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Folklore: Forenames in former times

Mr Happy 30 Apr 13 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,wrex 30 Apr 13 - 09:34 AM
Mr Happy 30 Apr 13 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,Grishka 30 Apr 13 - 12:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Apr 13 - 12:22 PM
Mr Happy 30 Apr 13 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Apr 13 - 12:50 PM
Will Fly 30 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM
Marje 30 Apr 13 - 01:43 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Apr 13 - 02:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Apr 13 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Apr 13 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Anne Lister sans cookie 30 Apr 13 - 03:46 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Apr 13 - 04:34 PM
GUEST, 30 Apr 13 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,Mark 30 Apr 13 - 04:48 PM
May Queen 30 Apr 13 - 05:06 PM
May Queen 30 Apr 13 - 05:16 PM
Allan Conn 30 Apr 13 - 05:20 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Apr 13 - 07:18 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 Apr 13 - 08:02 PM
Nigel Parsons 01 May 13 - 05:00 AM
Sandra in Sydney 01 May 13 - 06:14 AM
GUEST, topsie 01 May 13 - 06:44 AM
Newport Boy 01 May 13 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,Lavengro 01 May 13 - 06:59 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 01 May 13 - 08:06 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 May 13 - 01:44 PM
GUEST, Topsie 01 May 13 - 03:07 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 02 May 13 - 04:23 AM
Bat Goddess 02 May 13 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Lavengro 02 May 13 - 10:00 AM
GUEST, topsie 02 May 13 - 10:19 AM
Bat Goddess 02 May 13 - 06:39 PM
Will Fly 03 May 13 - 03:57 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Mr Happy
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 09:15 AM

Personal names can change with the times.

In folksong of long ago there's a plethora of Mollys, Pollys, Peggys, Fannys & Willies, yet these names have fallen from prominence.

Discuss


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,wrex
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 09:34 AM

"Discuss" - why?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Mr Happy
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 09:53 AM

It's a discussion forum!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 12:05 PM

Popular first names tend be used as euphemisms or slang expressions for sexual organs etc. Only few names such as John survive that, all others eventually fall from grace, so new ones must be found.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 12:22 PM

The examples you give are invalid, as they are nicknames, not forenames.

Willie = William
Fanny = Frances
Molly = Mary
Polly = Mary
Peggy = Margaret
Another one is Cindy = Cynthia

Nicknames cause problems for genealogists.

Lisa, May, Ginny, etc. etc.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Mr Happy
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 12:37 PM

I disagree

The names are diminutives, but are used in fact as proper names.

There's multiple examples of their use in folksongs


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 12:50 PM

In England in the middle ages, the most popular male name was John and the most popular female name was Margaret.

I was just listening to a fiddler on youtube, and her name was Mairead. I believe that's Irish for Margaret.

You're right about Mollys, Pollys, Peggys, Fannys & Willies, Mr. Happy. It just wouldn't be right if a swain grew jealous and murdered a Blanche or if a country lad fell in love with a Maude.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM

There's multiple examples of their use in folksongs

well - folksong forenames are not how the majority of children were actually baptised. Moot point perhaps but, going through my family ancestral file (1,625 people) back to the 16th century, there are very few of the people registered in it using the diminutive. Nearly all use the formal version of the name.

And many of those names are in use today - Rob, Ann, Margaret, William, James, Thomas, Mary, John.

But, as you say, there are certainly fashions in names from one period to another. Not many Elvises or Chardonnays in my family history!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Marje
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 01:43 PM

What does strike you if you look through family archives is what a very small selection of names our ancestors used in any one region, or indeed in the whole of England or Scotland. Despite having large families, they gave most of their children names from a pool of maybe 20 names that occur again and again across the generations. If a child died, they sometimes used the name again for the next child of that sex. The diminutives (Molly, Willie, etc) will have been required to distinguish a child named Margaret or William from their aunt/cousin/father etc, but as Will Fly says, almost all of children were registered using the full, formal version of the name.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 02:07 PM

There's lots of information here, from the US Social Security Administration:

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/

Lots of options if you page down.

There are some surprises.

The 4th most popular name for males born in 2011 is … Jayden.

Jayden? Really? Who the hell is Jayden?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 02:36 PM

Jayden, Jaden, acc. to Wikipedia, became popular among "ethnic minorities."

The examples given by Mr Happy are, as noted by Wil Fly, not proper forenames.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 02:42 PM

Hi, Jim. Thanks for the link to the SSA site about names.

I'm glad Madison is going the way of the buffalo. Why would you name a baby girl 'son'?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,Anne Lister sans cookie
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 03:46 PM

I'm always somewhat horrified at how many people choose a name for their child they either can't pronounce or can't spell (for example I met a Siobhan once who insisted she was called "Seeb-harn" and have taught a Jorga. I could go on ...). We have loads of Jaydens around here, all of whom appear to be white skinned Welsh, and there are also Kaydens (and you can vary the spelling as much as you dare imagine). Has there been a famous Jayden?
But in my family tree there was one branch back in the 18th century who had the best selection of names - we had a Zipporah, an Ezekiel, a Nimrod and a Keren-Heppuch. Not a Jewish family, as the marriage was in a church and the surname was Morley, but clearly fond of the Old Testament! If only I had a brother called Nimrod ....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 04:34 PM

Popularity of forenames (ignoring religion, as most do) tends to follow fame as it stood in the parents' generation.

My paternal grandmother and her siblings (born before 1900 by some margin) for example were Alice, Maud, and Grace. My maternal grandmother was Edith. There were famous or regal people of these names some years before (obvious example, Princess Alice) so the names are chosen for aspirational significance.

That may tell us something about Tyson, Tyrone, etc. Not to mention Chardonnay, Chlamydia, etc.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 04:47 PM

There seem to be plenty of Mollys and Pollys in the playgrounds around here, and I suspect that their birth certificates don't say 'Mary'.
I used to believe that Jessie was a diminutive form of Jessica, until I read somewhere that Jessie is a very old name, but Jessica was invented by Shakespeare - maybe someone would care to check this.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 04:48 PM

Forenames in our family (of British/Irish descent) in the late 1800's included Maude, Mabel, Hazel, and Helena for the women, whereas the male names included still-common ones such as Robert/Bob, John/Jack, Arthur, and Sam.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: May Queen
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 05:06 PM

Britney Spears called her son Jayden as did Will Smith, with what precedent I do not know (as if there needs to be a precedent with celebrities!)

The most unusual name in my family tree from the 18th c is Kezia (f) which actually sounds like a modern made up name to me!I also have a Martha who was known (to family still living) as Patricia...this caused lots of problems trying to match up families on the census returns as know one knew her real name was Martha. Marje is quite correct about the reasons why...a small pool of names used which could cause confusion without varients/diminutives.

In my experience a lot of older names have come back into fashion Molly, Lily and Florence being particularly popular. My neighbours kids are called Stan and Charlie. Im waiting for Edna and Doris to come back too :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: May Queen
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 05:16 PM

Wow...Ive just googled the name Kezia and turns out she was sister to Keren-Heppuch as mentioned by Anne above.Fancy that! They were aparently both daughters of Job.

Now Job...theres a name you dont hear much these days....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Allan Conn
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 05:20 PM

"There seem to be plenty of Mollys and Pollys in the playgrounds around here"

Molly was the 44th most popular girl's name in Scotland last year. Higher than John which only came in at number 52 most popular boys name


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 07:18 PM

My grandfather's middle name was Uz. Nobody seems to know why.

There are a couple of guys named Uz listed in the "begats" of the Old Testament, but nothing more is said about them. Job is said to be from the land of Uz (not to be confused with the land of Oz). Other than that, it's a pretty insignificant place, and its location, if it is real, is a mystery.

I once read of a theory, found on the internet, that Uz in a German name, pronounced "oots," but I'm inclined to think that's a red herring, because no information has been passed down to us of any connection to Germany, and nobody else among our known ancestors has a German-sounding name.

My grandfather's ancestry, as near as we can figure, was half English and half Irish.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 Apr 13 - 08:02 PM

@GUEST six posts above: Jessica in its modern spelling(ie spelled that way) was invented by Shakespeare, but it's an anglicisation of the Hebrew name Iscah, Yiscah, or Yiskah, which was used by English Jews in the 12th century. Then it was often anglicised as Jiscah. Pronunciation could have led to i sounding like e, and creating Jescah.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 May 13 - 05:00 AM

And 'Jessie' is aparently a contraction for 'Jezebel'.
At least, that's according to Isaac Asimov in "Caves of Steel"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 01 May 13 - 06:14 AM

thanks for posting the Social Security link. I had a great time looking at names every decade from 1880.

I can't remember what decade Willie was a popular name, but it was further down the list from William. Jack & John occupied similar spots, too. My name was around in 1940 & 1950.

My grandfather was born in the 1890s & was named Harry, not Harold, a bit unusual at the time.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 01 May 13 - 06:44 AM

Fans of Milly Molly Mandy may remember how she was a bit disappointed when, after spending a long time trying to think of a good name for her Little-Friend-Susan's new baby sister, and deciding on Primrose, she found out that the baby had a name already - Doris.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Newport Boy
Date: 01 May 13 - 06:45 AM

My mother's side of the family used well over 20 forenames. In the period from about 1820 to 1920 I can find nearly 50 different names. Here they are, in batches of the various generations - approx 1820, 40, 60, 80 & 1900.

Henry, Olivia, Gertrude, Ferdinand, Alice, Frank, Lilian, Hylda, Oliver, Rosa, Barclay, Mildred.

Clifford, Alfred, Vera, Wilfred, Lena, Edgar, Violet, Ivor, Marion

Elizabeth, Ann, James, Mary, John, William, Edward, Edmund, Emma.

Lily, Rose, Edith, Elsie, Millicent, Augustus, Wilfred, Cyril, Nellie, Daisy, Harold, Doris, Mabel, Redvers.

Mavis, Octavius, Ewen, Brenda.

My father's father & his twin brother were Jabez & Joseph.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 01 May 13 - 06:59 AM

I think Anne (who is only "up the road" from me) makes a good point in terms of (mostly old testament) biblical names falling from favour?

In my community (Romani) the use of biblical names with some traditional Romani names to the non-traditional seems to have taken place so rapidly it'll make your head spin. In a couple of generations we have gone from Samuel, Noah, Sophia, Mary, Amberline, Isaac, Silverthorn, Athalia etc. to Jimmy-Ray, Kira, Paris, Crimea, Romeo, Lewee, Boo etc.

Being a hypocrite (having named my daughter Freyja) I think this is a shame. However these things do tend to be cyclical don't they? So maybe a future generation will rediscover Mable, Winnifed, Albert, Cissy, Archie and Harold?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 May 13 - 08:06 AM

@Lavengro: BTW, Freyja is a lovely name! (I'd say that given as I'm a Norse mythology/Tolkien fan).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 May 13 - 01:44 PM

Kasia Madara is one of the accomplishd news broadcasters on the BBC. This is the Polish spelling of the name; is Kezia another spelling of the name?

Any Non-Hispanic Hectors out there?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 01 May 13 - 03:07 PM

I've only come across the name Kezia in Rumer Godden's children's book Diddakoi - a story about a Romani girl.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 02 May 13 - 04:23 AM

Wasn't the name of the girl in that book "Kizzy"? (I haven't read it, just heard about it?)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 02 May 13 - 09:25 AM

My paternal grandmother was Elsie. Her sisters were Alida, Irene, Verna, Adeline, and Laura. I have an aunt named Minerva. My father's name was Julius and his father's name was Ernst.

My maternal grandmother was Matilde (called Tilly) and my grandfather was Otto. My great aunt was Ida.

Lately, it seems, I know about four Isabel / Isabella / Izo / Izzies... with a wide span of ages.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 02 May 13 - 10:00 AM

@Morwen

Thank you Morwen. To be honest I think her having a less common name has (so far) been a benefit to her? She has been the only one in her schools etc. so tends to get remembered. At least that's how it seems?

Of course it will only take one high profile "celebrity" to name their daughter the same and we will be knee deep in them!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 02 May 13 - 10:19 AM

Morwen, the girl in the book is known as Kizzy to start with, but she later acquires the more formal name Kezia as well.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 02 May 13 - 06:39 PM

Names run in cycles. It was always interesting when I was typesetting annual town reports 25 years or so ago, to read the list of the previous year's births...and see which names were the flavor of the month. Ashley (Ashleigh, Ashli, etc.) one year and Chelsea in all its variants the next.

In the year I was born, it seems every little girl was named Linda except for those named Sue. My parents named me Linda Sue. And I've met many others named the same. (I changed my name to Linn when I was 21 -- I don't think my mother has forgiven me.)

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Forenames in former times
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 May 13 - 03:57 AM

On my mother's father's (Norfolk) side of the family, my g-g-grandfather and his siblings were named Joshua, Raymond, Lemuel and Salome. Slightly unusual, even for the early 19th century.


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