How popular is the baby name Nell 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 Nell.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Nell


Posts that Mention the Name Nell

The siblings of Reba McEntire

Oklahoma-born country singer Reba McEntire is one of four siblings:

  • Alice, b. 1951
  • Del Stanley, “Pake” (rhymes with rake), b. 1953
  • Reba Nell, b. 1955
  • Martha Susan, “Susie,” b. 1957

Reba was named after her maternal grandmother, but the story of Pake’s nickname is a bit more interesting. Here’s how their mother Jacqueline starts the story:

Our oldest daughter, Alice, was named “Pedro Joe” long before her birth. Her father, Clark [veteran rodeo cowboy and inductee in the Rodeo Hall of Fame], would often write home on the road because we didn’t have a phone.

He’d say, “How is Pedro Joe?” and, if I knew where he was going to be, I’d write back to the next rodeo he was entering and tell the prospective father that he was just fine. Well, when the baby came, she was a little girl. End of Pedro Joe.

The same thing happened with their second child, who was called “Pecos Pete” or “Pake” before he was born. In his case, though, the name was retained. The formal name his parents chose for him was Del Stanley (after rodeo stars Del Haverty and Stanley Gomez), but the birth certificate reads: “Del Stanley (Pake).”

The McEntire’s in utero nicknaming tradition wasn’t carried on with Reba or Susie.

Pake went on to have three daughters: Autumn (born on the first day of autumn), Calamity (named after frontierswoman Calamity Jane), and Chism (named after cattle baron John Chisum).

Sources:

P.S. Want more country music-related names? Here are Dolly Parton’s siblings.

Five-name Friday: Boy name with classic nickname

light bulbs

It’s Five-Name Friday again! Here’s today’s baby name request:

I’m trying to think of boys names with obvious/classic nicknames that don’t come from the beginning of the formal name (as in girls names Nell for Eleanor and Bess for Elizabeth). Any ideas?

Can you come up with five solid baby name suggestions for this person?

Here are the rules:

  • Be independent. Choose your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Stick to legit recommendations you would offer a real-life friend.
  • Five name suggestions total, but if you want to include nicknames as well for this particular request, that’s fine.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

Old-fashioned double names: Loladean, Ivylee, Effielou

old-fashioned double names

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.

So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.

I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.

I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).

Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).

The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).

*

-Ann(e)

Abbyanne, Agnesann, Aliceanne, Bessanne, Bettyann/Bettyanne, Cassanne, Claraanne, Coraanne, Dellaanne, Dollyanne, Dorisann, Dorothyann, Doveanne, Ethelanne, Faeanne, Floyanne, Franceanne, Gayanne, Georgeann/Georgeanne, Gracyanne, Gustyanne, Helenann, Hopeanne, Idaanne, Ivaanne, Jeanann, Jessanne, Joyanne, Judyanne, Katyanne, Lizanne, Lizzyanne, Loisann, Louann/Louanne, Louisaanne, Maeanne, Margaretann, Metaanne, Mollyanne, Nancyann, Nellyanne, Oliveanne, Opalann, Patsyanne, Pattyanne, Phyllisann, Pollyann, Prudyanne, Rayanne, Roseann/Roseanne, Rosyanne, Roxieanne, Royanne, Rueanne, Ruthann/Ruthanne, Shirleyann, Sallyann, Sueanne, Susyanne, Tobyanne, Tommyanne

-Bell(e)

Adabelle, Addiebelle, Altabelle, Anjabell, Annebelle, Anniebell/Anniebelle, Archiebell, Artybelle, Augustabelle, Beckybell, Berthabelle, Bessybell, Bettybell, Beulahbelle, Birdiebelle, Bonniebell, Cassbelle, Clairbelle, Clarabell/Clarabelle, Claybelle, Cleobelle, Conniebell, Corabell/Corabelle, Cordiebell, Corybelle, Danniebell, Dolliebelle, Donnabell/Donnabelle, Dottiebell, Eddybelle, Ednabell, Edrisbell, Effiebelle, Elizabelle, Ellenbelle, Elsiebelle, Essiebell, Esterbelle, Ethelbelle, Ettabelle, Evabelle, Fannybelle, Faybelle, Fernbell, Florabell/Florabelle, Florbell, Flossiebell, Floybell, Frankiebell, Fredybell, Gaybell, Geniebell, Georgiabell, Georgiebelle, Glennabelle, Goldenbell, Gradybelle, Hattybelle, Hazelbell, Hughbell, Idabell/Idabelle, Inezbelle, Indiabelle, Ingabelle, Iscahbell, Ivybelle, Janiebelle, Jaybelle, Jessbell, Jessiebelle, Jewelbell, Jodiebell, Joebell, Johnybell, Jonibell, Jorybelle, Josiebell, Joybell, Junebell, Kaybelle, Kittybelle, Kizzybell, Ladybell, Leahbelle, Leebelle, Lenabelle, Leonabell, Leotabell, Lettybelle, Lizzybelle, Loubelle, Lulabell/Lulabelle, Lulubelle, Lydabell, Lydiabelle, Madgebell, Maebell/Maebelle/Maybell/Maybelle, Maggybell, Mamiebell, Mandybell, Marabelle, Marthabell, Marybell/Marybelle/Maribell/Maribelle, Mattybell, Maudebell, Meadowbelle, Minniebell, Monabell, Myrtlebelle, Nanniebell, Nelliebelle, Nettybell, Nevabelle, Ninabelle, Nitabell, Norabelle, Novabell, Pinkiebell, Pollybelle, Odiebelle, Olabell, Olivebelle, Olliebelle, Orabell/Orabelle, Orphabelle, Queeniebelle, Raybelle, Rebabelle, Rheabelle, Rhodabelle, Ritabelle, Romabelle, Rosabell/Rosabelle, Rosebell/Rosebelle, Rosiebell, Rossbelle, Roybelle, Rudybell, Ruebelle, Sadiebelle, Sallybell, Suebell, Tenniebell, Tessabelle, Tessiebelle, Theabell, Theobelle, Troybell, Trudybell, Verabelle, Verdabell, Vernabelle, Vonniebelle, Wendybell, Wilbabell, Willabell/Willabelle, Willowbell, Willybell, Winniebelle

(…and don’t forget Cowbelle!)

-Bess

Adabess, Anitabess, Annabess, Anniebess, Clarabess, Cristabess, Donnabess, Drewbess, Ellebess, Euniebess, Florabess, Hallibess, Henribess, Hildabess, Idabess, Ilabess, Inabess, Jeanebess, Lanibess, Larabess, Laydebess, Leebess, Lelabess, Lonabess, Lulabess, Lurabess, Maebess, Malabess, Mamebess, Maribess, Marionbess, Marthabess, Maybess, Minabess, Nonabess, Norabess, Orabess, Rosebess, Sarabess, Theobess, Willabess, Zellebess

-Dean

Adadean, Albadean, Almadean, Alphadean, Altadean, Altheadean, Arizadean, Belvadean, Bertadean, Berthadean, Claradean, Claredean, Claydean, Cleatadean, Delladean, Deltadean, Dessadean, Doradean, Ellendean, Elvadean, Ermadean, Ettadean, Evadean, Evedean, Faydean, Floydean, Glendadean, Glendean, Glennadean, Gloriadean, Idadean, Irmadean, Ivadean, Jessadean, Jeweldean, Joydean, Leedean, Leliadean, Loladean, Loradean, Loudean, Luradean, Maedean/Maydean, Maradean, Marthadean, Marvadean, Melbadean, Melvadean, Nedradean, Nelladean, Nettydean, Noladean, Normadean, Olgadean, Oradean, Orbadean, Ouidadean, Rebadean, Rheadean, Rosadean, Rubydean, Ruedean, Suedean, Thelmadean, Velmadean, Vernadean, Veradean, Vivadean, Wandadean, Willadean, Williedean, Willowdean, Wilmadean, Zelmadean

-Dell(e)

Abbiedell, Adadell, Alicedell, Annadell, Anniedell, Archiedell, Barbiedell, Bertdell, Berthadell, Bonniedell, Chloedell, Christadell, Claradelle, Corydell, Deedell, Earthadell, Edithdell, Effiedell, Elizadell, Ermadell, Essiedell, Esterdell, Euradell, Evadell, Evedell, Faydelle, Ferndell, Flodell, Floydell, Frankiedell, Fredadell, Gaydell, Glorydell, Hannahdell, Hattiedell, Hazeldell, Hessiedell, Hopedell, Hughdell, Idadell, Irmadell, Ivadell/Ivadelle, Ivydell, Jessiedell, Jimidell, Joedell, Joydell, Junedell, Katedell, Katydell, Leahdelle, Ledadell, Leedell, Leniedell, Lizdell, Lizziedelle, Loudell, Luludell, Maedell/Maedelle/Maydell/Maydelle, Mamiedelle, Mardgedell, Margiedell, Marthadell, Marydell/Maridell, Minniedell, Moedell, Noradell, Ociedell, Odadell, Oladell, Olgadell, Olivedell, Olliedell, Opaldell, Oradell, Ouidadell, Patriciadell, Raydell, Rosadell, Rubiedell, Ruedell, Ruthdell, Ruthiedell, Suedell, Vaughndell, Vidadell, Walterdelle, Wandadelle, Winniedell, Zoedell

-Donna

Alphadonna, Altadonna, Auradonna, Belledonna, Bonadonna, Claydonna, Cleodonna, Faedonna, Frandonna, Freydonna, Gaydonna, Glendonna, Irisdonna, Joedonna, Leadonna, Leedonna, Loudonna, Maedonna, Maridonna, Mariedonna, Marydonna, Maydonna, Myradonna, Raydonna, Roydonna, Rubydonna, Thoradonna

-Gay(e)

Alliegay, Almagay, Annagay, Anniegay, Ardiegay, Billiegay, Claragay, Ermagay, Floragay, Halliegay, Hildagay, Leilagay, Lunagay, Lydagay, Marygay, Milliegay, Nelliegay, Nevagay, Nidagay, Olagay, Olligay, Ornagay, Ozellagay, Roxygay, Stellagay, Velmagay, Verlagay, Wandagay, Williegay

-Jean

Abbiejean, Albajean, Alicejean, Almajean, Alphajean, Annajean, Beaulahjean, Beckyjean, Belvajean, Berniejean, Berthajean, Bessiejean, Bettyjean, Bobbiejean, Bonniejean, Caroljean, Clydajean, Corajean, Darajean, Daviejean, Donnajean, Eddyjean, Edithjean, Effiejean, Elsajean, Ermajean, Ettajean, Eulahjean, Evajean, Evejean, Fayejean, Florajean, Floyjean, Glennajean, Harlyjean, Hildajean, Idajean, Ivajean, Josiejean, Katejean, Kayjean, Leahjean, Leejean, Lilajean, Loisjean, Lottiejean, Loujean, Lurajean, Maejean, Marahjean, Margyjean, Marthajean, Martiejean, Maryjean/Marijean, Maudejean, Melbajean, Mickeyjean, Missiejean, Mirajean, Molliejean, Myrajean, Neldajean, Nelliejean, Normajean, Novajean, Nylajean, Olgajean, Olivejean, Olliejean, Orajean, Raejean, Rebajean, Rheajean, Ritajean, Romajean, Rosejean, Rubyjean, Ruthjean, Shirleyjean, Suejean, Thedajean, Thelmajean, Unajean, Vedajean, Velmajean, Verajean, Vernajean, Vestajean, Wandajean, Willajean, Willowjean, Wilmajean, Winniejean

-Lee

Almalee, Andylee, Annalee, Annielee, Artylee, Asalee, Avalee, Bertalee, Berthalee, Besslee, Berthalee, Bettylee, Claylee, Coralee, Cordylee, Danylee, Davylee, Dellalee, Dollylee, Doralee, Dorislee, Effylee, Elmalee, Ermalee, Ethellee, Eulalee, Evalee, Fannylee, Fayelee, Floralee, Flossielee, Floylee, Georgialee, Glendalee, Glorialee, Gustalee, Harvylee, Hopelee, Idalee, Ingalee, Irmalee, Ivalee, Ivylee, Jesslee, Joylee, Junelee, Kathylee, Katylee, Maelee, Maralee, Margylee, Marthalee, Marylee, Mattielee, Melbalee, Mildredlee, Minalee, Minnielee, Miriamlee, Myrtlelee, Nancylee, Nolalee, Noralee, Normalee, Omalee, Onalee, Oralee, Orphalee, Ovalee, Patsylee, Pattylee, Percylee, Pollylee, Pruelee, Raelee, Rebalee, Rosalee, Roselee, Roseylee, Rosielee/Rosilee, Roxylee, Roylee, Rubylee, Ruelee, Ruthlee, Sallylee, Thelmalee, Trilbylee, Velmalee, Veralee, Verbalee, Vernalee, Vernelee, Virgielee, Virginialee, Wandalee, Willowlee, Winnylee, Zelmalee

-Lou

Addylou, Albalou, Andylou, Annalou, Annielou, Archielou, Bertalou, Berthalou, Bessielou, Bettelou, Bettylou, Billylou, Birdielou, Bonnielou, Daralou, Dellalou, Dixielou, Doralou, Dulcialou, Eddielou, Ednalou, Effielou, Eliselou, Emmylou, Essielou, Ettalou, Evalou, Evielou, Fannielou, Floralou, Frankielou, Genelou, Gerdylou, Gracielou, Gretalou, Gussielou, Hannalou, Hattielou, Idalou, Iralou, Irmalou, Ivalou, Ivylou, Janelou, Jennalou, Jesselou, Jimmielou, Joelou, Johnnielou, Joylou, Katelou, Lannylou, Leelou, Lindylou, Lizzielou, Lolalou, Maelou, Mamielou, Maralou, Margylou, Marjorielou, Marthalou, Marylou/Marilou, Mattielou, Maxielou, Minnielou, Myralou, Myrtlelou, Nannielou, Nellielou, Nettielou, Nitalou, Noralou, Oralou, Patsylou, Pattilou, Paulalou, Phoebelou, Rebalou, Rhealou, Ritalou, Robertalou, Rosalou, Roselou, Sallylou, Shirleylou, Suelou, Thoralou, Tomielou, Vernalou, Victorinelou, Wanzalou, Willalou, Willilou, Willowlou, Winnielou, Zettalou

-Mae

Addiemae, Alicemae, Algymae, Alicemae, Alphamae, Altamae, Altheamae, Anitamae, Annamae, Anniemae, Artymae, Audymae, Bellemae, Berthamae, Bertiemae, Bessmae, Bessymae, Bettymae, Biddymae, Billiemae, Birdyemae, Carlamae, Chloemae, Clairemae, Claramae, Claymae, Clydamae, Coramae, Cordymae, Corrimae, Davymae, Dellamae, Dinamae, Dolliemae, Donnamae, Doramae, Dorothymae, Eddiemae, Ednamae, Effiemae, Elizamae, Elodymae, Elsiemae, Ermamae, Essiemae, Esthermae, Ethelmae, Ettamae, Eulamae, Evamae, Evemae, Fanniemae, Faymae, Floramae, Flossiemae, Floymae, Fredimae, Friedamae, Genemae, Georgiamae, Gertiemae, Glorymae, Goldymae, Gussymae, Hattiemae, Heddymae, Helenmae, Henrymae, Hollimae, Idamae, Irmamae, Ivymae, Jennymae, Jerrymae, Jessamae, Jessmae, Jessiemae, Joemae, Johnniemae, Jonimae, Joymae, Junemae, Katheemae, Ladymae, Leemae, Lenamae, Leotamae, Lilamae, Lizamae, Lizziemae, Loismae, Lolamae, Lorettamae, Lottiemae, Lulamae, Lulumae, Luramae, Lydiamae, Mandymae, Margymae, Marymae, Mattimae, Melbamae, Mollymae, Myrtlemae, Neldamae, Nelliemae, Nettiemae, Nolamae, Normamae, Olamae, Olgamae, Olivemae, Olliemae, Oramae, Panzymae, Peggymae, Phebemae, Raymae, Rebamae, Rheamae, Rhodamae, Ritamae, Rosamae, Rosemae, Roymae, Rubimae, Ruemae, Ruthiemae, Ruthmae, Shirleymae, Suemae, Sulamae, Susiemae, Sylviamae, Templemae, Theamae, Tommimae, Trilbymae, Trudymae, Veramae, Vermamae, Vernamae, Vestamae, Vidamae, Violamae, Virginiamae, Wandamae, Wilbamae, Willamae, Williemae, Winniemae, Willowmae, Zaidamae, Zellamae

-Nell(e)

Adanell, Albanell, Angienell, Annanelle, Annienell, Archienell, Asanell, Avanell/Avanelle, Bessienell, Berthanell, Bethnell, Birdnell, Claranell, Clarenelle, Claudianell, Cloranell, Deenell, Dessanell, Dovienell, Druenell, Ermanell, Ernienell, Esternell, Eudanell, Evanell/Evanelle, Evenell, Faynell, Floranell, Florencenell, Flonell, Fredanell, Gaynell/Gaynelle, Genenell, Glorianell, Gracenell, Gusternell, Hassienell, Idanell, Ineznell, Ivanell/Ivanelle, Jaenell, Janenell, Jessienell, Jimmienell, Joenell, Johnnienell, Juvianell, Kathienell, Leahnell, Leenell, Lennienell, Liznell, Lounell, Maenell, Maranell, Margienell, Marinelle, Marjorienell, Marthanell, Marynell, Mattienell, Maxinlle, Mayenell, Melbanell, Monanell, Myranell, Nettienell, Noranell, Oranell, Ouidanell, Ovianell, Patsyenell, Raenell, Raynelle, Rebanell, Ritanell, Robbienell, Rosanell, Rosenelle, Rosienell, Rossnell, Roznell, Ruenelle, Ruthnell, Sammienell, Suenell, Thedanell, Tommienell, Tressienell, Verbanell, Verdanell, Verdianell, Vergienell, Wandanell, Wanzanell, Willienell, Willownell, Winnienell, Zoenell

-Rose

Adarose, Albarose, Alicerose, Althearose, Anitarose, Annarose, Ardithrose, Arvarose, Bellerose, Bertharose, Betseyrose, Bettyrose, Billyrose, Cathrose, Clararose, Corarose, Deerose, Delrose, Dollyrose, Dorarose, Dorisrose, Elsarose, Elsierose, Emmyrose, Ermarose, Ethelrose, Ettarose, Eulalirose, Evarose, Everose, Fannyrose, Fayrose, Florarose, Francisrose, Fridarose, Generose, Gladysrose, Glenrose, Glennarose, Goldarose, Hattierose, Hildarose, Huldarose, Idarose, Inezrose, Irmarose, Ivarose, Juneorse, Leerose, Leorose, Louiserose, Lydarose, Maerose/Mayrose, Mardirose, Margirose, Martharose, Maryrose, Melbarose, Melvarose, Minarose, Minnierose, Moerose, Myrnarose, Nellyrose, Nelrose, Neldarose, Nellierose, Nettarose, Nitarose, Oliverose, Ollierose, Patsyrose, Peggyrose, Phillirose, Phoeberose, Rhearose, Ritarose, Robbierose, Rubyrose, Ruthrose, Shirleyrose, Suerose, Thearose, Thelmarose, Tommyrose, Unarose, Velmarose, Verarose, Vernarose, Virdiarose, Wildarose, Willirose, Wylmarose, Zelmarose, Zetarose

-Ruth

Abbyruth, Adaruth, Adeleruth, Aggieruth, Agnesruth, Aliceruth, Almaruth, Alpharuth, Altaruth, Andieruth, Annieruth, Asterruth, Belleruth, Bertaruth, Bessieruth, Bettieruth, Bettyruth, Billieruth, Bonnieruth, Clararuth, Clareruth, Dellaruth, Dollyruth, Donnaruth, Doraruth, Dorisruth, Dorothyruth, Eddieruth, Ednaruth, Effieruth, Eliseruth, Ellenruth, Elvaruth, Estelleruth, Ettaruth, Evaruth, Fayruth, Floraruth, Francesruth, Fridaruth, Georgiaruth, Gladysruth, Gretaruth, Hazelruth, Helenruth, Hildaruth, Idaruth, Irmaruth, Ivaruth, Janeruth, Jeanruth, Jennieruth, Jennyruth, Jesseruth, Jimmiruth, Joeruth, Johnieruth, Joyruth, Judyruth, Juneruth, Katyruth, Kayruth, Ledaruth, Leeruth, Leonaruth, Lilaruth, Loisruth, Louruth, Lucyruth, Mabelruth, Maeruth, Mamieruth, Mararuth, Margieruth, Maryruth, Maxiruth, Mazieruth, Millieruth, Minnieruth, Mollyruth, Monaruth, Myraruth, Nannieruth, Naomiruth, Nellruth, Ninaruth, Nomaruth, Noraruth, Nydaruth, Olgaruth, Omegaruth, Oraruth, Ornaruth, Patsyruth, Pattieruth, Pollyruth, Raeruth, Ritaruth, Roseruth, Rubyruth, Sadieruth, Sueruth, Velmaruth, Veraruth, Verdaruth, Vernaruth, Virginiaruth, Vivianruth, Wandaruth, Wildaruth, Willaruth, Willieruth, Woodieruth

(…and here’s a double name followed by a triple name: Sueruth Ettajoanne Lavell, born in 1927 in California.)

-Sue

Abbysue, Annasue, Annysue, Arnisue, Benniesue, Bertasue, Bessiesue, Bethsue, Bettinasue, Bettisue, Bettysue, Billysue, Birdiesue, Bonniesue, Cathrynsue, Clairsue, Clarasue, Claysue, Clemiesue, Corasue, Danasue, Dellasue, Delsue, Donniesue, Eddysue, Edensue, Eddiesue, Ednasue, Effiesue, Ellysue, Ethelsue, Evasue, Fannysue, Faysue, Fransue, Fredasue, Genesue, Glendasue, Hannasue, Helensue, Hestersue, Homersue, Idasue, Indasue, Irasue, Ivasue, Jennasue, Jensue, Jillisue, Johnsue, Jonisue, Joysue, Karlasue, Katiesue, Kittysue, Linnisue, Lornasue, Lousue, Lydiasue, Marthasue, Marysue, Maysue, Mattisue, Merlesue, Mildredsue, Millisue, Molliesue, Monasue, Myrasue, Nancysue, Nansue, Nellisue, Nevasue, Ninasue, Normsue, Olliesue, Orasue, Orvasue, Patsysue, Pattiesue, Petrasue, Phillipsue, Ramonasue, Rheasue, Rhodasue, Robsue, Rubysue, Valdasue, Verasue, Vernasue, Vinasue, Virginiasue, Vyrlasue, Wandasue, Wendysue, Wildasue, Willasue, Williesue, Winisue, Zadasue

Make Your Own!

I spotted plenty of other combinations that just didn’t happen to be written as single names in the records, so here’s a handy dandy little table to cover some of the other existing combinations…

First Name Second Name
Abbie/Abby, Ada, Addie/Addy, Aggie, Agnes, Alba, Alice, Alma, Alpha, Alta, Andie/Andy, Anna/Annie, Belle, Berta/Bertha, Bessie/Bessy, Betsy, Bettie/Betty, Billie/Billy, Birdie, Bonnie, Clair/Clare, Clara, Clio/Cleo, Cora, Dee, Della, Dolly/Dollie, Dora, Doris, Dorothy, Eddie/Eddy, Edna, Effie, Eliza, Ellen, Elsie, Elva, Estelle, Ethel, Etta, Eula, Eva, Eve, Fae/Fay(e), Fanny/Fannie, Floy, Flora, Frances, Frida/Freda, Freddie, Gene, Georgia, Gladys, Glenda, Glenna, Glory, Golda, Goldie, Greta, Hattie/Hatty, Hazel, Helen, Hilda, Ida, Inez, Irma/Erma, Iva, Jane, Jean, Jennie/Jenny, Jesse/Jessie, Jimmie/Jimmy, Joe, Johnnie, Joy, Judy, June, Kate, Katie/Katy, Kay(e), Kitty/Kittie, Leda, Lee, Lena, Leona, Lila, Liz/Lizzie, Lois, Lola, Lou, Lula, Lydia, Mabel, Mae/May(e), Maisie/Mazie, Mamie, Mara, Margie, Martha, Mattie, Maxie, Melba, Millie, Minnie, Molly/Mollie, Mona, Myra, Myrna, Nannie, Nell(e), Nellie/Nelly, Nettie, Nita, Nola, Nora, Norma, Nyda, Ola, Olga, Olive, Ollie, Omega, Ora, Patsy/Patsie, Patty/Pattie, Polly, Rae/Ray(e), Reba, Rhea, Rhoda, Rita, Rosa, Rose, Rosie, Roxie, Ruth, Sadie, Sally, Shirley, Sue, Theda, Thelma, Tommie/Tommy, Velma, Vera, Verda, Verna, Wanda, Wanza, Wendy, Wilda, Willa, Willie/Willy, Willow, Wilma, Winnie, Zada, Zelma Ann(e)
Bell(e)
Bess
Dean
Dell(e)
Donna
Gay(e)
Jean
Lee
Lou
Mae
Nell(e)
Rose
Ruth
Sue

Which old-fashioned double name do you like best? Would you consider using any of the pairings above for a modern-day baby?

P.S. I’ll follow this up in a few weeks with some old-fashioned double names for boys

The Baby Name Fifinella

Fifinella

Women’s History Month is almost over, so let me squeeze in a post about Fifinella, a rare-but-real name with ties not only to the pioneering female aviators of WWII, but also to Walt Disney, Roald Dahl, Tchaikovsky, and a champion British racehorse.

Fifinella began as a children’s Christmas play. It was co-written by Englishmen Barry Jackson and Basil Dean, with music by Norman Hayes. Fifinella was first performed at the Liverpool Repertory Theatre in December of 1912.

fifinella - the play
From “The Stage” Year Book, 1913

The play — sometimes called “Fluffy Nellie” — “included 14 scenes and a harlequinade.” It was also adapted into the book Fifinella, a fairy frolic (1912) by Basil Dean’s then-wife Esther Van Gruisen.

The next year, an English thoroughbred horse was born to dam Silver Fowl and sire Polymelus. The chestnut filly, owned by newspaper proprietor Sir Edward Hulton, was named Fifinella.

fifinella in 1916
Fifinella in 1916

Fifinella went on become the last horse to win both the Derby and the Oaks in a single year, 1916.

That’s the same year English author and former Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot Roald Dahl was born — reason enough, apparently, for him to want to use Fifinella in his very first children’s book The Gremlins (1943), “a story drawing on RAF folklore which held that little creatures were responsible for the various mechanical failures on aeroplanes.”

The gremlins are convinced by a pilot named Gus to make peace with the RAF and join forces with the British to combat a more sinister villain; Hitler and the Nazis. The gremlins are then re-trained by the RAF to repair British aircraft instead of destroy them.

In the book, “fifinella” isn’t a name but a noun referring to a female gremlin. (Baby gremlins are called “widgets.”)

The book was put out by Walt Disney Productions and Random House. Walt Disney had wanted to make the book into a movie, but the movie never happened.

The gremlins “did live on in the form of military insignias,” though.

Walt Disney himself granted at least 30 military units permission to use gremlins as mascots/insignias during WWII, and even “assigned several artists to create these one-of-a-kind designs on a full-time basis.”

Units with gremlin mascots included the 17th Weather Squadron of San Francisco, the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School, and the Royal Canadian Air Force ‘Sky Sweepers.’

But the most famous gremlin mascot, Fifinella, belonged to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), a paramilitary unit of 1,000+ women who flew non-combat flights in order to free male pilots for combat service.

Member of Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) wears Fifinella patch on blouse, 1943
© LIFE

(She had been an unofficial mascot of the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD), which in August of 1943 merged with another group of female pilots to become the WASPs, even before permission was granted.)

The WASPs put Fifinella’s image on everything from patches to letterheads to matchbook covers. The Fifinella mascot even made an appearance in a mid-1943 LIFE article about the WASPs.

After the WASPs were disbanded in late 1944, ex-WASPs created the Order of Fifinella, a group that was both social (e.g., organizing reunions) and political (e.g., working to gain recognition as veterans).

Finally, one last Fifinella reference: In late 1945, Austrian tenor Richard Tauber recorded an English version of “Pimpinella – Florentine Song” (1878) by Russian composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. One of the many lyrical changes he made was replacing the name Pimpinella with the name Fifinella. (Here’s Richard Tauber singing Fifinella.)

So the name Fifinella has been around for at least a century. It’s been associated with theater, literature, sport, war, feminism and music. Has it ever been used as the name of a human being?

Yes, but rarely. I’ve only found a handful of Fifinellas, and all of them were born outside the United States:

  • Fifinella Downes (later Clarke), Australia
  • Fifinella “Fif” Beatrice Evans, d. 2007, England
  • Fifinella Flavell, b. 1923, England
  • Fifinella Hill (later Gratwick), Australia
  • Fifinella Lewis, b. 1914, Ireland
  • Fifinella Mallard (later Newson), 1901-1969, England
  • Fifinella Charlotte Agatha Nelson, d. 1947, Australia
  • Fifinella Patricia Russell (later Ceret), b. 1927, Ireland
  • Fifinella Silcox (later Mccluskey), b. 1948, England

So it’s definitely an unusual name. It’s also quite whimsical, and it has a ton of nickname potential (Fifi, Fina, Nell, Nella, Nellie). Do you like it? Would you ever consider using Fifinella as a baby name?

Sources:

110+ hidden gems: rare baby girl names

gemstone

Want a girl name that’s not popular, but also not unheard of?

I looked through the names at the bottom of SSA’s 2011 mega-list and found a bunch of hidden gems:

  1. Alberta (9 baby girls)
  2. Alexandrina (6)
  3. Amity (28)
  4. Apollonia (21)
  5. Augusta (31)
  6. Augustina (15)
  7. Avelina (34)
  8. Bernadine (6)
  9. Bertha (45)
  10. Bettina (8)
  11. Blanche (6)
  12. Bryony (5); Briony (16)
  13. Carlotta (20)
  14. Celestina (19)
  15. Celestine (7)
  16. Cicely (14)
  17. Claribel (19)
  18. Clarice (37)
  19. Clarity (17)
  20. Claudette (9)
  21. Claudine (9)
  22. Clementina (7)
  23. Constantina (5)
  24. Coretta (5)
  25. Corinna (37)
  26. Cornelia (17)
  27. Damiana (10)
  28. Davida (10)
  29. Delphine (26)
  30. Dinah (44)
  31. Dolores (39)
  32. Dorothea (15)
  33. Edwina (8)
  34. Eloisa (42)
  35. Enid (15)
  36. Ernestina (5)
  37. Eugenia (29)
  38. Eugenie (8)
  39. Eulalia (25)
  40. Euphemia (5)
  41. Evita (13)
  42. Fabiana (47)
  43. Faustina (21)
  44. Flavia (12)
  45. Floriana (6)
  46. Florina (6)
  47. Georgette (24)
  48. Gertrude (16)
  49. Gloriana (22)
  50. Golda (34)
  51. Goldie (37)
  52. Heloise (8)
  53. Henrietta (34)
  54. Hilda (40)
  55. Imelda (23)
  56. Io (9)
  57. Ione (26)
  58. Isidora (13)
  59. Jeanne (39)
  60. Josette (27)
  61. Junia (17)
  62. Linnaea (12)
  63. Lucette (7)
  64. Lucienne (43)
  65. Lucilla (12)
  66. Marietta (22)
  67. Maude (9)
  68. Mavis (38)
  69. Minerva (38)
  70. Nanette (8)
  71. Nell (32)
  72. Nella (38)
  73. Nicola (30)
  74. Nicoletta (19)
  75. Nicolina (29)
  76. Odette (48)
  77. Olympia (22)
  78. Orla (28); Orlagh (6)
  79. Phillipa (10)
  80. Philomena (41)
  81. Phyllis (20)
  82. Rhoda (28)
  83. Romana (6)
  84. Rosabella (46)
  85. Rosalba (17)
  86. Rosaline (20)
  87. Rosella (26)
  88. Rosetta (25)
  89. Rosette (5)
  90. Rosina (17)
  91. Rowena (15)
  92. Rubina (5)
  93. Rue (13)
  94. Sebastiana (5)
  95. Seraphine (19)
  96. Sigrid (15)
  97. Stephania (32)
  98. Sybilla (5)
  99. Talulla (5)
  100. Therese (47)
  101. Thomasina (6)
  102. Thora (19)
  103. Tova (43)
  104. Ulyssa (8)
  105. Ursula (25)
  106. Vashti (16)
  107. Verity (38)
  108. Violetta (46)
  109. Vita (36)
  110. Wanda (23)
  111. Winifred (30)
  112. Winona (20)
  113. Xanthe (7)
  114. Zenaida (36)
  115. Zenobia (22)
  116. Zillah (9)
  117. Zipporah (41); Tzipporah (12)

(In some cases, a different spelling of the name is more popular than what’s shown here. For instance, Isidora is rare, but Isadora is more common.)

Like any of these?

Did you spot any other great end-of-the-list names?

(Here’s the boys’ list.)