Where did the baby name Kerensa come from?

The Legend of the Seventh Virgin, a historical romance novel set in Cornwall, came out in 1964. It was written by “Victoria Holt,” one of the pen names of prolific English author Eleanor Hibbert.

The next year, not only did the book appear on the New York Times bestseller list, but two character names appeared in the U.S. baby name data.

The one that saw the most usage was Kerensa, from the name of the main character, Kerensa Carlee.

  • 1967: 15 baby girls named Kerensa
  • 1966: 12 baby girls named Kerensa
  • 1965: 8 baby girls named Kerensa [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted

Then there’s Mellyora, inspired by the character Mellyora Martin It appeared in the data for the first and only time in 1965:

  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: 5 baby girls named Mellyora [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted

Kerensa (pronounced keh-REHN-zah) comes from the Cornish word kerensa, which means “love” or “charity.”

Mellyora may be based on the Latin word meliora, meaning “better.”

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P.S. The author’s other pen names? Anna Percival, Elbur Ford, Eleanor Burford, Ellalice Tate, Jean Plaidy, Kathleen Kellow, and Philippa Carr.

Sources: Kerensa – Cornish Dictionary, Eleanor Hibbert – Wikipedia

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Kerensa come from?

  1. I realize that “Ellalice” is a contraction of Eleanor Alice, and it most likely was meant to be pronounced “ell -alice” but when I first looked at it I immediately saw “ella lice” .

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