... in the 1200s. They have auto-fill in some fields, the guy died in Palermo, Sicily, and, well... a few people apparently weren't checking very carefully! Now that I've noticed that, I'm checking more carefully for things that just plain don't make sense.

I have yet to source up the older names, but in terms of plain old name collecting, it didn't really matter to me whether or not I'd proved anything.
From: severely_lupine Date: October 30th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm, interesting. I may have to look into it. I'm always interested to learn that sort of stuff. Speaking of names, my great-grandmother had some weird ideas of names. All the names of her daughters were just horrible. As an example, she named my grandmother after one of her ex-boyfriends. That's the kind of thing that makes me wonder if maybe I don't want to learn more about my ancestors.
doriscrockford2 From: doriscrockford2 Date: October 30th, 2009 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Submit? Oy, those Puritans. :) Very interesting list; thanks for posting! On to NaNo!!!
renesears From: renesears Date: October 30th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for sharing these! They're great. This is the second time I've seen Waitstill-- I love that name. Mindwell is a good one, too.

Poor Sedzilla. Although I'm sure she didn't have to worry about monster movie comparisons in her day.
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: October 30th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's it. I'm going to have a kid just so I can name her Tangwystl.
matril From: matril Date: October 30th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
My grandmother's mother was named Ada, and my grandfather's mother was named Ida. They were the two older relative's first names that I was able to remember even as a small child, because they match, and how cool is that? ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very cool.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 30th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
My family tree has a Epaminondas, called Pam for short (his older brother became very good at boxing, go figure).

I also recently found out that, about 400 years ago, an ancestor of mine had his life saved by an ancestor of my brother-in-law's. I suppose my nieces and nephews have extra cause to be glad both those people survived to have descendents.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
(his older brother became very good at boxing, go figure).

I think there are probably a lot of older brothers who became good boxers over names like that... ;p

That second... that is one neat story.
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: October 30th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your tree must be amazingly detailed! My family just got into that this summer, and we're on Geni, but I don't think it's the same. I think family tree stuff is really cool.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is... it's just fun stuff. It's like playing at being a detective.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm running into that with William Walton and Caroline Fisher in Pennsylvania. Forget John Smith and Mary Jones. The world will drown in William Waltons and Caroline Fishers. Gah! And of course, this is the ancestor who apparently knew nothing whatsoever about his parents.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2009 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
She was, in fact, Carie Fisher (per the 1880 census in Johnstown, PA). ;p But in this case, German Lutheran.

Edited at 2009-10-31 01:46 am (UTC)
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: November 19th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gah!!! You found that out about William Walton as well? That's my father-in-law's name (and he's a junior). I've now made the connection to Sam Walton (Arkansas) that those Walton's had told us was there. (and I still have to show ID to write a check at Wal-Mart!)
viatrix03 From: viatrix03 Date: October 30th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Fern, those are such great names! Who doesn't love funky old names? I think Tibod might be my favorite off your list. And having just finished a read-through (plus some re-reading) of The Lymond Chronicles, seeing Philippa (and Christian) on the list was heartwarming :)

I've always loved my maternal grandmother's name: Dantza (Serbian)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2009 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that is pretty. I swear, I just collect cool names for the sake of themselves. I always make believe it's for some other purpose, but it totally isn't.
From: bookworm_91 Date: October 31st, 2009 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
On my maternal side I have three women in a row all named after each other - Catherine Mary. My great grandmother called herself 'Bertha' and my grandmother 'Patricia.' There was a tradition of naming the eldest daughter for their mother and for Our Lady.

On my paternal side all names are very boring except for a recurring 'Aaron' which puzzles me.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 1st, 2009 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Odd names and genealogy

That is half the fun of genealogy, isn't it -- all the odd names and relationships you uncover. My grandmother's aunt was named Getha, she had a cousin named Elva (who had a niece by the same name), and her best friend for 70 years was named Sifronia, called Fronie. One of my favorite names in her ancestry from the Middle Ages was a woman whose name was just recorded as "Honeypot".

My grandfather, meanwhile, had a brother named Hercules and an aunt named Massadonia. They were, as far as we can tell, Scottish; they also tended to have 8-12 children in each generation, so some of the names were very creative. We've done some work on the family tree, but we get stuck in the early 1800s. My great-great-great-grandfather had one of those very,very common names, and despite an unusual middle name and (according to family legend) service in the Georgia militia during the Civil War, we can't find out anything about his parents or verify his place or date of birth (his birth date tended to change in the census as well). He was either born in 1819, or 1829, maybe in Georgia but it could be Virginia. Or South Carolina. Or North Carolina. Or.... You get the picture. ;-) The joys of genealogy.

Good luck with the search Fern!
36 comments or Leave a comment