How popular is the baby name Sureau in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Sureau.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sureau


Posts that Mention the Name Sureau

Revolution-Era Names in France

Bastille

In yesterday’s post on Breton baby names in France, I mentioned a French name law from the early 19th century.

That 1803 law has an interesting history, complete with ties to the French Revolution.

In September of 1792, one day before the French National Convention abolished the monarchy, a decree was issued. The decree allowed the citizens of France to change their forenames quite easily–all they had to do was “make a simple formal declaration before the registrar of their local municipality.”

Many people took advantage of this decree and chose new names with a revolutionary flavor, such as:

NameSignificance/Translation
Amour Sacré de la Patrie l’an TroisSacred Love of the Native Land Year III
ArmoiseMugwort (date: 7 Thermidor)
Belle de NuitFour o’clock flower (date: 16 Vendémiaire)
BetteraveBeet root (date: 4 Brumaire)
BitumeBitumen (date: 3 Nivôse)
CrainteFear
Dix-Août10 August
Droit de l’Homme TricolorRight of Man Tricolor
Fleur d’0range RépublicaineRepublican Orange-Flower
Floréalspring month
FraiseStrawberry (date: 11 Prairial)
FranchiseCandor
HouletteShepherd’s crook (date: 30 Floréal)
La LoiThe Law
La MontagneThe Mountain
Lucius Pleb-EgalLucius Plebeian-Equality
MaratJean-Paul Marat
MaratineJean-Paul Marat
Mort aux AristocratesDeath to the Aristocrats
PelletierLouis-Michel le Peletier (?)
PeuplierPoplar (date: 9 Pluviôse)
PommeApple (date: 1 Brumaire)
Racine de la LibertéRoot of Freedom
RaifortHorseradish (date: 12 Frimaire)
RaisonReason
Régénérée VigueurRegenerated Strength
RhubarbeRhubarb (date: 11 Floréal)
RobespierreMaximilien Robespierre
Rose Postale FructidorRose Postal Fructidor (summer month)
SeigleRye (date: 1 Messidor)
Simon la Liberté ou la MortSimon Freedom or Death
SureauElderberry (date: 17 Prairial)
Thermidorsummer month
Va de Bon Coeur pour la RépubliqueStrive with a Will for the Republic
Victoire FédérativeFederal Victory

These patriotic name-changes happened mostly in “urban areas, and particularly those, like Rouen, where Revolutionary fervour was intense.”

But, apparently, they got out of hand.

A decade later, a law was written that restricted French given names to “names used in various calendars” (that is, Catholic saint names) and “names of persons known from ancient history.” In essence, the law was meant to “put an end to citizens bearing absurd names that signified inanimate objects, forms of vegetation, membership of the animal kingdom and abstract concepts.”

….And this was the law that gave the Manrot-le Goarnic family so much difficulty when they tried to give their children Breton names a century and a half later.

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