How popular is the baby name Elizabeth in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Elizabeth and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Elizabeth.
The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.
Did you know that the first woman in the U.S. to fly a plane solo (intentionally*) was named Bessica?
Dr. Bessica “Bessie” Raiche (1875-1932) flew her homemade airplane on September 16, 1910, in Hempstead Plains, New York. It was her first time flying a plane, and during the short flight she “skimmed over the airfield a few feet off the ground.”
A month later, Aeronautical Society of America presented Bessica with a gold medal inscribed to “the first woman aviator of America.”
Bessica, a medical doctor, flew planes for only a short time before moving to California and resuming her medical practice.
Her mother’s name was Elizabeth, so I’m guessing “Bessica” was created as an elaborated form of Bess, the diminutive of Elizabeth.
Do you like the name Bessica? Would you use it for a modern baby girl?
*I say intentionally because, two weeks earlier in 1910, lady-pilot Blanche Stuart Scott had unintentionally become airborne while taxiing a plane.
Rafaela Ottiano was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Italy in 1888. Rafaela was also a character played by actress Alice Joyce in the short film The Bag of Gold (1912).
Reno Browne was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1950s. She was born in (Reno) Nevada in 1921. Her birth name Josephine Ruth Clarke. Reno was also a character played by actress Ethel Merman in the film Anything Goes (1936).
Rosina Galli was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1950s. She was born in Italy in 1906. Rosina was also a character played by actress Jose Collins in the film The Last Stake (short, 1923).
Rosita Marstini was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in France in 1887. Rosita was also a character name in multiple films, including Hell’s Valley (1931) and Zoo in Budapest (1933).
Sir Walter Raleigh, the English gentleman and New World explorer, didn’t have a whole bunch of kids — just three sons. But two of those three sons had rather unusual names:
Damerei, born in 1592
Walter, born in 1593
Carew, baptized in 1605
Walter’s name is easy enough to figure out…but where do “Carew” and “Damerei” come from?
Carew was a surname that could be found on both sides of the family tree, coincidentally — both in Walter Raleigh’s family and in the family of his wife, Elizabeth.
Damerei was based on the surname D’amerie, which was supposedly a surname in Walter Raleigh’s tree that connected him to Henry I. (This was according to a historian Raleigh had hired, probably for the very purpose of cooking up some noble/royal ancestry.)
Which of these three names do you like most?
Nicholls, Mark and Penry Williams. Sir Walter Raleigh: In Life and Legend. London: Continuum, 2011.
When I do historical research, I sometimes come across the name “Lettice.” It always reminds me of lettuce, the leafy salad green, but of course that’s not the source.
The source is Letitia (Lætitia), which comes from Latin and means “joy” or “gladness.” In England during the Middle Ages, various forms/spellings of Letitia emerged, and one of those forms was Lettice.
English noblewoman Lettice Knollys (b. 1543) was an early Lettice. Her husband Robert Dudley was close to — and had nearly become the husband of — Queen Elizabeth (before his marriage to Lettice).
Later Lettices include English actress Lettice Fairfax (b. 1876), English writer Lettice Cooper (b. 1897), and English socialite Lettice Lygon (b. 1906).
A modern example would be English violinist Lettice Rowbotham (vid), who introduced herself on Britain’s Got Talent a few years ago by saying: “I’m Lettice, like the salad.”
The name Lettice is more common overseas than it is in the U.S., but it does see usage here — enough to have popped up in the SSA’s dataset several times (as recently as 1969).
What do you think of the baby name Lettice? Would you use it?