Unique Name – Aldaberontophoscophornia

Abraham and Ruth Bowen of New England had at least five children — three boys and two girls:

  • John (1797-1801)
  • Amanda (1799-1826)
  • Nathan (1808)
  • Aldaberontophoscophornia (1812-1905)
  • Zephaniah (1820)

One of those names is not like the others!

Where the heck did Aldaberontophoscophornia come from?

Apparently it came from the satirical play Chrononhotonthologos. The play, written by Englishman Henry Carey and published in 1734, features a bombastic (male) character named Aldiborontiphoscophornio.

Why would a New England family name their daughter after a pompous, fictitious man in an 80-year-old English play? I have no idea. :)

It seems like Aldaberontophoscophornia wasn’t too keen on her name, as she never used the full version anywhere. Even on her headstone her name is shortened to Aldaberonto:


In other places (like various censuses) I’ve seen it written “Alda Beronto,” “Alda B.,” and simply “Alda.”

Aldaberontophoscophornia was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and is buried in Wareham, Massachusetts. She married a man named Andrew Fearing and had at least 12 children, according to the U.S. Census of 1900, though I’ve only tracked down the names of half of them: Andrew, Henry, Emelyn, William, Charles, and Frank.

So far, I haven’t seen any evidence that her unique name was passed down to any descendants.


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