Thursday, October 27

Panning for Name Gold: 1930

view of the Summer Triangle, including Cygnus, Lyra, Vulpecula, Sagitta, Delphinus and Equulus constellations

uh-oh, hard times are a-coming for the country —  fortunately, people are still using some wicked names for their children. So you know it's gonna be all right.

Aurelius — "Soon you'll be ashes or bones. A mere name at most — and even that is just a sound, an echo." (from Marcus Aurelius' Meditations) I wrote about considering this name for my own child, so you know it's a personal favorite. From the Latin aureus, meaning "golden" or "gilded"
Delphin — speaking of personal favorites, I am a fan of most Delph- names. Delphin is a newer addition to my list, a shorter version of Delphinus, which means "dolphin" and is the name of a small constellation in the northern sky, named by Ptolemy
Ivo — there are a couple different etymologies for this name. It's found as a variant of Ivan, which is the Slavic form of John, and as a name made up of an element meaning "yew," a tree that was considered holy by the ancient Celts. It's also used as a short form of the Bulgarian name Ivaylo. Variant spelling Yvo really sharpens it up
Marius — pretty popular in Denmark and Norway, Marius, like Aurelius and Delphin, is a Latin name that has astronomical connotations — it's the name of a lunar crater near a set of volcanic domes on the moon, called the Marius Hills. I appreciate that it's often listed as a "male form of Maria," since it's rare to hear a name referred to that way. Most often, the male form is considered the more legitimate one, and the female form just an offshoot. Onomastic pet peeve!
Percival — this name was created by 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes and used in his work, "Perceval, le Conte du Graal," which is believed to be the first work to feature a quest for the Holy Grail. de Troyes probably took the name from mythological Welsh hero Peredur, altering it to allude to the French phrase percer val, which means "to pierce the valley"

Aletta — hard to find much on Aletta. My guess is that it's either from Aleida and AleitDutch and low German forms of Adelaide, respectively, or is a variant of Alethea, from the Greek for "truth." There's also the very real possibility that, for the 10 parents using it in 1930, it's a "made-up" name, one formed from popular sound components "Al," and "-etta" 
Deva — Deva's got a lot of history. It refers to supernatural entities in Buddhism and Hinduism, and is the Sanskrit word for "deity" or "god." It can be found in Sri Lankan mythology and the New Age movement, where it refers to any of the spiritual forces or beings behind nature. It's a river in northern Spain and a city in Romania. Very attractive people Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci have a daughter named Deva (their younger daughter is Léonie)
Camellia — another lesser-used flower name, Camellia would be a great choice for those looking for an unusual longer form for the nicknames Cam, Mia, or Ellie, or those who like Amelia but worry about its popularity
Jacinta — funny that I had Jacinta lined up for this week, since I just read about an Australian couple using it for their daughter over on Waltzing More Than Matilda. And, it's a form of Hyacinth, which I profiled in my last Panning for Gold post. Variants Jacinthe and Jacinda are equally lovely
Opaline — I love an unusual, old-fashioned "-ine" name. This is a diminutive of Opal, which happens to be October's birthstone. I like that it manages to be quaint-sounding and refined-looking all at once


  1. I wonder how Deva came about in the 1930s - it sounds too New Agey for that period? It's the Roman name for the River Dee in Britain, and this is said to mean "sacred, goddess", so it fits in really well with the Buddhist and Hindu meanings.

    I've always thought Camellia would be such a pretty flower name.

    I also had a celebrity parent called Jacinta - Jacinta Tynan, who has two little boys called Jasper and Otis.

  2. Aurelius is rather handsome, isn't he? Although I know some take him to be a rather uptight kind of name only the elite can get away with using.

    We have a show called Child of Our Time here in the UK, which features Scottish twins born in 2000 called Alex and Ivo - which really proves just how well Ivo could work in the modern day.

  3. I don't mind Marius at all (wonder if it was popular in Norway before or after Mette-Marit married Prince Haakon - it's the name of her first son). Aurelius is great, too - and could add credence to the idea that -us names are coming back for boys!


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