The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).
Victorian Era Female Names
Victorian Era Male Names
Abigale / Abby
Almira / Almyra
Ann / Annie
Dorothy / Dot
Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
The image below, of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, was captured in early 1838 by Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype.
It may be the earliest surviving photograph of a person. Two people, actually. Both are in the lower left:
Here’s a close-up:
The standing man is getting his shoe shined, and the other man (partially obscured) is doing the shoe-shining.
Of all the people on the sidewalk that day, these were the only two to stay still long enough (about 10 minutes) to be captured in the image.
Now for the fun part!
What would you name these two Frenchmen?
Let’s pretend you’re writing a book set in Paris in the 1830s, and these are two of your characters. What names would you give them?
Here’s a long list of traditional French male names, to get you started:
For some real-life inspiration, here are lists of famous 19th century and 20th century French people, courtesy of Wikipedia. Notice that many of the Frenchman have double-barreled, triple-barreled, even quadruple-barreled given names. (Daguerre himself was named Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre.)
I’m posting on Sunday instead of Monday this week. Why? Because today (September 29) is International Coffee Day, and I thought it would be fun to celebrate by brainstorming for baby names for coffee lovers.
Here are some coffee-inspired names I’ve come up with so far…
Legend has it that an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi discovered the coffee plant during the 9th century. After watching his goats become lively after eating coffee berries, he tried the berries himself, then told some local monks about the plant. The story has inspired many coffee shop owners to name their establishments “Kaldi’s Coffee” and the like.
Another legend has it that, around the year 1600, Pope Clement VIII gave coffee his official papal approval. Coffee was new to Europe, and Catholic clerics wanted it banned because they associated it with Islam. But Clement tried it and liked it, and his thumbs-up made coffee acceptable (and, soon, very popular) in Europe.
Thousands of coffeehouses opened in England during the second half of the 17th century. During the 18th century, they came to be called Penny Universities because, for the one-penny price of cup of coffee, a person could learn a great deal from the many political, commercial and philosophical discussions going on inside. Like the Kaldi legend, this story has inspired many coffee shop owners to use the name “Penny University.”
The U.S. would have been a tea-drinking nation if not for the Boston Tea Party, which made tea drinking unpatriotic. After that historic 1773 rebellion against the King George’s tea tax, Americans switched over to coffee and never looked back. The specific location of the Tea Party was Griffin’s Wharf (which no longer exists).
French naval officer Gabriel de Clieu transported (maybe smuggled?) a single coffee plant from Louis XIV’s royal garden to the French colony of Martinique in 1720. The trip across the Atlantic was arduous, but both he and the plant arrived intact. Fifty years later, Martinique boasted over 18 million coffee plants — all progeny of Gabriel’s original.
Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta of Brazil traveled to French Guiana in 1727, ostensibly to help settle a border dispute. He ended up obtaining coffee seedlings for Brazil (the real objective of his mission, likely) in a rather sneaky way: within a bouquet of flowers. Brazil went on to become the world’s largest coffee producer.
In the 1730s, composer Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the “Coffee Cantata,” in which a young woman, Lieschen, argues with her father about her coffee addiction. She sings lines like “Coffee, I must have coffee” while he tries to force her to break her habit. Here’s the Coffee Cantata in English. The name Lieschen is based on Lies, pronounced LEES, a diminutive of Elisabeth (the German form of Elizabeth).
What other baby names for coffee lovers can you come up with?
A reader and her husband are expecting a baby boy in January. They’re down to two names: Atlas and Finch.
If we decide to go with Atlas, his name will be Atlas Grey. However, if we decide to go with Finch, we’re having a terrible time deciding on a middle name. My first thought is Finch Winter but I’m not sure if it’s too feminine. We would love any kind of feedback or ideas. I’m thinking it should be two syllables and obviously something out of the ordinary.
So, here are the questions:
Which name do you like better, Atlas or Finch?
Is Finch Winter too feminine?
What middle name(s) would you suggest for Finch?
Please give us your answers in the comments!
Here’s what I think:
1. I prefer Atlas to Finch for several reasons, one being that the name Finch immediately brought to mind Stifler’s Mom. (And another American Pie movie is due out next year. Who knows how long they’ll keep that franchise/joke alive.)
2. Finch Winter doesn’t strike me as being too “feminine” necessarily — just unisex, as nature names tend to be.
3. My first thought was Winston, which is similar to Winter, but decidedly masculine. Here are some other ideas: