Monday, March 25

Old Québec Names: C

I just realized I took a real-life photo of Ottilie's drawing ...

Here are some of the names from the "C" group of names found on old gravestones in Québec  —  

Cassilda —  Casilda, with one "S," is the name of a Catholic saint from Toledo (Spain, not Ohio ...) who was the daughter of a Muslim king. Such a pretty sound
Célérine —  I've seen Celerie before, but I like this sweet version more. It's less veggie-fied, anyway
Cléonine — the Cléo variants were plentiful in this bunch, I picked this as my favorite along with ...
Cléophyre —  ... which is really cool. Would the "phyre" be pronounced "feer" or "fire," though? 
Cloviette — picturing a little clover here. Always looking for new "-ette" names
Cordula this one has a great meaning: "heart"
Cyra — another saint name (Cordula is, too). I can see this one having some success on the charts. People like Tyra and Kyra, why not Cyra?

Calvis —  thought this was a fun one, though I wonder if it'd just be confused for Calvin all the time
Casabon — isn't there a character in something named Casabon? Causabon? (Goes to Google ... ah, Middlemarch! Edward Casaubon, right, right. That was such a killer book.)
Cassédy — French cowboy? Cassady/Cassidy on a boy is one of my guilty pleasure names
Cathien —  suited for a sci-fi novel, perhaps, but a strong sound and a nice way to honor a Catherine with a boy name
Célidor — this one stood out because it sounds like "cellar door"
Cléodor — I love Cléo- names on boys and this one is a sweet alternative to Theodore
Colet —  the masculine form of Colette? I think it has a nice, sharp sound
Cordélias — swashbuckly, no?

Friday, March 15

Old Québec Names: B

photo by gmayster01 via Flickr

Because I'm so obsessed with these amazing B names, here's the second installment of the Old Québec series — 

Balsamie —  might remind some of balsamic vinegar, but I like it as a nature name, as it incorporates the word balsam, referring to types of plants and trees that produce balsam oils
Basélisse —  perhaps from Basil, meaning "king"
Béatricia — love this unusual take on Beatrice, but ...
Béatride —  ... love this one even more. Reminds me of another favorite, Léonide
Bertille — a French diminutive of Bertha, meaning "bright," or "famous"
Bétonie — another nature name, Betony is a type of minty herb, I like it with an "-ie" ending
Bleuette — sweet and ready for modern-day use, I think. Might be a little funny to use in France; apparently it's the name of a popular toy doll produced from 1905-1960

Barylas —  a Russian place name, I didn't find much else about this one. Very nice sound though
Béliam — interesting long-form-of-Liam potential, no?
Bélin — pronounced "Baylin," which I can see getting some trendy love. This form looks more legit 
Bénévent —  such a cool one. Perhaps from the Italian word benevento, meaning "welcome"
Bercéus — couldn't find much info, but I love the look of it. Reminds me, sound-wise, a bit of Briseis, a feminine name from Greek mythology
Bernaï — perhaps a variant of Bernard, meaning "brave bear"
Bidou —  so cute, it might be too cute. We see names like Lilou, Milou and Ninou for girls, why not have a matching one for a boy, as well
Biel — adorable pet form of Gabriel in Spanish-speaking cultures

Wednesday, March 13

Toy Stories

Botlhe, photo by Gabriele Galimberti

I followed a link to this wonderful series of photographs of children posing with their most prized possessions, and found myself oohing and aahing over their names, so I thought I'd share. They're an eclectic bunch, and come from all around the world, so there's sure to be something appealing here. Enjoy!

Abel (Mexico) 
Davide (Malta) 
Enea (USA) — very interested how this one wound up on a boy from Colorado. Maybe it's a family surname? 
Keynor (Costa Rica) 
Li Yi Chen (China)
Lucas (Australia)
Niko (USA)
Noel (USA)
Norden (Morocco) 
Orly (USA) — another intriguing one, on a boy. It's a feminine Hebrew name meaning "light is mine"
Pavel (Ukraine) 
Ragnar (Iceland) 
Ralf (Latvia) 
Ryan (South Africa)
Taha (Lebanon)  
Tangawizi (Kenya)
Watcharapom (Thailand) 

Alessia (Italy) — the Italian form of Alexis, I wonder why it hasn't caught on in the US. It's very popular in Italy 
Allena (Philippines)
Arafa & Aisha (Zanzibar) 
Bethsaida (Haiti) 
Botlhe (Botswana) 
Chiwa (Malawi)
Cun Zi Yi (China)
Elene (Georgia)
Farida (Egypt) — means "unique," or "precious"
Jaqueline (Philippines)  — yes, just with the Q, not Jacqueline
Julia (Albania)
Kalesi (Fiji Islands)  
Maudy (Zambia) 
Naya (Nicaragua) 
Puput (Indonesia) — so cute
Reanya (Malaysia)  
Shaira (India)
Stella (Italy) 
Talia (Algeria)
Tyra (Sweden)
Virginia (USA)  — refreshing to see this on a young girl

Monday, March 11

Old Québec Names

more Instagrams

Name blog The Diving Bells recently linked to a site listing tons of names used in Québec in the mid-19th to early-20th century. I thought I'd be a copycat and list some of my favorites, but when I started going through the list I realized there were just too many good ones to compile into a reasonably-short post. So here are my favorites that start with "A," for girls and boys — 

Adalaïs — an old, obscure variant of Adelaide, which means "noble kind." This one could roll quite nicely into modern English use, I think, with its easy nickname (Ada) and its sweet, reminiscent-of-Madeleine sound. I love the look of it as well, flowery and well-balanced

Adéléosa — this one's a bit more exotic. I might even like Léosa on its own. It's so over-the-top feminine, I can't help but love it. I imagine it's inspired by the name Adele, though I can't seem to find any information on it from a source other than the list itself. Very rare, and very pretty

Adéliska — I have such a weakness for "-iska" girl names. Now that I think of it, "Adel—" is a good element to have in a name-smush, since it works well with so many different endings and sounds

Agnéline — I wonder if this one was recorded as a misspelling of Angéline. Funny how you switch a couple of letters around and the name loses all its charm. I prefer to think of this one as an Agnes + "-line" combination. If you're going for an "old lady chic" name, I think French old lady is the way to go

Almaïs — I've always liked the name Alma, mostly because it has a perfect meaning: "soul." Almaïs takes it up a notch in my book, looking a bit more exotic. It may also be inspired by the Arabic name Almas, which means "diamond" and can be used for girls or boys  

Ambéline — anyone else thinking of Thumbelina? This one might be better-suited to a bakery than a child, but I think it's really interesting. Always liked the "Amb" sound but just can't get into tired "Amber"? Lots of nickname possibilities, too

Abdon — found in the Bible (on various figures, including sons of Hillel, Gideon and Micah) and on a saint (Saint Abdon was a martyr killed on the same day as Saint Sennen) this is a Hebrew name meaning "servile." It's also found in Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Uruguay and Bolivia, as Abdón 

Accasius  possibly from the Greek Akakios, meaning "not evil." Nice meaning, huh! I guess you could interpret that as "innocent," too, but I kind of like "not evil," you know? High hopes for Accasius! I am a fan of Cassius, so this one stood out

Achélias — pronounced "a-kay-lee-us,"  this one's really handsome. These elements wouldn't necessarily read as masculine to an English-speaking ear, but I think this one manages to bridge the gap nicely. The right boy could totally pull it off

Adalor  no information on this one, I just liked the look of it. Might be a nice surname. Does anyone know more about it?

Adelphi  Delphi is one of my favorite girl names, so I'm always looking for similar boy names. However, these two have very different meanings: Delphi comes from the Greek word delphys, meaning "womb," and Adelphi comes from adelphoi, meaning "brothers"

Alexire — I've never had an "Alex-" name on my list, but this one is pretty cool. I can see it being used in the US, for sure. The question is, how would you pronounce it? Something like "alec-zire," or maybe "alec-zeer"?  

Améleus — perhaps a variant of ancient Roman name Aemilius, the ancient form of Emil, meaning "rival"

Arpad — Árpád is an Hungarian name meaning "seed," and I've always found it appealing. It's fun to say, has an unusual sound (for English, anyway) and seems playful, yet mature. The Árpáds were the ruling dynasty of Hungary from the 9th century all the way until the beginning of the 14th, and the name is still in regular use there. It's probably the most popular name on this list! 

Here's a bonus: the second Grand Prince Árpád ruled from 895-907 and had five sons. Their names were LiüntikaTarkatzusJelekJutotzas and Zoltán.

Monday, March 4

Three That End With 'S'

more Instagram fun -- I'm idiot blush

Three names on my mind today — and they all have something in common.

What's your favorite "ends in 'S'" name?

Anaïs — I love many Anna variants (Anina, Anouk, Anushka, Hana, Ninon) but Anaïs may be my favorite.   It's pronounced "a-na-EES," though commonly said as something more like "a-NAY-iss" in the US, or at least that's how everyone I've ever heard say Anaïs Nin's name has pronounced it. That association, combined with its popularity in countries like Belgium, France and Chile, gives it a literary/international vibe. It's very unusual in the US, occasionally squeaking in to the top 1000 (it last ranked there in 2007, at #905) — in 2011, there were only 159 girls named Anais born

Persis — Persis is a favorite of mine, one that doesn't get much love when I mention it. It's a Greek name, from the word for "Persian woman." It's extremely unusual —  I dug into its history a bit, checking its popularity for every decade since 1890. Here's the info: in 1890 there were 7 born, in 1900 there were 7 born, 5 in 1910, 13 in 1920, 9 in 1930, 6 in 1940, less than 5 in 1950, 6 in 1960, less than 5 in 1970, 8 in 1980, less than 5 in 1990 and 2000, and 6 in 2010

Otis — ah, the long fall of Otis. Way back in 1899, Otis was a top 100 name. It ranked comfortably at #94 then, after seeing a fairly steady 20+ year rise. In 1909 it was #99, and after that it was all downhill — in 1994 it made its last appearance in the top 1000, clocking in at #941. However, I think it might be ready for a comeback of sorts. Actor Tobey Maguire used it for his son in 2009  a year when only 123 Otises were born in the US. Last year that number had risen a bit, to 143. I heard it on a toddler yesterday at breakfast and will be interested in checking its numbers when the 2012 stats come out in May