How popular is the baby name Blanche in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Blanche and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Blanche.
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A reader got in touch recently to ask about several unusual names. One of them was “Vouletti,” which belonged to a daughter of Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-1875).
Isaac Singer is best remembered for his successful sewing machine manufacturing company, founded in 1851 and still going strong today. Also notable, though, is the fact that he had a total of 24 children with five different wives and mistresses.
With Maria Haley, he had two children:
William Adam (b. 1834)
Lillian C. (b. 1837)
With Mary Ann Sponsler, he had ten children:
Isaac Augustus (b. 1837)
Vouletti Theresa (b. 1840)
Fanny Elizabeth (b. 1841)
John Albert (b. circa 1843)
Jasper Hamet (b. 1846)
Julia Ann (b. circa 1847)
Mary Olivia (b. 1848)
Charles Alexander (1850-1852)
Caroline Virginia (b. 1857)
…plus one more
With Mary McGonigal, he had five children:
Charles Alexander (b. 1859)
With Mary E. Walters, he had one child:
Alice Eastwood (b. 1852)
With Isabella Eugenie Boyer (of France), he had six children:
Adam Mortimer (b. 1863)
Winnaretta Eugenie (b. 1865)
Washington Merritt Grant (b. 1866)
Paris Eugene (b. 1867) – Palm Beach developer, namesake of Singer Island
Isabelle Blanche (b. 1869)
Franklin Morse (b. 1870)
These are traditional names for the most part, which makes “Vouletti” all the more intriguing.
Vouletti Singer was born in 1840, married William Proctor in 1862, had three children, and died in 1913. Though her name was definitely spelled Vouletti — that’s the spelling passed down to various descendants, and the one used by her friend Mercedes de Acosta in the poem “To Vouletti” — I found it misspelled a lot: “Voulitti” on the 1855 New York State Census, “Voulettie” on the 1900 U.S. Census, “Voulettie” again in a Saturday Evening Post article from 1951.
So…where does it come from?
I have no clue. I can’t find a single person with the given name Vouletti who predates Vouletti Singer. I also can’t find anyone with the surname Vouletti. (There was a vaudevillian with the stage name “Eva Vouletti,” but she doesn’t pop up until the early 1900s.)
Theater could be a possibility, as Isaac Singer was an actor in his younger days. Perhaps Vouletti was a character name he was familiar with?
My only other idea is the Italian word violetti, which means “violet.” Her parents might have coined the name with this word in mind.
Do you have any thoughts/theories about the unusual name Vouletti?
Looking for an under-the-radar girl name with a retro feel?
A few years ago I combed though a bunch of IMDb pages looking for interesting female names associated with old films (1910s-1940s).
Most of the names I spotted — names like Mabel, Maisie, Hazel, Hattie, Elsie, Selma, Bessie, and Betty — were ones I expected to see. But I did manage to collect thousands of rarities, many of which have never appeared in the SSA data before.
Want to check out all these unusual names? I thought so! To make things interesting I’ll post the Z-names first and go backwards, letter by letter.
Zabette de Chavalons was a character played by actress Bebe Daniels in the film Volcano! (1926).
Zabie Elliot was a character played by actress Mary Alden in the film The Broken Butterfly (1919).
Zada L’Etoile was a character played by actress Sylvia Breamer in the Cecil B. DeMille-directed film We Can’t Have Everything (1918).
Zena Dare was an actress who appeared in films during the 1920s and 1930s. She was born in England in 1887. Zena Keefe was an actress who appeared in films during the 1910s and 1920s. She was born in California in 1898. Zena was also a character name in multiple films, including The Code of Honor (short, 1916) and The New York Peacock (1917).
A couple of days ago, in my post about Rhiannon, I mentioned the Mabinogion.
The first person to translate this collection of medieval tales into English was Lady Charlotte Guest (1812-1885). She wasn’t a native Welsh speaker, but learned the language after marrying Welsh businessman John Josiah Guest at the age of 21 and moving to Wales.
That marriage produced 10 children. Here are the names:
Charlotte Maria (b. 1834)
Ivor Bertie (b. 1835)
Katherine Gwladys (b. 1837)
Thomas Merthyr (b. 1838)
Montague John (b. 1839)
Augustus Frederick (b. 1840)
Arthur Edward (b. 1841)
Mary Enid Evelyn (b. 1843)
Constance Rhiannon (b. 1844)
Blanche Vere (b. 1847)
Many of the above, including Bertie, Montagu (without the e) and Vere, are family names on Charlotte’s side. Charlotte’s father Albemarle got another interesting family name.
Here are definitions for the four Welsh names:
Gwladys – A form of the old Welsh name Gwladus. It might be based on the Welsh word gwlad, meaning “country.”
Merthyr – From the Welsh word merthyr, which means “martyr.” Records show that Thomas was born in the town of Merthyr Tydfil.
Enid – Found in the Welsh legend of Geraint and Enid. It might be based on the Welsh word enaid, meaning “soul.”
Rhiannon – Found in the Mabinogion. It might mean “divine goddess” or “maid of Annwfn.”
If you could add an 11th name (first + middle) to this set, what combination would you choose and why? Gender is up to you.