James A. Bill (1817-1900) of Lyme, Connecticut, served in the Connecticut state senate in 1852 and 1853 and in the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1849 and 1867. He also happened to be a rare pro-slavery Northerner in the years before and during the Civil War. This fact is reflected in the names of the last three children:
Kansas Nebraska (born in July, 1855)
Lecompton Constitution (b. October, 1857)
Jefferson Davis (b. February, 1862)
Kansas Nebraska Bill was named after the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), which created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, but also allowed the territories to decide for themselves whether or not they would permit slavery (the “popular sovereignty” principle).
Lecompton Constitution Bill was named after the Lecompton Constitution (1857), a proposed pro-slavery constitution for the state of Kansas that was defeated early the next year.
And Jefferson Davis Bill was, of course, named after Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy throughout the Civil War.
Their older brother, Lodowick, inherited his interesting first name from James’s father. The name Lodowick — like Louis, Ludwig, and Luigi — can be traced back to the Germanic name Chlodovech, which consists of the elements hlud, meaning “famous, loud” and wig, meaning “war, battle.”
I was really intrigued by the female names Phillippi, Phillipie, Philippe, etc., that kept appearing in those early Boston records. I found 17 females with a name based on Philip, and 16 of those 17 were listed as “Phillippi” or something similar at least once. Here are all 17, plus every entry I found for each:
1. Phillipee White (née Wood), 3 entries:
married in 1653 (listed as “Phillip”)
gave birth in 1654 (listed as “Phillips”)
died in 1654 (listed as “Phillipee”)
2. Philipa Ockonell (née King), 1 entry:
married in 1662 (listed as “Philipa”)
3. Phillippee Cann, 2 entries:
gave birth to twin #1 in 1663 (listed as “Phillippee”)
gave birth to twin #2 in 1663 (listed as “Phillippee”)
4. Philippee Snell, 3 entries:
gave birth in 1659 (listed as “Philip”)
gave birth in 1661 (listed as “Phillip”)
gave birth in 1663 (listed as “Philippee”)
5. Phillippe Snell (daughter of #4), 1 entry:
died in 1663 (listed as “Phillippe”)
6. Philippe Cunnell, 2 entries:
gave birth in 1667 (listed as “Philippe”)
gave birth in 1670 (listed as “Philippe”)
7. Philippa Phillips (this is her married name believe it or not!), 8 entries:
gave birth in 1665 (listed as “Philippa”)
gave birth in 1667 (listed as “Philippa”)
gave birth in 1669 (listed as “Philippa”)
gave birth to twin #1 in 1671 (listed as “Phillippe”)
gave birth to twin #2 in 1671 (listed as “Phillippe”)
gave birth in 1672 (listed as “Philippa”)
gave birth in 1674 (listed as “Phillipa”)
died in 1679 (listed as “Philippy”)
8. Phillippi Samis, 1 entry:
died in 1689 (listed as “Phillippi”)
9. Phillippi Arnall, 3 entries:
gave birth in 1691 (listed as “Phillippi”)
gave birth in 1694 (listed as “Phillis”)
gave birth in 1695 (listed as “Phillis”)
10. Phillipie Carter (née White), 2 entries:
married in 1699 (listed as “Pilippe”)
gave birth in 1700 (listed as “Phillipie”)
11. Phillipi Lablond, 1 entry:
gave birth in 1704 (listed as “Phillipi”)
12. Philippi Greenwood, 1 entry:
gave birth in 1711 (listed as “Philippi”)
13. Phillippi Trench, 4 entries:
gave birth in 1716 (listed as “Phillipee”)
gave birth in 1719 (listed as “Phillippi”)
gave birth in 1720 (listed as “Phillippi”)
gave birth in 1724 (listed as “Philippe”)
14. Philippe Trench (daughter of #13), 1 entry:
born in 1724 (listed as “Philippe”)
15. Philippe Snelling, 2 entries:
gave birth in 1731 (listed as “Phillippe”)
gave birth in 1732 (listed as “Philippe”)
16. Philippe Snelling (daughter of #15), 1 entry:
born in 1731 (listed as “Philippe”)
17. Philippe Snelling (also daughter of #15), 1 entry:
born in 1732 (listed as “Philippe”)
Nowadays the preferred feminine form of Philip is Philippa, but Philippa clearly wasn’t being used very often in Boston during the 1600s and early 1700s. Here’s what A Dictionary of First Names has to say about Philippa:
In England during the Middle Ages the vernacular name Philip was borne by women as well as men, but female bearers were distinguished in Latin records by this form. It was not, however, used as a regular given name until the 19th century.
I’m left to conclude that, in Boston during this pre-Philippa era, the trendiest way to feminize Philip was by adding a ‘long E’ sound.
I wonder now if this ending was chosen intentionally to mirror the ‘long E’ endings of other female names with ancient Greek origins, like Phoebe and Chloe. Then again maybe it was simply the most natural way to feminize Philip, given that “-ie” and “-y” are such common diminutive suffixes in English.
Ziegfeld Follies, which appeared on Broadway almost every year from 1907 until 1931, was an extravagant production that included music, dance and comedy.
The biggest draw, though, was the bevy of beautiful showgirls.
It became a popular sport to guess which one would break out and become the next big star, like onetime showgirls Barbara Stanwyck, Paulette Goddard, Gypsy Rose Lee, Josephine Baker, and of course, Marilyn Miller.
Several Follies girls went on to enjoy successful careers in entertainment, but only two — Allyn King and Avonne Taylor — inspired baby name debuts.
In fact, Allyn and Avonne are the 4th- and 5th-earliest actor-inspired baby name debuts that I know of (after Francelia, Ormi and Seena).
Allyn King was born in North Carolina in February of 1899. It looks as though she was named after her father, Allen. (Her sister, Phoebe, was named after their mother.)
Allyn was a Follies girl from 1916 until 1920, and the name Allyn — which was already showing up regularly on the SSA’s list as a boy name — debuted as a girl name in 1918:
1926: 5 baby girls named Allyn
1925: 11 baby girls named Allyn
1924: 5 baby girls named Allyn
1923: 7 baby girls named Allyn
1921: 5 baby girls named Allyn
1918: 7 baby girls named Allyn [debut]
(I can’t include SSDI data for unisex names like this one because the SSDI doesn’t code for gender, making it impossible to know for sure which people are male and which are female.)
Allyn King continued to appear in Broadway shows during the 1920s, and she was in one silent film in 1923.
But the pressure to achieve the skinny, boyish figure that was fashionable during the ’20s proved too much for her. Extreme dieting nearly killed her in 1927, and after spending almost two years recovering in a sanatorium, she was still so depressed in early 1930 that she jumped out of a 5th story window in New York City. She died two days later.
Avonne Taylor was born in Ohio, also in February of 1899, to parents Clifford and Diana. Her birth name was Evangeline, but she joined the Follies under the name Avonne. (I’m not sure how she came up with it.)
Avonne was a Follies girl from 1920 to 1922, and the name Avonne debuted on the SSA’s list in 1923:
1928: 9 baby girls named Avonne
1927: 12 baby girls named Avonne
1926: 6 baby girls named Avonne
1925: 12 baby girls named Avonne
1924: 17 baby girls named Avonne
1923: 11 baby girls named Avonne [debut]
Though the name was in use before 1923, it was too rare to appear in the publicly available SSA data. Here’s SSDI data from the same time period, for comparison:
1928: 3 people named Avonne
1927: 6 people named Avonne
1926: 2 people named Avonne
1925: 9 people named Avonne
1924: 11 people named Avonne
1923: 13 people named Avonne
1922: 4 people named Avonne
1920: 1 person named Avonne
1919: 2 people named Avonne
(For the SSDI numbers, I only counted people who had Avonne as a first name, not as a middle.)
Avonne Taylor went on to appear in a couple of films — one in 1927, the other in 1931 — and then left the entertainment industry altogether after marrying asbestos heir Tommy Manville. (The marriage lasted about a month.) She died in 1992.
Though Bernhard, rebellious as ever, says: “I can’t stand sitting in theater, it drives me insane,” and has time for movies “only on television…or in airplanes,” she did appropriate from Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” the name Cicely that graces Bernhard’s daughter born July 4, 1998, nine or so months after the flamethrowing actress/singer/faghag/friend of the famous said to herself one fine day: “Enough! Get real.”
From a “Names of boundless mirth” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2003) by Ambeth Ocampo (who is quoting a reader who e-mailed him this story):
“I was once a MedTech intern assigned in a rural Cebu town. Back then it was common to encounter names of kids such as ‘Tom Cruise Duhaylungsod,’ ‘Jacky Chan Labadan,’ ‘Fernando Poe Capunay,’ etc. Certainly a vast improvement over those Spanish-era saintly names of old (mine included). You would think parents of those kids were diehard movie fanatics who wanted to append their idol’s screen names to their kids’. But once, while taking a blood sample from a baby girls with [a] profusely runny nose and ‘Phoebe Cates’ as a given name, I kidded the mother that she must be a Phoebe Cates fan. To which she replied that living in a rural barrio she seldom watched movies actually, not to mention that she could hardly afford it; she didn’t know it was a movie star’s name until much later. It was the midwife who attended to her when she gave birth to her baby who pinned a paper with that name on the baby’s lampin. Needless to say, she and her husband found it unique. So the name stuck. Go figure how many more babies that midwife christened with her own idols’ fancy names. The baby’s parents nevertheless were proud of it, mind you.”
My dad did feel a bit taken aback by it. Although he knew I was using my new name already, talking to him about the process of changing it legally was pretty tough. That conversation was a huge lesson for me in empathy and communication. My dad suggested I was changing my name out of anger towards my parents, almost in revenge or as a way to hurt them. That’s a pretty hard thing to hear from someone you love and respect, and it wasn’t easy to explain why I was changing my name and to convince him it was no reflection on my relationship with him or my mum at all.
In spite of the great developments and massive social changes that have taken place across the UAE over the past few decades, the names Emirati families give to their babies has remained incredibly stable.