Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Catalina, Esmée, Hilda, Ismene and Saoirse


There are 56 people in Norway named Catalina
#2 in Chile, 2005
2939 people in Argentina (Buenos Aires) named Catalina
#696 in USA, 2006 (levelling off)
Catalina is an approved name in Portugal

Catalina is the feminine form of Catalin, a masculine Romanian name derived from the Greek Katherine. Katherine from Aikaterine has no certain meaning, but is associated with meaning pure. It could also be related to Hecate or aikia meaning torture.

Characters and Usage:
There are various places named Catalina - in Arizona, Romania and the Dominican Republic. Santa Catalina is the name of an island off California, two municipalities in the Philippines and a mountain range in Arizona.
It is also a type of American salad dressing.

There are 3 or less people in Norway named Esmée
Esmée is not an approved name in Portugal

Esmé the past tense of the Old French verb esmer - to love, to esteem. Esmée is the feminine form of the verb - Esmé being unisex.

Characters and Usage:
There is the Esmée Fairbairn Charitable Trust.

#68 in Sweden, 2006 with 189 births (rising)
There are 1033 people in Norway named Hilda - it was most popular in the 1880-90s.
3266 people in Argentina (Buenos Aires) named Hilda
Last on US top 1000 in 1986, peaked 1899 at #87
Hilda is not an approved name in Portugal

Feminine form of Hild, of Germanic origin meaning battle or war.

Characters and Usage:
Hilda is a large asteroid in the outer main belt between Jupiter and Mars.
Hilda of Whitby was a 7th century British saint who became the founding abbess of Whitby- St Hilda's College at Oxford University, and the College of St Hild and St Bede at Durham University are named after her.
Hurricane Hilda occurred in 1964.
Characters in TV shows named Hilda include Hilda Ogden from Coronation Street and Hilda Suarez, 'ugly' Betty's sister.

There are 3 or less people in Norway named Ismene
Ismene is not an approved name in Portugal

Greek - knowledgeable. Derived from the Greek isme meaning knowledge.

Characters and Usage:
In Greek mythology, Ismene was the daughter of Jocasta and Oedipus, and the sister of Antigone.
Ismene is a large main belt asteroid that may contain water.

There are 3 or less people in Norway named Saoirse
There were 5 girls born in Scotland in 2006 named Saoirse
#36 in Republic of Ireland, 2005
Saoirse is not an approved name in Portugal

Derived from Gaelic vocabulary word meaning freedom

Characters and Usage:
Saoirse is the Sinn Fein party's monthly bulletin/newspaper. It is a name of particular political significance in Ireland.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anais, Christina, Loveday, Parthenope & Scarlett

#24 in Belgium, 2005 (rising)
#13 in France, 2004 (falling)
#25 in Chile, 2005
#869 in USA, 2006 (rising - peaked 1992 at 850)
There are 13 people in Norway named Anais
There were 3 girls named Anais born in Scotland in 2006
Anais is an approved name in Portugal

From Hebrew meaning Grace or Favour, Anais is the Provencal and Catalan form of Anna

Characters and Usage:
Anais is a minor character in the X-Men series.
Anais Nin was a French writer
Anais Croze is a French singer
Anais Martinez won the second season of Puerto Rican reality TV show Objectiva Famo
Noel Gallagher, member of band Oasis, named his daughter Anais

#97 in New Zealand, 2002 (falling)
#18 in Malta, 2005 (falling)
#158 in USA, 2006 (falling - peaked 1975 & 85 at #12)
Krisztina was #16 in Hungary, 2005
Krystyna was #6 in Poland, 2004
Cristina was #24 in Spain, 2005
There are 4090 people in Norway named Christina, including 67 born in 2006
There were 17 girls named Christina born in Scotland in 2006
There were 20 girls named Christina born in BC, Canada in 2005
There are 3889 Cristinas in Argentina (Buenos Aires)
Christina is not an approved name in Portugal

Latin - follower of Christ. Feminine form of Christian via Christiana.

Characters and Usage:
There have been 2 saints named Christina:
St Christina was a Persian Saint, who may or may not have existed
Christina the Astonishing is sometimes considered a saint, when 21 she had a massive seizure and was perceived to have died, however, at her funeral she levitated and declared she had witnessed heaven, hell and purgatory. She continued to behave with strange and erratic behaviour until her death aged 74.
Christina has been a name used in royalty:
Christina of Sweden, was queen regnant of Sweden 1632-54
Princess Christina of the Netherlands, youngest daughter of Queen Juliana
Princess Christina is the sister of the current King of Sweden
In popular culture:
Christina Rossetti was a poet of the Victorian era
Pop stars: Christina Aguilera, Milian, Christian and Aguilar.
Actresses: Christina Ricci and Applegate

There are 3 or less people in Norway named Loveday
Loveday is not an approved name in Portugal

English - love-days - relating to the days on which disputed were traditionally settled. Has been most common (of the extreme rarity of this name) in Cornwall.

Characters and Usage:
Loveday is the surname of the family in a series by Kate Tremayne
Loveday Perowne is a character in Elinor M Brent-Dyer's Chalet School series
Loveday Minette is a character in Elizabeth Goudge's 'The Little White Horse'

There are 3 or less people in Norway named Parthenope
Parthenope is not an approved name in Portugal

Greek - maiden face

Characters and Usage:
In Greek mythology the name Parthenope has been used for:
A siren
The daughter of Ancaeus, king of Samos and Samia, daughter of Meander the river god. She was the mother of Lycomedes.
Parthenope was a Greek settlement that is now part of Naples. During the French revolution, the short-lived Parthenopaean republic was established in Naples.
Parthenope is a genus of crabs.
Parthenope is the name of an asteroid.
Florence Nightingale's older sister was named Parthenope, having been born in Naples.

#66 in NSW, Australia, 2006
#46 in England & Wales, 2006 (rising)
#85 in Chile, 2005
#297 in USA, 2006 (rising)
There are 9 people in Norway named Scarlett
There were 26 girls named Scarlett born in Scotland in 2006
There were 17 girls named Scarlett born in BC, Canada in 2005
Scarlett is not an approved name in Portugal

English - scarlet, red colour

Characters and Usage:
Scarlett O'Hara (first name Katie - Scarlett being from her grandmother's maiden name) is the principal character in Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. The role was taken by Vivien Leigh in the 1939 film.
There have been other books with Scarlet(t) in the title:
Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley - written as a follow-up to Gone with the Wind
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Scarlett Johansson is an American actress
Scarlett appears as a character name in the GI Joe series, X-Men (the Scarlet Witch), Captain Scarlet and Spiderman (Scarlet Spider).
Miss Scarlet is one of the suspects in the board game Cluedo.
Scarlet fever is a streptococcal infection which produces a characteristic rash.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Orange(ry) Awards

Apparently a certain mobile telephone company have taken the Orange Awards. Anyway, these are the Orangery Awards for real-life uses of good names from Daily Telegraph Birth Announcements Jan-May 07. Or rejoice! Not everyone is calling their child Neveah (yes, eah), and people have found ways for punchy combinations without resorting to using Tiger or Rex.

I find these names elegant, classy and a cut different from the William, Thomas, Alice, Elizabeth, Isabella that seem to haunt the Daily Telegraph. It's also credit to the great style that Daily Telegraph Birth Announcers have, that I had to cut my list back.

Best Cornish:
Our first category comes about due to the not exactly vast, but sizeable numbers of Cornish names I had on my list.

Annabel Morwenna
I frequently refer to Morwenna as a pretty alternative to Morgan, and here it is, complementing the frilly Annabel nicely.

Daisy Charlotte Loveday
Little Loveday is a name that is frequently overlooked, however, it fits nicely into the middle name spot without being too embarrassing.

Winner: Veryan Dorothy
Veryan is a Cornish place name - from St Veryan from St Symphorian. The sheer audacity of using it as a first name, coupled with the lovely, homely Dorothy gives Veryan Dorothy the Orangery Cornish Award.

Twins and More Award
There are only four names in this category - I didn't realise that I was going to create it until I'd finished it, and then it was a bit too late.

Atalanta Constance & Algy Gordon
Atalanta is an empowering name, whilst Algy is softer. Should it be the other way round? Either way, Constance and Gordon as middle names are spot on.

Winner: Annabel Poppy Clementine & Oliver Henry Ptolemy
Yes, Annabel again. Anyway, two middle names may be excessive for some, but it works here. Annabel and Oliver are strong, leaving most of the frilliness to the middle names.

Special Sibling Award:
This a special, sort of lifetime achievement award. Getting one child's name right is great, but getting it right again and again?

Winner: Delphine Octavia
And siblings: Georgina, Christopher, Charlie, Clementina, Gabriella, Montgomery, Cordelia, Angelina, Seraphina and Decima. Phew! Delphine fits in perfectly here, though the middle name is slightly out (I get the feeling that I can be picky about that sort of thing when it can actually apply).

Brave Award:
For names that could have backfired horribly, but in my eyes work well.

Boys winner: Digby Peregrine
My general feeling with Digby is that you need a solid middle name to fall back on, something slightly more normal...Is Peregrine that? Certainly, not normal, but it seems to fit with the quirky Digby.

Girls winner: Circe Mary
Now Circe is a name that could be horrible - sorceress, Odysseus' lover - but Mary gives it elegance, decorum and class.

Simple Award (aka KISS Award):
Keep it simple, stupid seems to be an easy rule to follow. Lots of the announcements however, had five names plus a family surname and it all seemed too much. This award recognises those who showed restraint and kept it stunning.


Lua May:
Very simple, this almost got the girls vote. Lua is Portuguese and means 'moon', it's not a traditional name, but has all the trapping of one. May is a delicately simple middle name choice, and complements Lua superbly.

Hugh Alfred:
Hugh is a name that can feel very young or very old - it's changeable, Alfred however, gives this an immediate feel of wisdom, age, tradition and strength. It's a 'pillar of the community' choice.

Iris Honor:
Iris is your grandmother, or she's this young girl - it's coming back into style. Honor gives this strength, sagacity and serenity. Shame it's not spelt the English way.

Boys winner: Ezra Leo
Ezra Leo is the epitome of restraint, simplicity and is all the better for it.

Girls winner: Anais Clare
Anais is a sweet choice, and Clare fits in the middle. Lovely.

The Orange Award:
No, not the final award but the award to the most orange name. Serious contenders were Clemmy Elizabeth, Clemence Audrey Marie, (attempting to be Clementine but failing), Romilly Saffron (too yellow) and Annabel Poppy Clementine (conflicting colours).

Thus the winner is : Frieda Clementine
The certainly orange Clementine fits well with the less fussy Frieda. A deserving winner.

The Orangery Award:
For the names that just seemlessly fit together.


Jemima Penelope
The very English Jemima turns heads with the flashy Penelope.

Finnian Henry
Little Finnian is given a manly leg-up by the strong Henry

Scarlett Christina
An interesting choice for me - I'm not the world's biggest Scarlett fan, but when I saw this I caught my breath. I don't know why, but it works.

Barnaby Hector
Gentle Barnaby doesn't need a flashy middle name, and strong, dependable Hector is a perfect match.

Ottilie Lucia
Ottilie isn't seen much these days - shame because it can be both frilly and fascinatingly down-to-earth. In this case, frilly - Lucia is a splendid middle name choice.

Winner: Sebastian Elliott Tadeusz
Three dashing, slightly eccentric but entirely swoon-worthy choices. A worthy winner!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Helen, Ruth, Lyra, Eleanor and Isabel


17 girls were named Helen in Scotland in 2006
10 girls were named Helen in Sweden in 2004
There are 2599 people in Norway called Helen, 4 of which were born in 2006
#343 in USA, 2006 - it's peak was between 1900 and 1919 when it was #2 name
Helen is not an approved name in Portugal, but Helena is

Greek - 'bright, shining one'

Characters and Usage:
In Greek mythology, Helen is the beautiful daughter of Zeus and Leda, whose abduction by Paris brought about the Trojan War.
There is a place in Georgia, USA called Helen, with 430 residents.
There are several actresses named Helen: Helen Hunt, Helen Hayes, Helen Mirren and Helen Slater.
Helen Clark is the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Helen Keller was a death and blind woman, who was the first death-blind woman to graduate from college.


17 girls were named Ruth in Scotland in 2006
10 girls were named Ruth in Sweden in 2006
628 people named Ruth in Argentina (Buenos Aires)
There are 11524 people in Norway called Ruth, 18 of which were born in 2006
#373 in USA, 2006 - it's peak was 1908-9 when it was #4 name
Ruth is not an approved name in Portugal

Thought to come from the Hebrew re'uth meaning compassion or friend. In English, ruth is a noun meaning 'pity' or 'sympathy' - and is most commonly used as the form 'ruthless'.

Characters and Usage:
Biblically, Ruth was the Moabite protagonist of the Book of Ruth, who after her husband dies, chooses to stay with her Jewish mother-in-law Naomi rather than return to her homeland. She later marries Boaz, and is one of the ancestors of David, and subsequently Jesus.
Ruth is a symbolic name for girls born on the Jewish month of Shavuot (corresponding with late May-early June), when the Book of Ruth is read in the synagogue.
Ruth is the name of two craters - on the Moon, and on Venus.
Ruth is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.


1 girl was named Lyra in Scotland in 2006
There are 6 people in Norway called Lyra
Lyra is not an approved name in Portugal, but Lira is

Greek - lyre

Characters and Usage:
Lyra is a constellation in the Northern Hemisphere, containing the star Vega, third brightest in the Northern sky. Vega will become the Pole Star in approximately 14 000 AD due to the progression of the equinoxes. Lyra was named so as it is in the shape of a lyre, one theory being that it is the lyre of Orpheus.

Lyra is one of the protagonists in Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy


#42 in England and Wales, 2006
35 girls were named Eleanor in Scotland in 2006
There are 63 people in Norway called Eleanor
#277 in USA, 2006 - it's peak was in 1920 when it was #25 name
Eleanor is not an approved name in Portugal, but Eleonor is

From the Provence name Aliénor, with an obscure meaning. In langue d'Oc of the Provence region, this means 'another Aenor' - possibly relating to Eleanor of Aquitaine, an early bearer, whose mother was named Aenor. Aenor is related to the Greek Eleonore from eleos meaning 'pity' and the Arabic Ellinor - 'God is my light'.

Characters and Usage:
There have been several queens named Eleanor - in particular:
Eleanor of Aquitaine - wife of Louis VII of France, and Henry II of England
Leonora of England - wife of Alfonso VIII of Castile
Eleanor of Castile - wife of James I of Aragon
Eleanor of Provence - wife of Henry III of England
Eleanor of Castile - wife of Edward I of England
Eleanor of Castile - wife of Alfonso IV of Aragon
Eleanor of Castile - wife of Charles III of Navarre
Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of Franklin D Roosevelt, American President
Eleanor Dashwood is one of the heroines of Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility'
Eleanor has been in the title of songs by:
The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby
Franz Ferdinand - Eleanor Get Your Boots On
Jet - Eleanor


#69 in NSW, Australia, 2006
#44 in England and Wales, 2006
13 girls were named Isabel in Scotland in 2006
#46 in Spain, 2005
79 girls were named Isabel in Sweden in 2006
#76 in Chile, 2005
4698 people named Isabel in Argentina (Buenos Aires)
There are 976 people in Norway called Isabel, 70 of which were born in 2006
#87 in USA, 2006 - it's peak was in 2003 when it was #83 name
Isabel is not an approved name in Portugal, but Isabela is

From Elizabeth -Hebrew- 'my God is a vow'

Characters and Usage:
There has been a large number of queens and monarchs named Isabella, but few named Isabel (with no elle).
Isabel Martinez de Peron was the third wife as Juan Peron and served as Argentinian president 1974-6.
St Isabel of France was a daughter of Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile. She founded the Abbey of Longchamp, but never became a nun. When her body was exhumed 9 days after her death it showed no sign of decay.
There are several towns (including 3 in the USA) called Isabel.
Hurricane Isabel was a category 5 hurricane in 2003, causing $3.6 bil of damage

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dahlia, Elaine, Esperanza, Fidelma &Valeria


There are 8 people in Norway named Dahlia
#988 in USA in 2006
Dahlia is not an approved name in Portugal, but Dália is.

Meaning: Dahlia is a plant name, named in honour of Swedish botanist Anders Dahl (1751-89). Dahl is related to the English word dale and means 'dweller in the valley'.

Dahlia Arabian Night from Wikipedia
Characters and Usage:
'Black Dahlia' - a 1940s aspiring actress named Elizabeth Short who was murdered and mutilated. The murder is still unsolved. There have been several books and films on the subject including the Brian de Palma 2006 film 'Black Dahlia' based on the 1987 'The Black Dahlia' novel by James Ellroy.

Dahlia Travers is Bertie Wooster's Aunt in 'Jeeves and Wooster' series.



1 girl was named Elaine in Scotland in 2006.
There are 129 women in Norway named Elaine.
#719 in US in 2006
Elaine is not an approved name in Portugal.

Elaine is the Old French form of the Greek Helen, meaning 'bright, shining one' or 'torch, bright light'. It is also related to the Welsh Elain, meaning 'fawn' or 'hind'.

Characters and Usage:
There are several characters in Arthurian legend named Elaine:
Elaine of Carbonek - the mother of Galahad whose father is Lancelot.
Elaine the Peerless - niece of the Lord of the Fens and wife of Persides the Red. She is sometimes confused with Elaine of Carbonek.
Elaine, the sister of Arthur - daughter of Gorlois of Cornwall, and Igraine, Arthur's mother. Less meddling than her sisters Morgana le Fay and Morgause.
Elaine of Astolat - also known as the Lady of Shalott, had unrequited love for Lancelot and died of heartbreak after his rejection
Elaine of Benoic - mother of Lancelot, who left her infant son with the Lady of the Lake to be raised. She was reunited with her son shortly before her death.

Elaine is 'city' in Phillips County, Arkansas that had 865 in its last population count (less than my 'village').
Elaine is a town in Victoria, Australia.
There have been characters on the shows Eastenders and Seinfield named Elaine.


There are 23 Esperanzas in Norway.
#675 in USA in 2006.
There are 372 Esperanzas in Arge
ntina (Buenos Aires).
#79 in Chile
Esperanza is not an approved name in Portugal, but Esperan
ça is.

From the Late Latin Sperantia from sperans meaning hope.

Characters and Usage:
Esperanza is a city or town in: Argentina, Peru and Mexico.
It is also a province in Chile and several municipalities in the Philippines.
In Antarctica there is an Argentinian base named 'Esperanza Base'.
The language Esperanto means 'one who hopes'.
Tecoma stans - a perennial shrub is known in Spanish as esperanza.


There are 3 or less people in Norway named Fidelma
It is not an approved name in Portugal

Gaelic - possibly good, beauty or constant.

Characters and Usage:
Fidelma features infrequently in Irish legend and history:
Fidelma was a daughter of Conchobhar mac Nessa, and was called Fidelma the nine-times beautiful. She was a warrior.
One of St Patrick's first converts was Fidelma - the daughter of King Laoghaire and sister of St Eithne.
Fidelma O'Kelly Macken is a justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland.

Vah-leer-ree-ah or Va-layr-ree-ah


There are 63 people in Norway named Valeria
469 girls were named Valeria in Spain in 2005
1113 people in Argentina (Buenos Aires) named Valeria
#56 in Hungary in 2005
#90 in USA in 2006
It is an approved name in Portugal

Latin - to be healthy, to be strong

Characters and Usage:
St Valeria was a martyr of the 1st or 2nd century who was married to St Vitalis of Milan. She was martyred for burying Christian martyrs and refusing to sacrifice to Roman gods. She was the mother of St Gervase and St Protase.