I recently read through a 19th-century book about personal names “either in every-day use or lingering in the literature of Great Britain and Ireland.” Here are a couple dozen names that caught my eye:
“A female name of common occurrence in the Highlands of Scotland. Formed from Aeneas,” which itself was “not from the classical name, but from the Gaelic name Aonghas, i.e. Angus.”
“The Gaelic original of Banquo. Some translate this name ‘white’ (Gaelic ban, white, also pale, fair, fair-haired); but it is rather from ban-cu, the white dog; figuratively white hero. In Irish, cu, among other meanings, is a dog, greyhound, champion, hero, warrior.” Banquo was a character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
“A female name, said to be derived from Fr. douce et belle, sweet and fair.” Most books define these as variants of Dulcibella (Latin dulcis “sweet” + bella “beautiful”).
“A Gaelic name of local origin, viz. from Drymen, co. Stirling, from druim monadh, back of the hill.”
“An old Irish female name, signifying ‘a dark-haired beauty’ (dubh, and deas beautiful).” According to Wiktionary, deas does mean “pretty,” and also “nice,” “honest,” “straight” and “right (as opposed to wrong).”
“An old Irish name derived from each a steed, marcach a rider.”
“An old Irish name derived from each a steed, milidh a knight.”
“A Welsh name. From uniaum, upright, perfect, just; lit. right, straight, direct, like iniawn.”
Eochaidh, “pronounced Eochy or Eohy”
“An old Irish name signifying a horseman or knight; from each or eoch, a steed. According to the Annals of Ireland it has been Anglicised Achy, and Latinised Eochadius, Achadius, and Achaius.”
“An old Irish female name, signifying a honeysuckle of ringlets (feith-failge).” That meaning doesn’t make a lot of sense to me…I wonder if it shouldn’t read “ringlets of honeysuckle” instead?
“A female baptismal name. One writer says Gesana, or rather Gesina, is a very common female name in Friesland, and not unknown in other parts of the Netherlands. According to others Gesana is a Spanish name, and of Scriptural origin. It is scarcely Scriptural, and is probably derived from the ending of some feminine diminutive.”
“If of Celtic origin this name might translate ‘willow marsh.'”
“Found as a male name at the present day. From A. S. hengest, which Lye renders ‘cantherius, caballus,’ i.e. gelding, horse.” According to Encyclopedia Britannica (the book, not the baby) Hengist and Horsa were “brothers and legendary leaders of the first Anglo-Saxon settlers in Britain.”
“An old baptismal name derived from L. idoneus, fit, […] proper.” According to Behind the Name, Idonea is based on the Scandinavian name Iðunn, but was influenced by the Latin word idonea.
“A male name corrupted from Joshua.”
“A female name which some think to have been corrupted from Rabege, another form of Rebecca.”
“A name derived from Mwyngu or Munghu, the subsequent name of the Pictish saint Kentigern. It may be derived from mwyn, tender, kind, mild, gentle, courteous, affable, with the addition of og, as a diminutive.”
“A baptismal name signifying little Nap–that is, Napoleon.”
“A baptismal name often found in Hertfordshire. One writer suggests that it may be from L. pertenuia, very slender. It has been more probably corrupted from the Scripture place-name Bethany.”
“A female name. The Tyne Mercury of 3rd November, 1829, gives a ‘Shepherdess Speedy.’ The name was no doubt derived from the occupation, like the male names Pastor and Le Pastur, found in the Hundred Rolls.”
“Found as an old baptismal name, said to mean God’s star.” Presumably based on the Latin words theos, “god,” and aster, “star.”
“An old Irish name signifying ‘a man of hospitality,’ derived from tomailt, provisions.”
“A Welsh name derived from uthr, signifying awful, wonderful, astonishing, terrific, horrible.”
The book also mentioned the battle-inspired baby names Crimea and Ulundi. (The Battle of Ulundi, fought in 1879, was the last major battle of the Anglo-Zulu War.)
Source: Charnock, Richard Stephen. Prænomina; or, The Etymology of the Principal Christian Names of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Trubner & Co., 1882.