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  1. #1
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    Default Unusual names in censuses

    Whilst looking for relatives I have collected some interesting given names amongst all the Johns and Marys, Williams and Anns. Here's my list so far - would love to see others' special 'finds'. These are all girls names, and I checked the original documents to make sure they weren't transcription errors.

    Philadelphia
    Rennetta
    Bincy
    Baize
    Balonda
    Thirza
    Dueuella
    Pernel
    Pegger
    Emmolia

  2. #2
    Beloved Friend RIP Thomasin's Avatar
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    I spotted a Mahala yesterday.

    Thomasin

  3. #3
    Loves to help with queries.
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    In my (Humprey) family I have Upcot Ozias & his brother Ozias Upcot.

  4. #4
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    4,500 people called Thirza in the 1881 census, close to 700 named Philadephia. Mahala(h): close to 2,000.

  5. #5
    Valued member of Brit-Gen. Aislin's Avatar
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    In a family that seems to show a great fondness for the names George, Charles, Thomas and Henry I've come across a Bedo or Bedoe (depending on the whims of the clerk). I'm told this is a Welsh name. Is it fairly common in Wales?

  6. #6
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    Default Meaning of names

    Thirza seems to be a Biblical one, a translation of Tirzah one of the daughters of Zelophohad. Presumably the Bible must have been a great inspiration for names in the pious 19th century.
    My old dictionary gives the meaning of so many names that have certainly fallen out of favour since then, and which even in 1976 would have been extraordinarily old-fashioned:

    Algernon - "moustached"
    Afra (Heb.) "dust"
    Alphonsus (Gmc) "noble ready"
    Athanasius (Gr )"undying"
    Bardolph (Gmc )"bright wolf"
    Charity - Cherry being a derivative of this
    Clothilda - (Gmc) "famous fighting woman"
    Cyrus - diminuitive Cy (Pers.) "throne"
    Desideratus - ("longed for")
    Dolores - dim. Lola (Sp.) "sorrows"
    Ebenezer - (Heb) "stone of help"
    Elgiva - (O.E. )"elf gift"
    Eulalia - (Gr.) "fair speech"
    Eusebius - (Gr.) "pious"
    Hezekiah - (Heb.) "Yah is strength"
    Huldah - (Heb.) "weasel"
    Jabez - (Heb.) "sorrow"
    Jedediah - (Heb.) "Yah is friend"
    Kenelm - (O.E.) "keen helmet"
    Lalage - (Gr.) "talkative, prattling"
    Leander - (Gr.) "lion man"
    Lemuel - (Heb.) "consecrated to God"
    Malise - (Gael.) "servant of Jesus"
    Micah - (Heb.) contraction of word for "who is like Jehovah?"
    Mungo - (Gael.) "amiable"
    Ninian - meaning unknown
    Osric - (Gmc) "god-rule"
    Percival - (Fr) "penetrate the valley"
    Phineas or Phinehas - meaning obscure
    Rayner - (Gmc) "counsel"
    Senga - "backward spelling of Agnes"
    Sextus - (L.) sixth - cf Septimus (7th) etc
    Sophronia - (Gr) "prudent, of sound mind"
    Tabitha - (Aramaic) "gazelle"
    Thelca - (Gr) "god-famed"
    Urban (L) "of the town, urbane"
    Verena - name of a martyr
    Vesta - (L) Roman hearth-goddess
    Zenobia - (Gr) "life from Zeus"

    Well, I suppose in the days of large families, it was handy to have a good long list to call upon

  7. #7
    Valued member of Brit-Gen. Aislin's Avatar
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    Here's a whimsical one:

    Featherstone Lake Osler -
    Gender: M
    Marriage: 6 Feb 1837 Falmouth, Cornwall, England

  8. #8
    Valued member of Brit-Gen. Aislin's Avatar
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    Well if that was the case, their hopes were dashed. He was a bricklayer. In fact, strangely enough, on both sides are builders and bricklayers and carpenters. Not a poetic limb in my tree anywhere.

  9. #9
    Starting to feel at home Tony's Avatar
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    Default Odd names and other stuff

    There seem to be a few common reasons for name oddity. Some names are ancient or obsolete, either unfamiliar to us in their natural long-ago settings, or resurrected for modern reuse. There are biblical names and heroic names - some obscure ones, foreign name transplants, made up names and names deriving from parental affectation (especially nowadays and especially in U.S.A.), and there are misspellings, faulty-transcriptions or deliberately eccentiric spellings of established names, and surnames used as forenames. Some names become quaint or lyrical by combining - coupling or tripling. When I started to go through my tree index (I ran out of steam rather soon and had to cease and desist before I got very far I'm afraid) I noted the ref numbers of individuals intending to check the particular vintage of each name - in the event I decided not to bother. Christmas is a time for relaxing, not getting into pointless new projects.
    Here are a few forenames I thought might interest or amuse, some if only for their eccentric spelling: BATEY; DERRYN; MARTHER; TRIG; ARLONE; DAINTY; KINGDON; ATHELIA; BERHIAH; KEON LEIGH; LIESEL ANN; ANSALY; NAIDA JOAN; PALEMON; KESIAH DELILAH; VEVA; REATHA; GAYLENE; JONE; CORDA MAY; JOHN COON HAROLD; SABINA ELLIE; WINSOME OLIVE; CAPITOLA MAY; ANNIE ENNICE HOPE; AVY MYRTLE OLGA; JELLAH; RELIOY; VARPU TALUIKKI.
    I have two Friswiths in the maternal tree too, in very separate branches of the tree. One (rendered FRIDESWIDE) died 1640 in Bucks, the other was born 1638 in Oxfordshire. Friswith is a Saxon name and I remember some researcher continually coming across it in modern use in some (I think East Anglian) village. His interest peaked, he tracked persistent instances of the name's use back through the parish register and beyond, concluding the name was a genuine survival from Saxon times in that particular village, but after it had been long discarded elsewhere. Perhaps a 'so what' moment, but interesting to me, as are many other odd and unlikely survivals I know of. My interest in this area especially applies to insignificant shreds of fact, essentially preserved casual gossip, of far-distant time, which when investigated turn out to be an accurate historical artefact. This same phenomenon is sometimes apparent in random elements of legend, which (usually by chance) are found to be accurate remembrances of otherwise forgotten distant events. History hidden within legend.
    Thanks for listening.

  10. #10
    Jan1954
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    I have a Zeniver in my tree who has been recorded as both Janiver and, courtesy of a confused enumerator in 1871, Xenophone

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