Unusual real name: Aldaberontophoscophornia

Gravestone of Aldaberonto Fearing (1812-1905)
Aldaberonto’s gravestone

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Abraham and Ruth Bowen of Massachusetts welcomed at least seven children:

  • John (b. 1797)
  • Amanda (b. 1799)
  • Abraham (b. 1803)
  • Jeannett (b. 1805)
  • Nathan (b. 1808)
  • Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812)
  • Zephaniah (b. 1820)

Where did Aldaberontophoscophornia come from?

The source seems to be the “nonsense verse” play Chrononhotonthologos (1734) by English writer Henry Carey. The play featured a bombastic male character by the name of Aldiborontiphoscophornio.

We’ll never know why Abraham and Ruth chose such a cumbersome name for their baby girl. But we do know that Aldaberontophoscophornia rarely (if ever) used the full version of her first name anywhere. In all the records I’ve seen so far — and even on her headstone — it’s shortened to “Aldaberonto,” “Alda Beronto,” “Alda B.,” or simply “Alda.”

Aldaberontophoscophornia went on to marry a man named Andrew C. Fearing and have at least a dozen children. (The names of eleven of them are Amanda, Ellen, Andrew, George, Thatcher, Henry, Marion, William, Charles, Frank, and Emelyn.) It doesn’t look like her name was passed down to any descendants.

What are your thoughts on this name?


Image by Caryn of Find A Grave

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