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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Venetia

Number of Babies Named Venetia

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Venetia

The Naming of Pluto

Pluto
Pluto
Today marks the 86th anniversary of the discovery of Pluto.

One thing I’ve always found interesting about the former planet is that its discovery/naming involve a string of people who all happen to have memorable names: Percival, Vesto, Clyde, Herbert, Falconer, and Venetia.

Businessman and astronomer Percival Lowell began looking for the trans-Neptunian planet he’d postulated — “Planet X” — in the early 1900s at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona Territory. Even after he died in 1916, Observatory staff kept up the search.

Young astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh, using photos taken by the Observatory’s astrograph, finally made the discovery on February 18, 1930. The existence of a ninth planet was announced to the public on March 13, which would have been Percival Lowell’s 75th birthday. It was also the anniversary of the discovery of Uranus (in 1781).

Now it was up to the director of Lowell Observatory, astronomer Vesto M. Slipher, to name the new planet.

Soon suggestions indeed poured in from all quarters: Cronus, Odin, Persephone, Erebos, Atlas, Prometheus…the list seemed endless. One young couple even wrote to Tombaugh asking that the planet be named after their newborn child!

The suggestion Slipher liked best was “Pluto.” Not only was Pluto one of the few good names from classical mythology not already in use (Pluto was the ruler of the underworld) but its first two letters coincided with Percival Lowell’s initials.

Ostensibly the suggestion had come to Slipher via telegram from Oxford astronomer Herbert Hall Turner, who was passing it along for retired Bodleian Librarian Falconer Madan, who had gotten it from his 11-year-old granddaughter Venetia Burney, who’d come up with it over breakfast the day after the discovery was announced.

Nowadays it’s hard to believe that Venetia was the very first person to propose the name Pluto. Astronomers at the Brera Observatory in Milan, for instance, had nicknamed the planet Pluto soon after it was discovered. (And Slipher was no doubt aware of this.)

Nevertheless, when Slipher used the name in print for the first time on May 1, he gave Venetia Burney full credit. On May 25, the planet was officially named Pluto.

Today’s question: Which of the male names above do you like best? Vote below, then tell me why in the comments.

Which of these male names do you like best?

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Sources: Finding Pluto: Tough Task, Even 75 Years Later, The girl who named a planet, Another Plutonian Casualty?, The Discovery of Pluto
Image: Global Mosaic of Pluto in True Color (credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)


Name Quotes for the Weekend #27

Only the right name gives beings and things their reality. The wrong name makes everything unreal. -by Michael Ende, author of The Neverending Story

From Michael Ende, author of The Neverending Story:

Nur der richtige Name gibt allen Wesen und Dingen ihre Wirklichkeit. Der falsche Name macht alles unwirklich.

Translation:

Only the right name gives beings and things their reality. The wrong name makes everything unreal.

(Discovered on my never-ending quest to figure out how Ende coined Atreyu.)

From a late 1879 issue of Notes and Queries:

I have met a boy named Washington christened General George, a girl named Togotubuline, and, still more extraordinary, a boy called Wonderful Counsellor (from Isaiah ix. 6).

From the BuzzFeed video If Asians Said The Stuff White People Say:

Do you have a normal name too, or just your white name?

From the BuzzFeed video If Black People Said The Stuff White People Say:

Your name is so easy to spell and pronounce. Is it, like, really easy to get a job?

From the BuzzFeed video If Latinos Said The Stuff White People Say:

-How do you say your name again?
-Macy.
-I love how you pronounce it. One more time?
-Macy.
-God, I could never say it like that!

From “High Sounding Names,” an article published in the Cambridge Sentinel in late 1909:

The English society reporter for the last two or three seasons has had to record the doings of debutantes bearing distinguished surnames, prefaced by such disconcerting Christian–rather un-Christian–names as Venetia, Aurea, Ela, Linnie, Eldrydd, Dulcibella, Ganfreda, Laline, Morwenna and Lelgarde.

From the essay “The Joy of Being Called Morven Crumlish” by the awesomely named Morven Crumlish (via British Baby Names):

I like having an unusual name. The Morven part is not so uncommon in Scotland – most people I meet know another Morven, and I know at least half a dozen. I once ended up in the pub with two other Morvens, which got funnier as the night wore on. Added to the Crumlish, though, my name is, I think, unique. “There can’t be more than one Morven Crumlish!” is something I hear a lot, when the different parts of my life accidentally collide, which makes it difficult to misbehave. In the past my name has become an abstraction. “So this is what a Morven Crumlish looks like,” said the porters who wheeled me down to get my tonsils removed, reducing me to an indefinite object.

(Here are some other very Scottish names.)

Baby Name Story – Invicta

Invicta and Horse - Aveling and PorterRemember Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose? I recently found out that one of his ex-wives is named Erin Invicta Everly. Invicta is a form of invictus, Latin for “unconquered.”

What’s the story behind Invicta?

Erin was born in 1965 to musician Don Everly and actress Venetia Stevenson, full name Joanna Venetia Invicta Stevenson. Venetia was born in 1938 to director Robert Stevenson and actress Anna Lee (best known for portraying Lila Quartermaine on General Hospital).

Anna Lee is the one who came up with Invicta. Here’s what she says in her memoir:

Venetia’s middle name, Invicta, meaning “invincible,” came from a childhood memory. I used to watch the street being repaired, and I loved the smell of the thick, black tar as it was poured over the gravel and then flattened and smoothed by a giant steamroller. It was the huge, formidable steamroller that fascinated me. On the front of this piece of machinery was a brass plaque of a horse, rearing up, with the word “Invicta” beneath it.

Interesting, isn’t it? Certainly one of the most vivid baby name stories I’ve seen in a while.

The steamroller would have been an Aveling-Barford steamroller. The company, established in the 1860s as Aveling and Porter, was based in Kent, which is where Anna Lee was born. It used Kent’s motto, Invicta, and the rearing horse from Kent’s coat of arms on its steamrollers and other equipment.

Lee’s memoir also mentions that Venetia’s first name was inspired by a portrait of Venetia Stanley (1600-1633) that Anna had seen at Sherborne Castle.

Source: Lee, Anna and Barbara Roisman. Anna Lee: Memoir of a Career on General Hospital and in Film. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.
Image: Adapted from 1871 Aveling and Porter traction engine 04 by Oxyman under CC BY 2.5.

Baby Name Needed for the Sibling of Atticus

A reader named Jessica has a son named Atticus and is expecting her second baby at the end of February. Here’s what she says:

We don’t know the gender of this baby, but we have already agreed on a boy’s name (which I can’t share–sorry!–because my husband and I have agreed not to tell anyone), but we have yet to agree on a girl’s name. We’ve come up with several ideas (Annaliese, Piper, Penelope, Evelyn), but nothing seems to fit. Generally, we like less common names with a bit of history to them. Definitely nothing trendy or “made up.” Also, no names starting with a “B” since the child’s last name will begin with a “B” and I’m not keen on the combination. We are pretty flexible on middle names, so I’m not worried about that. Hope you can help! Thanks!

Here are some ideas to kick things off:

Anastasia
Camille
Celia
Daphne
Genevieve
Helen
Imogen
Ione
Linnea
Luna
Millicent
Naomi
Phronie (Sophronia)
Pippa (Philippa)
Rhea
Romy (Rosemary)
Rosalind
Sabine
Tamar
Venetia
Winifred

Do you like any of these with Atticus? What other girl names would you suggest to Jessica?

Baby Name Needed for the Sister of Copeland

A reader named Lisa is expecting her second daughter a couple of weeks and needs some name assistance. Her first daughter is Copeland Rhine. Lisa’s main predicament is this:

[H]ow do I find a strong unique vintage name for this second precious girlie that will not wilt next to a strong name like Copeland Rhine?

And here are some other questions and points Lisa brought up:

  • “Our goal is not to have their names competing for placement but complimenting each other.”
  • “We do not want to be boxed in on unisex or surname first names.”
  • “I have been gravitating towards Sojourner Bliss or Sojourner Mercy (Sophie for short) but that is all I have and my husband is not sold on it nor on a stronger masculine name.”
  • “My husband really loves Evangeline yet he is not wanting to use it because it is becoming so popular. We both love the idea of Evie as a nickname.”
  • “I really want to honor three people in my family but all three would not wish their name on anyone: Leona, Gertrude and Lorraine. Are there any derived names that I could use?” [Other family names she mentioned are Cornelia, Josephine, Ester, Rosemary, Carmelita, Trinia (Trijntje), Johannes, Sophia, Evelientje, Alice (called Ollie), Francis, Felicia and Blanche.]

The baby’s surname will be a 2-syllable name that starts with D and also includes a z-sound. It’s somewhat similar to De Souza.

So the challenge is to find “strong unique vintage” names that work with Copeland, but that won’t lock Lisa’s family into surnames or unisex names. And to try to get a family connection in there as well.

I think Evangeline is a great idea, actually. It’s strong, vintage, and neither a surname nor a unisex name. And both Lisa and her husband like the nickname Evie. Seems like the only thing holding them back is the popularity.

Yes, Evangeline has become slightly popular recently. It’s been back in the top 1,000 since 2006. But let’s put that into context. Over 2,000,000 baby girls were born last year, and only 735 of them were named Evangeline. That’s a very small percentage. (But if it’s really that bothersome, there’s always Evangelina, which is still well out of the top 1,000.)

I’m not a big fan of Sojourner. It’s strong, and unique, and not a surname…but it’s not feminine, and it’s not what I’d call vintage, even if Sojourner Truth was a well-known 19th-century woman. I’d worry about teasing, especially with a noun-middle like Bliss or Mercy. And I think naming a third child (of either gender) after Copeland and Sojourner would be tricky.

Sophie seems like it would be an awkward nickname for Sojourner. It’s so different from Sojourner that it strikes me as more of a cover-name than a nickname–as if Sojourner were just too strong or strange to work as an everyday name.

Leona, Gertrude and Lorraine…the most interesting way I could think of to combine them was to look for names that feature their first letters (L, G, L) such as Nigella, Allegra and Gillian.

Here are a few other name ideas that came to mind:

Acacia
Adelaide
Amandine
Anais
Anneliese
Antonia
Aquila
Artemis
Astrid
Augusta
Aurelia
Aurora
Damaris
Delphina
Demetria
Freya
Ginevra
Harriet
Honora
Imogen
Ione
Isadora
Leocadia
Lucasta
Lucretia
Melosa
Merit
Mehetabel
Minerva
Morgana
Muriel
Nelle
Penelope
Petra
Sophronia
Sunniva
Theodosia/Theda
Thora
Venetia
Vera

Some are related to the family names Lisa mentioned (e.g. Adelaide/Alice, Sophronia/Sophia).

Which of the above names do you like best for the sister of Copeland? What other names would you suggest to Lisa?