Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Constance in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Constance and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Constance.
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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 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 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.
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
They were young actresses on the cusp of movie stardom back in the 1920s and 1930s.
About 13 Baby Stars were selected by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers every year from 1922 to 1934 (minus 1930 and 1933).
Some of those young women did indeed achieve stardom. Among the Baby Stars were Clara Bow (’24), Mary Astor (’26), Joan Crawford (’26), Fay Wray (’26) and Ginger Rogers (’32).
I thought the names of the Baby Stars — the oldest of whom were born in the final years of the 1800s, the youngest of whom were born in the mid-1910s — would make an interesting set. But I wanted birth names, not stage names, so I tracked down as many birth names as I could. Here’s the result, sorted by frequency (i.e., seven women were named Dorothy).
(Often stage names were the real-life middle names of these women.)
Finally, a few interesting details:
Jobyna is Jobyna Ralston, named for actress Jobyna Howland, daughter of a man named Joby Howland. Jobyna debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1927.
Derelys is Derelys Perdue. “Perdue’s boss, future presidential father Joseph P. Kennedy, insisted on changing her name to the more palatable Ann Perdue.” She sued, but lost, and her career never recovered. Derelys was a one-hit wonder on the SSA’s baby name list in 1924.
A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.
I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”
Here’s the list:
Have any favorites?
Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.
BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.