Yesterday we looked at popular baby names in early Boston, so today let’s check out some rare names.
Those two books I discovered with the early Boston birth records also included lists of Boston baptisms, marriages and deaths. I scanned all of these lists to come up with the names below:
A: Admonition, Aftar, America, Amiable, Amorel/Amorill, Androse, Aniball, Angola, Annice, Anstis, Apfier, Archdale, Arimnel, Atterlanta, Avery, Avise, Azor
- America, full name America House, was born in 1660. Could she have been the very first New World baby named America? I can’t find anything earlier…
- Avery was a baby girl born in 1645. This could be the earliest girl-Avery I know of.
B: Bagwell, Bagworth, Bant, Barbary, Belcher, Benaniwell, Betteris, Bezaliell, Bickford, Blish, Bossenger, Boylston, Bozoun/Bozoon/Bozoune/Bozon/Boozone, Brattle, Broughton, Budd, Bulkely, Buny, Buttalph/Buttolph, Byfield
- Bagworth‘s full name was the Hobbit-like Bagworth Endicutt.
- One of the Belchers had the unfortunate full name Belcher Noyes.
- The Bozoun-group refers mainly to one person: Capt. Bozoun Allen (d. 1652), an immigrant from England who was active in early Boston politics.
C: Caylance, Cazneau, Cerston, Chanterlin, Chuzziah, Civil, Cletord, Clorinda, Coneniah, Consider, Constancy, Cord, Crumil, Cumbey/Cumby, Custin/Custine, Cutting
- Could Chuzziah be a version of Josiah?
- Cord‘s full name was Cord Cordis.
- Cutting‘s full name was Cutting Bean.
D: Decline, Delicia, Derlow, Dermin, Desire ye Truth, Dickery, Digory, Dinisha, Dionysia, Dixe, Dosithea, Dowsabell, Drewry
- Desire ye Truth gave her daughter the exact same name in 1666. The “ye” here would have been pronounced “the,” as the letter y actually represents the letter thorn.
- Here’s more on the derivation of Digory.
- Dionysia‘s full name was the very romantic Dionysia Savage Ravenscroft. (Savage was her maiden name; Ravenscroft was her married name.)
E: Electa, Eleshaway, Eliphall/Elliphall, Ellener, Emmin, Emmorold, Estick, Ethlan, Evos, Exercise
- Exercise‘s full name was Exercise Blackleech.
F: Fairbanck, Fathergone, Faur, Fearnot/Fearnott, Febee, Ffitz-John, Foreland, Fortescue, Fortune, Freeborn, Freegrace, Freelove, Frizzel
- Here’s the story behind Fathergone.
- Fearnot is a Puritan name that needs to make a comeback, I think.
G: Gartright, Gatliffe, Gedny, Gee, Gier, Goodith, Grafton, Gravingham, Griffyn, Grimstone, Grindall, Grizzel/Grizzell
- Gartright could be a version of Gertrude.
- Goodith is probably Judith.
- Grimstone! I love any name that features the word “grim.” I remember Grimsley popping up in Idaho a few years back…
H: Habbakuck/Habbakuk, Habbiah, Hananeel, Hanniball, Harborne, Harbottle, Hazelelponi, Hazelpanah, Heiborne, Hennerina, Hopefor/Hoptfor, Huldy, Humilis, Humility, Huxtable
I: Ibroke, Indego, Ireland, Isanna
J: Jaleham, Jamina, Jarratt, Jeffs, Jehosebath/Johoshabeath/Josabeth/Joshabeth, Jolley, Jolliff, Joylieffe/Joyliffe
K: Kellon, Kinsman, Knight
L: Laomi, Lately, Leech, Lettysse, Lilingston, Love, Lucrana, Lucresia, Ludwick
M: Macartey, Mackworth, Mauditt, Maverick, Maybe, Meddlecot, Mehalaliell/Mahalaleel, Melatiah, Meribah, Metsathiell, Milam, Milcha, Mindwell, Minot, Mordica, Moremercy, Mungo
- Maverick, born at the end of the 1600s, got his mother’s surname as a first name.
N: Nabby, Nebery, Neezer, Neverson, Newgrace, Niot/Nyott
- I’m guessing Neezer was derived from Ebenezer.
- Nyott‘s full name was Nyott Doubt.
O: Onner, Opportunity, Orchard, Oulando, Oxenbridge
- Opportunity‘s full name was Opportunity Lane.
P: Palfrey, Palsgrove, Palti, Parnell, Parthenia, Pepperrell, Perciful, Perring, Phaline, Phesant, Philadelphia, Philippe/Philippi/Philippy/Phillipee/Phillippi, Pilgrim, Pittie, Pool, Posthumus, Pouning, Preserved, Pyam
- Perciful looks like Percival under the influence of “merciful.”
- A number of women had names like Phillippi, which is curious…
- Posthumus was once kinda trendy.
- Pilgrim, despite his name, had nothing to do with the Mayflower Pilgrims. (He’s buried at Granary, btw.)
R: Ranis/Ragnis, Recompense, Redemption, Redigon/Redgon/Reddigan/Redigun, Reforme, Rely, Rich-Grace, Ronas, Rooksby/Rooksbey/Rooksbee/Rookby, Roop/Roope, Ryal
- The Redigon group represents one person (female).
- The Rooksby group represents several people, all female. You can see embroidered chair seats sewn one of them, Rooksby Creese (1703-1742), at the MFA in Boston.
S: Salmagrave, Salphin, Sarahjah, Satisfaction, Savel/Savell/Savil, Scarborough, Scissilla, Seaborne, Secunda/Secundas, Sendall/Sendell, Shippie, Shoreborne, Shove, Shrimpton, Sibbella/Sibla, Sivil/Sivill, Skinner, Skipper, Smyth, Snell, Spiller, Story, Strange, Sucky, Supply, Sweet
- Sucky is an regrettable rendering of Sukey, a diminutive of Susanna.
T: Tacey, Teasant, Torshel, Tregoweth, Tremble, Trine, Tristram, Trueworthy, Turfry, Tuttle
- Tacey has the same root as Tacita: the Latin verb tacere, meaning “to be silent.”
- Torshel was the twin of Harborne (see above).
U: Union, Unite
V: Verrin, Vigilant, Vsal
W: Waitawhile/Wayte-a-while, Wentworth, Wheelwright, Wigglesworth/Wigleworth, Winborn, Woodbery, Woodmansie, Woodward
- Waitawhile (female) had the birth name Waitawhile Makepeace. Sounds like a 2-step process for conflict resolution, doesn’t it?
Z: Zerubbabel, Zibiah, Zuriell/Zuryell, Zurishaddai
…So, which of the above names intrigue you the most?
Sources: Boston births, baptisms, marriages and deaths, 1630-1699, Boston births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800