Back in 1905, an article in the New York Tribune started off with this sentence:
Lord Windsor’s eldest son, who has just come of age, bears the peculiar Christian name of “Other,” which has been in use by his family for hundreds of years, and, being the heir, not only to his father’s honors, but likewise to his great wealth, may be regarded as a most desirable match from a matrimonial point of view.
That eldest son — Other Robert Windsor-Clive — died three years later at the age of 24, sadly. But he was indeed related to many other Others, the most recent being his great-grandnephew Robert Other Ivor Windsor-Clive (b. 1981), who was declared one of the UK’s “young elite” by The Observer in 2000.
So where did the name Other come from in this family? It can be traced back to Walter FitzOther, also known as Walter FitzOtho, one of the landowners mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. (Did you know that Walter was the 9th most popular male name in the Domesday book, btw?) Nothing is known of Walter FitzOther’s parentage, but his patronymic surname suggests that his father was named Other/Otho.
Other/Otho probably has the same root as the more familiar names Otto and Odo, which were originally short forms of any Germanic male name beginning with the element ot-/od-, meaning “wealth, prosperity.”
Hundreds of people in the U.S. have been named Other, you might be surprised to know. Other even appeared on the SSA’s baby name list a few times during the early 1900s. The name was particularly popular in the South. Very few babies have gotten the name within the last few decades, though.
What are your thoughts on the baby name Other?