What’s In A Name?

Naming Hello, Nicola here! I've always been interested in the fashion in names, what's fashionable and what's not in any given period. For an historical author this is, arguably, important in order to make sure that we aren't anachronistic. Now, I realise that I may be stirring up a hornet's nest here but I have to ask the question. Writers, do you give your characters names that would have been in fashion at the time, or do you call them by a name that appeals to you, even if it isn't strictly authentic to the period? Readers, do you mind if a Regency hero is called Tank or do you just assume that it is derived from the ancient Germanic Tancred and is therefore totally acceptable?

The Norman Conquest of Names

It was in fact a recent BBC TV series about the Normans that made me think again about the issue of names and language. One of the points made by Professor Robert Bartlett (good Norman name) in the programme was that the Norman invasion of England sowed the seeds for much of the English language as it is today, a thousand years later. This includes names. The names of the Norman conquerors quickly became popular and remain common to this day – William, Robert, Alice, for example. The names of the Anglo Saxons, in contrast, are less familiar: Leofric, Ethelbert, Eadric.

This was because the ruling elite set the fashion. William quickly became the most common male name William in England even amongst the peasantry. Interestingly this was not simply because newborns were baptised with Norman names; some adults actually changed their names because thet wanted to be accepted in Norman society and not be dismissed as a peasant with an Anglo-Saxon name. One very cute fact I did learn about Anglo-Saxons prior to 1066 was their custom of creating new names for children by combining existing names. So for example Alfred and Edith might produce baby Aldith. I rather like this custom – if it was still in practise it would have led to a baby Fiadria in our family!

The Influence of the Church

The prophet habakkuk By the 13th century the Christian church in western Europe was wielding considerable influence over the naming of children. Saints' names were particularly popular as people believed in their powers of protection and intercession. A flood of new names appeared in fashion at this time: John, Simon, Matthew, Daniel, Mary, Elizabeth, Anne. A curious fact from the period is that there were more new masculine names than feminine ones. Girls were quite often called by a masculine name. In church records of the period Phillipa would be feminised but this was to meet Latin grammar requirements only. In real life she might well be called Philip. Where a girl was given a genuinely feminine name there was often a taste for the exotic such as Camilla, Pavia and Melodia, which are all found in 12th century English records.

Later, in the 17th century, the Puritan church was responsible for the adoption of obscure Old Testament names such as Habakkuk (the chap in the statue above) as a sign of piety, even going so far as to name children Penitence, Grace of God and Stand Fast on High. These did not become fashionable in the mainstream of society…

Jane Austen and the naming of characters

I am indebted here to author Elizabeth Hawksley who recently wrote a fascinating piece on this topic on the UK Historical Authors' Blog. You can read the whole article if you click here  and scroll down to "Jane Austen and Names" but Elizabeth has given me permission to quote a few paragraphs.

"The convention is for the eldest son and daughter to be named after their parents, as Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, nee Maria Ward, do in Mansfield Park. Jane Fairfax in Emma is named after her dead mother. In Persuasion, Charles Musgrove's elder son is called Charles, and so on.

Money also has an important role in the choice of name. In Emma, John Knightley is a younger son with no estate of his own. The Hartfield estate, where his wife Isabella was brought up, has no male heir so as the elder daughter, Isabella will inherit. The financial importance of this is echoed in John and Isabella's eldest son's name. "Henry is the eldest, he was named after me, not after his father," says old Mr Woodhouse, Isabella's father. Plainly such a departure from the norm requires an explanation. Names, therefore, are not chosen because the parents like them but with regard to family connections or a hoped-for inheritance.

Occasionally Jane Austen uses a name as a pointer to character. Take the dreadful Augusta Elton in Augusta Elton Emma. The name Augusta came in with the Hanoverians and might therefore be considered somewhat parvenu. George III's sister and mother were both called Augusta. Jane Austen neatly indicates Augusta Elton's social pretensions in the name she gives her."

A Hero Called Tiger

Tiger And so to the Regency, and a glance at the peerage and baronetage of the time shows us those names that were in vogue in the Ton and those that were not. We've all come across anachronistic names in historical romance. Some readers don't mind; others have this as a pet peeve, something that pulls them right out of the story.

A good let out clause for a writer who fancies using a name that was not in fashion in the 18th/19th century is the custom of taking surnames as first names. This happened quite often in aristocratic families; both Berkeley Craven and his brother Keppel Richard Craven, brothers to the Earl of Craven were given family names as first names in the Georgian period. This was in contrast to the Craven heir who was always called William.

Of course even a surname used as a first name needs to sound authentic to the period (in my opinion) in order not to jar. Dare I say it, heroes named after wild, or even tame animals will probably sound wrong unless it is used as a nickname, although was it Georgette Heyer who had a character called Lion, for Lionel? Confession time, though. I am in no position to criticise. I deliberately named two dukedoms after birds of prey rather than actual geographical places.

An interesting fact from this period is that it sees the adoption of "celebrity" names for babies. This is Nelson no modern phenomenon. There were a great many Horatios after the Battle of Trafalgar and a number of Percys in honour of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

As an endnote on the subject of language, I loved this comment from Professor Bartlett on the effects of the Normans on the English language: "Modern English has many words with similar meanings, as French words were assimilated into everyday language. There is a long-standing association of all things French with the upper classes and all things Anglo-Saxon with coarseness. Pig is English in origin, pork is French. Sheep is English, mutton is French. Cow is English, beef is French. When it is in a cold and muddy field covered in dung it's named in English. When it's been cooked and carved and put on a table with a glass of wine it's referred to French." Bien sur.

What do you think about the great name debate? Are you happy with a historical hero called Lion or Tiger? Which Anglo Saxon name would you like to see revived? And if we went in for the custom of name-combining from our parents, what would you be called? This is Sylpete, signing off!

190 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Terrific post, Nicola, and I do so agree with you.
    I’m afraid I find it difficult to suspend my disbelief when a hero has a name which shrieks 20th century film star (usually monosyllabic and of the Rock, Slate and Brick variety) rather than Regency hero.
    I suspect it doesn’t help that I actually live in the very country where Regency novels are set.

    Reply
  2. Terrific post, Nicola, and I do so agree with you.
    I’m afraid I find it difficult to suspend my disbelief when a hero has a name which shrieks 20th century film star (usually monosyllabic and of the Rock, Slate and Brick variety) rather than Regency hero.
    I suspect it doesn’t help that I actually live in the very country where Regency novels are set.

    Reply
  3. Terrific post, Nicola, and I do so agree with you.
    I’m afraid I find it difficult to suspend my disbelief when a hero has a name which shrieks 20th century film star (usually monosyllabic and of the Rock, Slate and Brick variety) rather than Regency hero.
    I suspect it doesn’t help that I actually live in the very country where Regency novels are set.

    Reply
  4. Terrific post, Nicola, and I do so agree with you.
    I’m afraid I find it difficult to suspend my disbelief when a hero has a name which shrieks 20th century film star (usually monosyllabic and of the Rock, Slate and Brick variety) rather than Regency hero.
    I suspect it doesn’t help that I actually live in the very country where Regency novels are set.

    Reply
  5. Terrific post, Nicola, and I do so agree with you.
    I’m afraid I find it difficult to suspend my disbelief when a hero has a name which shrieks 20th century film star (usually monosyllabic and of the Rock, Slate and Brick variety) rather than Regency hero.
    I suspect it doesn’t help that I actually live in the very country where Regency novels are set.

    Reply
  6. Great post, Nicola. As a reader, I also have a problem with names that scream “modern” at me, unless the author can come up with a plausible explanation for it (family name, etc.).
    As a writer, I’ll admit I’ve had it easy. The majority of my heroes and heroines are Irish, and my stories are set in Victorian-era Ireland and the U.S. And as I have Irish in-laws, as well as some Irish friends, I can check the authenticity with them. When it came to naming my first American her in my upcoming release, “Coming Home,” from Highland, I again had it easy, since he was Irish-American and had an Irish name.
    My American heroes and heroines were a little more difficult, but luckily I found a wonderful book, “20,001 Names for Baby,” which not only lists names, but also their origins and meanings.
    That said, I named my daughter Megan just because it was a Welsh name, and my son, David Edmund, is named for 2 of his great-grandfathers.

    Reply
  7. Great post, Nicola. As a reader, I also have a problem with names that scream “modern” at me, unless the author can come up with a plausible explanation for it (family name, etc.).
    As a writer, I’ll admit I’ve had it easy. The majority of my heroes and heroines are Irish, and my stories are set in Victorian-era Ireland and the U.S. And as I have Irish in-laws, as well as some Irish friends, I can check the authenticity with them. When it came to naming my first American her in my upcoming release, “Coming Home,” from Highland, I again had it easy, since he was Irish-American and had an Irish name.
    My American heroes and heroines were a little more difficult, but luckily I found a wonderful book, “20,001 Names for Baby,” which not only lists names, but also their origins and meanings.
    That said, I named my daughter Megan just because it was a Welsh name, and my son, David Edmund, is named for 2 of his great-grandfathers.

    Reply
  8. Great post, Nicola. As a reader, I also have a problem with names that scream “modern” at me, unless the author can come up with a plausible explanation for it (family name, etc.).
    As a writer, I’ll admit I’ve had it easy. The majority of my heroes and heroines are Irish, and my stories are set in Victorian-era Ireland and the U.S. And as I have Irish in-laws, as well as some Irish friends, I can check the authenticity with them. When it came to naming my first American her in my upcoming release, “Coming Home,” from Highland, I again had it easy, since he was Irish-American and had an Irish name.
    My American heroes and heroines were a little more difficult, but luckily I found a wonderful book, “20,001 Names for Baby,” which not only lists names, but also their origins and meanings.
    That said, I named my daughter Megan just because it was a Welsh name, and my son, David Edmund, is named for 2 of his great-grandfathers.

    Reply
  9. Great post, Nicola. As a reader, I also have a problem with names that scream “modern” at me, unless the author can come up with a plausible explanation for it (family name, etc.).
    As a writer, I’ll admit I’ve had it easy. The majority of my heroes and heroines are Irish, and my stories are set in Victorian-era Ireland and the U.S. And as I have Irish in-laws, as well as some Irish friends, I can check the authenticity with them. When it came to naming my first American her in my upcoming release, “Coming Home,” from Highland, I again had it easy, since he was Irish-American and had an Irish name.
    My American heroes and heroines were a little more difficult, but luckily I found a wonderful book, “20,001 Names for Baby,” which not only lists names, but also their origins and meanings.
    That said, I named my daughter Megan just because it was a Welsh name, and my son, David Edmund, is named for 2 of his great-grandfathers.

    Reply
  10. Great post, Nicola. As a reader, I also have a problem with names that scream “modern” at me, unless the author can come up with a plausible explanation for it (family name, etc.).
    As a writer, I’ll admit I’ve had it easy. The majority of my heroes and heroines are Irish, and my stories are set in Victorian-era Ireland and the U.S. And as I have Irish in-laws, as well as some Irish friends, I can check the authenticity with them. When it came to naming my first American her in my upcoming release, “Coming Home,” from Highland, I again had it easy, since he was Irish-American and had an Irish name.
    My American heroes and heroines were a little more difficult, but luckily I found a wonderful book, “20,001 Names for Baby,” which not only lists names, but also their origins and meanings.
    That said, I named my daughter Megan just because it was a Welsh name, and my son, David Edmund, is named for 2 of his great-grandfathers.

    Reply
  11. I can’t write a word until I have a name. It has to right for the period I’m writing about, so in my latrest we have Edwin, Edgar, Alfred, Hild etc. And Rolf for my Norman. I once wrote a romantic novel set in modern Australia, my hero was a really strong man and since he had Scottish ancestry, I called him Nevis, which worked, I think.
    Anglo Saxon names can be good, I like Edwin and don’t you think that Alfled for a girl is quite attractive.
    Names are so important,it’s good you hilighted that, Nicola.

    Reply
  12. I can’t write a word until I have a name. It has to right for the period I’m writing about, so in my latrest we have Edwin, Edgar, Alfred, Hild etc. And Rolf for my Norman. I once wrote a romantic novel set in modern Australia, my hero was a really strong man and since he had Scottish ancestry, I called him Nevis, which worked, I think.
    Anglo Saxon names can be good, I like Edwin and don’t you think that Alfled for a girl is quite attractive.
    Names are so important,it’s good you hilighted that, Nicola.

    Reply
  13. I can’t write a word until I have a name. It has to right for the period I’m writing about, so in my latrest we have Edwin, Edgar, Alfred, Hild etc. And Rolf for my Norman. I once wrote a romantic novel set in modern Australia, my hero was a really strong man and since he had Scottish ancestry, I called him Nevis, which worked, I think.
    Anglo Saxon names can be good, I like Edwin and don’t you think that Alfled for a girl is quite attractive.
    Names are so important,it’s good you hilighted that, Nicola.

    Reply
  14. I can’t write a word until I have a name. It has to right for the period I’m writing about, so in my latrest we have Edwin, Edgar, Alfred, Hild etc. And Rolf for my Norman. I once wrote a romantic novel set in modern Australia, my hero was a really strong man and since he had Scottish ancestry, I called him Nevis, which worked, I think.
    Anglo Saxon names can be good, I like Edwin and don’t you think that Alfled for a girl is quite attractive.
    Names are so important,it’s good you hilighted that, Nicola.

    Reply
  15. I can’t write a word until I have a name. It has to right for the period I’m writing about, so in my latrest we have Edwin, Edgar, Alfred, Hild etc. And Rolf for my Norman. I once wrote a romantic novel set in modern Australia, my hero was a really strong man and since he had Scottish ancestry, I called him Nevis, which worked, I think.
    Anglo Saxon names can be good, I like Edwin and don’t you think that Alfled for a girl is quite attractive.
    Names are so important,it’s good you hilighted that, Nicola.

    Reply
  16. I dislike modern names in historicals. My absolute favorite unfavorites are Kimberly and Blythe I saw in a Regency.
    I think names should be more or less historical. I don’t think “Tancred” would make it in a Regency.
    As for nicknames, people have always had nicknames, so people in novels should, too. I have a Regency with the hero named Henry. His nickname is Hank, which may not be appropriate to the period, but it fits into the story.

    Reply
  17. I dislike modern names in historicals. My absolute favorite unfavorites are Kimberly and Blythe I saw in a Regency.
    I think names should be more or less historical. I don’t think “Tancred” would make it in a Regency.
    As for nicknames, people have always had nicknames, so people in novels should, too. I have a Regency with the hero named Henry. His nickname is Hank, which may not be appropriate to the period, but it fits into the story.

    Reply
  18. I dislike modern names in historicals. My absolute favorite unfavorites are Kimberly and Blythe I saw in a Regency.
    I think names should be more or less historical. I don’t think “Tancred” would make it in a Regency.
    As for nicknames, people have always had nicknames, so people in novels should, too. I have a Regency with the hero named Henry. His nickname is Hank, which may not be appropriate to the period, but it fits into the story.

    Reply
  19. I dislike modern names in historicals. My absolute favorite unfavorites are Kimberly and Blythe I saw in a Regency.
    I think names should be more or less historical. I don’t think “Tancred” would make it in a Regency.
    As for nicknames, people have always had nicknames, so people in novels should, too. I have a Regency with the hero named Henry. His nickname is Hank, which may not be appropriate to the period, but it fits into the story.

    Reply
  20. I dislike modern names in historicals. My absolute favorite unfavorites are Kimberly and Blythe I saw in a Regency.
    I think names should be more or less historical. I don’t think “Tancred” would make it in a Regency.
    As for nicknames, people have always had nicknames, so people in novels should, too. I have a Regency with the hero named Henry. His nickname is Hank, which may not be appropriate to the period, but it fits into the story.

    Reply
  21. Delighted to see that I’m not the only one who falls into her own pet peeves!
    Names fascinate me. As authors, we have to choose names that work in our heads with the characters, and a lot of that is subconscious, relating to names of people we’ve known or read about. I have a bad habit of naming a character based on his/her behavior in the beginning, then giving them nicknames as time goes on and they loosen up. If they loosen up.
    But if I knowingly choose a name that’s not correctfor the times (and books like Cassell’s Dictionary of First Names give dates of first usage, I find a way to explain why that character had that name. My current WIP (or POS at this point)has a heroine named Jocelyn, totally inappropriate for Regency. But for whatever reason, I needed that name for her. Nothing else worked. So I mention that her mother is a genealogist who named her after a distant knight in their family. It’s an eccentric family, what can I say?
    And my Anglo-Saxon name would be Abdor. Charming, hmm?

    Reply
  22. Delighted to see that I’m not the only one who falls into her own pet peeves!
    Names fascinate me. As authors, we have to choose names that work in our heads with the characters, and a lot of that is subconscious, relating to names of people we’ve known or read about. I have a bad habit of naming a character based on his/her behavior in the beginning, then giving them nicknames as time goes on and they loosen up. If they loosen up.
    But if I knowingly choose a name that’s not correctfor the times (and books like Cassell’s Dictionary of First Names give dates of first usage, I find a way to explain why that character had that name. My current WIP (or POS at this point)has a heroine named Jocelyn, totally inappropriate for Regency. But for whatever reason, I needed that name for her. Nothing else worked. So I mention that her mother is a genealogist who named her after a distant knight in their family. It’s an eccentric family, what can I say?
    And my Anglo-Saxon name would be Abdor. Charming, hmm?

    Reply
  23. Delighted to see that I’m not the only one who falls into her own pet peeves!
    Names fascinate me. As authors, we have to choose names that work in our heads with the characters, and a lot of that is subconscious, relating to names of people we’ve known or read about. I have a bad habit of naming a character based on his/her behavior in the beginning, then giving them nicknames as time goes on and they loosen up. If they loosen up.
    But if I knowingly choose a name that’s not correctfor the times (and books like Cassell’s Dictionary of First Names give dates of first usage, I find a way to explain why that character had that name. My current WIP (or POS at this point)has a heroine named Jocelyn, totally inappropriate for Regency. But for whatever reason, I needed that name for her. Nothing else worked. So I mention that her mother is a genealogist who named her after a distant knight in their family. It’s an eccentric family, what can I say?
    And my Anglo-Saxon name would be Abdor. Charming, hmm?

    Reply
  24. Delighted to see that I’m not the only one who falls into her own pet peeves!
    Names fascinate me. As authors, we have to choose names that work in our heads with the characters, and a lot of that is subconscious, relating to names of people we’ve known or read about. I have a bad habit of naming a character based on his/her behavior in the beginning, then giving them nicknames as time goes on and they loosen up. If they loosen up.
    But if I knowingly choose a name that’s not correctfor the times (and books like Cassell’s Dictionary of First Names give dates of first usage, I find a way to explain why that character had that name. My current WIP (or POS at this point)has a heroine named Jocelyn, totally inappropriate for Regency. But for whatever reason, I needed that name for her. Nothing else worked. So I mention that her mother is a genealogist who named her after a distant knight in their family. It’s an eccentric family, what can I say?
    And my Anglo-Saxon name would be Abdor. Charming, hmm?

    Reply
  25. Delighted to see that I’m not the only one who falls into her own pet peeves!
    Names fascinate me. As authors, we have to choose names that work in our heads with the characters, and a lot of that is subconscious, relating to names of people we’ve known or read about. I have a bad habit of naming a character based on his/her behavior in the beginning, then giving them nicknames as time goes on and they loosen up. If they loosen up.
    But if I knowingly choose a name that’s not correctfor the times (and books like Cassell’s Dictionary of First Names give dates of first usage, I find a way to explain why that character had that name. My current WIP (or POS at this point)has a heroine named Jocelyn, totally inappropriate for Regency. But for whatever reason, I needed that name for her. Nothing else worked. So I mention that her mother is a genealogist who named her after a distant knight in their family. It’s an eccentric family, what can I say?
    And my Anglo-Saxon name would be Abdor. Charming, hmm?

    Reply
  26. The whole name thing fascinates me because it is so nuanced. All these comments fascinate me too. I totally agree that a modern-sounding name jars one out of a historical setting but sometimes,
    for instance, a name can *sound* as though it’s too modern and yet be completely accurate in historical terms.
    Pat, I’m with you in that if I want to give a character a particular name, if it feels right, and only that name will do, I’ll find a reason why they should be given it. I think this is called imagination!!
    It’s also interesting that some authors say they cannot write a word until they have the right name for their characters.

    Reply
  27. The whole name thing fascinates me because it is so nuanced. All these comments fascinate me too. I totally agree that a modern-sounding name jars one out of a historical setting but sometimes,
    for instance, a name can *sound* as though it’s too modern and yet be completely accurate in historical terms.
    Pat, I’m with you in that if I want to give a character a particular name, if it feels right, and only that name will do, I’ll find a reason why they should be given it. I think this is called imagination!!
    It’s also interesting that some authors say they cannot write a word until they have the right name for their characters.

    Reply
  28. The whole name thing fascinates me because it is so nuanced. All these comments fascinate me too. I totally agree that a modern-sounding name jars one out of a historical setting but sometimes,
    for instance, a name can *sound* as though it’s too modern and yet be completely accurate in historical terms.
    Pat, I’m with you in that if I want to give a character a particular name, if it feels right, and only that name will do, I’ll find a reason why they should be given it. I think this is called imagination!!
    It’s also interesting that some authors say they cannot write a word until they have the right name for their characters.

    Reply
  29. The whole name thing fascinates me because it is so nuanced. All these comments fascinate me too. I totally agree that a modern-sounding name jars one out of a historical setting but sometimes,
    for instance, a name can *sound* as though it’s too modern and yet be completely accurate in historical terms.
    Pat, I’m with you in that if I want to give a character a particular name, if it feels right, and only that name will do, I’ll find a reason why they should be given it. I think this is called imagination!!
    It’s also interesting that some authors say they cannot write a word until they have the right name for their characters.

    Reply
  30. The whole name thing fascinates me because it is so nuanced. All these comments fascinate me too. I totally agree that a modern-sounding name jars one out of a historical setting but sometimes,
    for instance, a name can *sound* as though it’s too modern and yet be completely accurate in historical terms.
    Pat, I’m with you in that if I want to give a character a particular name, if it feels right, and only that name will do, I’ll find a reason why they should be given it. I think this is called imagination!!
    It’s also interesting that some authors say they cannot write a word until they have the right name for their characters.

    Reply
  31. This is one where the author can’t really win – I was thinking of it this week in the DA discussion about Hoyt’s new book. My family names are things that would be considered ‘ridiculous’ and ‘inappropriate’ for the Regency period, but these people lived in the UK. For every Thomas I have a Pentecost. For every Elizabeth I have two Mordecai.
    I give a great deal of slack on naming in books. In an age where kids are named Apple and Pilot Inspecktor (sic) who is to say what was an accurate name or not?

    Reply
  32. This is one where the author can’t really win – I was thinking of it this week in the DA discussion about Hoyt’s new book. My family names are things that would be considered ‘ridiculous’ and ‘inappropriate’ for the Regency period, but these people lived in the UK. For every Thomas I have a Pentecost. For every Elizabeth I have two Mordecai.
    I give a great deal of slack on naming in books. In an age where kids are named Apple and Pilot Inspecktor (sic) who is to say what was an accurate name or not?

    Reply
  33. This is one where the author can’t really win – I was thinking of it this week in the DA discussion about Hoyt’s new book. My family names are things that would be considered ‘ridiculous’ and ‘inappropriate’ for the Regency period, but these people lived in the UK. For every Thomas I have a Pentecost. For every Elizabeth I have two Mordecai.
    I give a great deal of slack on naming in books. In an age where kids are named Apple and Pilot Inspecktor (sic) who is to say what was an accurate name or not?

    Reply
  34. This is one where the author can’t really win – I was thinking of it this week in the DA discussion about Hoyt’s new book. My family names are things that would be considered ‘ridiculous’ and ‘inappropriate’ for the Regency period, but these people lived in the UK. For every Thomas I have a Pentecost. For every Elizabeth I have two Mordecai.
    I give a great deal of slack on naming in books. In an age where kids are named Apple and Pilot Inspecktor (sic) who is to say what was an accurate name or not?

    Reply
  35. This is one where the author can’t really win – I was thinking of it this week in the DA discussion about Hoyt’s new book. My family names are things that would be considered ‘ridiculous’ and ‘inappropriate’ for the Regency period, but these people lived in the UK. For every Thomas I have a Pentecost. For every Elizabeth I have two Mordecai.
    I give a great deal of slack on naming in books. In an age where kids are named Apple and Pilot Inspecktor (sic) who is to say what was an accurate name or not?

    Reply
  36. Wonderful post, Nicola and some fascinating information. I have to admit that modern names in Regency romances set my teeth on edge. I read one a long time ago in which the heroine was named Jennifer. Sorry, too soap opera for me!
    I have a Tristan, a Rhys, an Alexander and a Madeline in my book out on submission now.
    I am finishing up a book with a hero named Cain and a heroine named Sarafina. The heroine’s sister was named Sybilla, which I LOVE, but that was too many S names so she became Millicent.
    That is one problem I have to be careful to watch – too many names that start with the same letter in one story.
    My father’s family is Welsh and I love looking back up the family tree at some of the names. I had a great great aunt Haradella. My great great grandfather was named Griffin and everyone called him Griff. I like that name and may have to use it for a hero one day.
    My pen name is actually derived from a combination of the women’s names in my family.
    At the bakery I have to write some of the most horrendous names in the history of the English language on birthday cakes. I truly wish some of these poor children could whisper in their parents’ ears just before they are born and plead “Please don’t name me something ridiculous just to be different!”
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Loubram or Ablou. I’ll stick with what I have, I think!

    Reply
  37. Wonderful post, Nicola and some fascinating information. I have to admit that modern names in Regency romances set my teeth on edge. I read one a long time ago in which the heroine was named Jennifer. Sorry, too soap opera for me!
    I have a Tristan, a Rhys, an Alexander and a Madeline in my book out on submission now.
    I am finishing up a book with a hero named Cain and a heroine named Sarafina. The heroine’s sister was named Sybilla, which I LOVE, but that was too many S names so she became Millicent.
    That is one problem I have to be careful to watch – too many names that start with the same letter in one story.
    My father’s family is Welsh and I love looking back up the family tree at some of the names. I had a great great aunt Haradella. My great great grandfather was named Griffin and everyone called him Griff. I like that name and may have to use it for a hero one day.
    My pen name is actually derived from a combination of the women’s names in my family.
    At the bakery I have to write some of the most horrendous names in the history of the English language on birthday cakes. I truly wish some of these poor children could whisper in their parents’ ears just before they are born and plead “Please don’t name me something ridiculous just to be different!”
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Loubram or Ablou. I’ll stick with what I have, I think!

    Reply
  38. Wonderful post, Nicola and some fascinating information. I have to admit that modern names in Regency romances set my teeth on edge. I read one a long time ago in which the heroine was named Jennifer. Sorry, too soap opera for me!
    I have a Tristan, a Rhys, an Alexander and a Madeline in my book out on submission now.
    I am finishing up a book with a hero named Cain and a heroine named Sarafina. The heroine’s sister was named Sybilla, which I LOVE, but that was too many S names so she became Millicent.
    That is one problem I have to be careful to watch – too many names that start with the same letter in one story.
    My father’s family is Welsh and I love looking back up the family tree at some of the names. I had a great great aunt Haradella. My great great grandfather was named Griffin and everyone called him Griff. I like that name and may have to use it for a hero one day.
    My pen name is actually derived from a combination of the women’s names in my family.
    At the bakery I have to write some of the most horrendous names in the history of the English language on birthday cakes. I truly wish some of these poor children could whisper in their parents’ ears just before they are born and plead “Please don’t name me something ridiculous just to be different!”
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Loubram or Ablou. I’ll stick with what I have, I think!

    Reply
  39. Wonderful post, Nicola and some fascinating information. I have to admit that modern names in Regency romances set my teeth on edge. I read one a long time ago in which the heroine was named Jennifer. Sorry, too soap opera for me!
    I have a Tristan, a Rhys, an Alexander and a Madeline in my book out on submission now.
    I am finishing up a book with a hero named Cain and a heroine named Sarafina. The heroine’s sister was named Sybilla, which I LOVE, but that was too many S names so she became Millicent.
    That is one problem I have to be careful to watch – too many names that start with the same letter in one story.
    My father’s family is Welsh and I love looking back up the family tree at some of the names. I had a great great aunt Haradella. My great great grandfather was named Griffin and everyone called him Griff. I like that name and may have to use it for a hero one day.
    My pen name is actually derived from a combination of the women’s names in my family.
    At the bakery I have to write some of the most horrendous names in the history of the English language on birthday cakes. I truly wish some of these poor children could whisper in their parents’ ears just before they are born and plead “Please don’t name me something ridiculous just to be different!”
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Loubram or Ablou. I’ll stick with what I have, I think!

    Reply
  40. Wonderful post, Nicola and some fascinating information. I have to admit that modern names in Regency romances set my teeth on edge. I read one a long time ago in which the heroine was named Jennifer. Sorry, too soap opera for me!
    I have a Tristan, a Rhys, an Alexander and a Madeline in my book out on submission now.
    I am finishing up a book with a hero named Cain and a heroine named Sarafina. The heroine’s sister was named Sybilla, which I LOVE, but that was too many S names so she became Millicent.
    That is one problem I have to be careful to watch – too many names that start with the same letter in one story.
    My father’s family is Welsh and I love looking back up the family tree at some of the names. I had a great great aunt Haradella. My great great grandfather was named Griffin and everyone called him Griff. I like that name and may have to use it for a hero one day.
    My pen name is actually derived from a combination of the women’s names in my family.
    At the bakery I have to write some of the most horrendous names in the history of the English language on birthday cakes. I truly wish some of these poor children could whisper in their parents’ ears just before they are born and plead “Please don’t name me something ridiculous just to be different!”
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Loubram or Ablou. I’ll stick with what I have, I think!

    Reply
  41. Names are a favorite subject for me. I don’t think I’d much care for a historical hero named Lion or Tiger without some justification for the name. I love many of the Anglo-Saxon names, and would love to see them come back — like Aethelthryth (can you imagine having to learn to spell that one?), Raedwald, Rowena, Eadgyth (modernly Edith), and many more. One interesting thing about many of these names is that the syllables can be recombined in different ways to create new names.
    And if my parents combined their names to create mine, it would be Lesann or perhaps Leslieann, but instead they followed another tradition and named me after my mother’s mother.

    Reply
  42. Names are a favorite subject for me. I don’t think I’d much care for a historical hero named Lion or Tiger without some justification for the name. I love many of the Anglo-Saxon names, and would love to see them come back — like Aethelthryth (can you imagine having to learn to spell that one?), Raedwald, Rowena, Eadgyth (modernly Edith), and many more. One interesting thing about many of these names is that the syllables can be recombined in different ways to create new names.
    And if my parents combined their names to create mine, it would be Lesann or perhaps Leslieann, but instead they followed another tradition and named me after my mother’s mother.

    Reply
  43. Names are a favorite subject for me. I don’t think I’d much care for a historical hero named Lion or Tiger without some justification for the name. I love many of the Anglo-Saxon names, and would love to see them come back — like Aethelthryth (can you imagine having to learn to spell that one?), Raedwald, Rowena, Eadgyth (modernly Edith), and many more. One interesting thing about many of these names is that the syllables can be recombined in different ways to create new names.
    And if my parents combined their names to create mine, it would be Lesann or perhaps Leslieann, but instead they followed another tradition and named me after my mother’s mother.

    Reply
  44. Names are a favorite subject for me. I don’t think I’d much care for a historical hero named Lion or Tiger without some justification for the name. I love many of the Anglo-Saxon names, and would love to see them come back — like Aethelthryth (can you imagine having to learn to spell that one?), Raedwald, Rowena, Eadgyth (modernly Edith), and many more. One interesting thing about many of these names is that the syllables can be recombined in different ways to create new names.
    And if my parents combined their names to create mine, it would be Lesann or perhaps Leslieann, but instead they followed another tradition and named me after my mother’s mother.

    Reply
  45. Names are a favorite subject for me. I don’t think I’d much care for a historical hero named Lion or Tiger without some justification for the name. I love many of the Anglo-Saxon names, and would love to see them come back — like Aethelthryth (can you imagine having to learn to spell that one?), Raedwald, Rowena, Eadgyth (modernly Edith), and many more. One interesting thing about many of these names is that the syllables can be recombined in different ways to create new names.
    And if my parents combined their names to create mine, it would be Lesann or perhaps Leslieann, but instead they followed another tradition and named me after my mother’s mother.

    Reply
  46. My family has a mixed name tradition. My maternal grandparents were John (called) Jack and Evelyn. My mom was named Jacquelyn as a compromise (he wanted Henrietta and my grandmother refused to have a daughter called Hank). My children call mom Jackie (she felt too young to be Grandma). I am Lyn with only one N and the same initials as my father. Both my children have new names. We gave them our middle names to follow my husband’s family tradition of the eldest male having the middle name Allen. To be consistent our daughter has my middle name.
    As for odd names in novels, I don’t like them unless there is a compelling backstory. But the wordwenches usually have such compelling backstories that I almost wish they would write prequels too.

    Reply
  47. My family has a mixed name tradition. My maternal grandparents were John (called) Jack and Evelyn. My mom was named Jacquelyn as a compromise (he wanted Henrietta and my grandmother refused to have a daughter called Hank). My children call mom Jackie (she felt too young to be Grandma). I am Lyn with only one N and the same initials as my father. Both my children have new names. We gave them our middle names to follow my husband’s family tradition of the eldest male having the middle name Allen. To be consistent our daughter has my middle name.
    As for odd names in novels, I don’t like them unless there is a compelling backstory. But the wordwenches usually have such compelling backstories that I almost wish they would write prequels too.

    Reply
  48. My family has a mixed name tradition. My maternal grandparents were John (called) Jack and Evelyn. My mom was named Jacquelyn as a compromise (he wanted Henrietta and my grandmother refused to have a daughter called Hank). My children call mom Jackie (she felt too young to be Grandma). I am Lyn with only one N and the same initials as my father. Both my children have new names. We gave them our middle names to follow my husband’s family tradition of the eldest male having the middle name Allen. To be consistent our daughter has my middle name.
    As for odd names in novels, I don’t like them unless there is a compelling backstory. But the wordwenches usually have such compelling backstories that I almost wish they would write prequels too.

    Reply
  49. My family has a mixed name tradition. My maternal grandparents were John (called) Jack and Evelyn. My mom was named Jacquelyn as a compromise (he wanted Henrietta and my grandmother refused to have a daughter called Hank). My children call mom Jackie (she felt too young to be Grandma). I am Lyn with only one N and the same initials as my father. Both my children have new names. We gave them our middle names to follow my husband’s family tradition of the eldest male having the middle name Allen. To be consistent our daughter has my middle name.
    As for odd names in novels, I don’t like them unless there is a compelling backstory. But the wordwenches usually have such compelling backstories that I almost wish they would write prequels too.

    Reply
  50. My family has a mixed name tradition. My maternal grandparents were John (called) Jack and Evelyn. My mom was named Jacquelyn as a compromise (he wanted Henrietta and my grandmother refused to have a daughter called Hank). My children call mom Jackie (she felt too young to be Grandma). I am Lyn with only one N and the same initials as my father. Both my children have new names. We gave them our middle names to follow my husband’s family tradition of the eldest male having the middle name Allen. To be consistent our daughter has my middle name.
    As for odd names in novels, I don’t like them unless there is a compelling backstory. But the wordwenches usually have such compelling backstories that I almost wish they would write prequels too.

    Reply
  51. Absolutely, Meoskop. When I was researching my family history I came across names that people would simply laugh at. (Mouseaten, anyone?)So truth is often as strange as fiction.
    Glad you enjoyed the post, Louisa. Thank you! I love the name Sybilla too. I think that was one of the “exotic” names that came into the English language very early.
    Celtic names are fabulous,IMO. The Welsh branch of my husband’s family has a Taliesin in it. What could be more romantic? Love Ablou, by the way! I think we could start a vogue. Or perhaps not…

    Reply
  52. Absolutely, Meoskop. When I was researching my family history I came across names that people would simply laugh at. (Mouseaten, anyone?)So truth is often as strange as fiction.
    Glad you enjoyed the post, Louisa. Thank you! I love the name Sybilla too. I think that was one of the “exotic” names that came into the English language very early.
    Celtic names are fabulous,IMO. The Welsh branch of my husband’s family has a Taliesin in it. What could be more romantic? Love Ablou, by the way! I think we could start a vogue. Or perhaps not…

    Reply
  53. Absolutely, Meoskop. When I was researching my family history I came across names that people would simply laugh at. (Mouseaten, anyone?)So truth is often as strange as fiction.
    Glad you enjoyed the post, Louisa. Thank you! I love the name Sybilla too. I think that was one of the “exotic” names that came into the English language very early.
    Celtic names are fabulous,IMO. The Welsh branch of my husband’s family has a Taliesin in it. What could be more romantic? Love Ablou, by the way! I think we could start a vogue. Or perhaps not…

    Reply
  54. Absolutely, Meoskop. When I was researching my family history I came across names that people would simply laugh at. (Mouseaten, anyone?)So truth is often as strange as fiction.
    Glad you enjoyed the post, Louisa. Thank you! I love the name Sybilla too. I think that was one of the “exotic” names that came into the English language very early.
    Celtic names are fabulous,IMO. The Welsh branch of my husband’s family has a Taliesin in it. What could be more romantic? Love Ablou, by the way! I think we could start a vogue. Or perhaps not…

    Reply
  55. Absolutely, Meoskop. When I was researching my family history I came across names that people would simply laugh at. (Mouseaten, anyone?)So truth is often as strange as fiction.
    Glad you enjoyed the post, Louisa. Thank you! I love the name Sybilla too. I think that was one of the “exotic” names that came into the English language very early.
    Celtic names are fabulous,IMO. The Welsh branch of my husband’s family has a Taliesin in it. What could be more romantic? Love Ablou, by the way! I think we could start a vogue. Or perhaps not…

    Reply
  56. Rowena is a lovely name, Jane, one of my favourites. Quite a few of the Anglo-Saxon names did endure, of course, or versions of them: Edward is still pretty popular. We might have a bit more trouble getting Raedwald in fashion again although Red would be a good nickname!
    Lesann is very pretty!

    Reply
  57. Rowena is a lovely name, Jane, one of my favourites. Quite a few of the Anglo-Saxon names did endure, of course, or versions of them: Edward is still pretty popular. We might have a bit more trouble getting Raedwald in fashion again although Red would be a good nickname!
    Lesann is very pretty!

    Reply
  58. Rowena is a lovely name, Jane, one of my favourites. Quite a few of the Anglo-Saxon names did endure, of course, or versions of them: Edward is still pretty popular. We might have a bit more trouble getting Raedwald in fashion again although Red would be a good nickname!
    Lesann is very pretty!

    Reply
  59. Rowena is a lovely name, Jane, one of my favourites. Quite a few of the Anglo-Saxon names did endure, of course, or versions of them: Edward is still pretty popular. We might have a bit more trouble getting Raedwald in fashion again although Red would be a good nickname!
    Lesann is very pretty!

    Reply
  60. Rowena is a lovely name, Jane, one of my favourites. Quite a few of the Anglo-Saxon names did endure, of course, or versions of them: Edward is still pretty popular. We might have a bit more trouble getting Raedwald in fashion again although Red would be a good nickname!
    Lesann is very pretty!

    Reply
  61. I like the sound of your family’s naming traditions, Lyn. My husband’s family have a tradition of giving the girls the same middle name in successive generations. I really like the continuity element of this. My mother’s family did the same for several generations but my mother broke with tradition when she named me!

    Reply
  62. I like the sound of your family’s naming traditions, Lyn. My husband’s family have a tradition of giving the girls the same middle name in successive generations. I really like the continuity element of this. My mother’s family did the same for several generations but my mother broke with tradition when she named me!

    Reply
  63. I like the sound of your family’s naming traditions, Lyn. My husband’s family have a tradition of giving the girls the same middle name in successive generations. I really like the continuity element of this. My mother’s family did the same for several generations but my mother broke with tradition when she named me!

    Reply
  64. I like the sound of your family’s naming traditions, Lyn. My husband’s family have a tradition of giving the girls the same middle name in successive generations. I really like the continuity element of this. My mother’s family did the same for several generations but my mother broke with tradition when she named me!

    Reply
  65. I like the sound of your family’s naming traditions, Lyn. My husband’s family have a tradition of giving the girls the same middle name in successive generations. I really like the continuity element of this. My mother’s family did the same for several generations but my mother broke with tradition when she named me!

    Reply
  66. Thank you for a great post, Nicola! Twenty years ago when we named our daughter Sophia, my mother in law’s first words were a disbelieving “Where’d you get THAT?” (Note to self: have a better response planned when my own grandchildren are born eventually. . .) Now it’s on the top ten list and we’re meeting little Sophias everywhere.
    I’m one of those who’s thrown out of the story by a name that’s not historically appropriate– I have to mentally shift gears to place the narrative in “Romancelandia” instead of a real historical setting.
    My husband’s family features a Civil War-era Sylvanus. And a couple of my father’s cousins were actually named “Babe” (for “baby”) and “Son”(family legend has it that no names could be decided upon so they became “Babe” and “Son” through common usage).
    Anglo-Saxon name: Homtha. Scary.

    Reply
  67. Thank you for a great post, Nicola! Twenty years ago when we named our daughter Sophia, my mother in law’s first words were a disbelieving “Where’d you get THAT?” (Note to self: have a better response planned when my own grandchildren are born eventually. . .) Now it’s on the top ten list and we’re meeting little Sophias everywhere.
    I’m one of those who’s thrown out of the story by a name that’s not historically appropriate– I have to mentally shift gears to place the narrative in “Romancelandia” instead of a real historical setting.
    My husband’s family features a Civil War-era Sylvanus. And a couple of my father’s cousins were actually named “Babe” (for “baby”) and “Son”(family legend has it that no names could be decided upon so they became “Babe” and “Son” through common usage).
    Anglo-Saxon name: Homtha. Scary.

    Reply
  68. Thank you for a great post, Nicola! Twenty years ago when we named our daughter Sophia, my mother in law’s first words were a disbelieving “Where’d you get THAT?” (Note to self: have a better response planned when my own grandchildren are born eventually. . .) Now it’s on the top ten list and we’re meeting little Sophias everywhere.
    I’m one of those who’s thrown out of the story by a name that’s not historically appropriate– I have to mentally shift gears to place the narrative in “Romancelandia” instead of a real historical setting.
    My husband’s family features a Civil War-era Sylvanus. And a couple of my father’s cousins were actually named “Babe” (for “baby”) and “Son”(family legend has it that no names could be decided upon so they became “Babe” and “Son” through common usage).
    Anglo-Saxon name: Homtha. Scary.

    Reply
  69. Thank you for a great post, Nicola! Twenty years ago when we named our daughter Sophia, my mother in law’s first words were a disbelieving “Where’d you get THAT?” (Note to self: have a better response planned when my own grandchildren are born eventually. . .) Now it’s on the top ten list and we’re meeting little Sophias everywhere.
    I’m one of those who’s thrown out of the story by a name that’s not historically appropriate– I have to mentally shift gears to place the narrative in “Romancelandia” instead of a real historical setting.
    My husband’s family features a Civil War-era Sylvanus. And a couple of my father’s cousins were actually named “Babe” (for “baby”) and “Son”(family legend has it that no names could be decided upon so they became “Babe” and “Son” through common usage).
    Anglo-Saxon name: Homtha. Scary.

    Reply
  70. Thank you for a great post, Nicola! Twenty years ago when we named our daughter Sophia, my mother in law’s first words were a disbelieving “Where’d you get THAT?” (Note to self: have a better response planned when my own grandchildren are born eventually. . .) Now it’s on the top ten list and we’re meeting little Sophias everywhere.
    I’m one of those who’s thrown out of the story by a name that’s not historically appropriate– I have to mentally shift gears to place the narrative in “Romancelandia” instead of a real historical setting.
    My husband’s family features a Civil War-era Sylvanus. And a couple of my father’s cousins were actually named “Babe” (for “baby”) and “Son”(family legend has it that no names could be decided upon so they became “Babe” and “Son” through common usage).
    Anglo-Saxon name: Homtha. Scary.

    Reply
  71. I suppose my Anglo-Saxon name would have to be Lenhen. Ha! Almost as bad as my real given name, which I won’t divulge. The name you see on my post is a pseudonym, which is a combination of my two children’s names, so I guess it’s in keeping with the topic. In my family tree, there are three Marlons, a Sebastian, and my grandfather was Wallace.
    Normally, I have no problem with names. They pop into my head right along with the character. But, occasionally, the name doesn’t pop. When that happens, I have a dickens of a time coming up with a name that fits.
    One of my pet peeves is a name with a weird spelling or pronunciation. It definitely pulls me out of the story every time the name appears. I also dislike it when an author gives her plain-jane heroine (the ugly duckling to beautiful swan theme) a name that would be considered frumpy or unattractive in some way just to drive home the point.
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  72. I suppose my Anglo-Saxon name would have to be Lenhen. Ha! Almost as bad as my real given name, which I won’t divulge. The name you see on my post is a pseudonym, which is a combination of my two children’s names, so I guess it’s in keeping with the topic. In my family tree, there are three Marlons, a Sebastian, and my grandfather was Wallace.
    Normally, I have no problem with names. They pop into my head right along with the character. But, occasionally, the name doesn’t pop. When that happens, I have a dickens of a time coming up with a name that fits.
    One of my pet peeves is a name with a weird spelling or pronunciation. It definitely pulls me out of the story every time the name appears. I also dislike it when an author gives her plain-jane heroine (the ugly duckling to beautiful swan theme) a name that would be considered frumpy or unattractive in some way just to drive home the point.
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  73. I suppose my Anglo-Saxon name would have to be Lenhen. Ha! Almost as bad as my real given name, which I won’t divulge. The name you see on my post is a pseudonym, which is a combination of my two children’s names, so I guess it’s in keeping with the topic. In my family tree, there are three Marlons, a Sebastian, and my grandfather was Wallace.
    Normally, I have no problem with names. They pop into my head right along with the character. But, occasionally, the name doesn’t pop. When that happens, I have a dickens of a time coming up with a name that fits.
    One of my pet peeves is a name with a weird spelling or pronunciation. It definitely pulls me out of the story every time the name appears. I also dislike it when an author gives her plain-jane heroine (the ugly duckling to beautiful swan theme) a name that would be considered frumpy or unattractive in some way just to drive home the point.
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  74. I suppose my Anglo-Saxon name would have to be Lenhen. Ha! Almost as bad as my real given name, which I won’t divulge. The name you see on my post is a pseudonym, which is a combination of my two children’s names, so I guess it’s in keeping with the topic. In my family tree, there are three Marlons, a Sebastian, and my grandfather was Wallace.
    Normally, I have no problem with names. They pop into my head right along with the character. But, occasionally, the name doesn’t pop. When that happens, I have a dickens of a time coming up with a name that fits.
    One of my pet peeves is a name with a weird spelling or pronunciation. It definitely pulls me out of the story every time the name appears. I also dislike it when an author gives her plain-jane heroine (the ugly duckling to beautiful swan theme) a name that would be considered frumpy or unattractive in some way just to drive home the point.
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  75. I suppose my Anglo-Saxon name would have to be Lenhen. Ha! Almost as bad as my real given name, which I won’t divulge. The name you see on my post is a pseudonym, which is a combination of my two children’s names, so I guess it’s in keeping with the topic. In my family tree, there are three Marlons, a Sebastian, and my grandfather was Wallace.
    Normally, I have no problem with names. They pop into my head right along with the character. But, occasionally, the name doesn’t pop. When that happens, I have a dickens of a time coming up with a name that fits.
    One of my pet peeves is a name with a weird spelling or pronunciation. It definitely pulls me out of the story every time the name appears. I also dislike it when an author gives her plain-jane heroine (the ugly duckling to beautiful swan theme) a name that would be considered frumpy or unattractive in some way just to drive home the point.
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  76. My Anglo-Saxon name would be either Reely or Kelna. No thanks.
    I do get pulled out of the story by anachronistic names or ones that feel implausible or over-the-top. I’ll use unusual names only if they existed at the time and it makes sense that my characters’ parents would’ve chosen something outside of the typical set.
    Though I will work backwards to get the name I want on occasion. My next manuscript has a heroine who needed a first name that would shorten well to something one-syllable and tough-sounding, and at first she was going to be Catherine, called Cat. For various reasons I decided Cat wasn’t quite right and thought, “OK, she’s Cassandra, called Cass.” But while a Catherine could be anybody, from any background, a Cassandra, while hardly a super-rare name (e.g. Cassandra Austen), says a bit more about the family’s social and educational level and the tastes of who named my character (or maybe the mother or grandmother she’s named for). So, since the character clicked into place for me when I realized her name was Cass, I’m now building a backstory for her to suit the name.

    Reply
  77. My Anglo-Saxon name would be either Reely or Kelna. No thanks.
    I do get pulled out of the story by anachronistic names or ones that feel implausible or over-the-top. I’ll use unusual names only if they existed at the time and it makes sense that my characters’ parents would’ve chosen something outside of the typical set.
    Though I will work backwards to get the name I want on occasion. My next manuscript has a heroine who needed a first name that would shorten well to something one-syllable and tough-sounding, and at first she was going to be Catherine, called Cat. For various reasons I decided Cat wasn’t quite right and thought, “OK, she’s Cassandra, called Cass.” But while a Catherine could be anybody, from any background, a Cassandra, while hardly a super-rare name (e.g. Cassandra Austen), says a bit more about the family’s social and educational level and the tastes of who named my character (or maybe the mother or grandmother she’s named for). So, since the character clicked into place for me when I realized her name was Cass, I’m now building a backstory for her to suit the name.

    Reply
  78. My Anglo-Saxon name would be either Reely or Kelna. No thanks.
    I do get pulled out of the story by anachronistic names or ones that feel implausible or over-the-top. I’ll use unusual names only if they existed at the time and it makes sense that my characters’ parents would’ve chosen something outside of the typical set.
    Though I will work backwards to get the name I want on occasion. My next manuscript has a heroine who needed a first name that would shorten well to something one-syllable and tough-sounding, and at first she was going to be Catherine, called Cat. For various reasons I decided Cat wasn’t quite right and thought, “OK, she’s Cassandra, called Cass.” But while a Catherine could be anybody, from any background, a Cassandra, while hardly a super-rare name (e.g. Cassandra Austen), says a bit more about the family’s social and educational level and the tastes of who named my character (or maybe the mother or grandmother she’s named for). So, since the character clicked into place for me when I realized her name was Cass, I’m now building a backstory for her to suit the name.

    Reply
  79. My Anglo-Saxon name would be either Reely or Kelna. No thanks.
    I do get pulled out of the story by anachronistic names or ones that feel implausible or over-the-top. I’ll use unusual names only if they existed at the time and it makes sense that my characters’ parents would’ve chosen something outside of the typical set.
    Though I will work backwards to get the name I want on occasion. My next manuscript has a heroine who needed a first name that would shorten well to something one-syllable and tough-sounding, and at first she was going to be Catherine, called Cat. For various reasons I decided Cat wasn’t quite right and thought, “OK, she’s Cassandra, called Cass.” But while a Catherine could be anybody, from any background, a Cassandra, while hardly a super-rare name (e.g. Cassandra Austen), says a bit more about the family’s social and educational level and the tastes of who named my character (or maybe the mother or grandmother she’s named for). So, since the character clicked into place for me when I realized her name was Cass, I’m now building a backstory for her to suit the name.

    Reply
  80. My Anglo-Saxon name would be either Reely or Kelna. No thanks.
    I do get pulled out of the story by anachronistic names or ones that feel implausible or over-the-top. I’ll use unusual names only if they existed at the time and it makes sense that my characters’ parents would’ve chosen something outside of the typical set.
    Though I will work backwards to get the name I want on occasion. My next manuscript has a heroine who needed a first name that would shorten well to something one-syllable and tough-sounding, and at first she was going to be Catherine, called Cat. For various reasons I decided Cat wasn’t quite right and thought, “OK, she’s Cassandra, called Cass.” But while a Catherine could be anybody, from any background, a Cassandra, while hardly a super-rare name (e.g. Cassandra Austen), says a bit more about the family’s social and educational level and the tastes of who named my character (or maybe the mother or grandmother she’s named for). So, since the character clicked into place for me when I realized her name was Cass, I’m now building a backstory for her to suit the name.

    Reply
  81. Great post, Nicola! I too find names fascinating, especially unusual ones. I’m not too bothered if they don’t fit the period, unless it’s something totally unsuitable, but there are some names I just can’t see as fitting for a hero/heroine. My Anglosaxon one would have been either Kengitta or Birneth – hmm … Not sure about that. If I had to bring an Anglosaxon name back into fashion, it would be something like Wulfstan as I love the nick-name Wulf (not so sure about the stan bit though).
    While researching my family tree, I discovered that there were eight generations of Joseph’s, but the latest one had broken with this tradition and named his son something else. When I told one of his cousins, he promptly named his newborn son Joseph, so now there is one again to carry on that name – great! While trawling through old baptismal records I’ve also found some really odd names and your comment about naming children after celebrities reminded me of one I found in Wiltshire – the poor child was given Napoleon Bonaparte as his middle names in 1802. Bet his parents regretted that later!

    Reply
  82. Great post, Nicola! I too find names fascinating, especially unusual ones. I’m not too bothered if they don’t fit the period, unless it’s something totally unsuitable, but there are some names I just can’t see as fitting for a hero/heroine. My Anglosaxon one would have been either Kengitta or Birneth – hmm … Not sure about that. If I had to bring an Anglosaxon name back into fashion, it would be something like Wulfstan as I love the nick-name Wulf (not so sure about the stan bit though).
    While researching my family tree, I discovered that there were eight generations of Joseph’s, but the latest one had broken with this tradition and named his son something else. When I told one of his cousins, he promptly named his newborn son Joseph, so now there is one again to carry on that name – great! While trawling through old baptismal records I’ve also found some really odd names and your comment about naming children after celebrities reminded me of one I found in Wiltshire – the poor child was given Napoleon Bonaparte as his middle names in 1802. Bet his parents regretted that later!

    Reply
  83. Great post, Nicola! I too find names fascinating, especially unusual ones. I’m not too bothered if they don’t fit the period, unless it’s something totally unsuitable, but there are some names I just can’t see as fitting for a hero/heroine. My Anglosaxon one would have been either Kengitta or Birneth – hmm … Not sure about that. If I had to bring an Anglosaxon name back into fashion, it would be something like Wulfstan as I love the nick-name Wulf (not so sure about the stan bit though).
    While researching my family tree, I discovered that there were eight generations of Joseph’s, but the latest one had broken with this tradition and named his son something else. When I told one of his cousins, he promptly named his newborn son Joseph, so now there is one again to carry on that name – great! While trawling through old baptismal records I’ve also found some really odd names and your comment about naming children after celebrities reminded me of one I found in Wiltshire – the poor child was given Napoleon Bonaparte as his middle names in 1802. Bet his parents regretted that later!

    Reply
  84. Great post, Nicola! I too find names fascinating, especially unusual ones. I’m not too bothered if they don’t fit the period, unless it’s something totally unsuitable, but there are some names I just can’t see as fitting for a hero/heroine. My Anglosaxon one would have been either Kengitta or Birneth – hmm … Not sure about that. If I had to bring an Anglosaxon name back into fashion, it would be something like Wulfstan as I love the nick-name Wulf (not so sure about the stan bit though).
    While researching my family tree, I discovered that there were eight generations of Joseph’s, but the latest one had broken with this tradition and named his son something else. When I told one of his cousins, he promptly named his newborn son Joseph, so now there is one again to carry on that name – great! While trawling through old baptismal records I’ve also found some really odd names and your comment about naming children after celebrities reminded me of one I found in Wiltshire – the poor child was given Napoleon Bonaparte as his middle names in 1802. Bet his parents regretted that later!

    Reply
  85. Great post, Nicola! I too find names fascinating, especially unusual ones. I’m not too bothered if they don’t fit the period, unless it’s something totally unsuitable, but there are some names I just can’t see as fitting for a hero/heroine. My Anglosaxon one would have been either Kengitta or Birneth – hmm … Not sure about that. If I had to bring an Anglosaxon name back into fashion, it would be something like Wulfstan as I love the nick-name Wulf (not so sure about the stan bit though).
    While researching my family tree, I discovered that there were eight generations of Joseph’s, but the latest one had broken with this tradition and named his son something else. When I told one of his cousins, he promptly named his newborn son Joseph, so now there is one again to carry on that name – great! While trawling through old baptismal records I’ve also found some really odd names and your comment about naming children after celebrities reminded me of one I found in Wiltshire – the poor child was given Napoleon Bonaparte as his middle names in 1802. Bet his parents regretted that later!

    Reply
  86. Dare I say it, heroes named after wild, or even tame animals will probably sound wrong unless it is used as a nickname, although was it Georgette Heyer who had a character called Lion, for Lionel?
    The hero of her The Reluctant Widow, is Lord Carlyon, but I can’t remember if anyone calls him “Lion.” I haven’t read any of Heyer’s detective novels, but apparently there’s someone in Detection Unlimited called Major Lionel Midgeholme and he’s apparently “known as ‘Lion'” http://www.heyerlist.org/whos-who/Detection_Unlimited.html .
    The hero of Simon the Coldheart is called Simon, but he has a variety of nicknames:
    Already I have heard tell of Simon the Lynx-Eyed, Simon the Cold-Heart, Simon the Lion, Simon the Soft-Footed, and I know not what beside! Whence come these names, lad?”
    “From foolish men’s tongues, my lord,” Simon answered.
    http://www.georgetteheyer.co.uk/books/simon.html

    Reply
  87. Dare I say it, heroes named after wild, or even tame animals will probably sound wrong unless it is used as a nickname, although was it Georgette Heyer who had a character called Lion, for Lionel?
    The hero of her The Reluctant Widow, is Lord Carlyon, but I can’t remember if anyone calls him “Lion.” I haven’t read any of Heyer’s detective novels, but apparently there’s someone in Detection Unlimited called Major Lionel Midgeholme and he’s apparently “known as ‘Lion'” http://www.heyerlist.org/whos-who/Detection_Unlimited.html .
    The hero of Simon the Coldheart is called Simon, but he has a variety of nicknames:
    Already I have heard tell of Simon the Lynx-Eyed, Simon the Cold-Heart, Simon the Lion, Simon the Soft-Footed, and I know not what beside! Whence come these names, lad?”
    “From foolish men’s tongues, my lord,” Simon answered.
    http://www.georgetteheyer.co.uk/books/simon.html

    Reply
  88. Dare I say it, heroes named after wild, or even tame animals will probably sound wrong unless it is used as a nickname, although was it Georgette Heyer who had a character called Lion, for Lionel?
    The hero of her The Reluctant Widow, is Lord Carlyon, but I can’t remember if anyone calls him “Lion.” I haven’t read any of Heyer’s detective novels, but apparently there’s someone in Detection Unlimited called Major Lionel Midgeholme and he’s apparently “known as ‘Lion'” http://www.heyerlist.org/whos-who/Detection_Unlimited.html .
    The hero of Simon the Coldheart is called Simon, but he has a variety of nicknames:
    Already I have heard tell of Simon the Lynx-Eyed, Simon the Cold-Heart, Simon the Lion, Simon the Soft-Footed, and I know not what beside! Whence come these names, lad?”
    “From foolish men’s tongues, my lord,” Simon answered.
    http://www.georgetteheyer.co.uk/books/simon.html

    Reply
  89. Dare I say it, heroes named after wild, or even tame animals will probably sound wrong unless it is used as a nickname, although was it Georgette Heyer who had a character called Lion, for Lionel?
    The hero of her The Reluctant Widow, is Lord Carlyon, but I can’t remember if anyone calls him “Lion.” I haven’t read any of Heyer’s detective novels, but apparently there’s someone in Detection Unlimited called Major Lionel Midgeholme and he’s apparently “known as ‘Lion'” http://www.heyerlist.org/whos-who/Detection_Unlimited.html .
    The hero of Simon the Coldheart is called Simon, but he has a variety of nicknames:
    Already I have heard tell of Simon the Lynx-Eyed, Simon the Cold-Heart, Simon the Lion, Simon the Soft-Footed, and I know not what beside! Whence come these names, lad?”
    “From foolish men’s tongues, my lord,” Simon answered.
    http://www.georgetteheyer.co.uk/books/simon.html

    Reply
  90. Dare I say it, heroes named after wild, or even tame animals will probably sound wrong unless it is used as a nickname, although was it Georgette Heyer who had a character called Lion, for Lionel?
    The hero of her The Reluctant Widow, is Lord Carlyon, but I can’t remember if anyone calls him “Lion.” I haven’t read any of Heyer’s detective novels, but apparently there’s someone in Detection Unlimited called Major Lionel Midgeholme and he’s apparently “known as ‘Lion'” http://www.heyerlist.org/whos-who/Detection_Unlimited.html .
    The hero of Simon the Coldheart is called Simon, but he has a variety of nicknames:
    Already I have heard tell of Simon the Lynx-Eyed, Simon the Cold-Heart, Simon the Lion, Simon the Soft-Footed, and I know not what beside! Whence come these names, lad?”
    “From foolish men’s tongues, my lord,” Simon answered.
    http://www.georgetteheyer.co.uk/books/simon.html

    Reply
  91. Fabulous post, Nicola.
    Elizabeth Hawkley — curses! there goes my planned trilogy, starring the Granite brothers, Rock, Slate and Brick (who was good-natured and reliable, but not terribly bright.) oh well. sigh. pout.
    I’m one whose characters don’t come to life unless I’ve discovered their correct name. Every time I’ve started a book with an Adam he sulks and stays cardboard until I find out he’s Nick or Jack or someone. My heroes’ names are usually fairly standard, but I do often play with fanciful names for a heroine.
    Cheers, Elizajack. Or Jackeliz.

    Reply
  92. Fabulous post, Nicola.
    Elizabeth Hawkley — curses! there goes my planned trilogy, starring the Granite brothers, Rock, Slate and Brick (who was good-natured and reliable, but not terribly bright.) oh well. sigh. pout.
    I’m one whose characters don’t come to life unless I’ve discovered their correct name. Every time I’ve started a book with an Adam he sulks and stays cardboard until I find out he’s Nick or Jack or someone. My heroes’ names are usually fairly standard, but I do often play with fanciful names for a heroine.
    Cheers, Elizajack. Or Jackeliz.

    Reply
  93. Fabulous post, Nicola.
    Elizabeth Hawkley — curses! there goes my planned trilogy, starring the Granite brothers, Rock, Slate and Brick (who was good-natured and reliable, but not terribly bright.) oh well. sigh. pout.
    I’m one whose characters don’t come to life unless I’ve discovered their correct name. Every time I’ve started a book with an Adam he sulks and stays cardboard until I find out he’s Nick or Jack or someone. My heroes’ names are usually fairly standard, but I do often play with fanciful names for a heroine.
    Cheers, Elizajack. Or Jackeliz.

    Reply
  94. Fabulous post, Nicola.
    Elizabeth Hawkley — curses! there goes my planned trilogy, starring the Granite brothers, Rock, Slate and Brick (who was good-natured and reliable, but not terribly bright.) oh well. sigh. pout.
    I’m one whose characters don’t come to life unless I’ve discovered their correct name. Every time I’ve started a book with an Adam he sulks and stays cardboard until I find out he’s Nick or Jack or someone. My heroes’ names are usually fairly standard, but I do often play with fanciful names for a heroine.
    Cheers, Elizajack. Or Jackeliz.

    Reply
  95. Fabulous post, Nicola.
    Elizabeth Hawkley — curses! there goes my planned trilogy, starring the Granite brothers, Rock, Slate and Brick (who was good-natured and reliable, but not terribly bright.) oh well. sigh. pout.
    I’m one whose characters don’t come to life unless I’ve discovered their correct name. Every time I’ve started a book with an Adam he sulks and stays cardboard until I find out he’s Nick or Jack or someone. My heroes’ names are usually fairly standard, but I do often play with fanciful names for a heroine.
    Cheers, Elizajack. Or Jackeliz.

    Reply
  96. Just realized I wouldn’t be Jackeliz or Elizajack — that pleasure would go to my oldest sister.
    Whose oldest child would be Jangherry, or Gherryjan.
    Thinking now of my poor other niece who would be Jillbob or Bobjill.
    Goodnight Jillbob…
    Oh the joys of being the youngest…

    Reply
  97. Just realized I wouldn’t be Jackeliz or Elizajack — that pleasure would go to my oldest sister.
    Whose oldest child would be Jangherry, or Gherryjan.
    Thinking now of my poor other niece who would be Jillbob or Bobjill.
    Goodnight Jillbob…
    Oh the joys of being the youngest…

    Reply
  98. Just realized I wouldn’t be Jackeliz or Elizajack — that pleasure would go to my oldest sister.
    Whose oldest child would be Jangherry, or Gherryjan.
    Thinking now of my poor other niece who would be Jillbob or Bobjill.
    Goodnight Jillbob…
    Oh the joys of being the youngest…

    Reply
  99. Just realized I wouldn’t be Jackeliz or Elizajack — that pleasure would go to my oldest sister.
    Whose oldest child would be Jangherry, or Gherryjan.
    Thinking now of my poor other niece who would be Jillbob or Bobjill.
    Goodnight Jillbob…
    Oh the joys of being the youngest…

    Reply
  100. Just realized I wouldn’t be Jackeliz or Elizajack — that pleasure would go to my oldest sister.
    Whose oldest child would be Jangherry, or Gherryjan.
    Thinking now of my poor other niece who would be Jillbob or Bobjill.
    Goodnight Jillbob…
    Oh the joys of being the youngest…

    Reply
  101. Nicola, I LOVE this topic! I’ve always enjoyed the way Anglo-Saxon and Norman French intertwined and learned to co-exist, including in all those old village names like Sutton Courtenay with double names, one Saxon and one French.
    America being so much a Puriatn country, there have been LOTS more obscure Biblical names being used over the centuries. Old Testament ones are particularly colorful. In my father’s family, “Zimri” is one such name used for male offspring.
    My combined name? Either Lavenor, or Eleverne. Good names for the fey, actually!

    Reply
  102. Nicola, I LOVE this topic! I’ve always enjoyed the way Anglo-Saxon and Norman French intertwined and learned to co-exist, including in all those old village names like Sutton Courtenay with double names, one Saxon and one French.
    America being so much a Puriatn country, there have been LOTS more obscure Biblical names being used over the centuries. Old Testament ones are particularly colorful. In my father’s family, “Zimri” is one such name used for male offspring.
    My combined name? Either Lavenor, or Eleverne. Good names for the fey, actually!

    Reply
  103. Nicola, I LOVE this topic! I’ve always enjoyed the way Anglo-Saxon and Norman French intertwined and learned to co-exist, including in all those old village names like Sutton Courtenay with double names, one Saxon and one French.
    America being so much a Puriatn country, there have been LOTS more obscure Biblical names being used over the centuries. Old Testament ones are particularly colorful. In my father’s family, “Zimri” is one such name used for male offspring.
    My combined name? Either Lavenor, or Eleverne. Good names for the fey, actually!

    Reply
  104. Nicola, I LOVE this topic! I’ve always enjoyed the way Anglo-Saxon and Norman French intertwined and learned to co-exist, including in all those old village names like Sutton Courtenay with double names, one Saxon and one French.
    America being so much a Puriatn country, there have been LOTS more obscure Biblical names being used over the centuries. Old Testament ones are particularly colorful. In my father’s family, “Zimri” is one such name used for male offspring.
    My combined name? Either Lavenor, or Eleverne. Good names for the fey, actually!

    Reply
  105. Nicola, I LOVE this topic! I’ve always enjoyed the way Anglo-Saxon and Norman French intertwined and learned to co-exist, including in all those old village names like Sutton Courtenay with double names, one Saxon and one French.
    America being so much a Puriatn country, there have been LOTS more obscure Biblical names being used over the centuries. Old Testament ones are particularly colorful. In my father’s family, “Zimri” is one such name used for male offspring.
    My combined name? Either Lavenor, or Eleverne. Good names for the fey, actually!

    Reply
  106. Interesting that you were ahead of fashion with Sophia, RevMelinda! Recently a lot of the “old” names such as Eliza, Matilda and Florence seem to have come back into fashion over here. For some reason this has appalled some of the original Matildas from my grandparents generation. Maybe they saw it as “their” name and wanted the youngsters to be called something more modern!

    Reply
  107. Interesting that you were ahead of fashion with Sophia, RevMelinda! Recently a lot of the “old” names such as Eliza, Matilda and Florence seem to have come back into fashion over here. For some reason this has appalled some of the original Matildas from my grandparents generation. Maybe they saw it as “their” name and wanted the youngsters to be called something more modern!

    Reply
  108. Interesting that you were ahead of fashion with Sophia, RevMelinda! Recently a lot of the “old” names such as Eliza, Matilda and Florence seem to have come back into fashion over here. For some reason this has appalled some of the original Matildas from my grandparents generation. Maybe they saw it as “their” name and wanted the youngsters to be called something more modern!

    Reply
  109. Interesting that you were ahead of fashion with Sophia, RevMelinda! Recently a lot of the “old” names such as Eliza, Matilda and Florence seem to have come back into fashion over here. For some reason this has appalled some of the original Matildas from my grandparents generation. Maybe they saw it as “their” name and wanted the youngsters to be called something more modern!

    Reply
  110. Interesting that you were ahead of fashion with Sophia, RevMelinda! Recently a lot of the “old” names such as Eliza, Matilda and Florence seem to have come back into fashion over here. For some reason this has appalled some of the original Matildas from my grandparents generation. Maybe they saw it as “their” name and wanted the youngsters to be called something more modern!

    Reply
  111. I suppose it is rather unsubtle to give a plain heroine a frumpy name, Devon! That’s why I enjoy Jane Austen’s rather more subtle use of names. Dickens was the expert at this, wasn’t he!

    Reply
  112. I suppose it is rather unsubtle to give a plain heroine a frumpy name, Devon! That’s why I enjoy Jane Austen’s rather more subtle use of names. Dickens was the expert at this, wasn’t he!

    Reply
  113. I suppose it is rather unsubtle to give a plain heroine a frumpy name, Devon! That’s why I enjoy Jane Austen’s rather more subtle use of names. Dickens was the expert at this, wasn’t he!

    Reply
  114. I suppose it is rather unsubtle to give a plain heroine a frumpy name, Devon! That’s why I enjoy Jane Austen’s rather more subtle use of names. Dickens was the expert at this, wasn’t he!

    Reply
  115. I suppose it is rather unsubtle to give a plain heroine a frumpy name, Devon! That’s why I enjoy Jane Austen’s rather more subtle use of names. Dickens was the expert at this, wasn’t he!

    Reply
  116. I like the story of how Cassandra got her name,Susanna.
    Wulfstan, Christina – there, you’ve disproved my wild animal theory! I love the nickname Wulf too. As for calling that poor child Napoleon Bonaparte, I suppose he was a hero to a lot of people. Tricky name, though, for an English child to bear!

    Reply
  117. I like the story of how Cassandra got her name,Susanna.
    Wulfstan, Christina – there, you’ve disproved my wild animal theory! I love the nickname Wulf too. As for calling that poor child Napoleon Bonaparte, I suppose he was a hero to a lot of people. Tricky name, though, for an English child to bear!

    Reply
  118. I like the story of how Cassandra got her name,Susanna.
    Wulfstan, Christina – there, you’ve disproved my wild animal theory! I love the nickname Wulf too. As for calling that poor child Napoleon Bonaparte, I suppose he was a hero to a lot of people. Tricky name, though, for an English child to bear!

    Reply
  119. I like the story of how Cassandra got her name,Susanna.
    Wulfstan, Christina – there, you’ve disproved my wild animal theory! I love the nickname Wulf too. As for calling that poor child Napoleon Bonaparte, I suppose he was a hero to a lot of people. Tricky name, though, for an English child to bear!

    Reply
  120. I like the story of how Cassandra got her name,Susanna.
    Wulfstan, Christina – there, you’ve disproved my wild animal theory! I love the nickname Wulf too. As for calling that poor child Napoleon Bonaparte, I suppose he was a hero to a lot of people. Tricky name, though, for an English child to bear!

    Reply
  121. Laura, thank you. It was Heyer’s Detection Unlimited that I was thinking of, where Mrs Midgeholme keeps referring to “My Lion”!
    Anne, I’m banking on you producing The Granite Trilogy! I’d also like to write the sequel, if I may – with Brick’s beta hero cousin Chalk, “the soft one.”

    Reply
  122. Laura, thank you. It was Heyer’s Detection Unlimited that I was thinking of, where Mrs Midgeholme keeps referring to “My Lion”!
    Anne, I’m banking on you producing The Granite Trilogy! I’d also like to write the sequel, if I may – with Brick’s beta hero cousin Chalk, “the soft one.”

    Reply
  123. Laura, thank you. It was Heyer’s Detection Unlimited that I was thinking of, where Mrs Midgeholme keeps referring to “My Lion”!
    Anne, I’m banking on you producing The Granite Trilogy! I’d also like to write the sequel, if I may – with Brick’s beta hero cousin Chalk, “the soft one.”

    Reply
  124. Laura, thank you. It was Heyer’s Detection Unlimited that I was thinking of, where Mrs Midgeholme keeps referring to “My Lion”!
    Anne, I’m banking on you producing The Granite Trilogy! I’d also like to write the sequel, if I may – with Brick’s beta hero cousin Chalk, “the soft one.”

    Reply
  125. Laura, thank you. It was Heyer’s Detection Unlimited that I was thinking of, where Mrs Midgeholme keeps referring to “My Lion”!
    Anne, I’m banking on you producing The Granite Trilogy! I’d also like to write the sequel, if I may – with Brick’s beta hero cousin Chalk, “the soft one.”

    Reply
  126. Tiger? How about something leonine like “Leominster”, “Leopold”, or “Leonides”? Then the hero could be called “Leo”. The hero of one of my very favorite books, “Marry in Haste” by Jane Aiken Hodge, is named “Leominster” >^..^<

    Reply
  127. Tiger? How about something leonine like “Leominster”, “Leopold”, or “Leonides”? Then the hero could be called “Leo”. The hero of one of my very favorite books, “Marry in Haste” by Jane Aiken Hodge, is named “Leominster” >^..^<

    Reply
  128. Tiger? How about something leonine like “Leominster”, “Leopold”, or “Leonides”? Then the hero could be called “Leo”. The hero of one of my very favorite books, “Marry in Haste” by Jane Aiken Hodge, is named “Leominster” >^..^<

    Reply
  129. Tiger? How about something leonine like “Leominster”, “Leopold”, or “Leonides”? Then the hero could be called “Leo”. The hero of one of my very favorite books, “Marry in Haste” by Jane Aiken Hodge, is named “Leominster” >^..^<

    Reply
  130. Tiger? How about something leonine like “Leominster”, “Leopold”, or “Leonides”? Then the hero could be called “Leo”. The hero of one of my very favorite books, “Marry in Haste” by Jane Aiken Hodge, is named “Leominster” >^..^<

    Reply
  131. I’m another one who can’t write the character till I ‘know the name’. (Then I have to change the name when the manuscript is finished to something plausibly historical.)
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Grada.
    I could live with that. Sounds like I should be leading the Pictish horde down upon a hapless Londinum.

    Reply
  132. I’m another one who can’t write the character till I ‘know the name’. (Then I have to change the name when the manuscript is finished to something plausibly historical.)
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Grada.
    I could live with that. Sounds like I should be leading the Pictish horde down upon a hapless Londinum.

    Reply
  133. I’m another one who can’t write the character till I ‘know the name’. (Then I have to change the name when the manuscript is finished to something plausibly historical.)
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Grada.
    I could live with that. Sounds like I should be leading the Pictish horde down upon a hapless Londinum.

    Reply
  134. I’m another one who can’t write the character till I ‘know the name’. (Then I have to change the name when the manuscript is finished to something plausibly historical.)
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Grada.
    I could live with that. Sounds like I should be leading the Pictish horde down upon a hapless Londinum.

    Reply
  135. I’m another one who can’t write the character till I ‘know the name’. (Then I have to change the name when the manuscript is finished to something plausibly historical.)
    My Anglo-Saxon name? Grada.
    I could live with that. Sounds like I should be leading the Pictish horde down upon a hapless Londinum.

    Reply
  136. Sorry, Virginia, you’ll have to pass on Leo being short for Leominster. Jane Aiken Hodge’s hero Lord Leominster is named after the English town, which is pronounced Lemster, not Leo-minster.
    We have a number of place names which aren’t pronounced as they are spelt, for example, Gloucester is pronounced Gloster, Towcester, Toaster (!), not to mention, Leicester being pronounced Lester.

    Reply
  137. Sorry, Virginia, you’ll have to pass on Leo being short for Leominster. Jane Aiken Hodge’s hero Lord Leominster is named after the English town, which is pronounced Lemster, not Leo-minster.
    We have a number of place names which aren’t pronounced as they are spelt, for example, Gloucester is pronounced Gloster, Towcester, Toaster (!), not to mention, Leicester being pronounced Lester.

    Reply
  138. Sorry, Virginia, you’ll have to pass on Leo being short for Leominster. Jane Aiken Hodge’s hero Lord Leominster is named after the English town, which is pronounced Lemster, not Leo-minster.
    We have a number of place names which aren’t pronounced as they are spelt, for example, Gloucester is pronounced Gloster, Towcester, Toaster (!), not to mention, Leicester being pronounced Lester.

    Reply
  139. Sorry, Virginia, you’ll have to pass on Leo being short for Leominster. Jane Aiken Hodge’s hero Lord Leominster is named after the English town, which is pronounced Lemster, not Leo-minster.
    We have a number of place names which aren’t pronounced as they are spelt, for example, Gloucester is pronounced Gloster, Towcester, Toaster (!), not to mention, Leicester being pronounced Lester.

    Reply
  140. Sorry, Virginia, you’ll have to pass on Leo being short for Leominster. Jane Aiken Hodge’s hero Lord Leominster is named after the English town, which is pronounced Lemster, not Leo-minster.
    We have a number of place names which aren’t pronounced as they are spelt, for example, Gloucester is pronounced Gloster, Towcester, Toaster (!), not to mention, Leicester being pronounced Lester.

    Reply
  141. Thank you, Elizabeth! I’ll call him “Lem” : )
    I live in Virginia, “The Old Dominion”. We also have differently pronounced place names, inlcuding Gloucester. Botetourt is “Bottuhtot”. Staunton is “Stantun”. Norfolk is often pronounced as “Norfick”. Beuna Vista is “Buenah (like tuna)Viztah”. Wytheville is “Withvil”. Fauquieris “Fawkeer”. Buchanan is “Buckhannon” : )

    Reply
  142. Thank you, Elizabeth! I’ll call him “Lem” : )
    I live in Virginia, “The Old Dominion”. We also have differently pronounced place names, inlcuding Gloucester. Botetourt is “Bottuhtot”. Staunton is “Stantun”. Norfolk is often pronounced as “Norfick”. Beuna Vista is “Buenah (like tuna)Viztah”. Wytheville is “Withvil”. Fauquieris “Fawkeer”. Buchanan is “Buckhannon” : )

    Reply
  143. Thank you, Elizabeth! I’ll call him “Lem” : )
    I live in Virginia, “The Old Dominion”. We also have differently pronounced place names, inlcuding Gloucester. Botetourt is “Bottuhtot”. Staunton is “Stantun”. Norfolk is often pronounced as “Norfick”. Beuna Vista is “Buenah (like tuna)Viztah”. Wytheville is “Withvil”. Fauquieris “Fawkeer”. Buchanan is “Buckhannon” : )

    Reply
  144. Thank you, Elizabeth! I’ll call him “Lem” : )
    I live in Virginia, “The Old Dominion”. We also have differently pronounced place names, inlcuding Gloucester. Botetourt is “Bottuhtot”. Staunton is “Stantun”. Norfolk is often pronounced as “Norfick”. Beuna Vista is “Buenah (like tuna)Viztah”. Wytheville is “Withvil”. Fauquieris “Fawkeer”. Buchanan is “Buckhannon” : )

    Reply
  145. Thank you, Elizabeth! I’ll call him “Lem” : )
    I live in Virginia, “The Old Dominion”. We also have differently pronounced place names, inlcuding Gloucester. Botetourt is “Bottuhtot”. Staunton is “Stantun”. Norfolk is often pronounced as “Norfick”. Beuna Vista is “Buenah (like tuna)Viztah”. Wytheville is “Withvil”. Fauquieris “Fawkeer”. Buchanan is “Buckhannon” : )

    Reply
  146. I would be Robouise or Lobert. Maybe Robo-uise could be the half robot/half human who leads a revolution in post-nuclear holocaust America. Maybe not.
    Those Granite boys aren’t much use. They’re usually stoned.
    I don’t usually have a problem with “Hawk” and “Falcon” for guys, but some of the heroine names just have to be made up, they sound so ridiculous.
    Fascinating topic. Thanks, Nicola!

    Reply
  147. I would be Robouise or Lobert. Maybe Robo-uise could be the half robot/half human who leads a revolution in post-nuclear holocaust America. Maybe not.
    Those Granite boys aren’t much use. They’re usually stoned.
    I don’t usually have a problem with “Hawk” and “Falcon” for guys, but some of the heroine names just have to be made up, they sound so ridiculous.
    Fascinating topic. Thanks, Nicola!

    Reply
  148. I would be Robouise or Lobert. Maybe Robo-uise could be the half robot/half human who leads a revolution in post-nuclear holocaust America. Maybe not.
    Those Granite boys aren’t much use. They’re usually stoned.
    I don’t usually have a problem with “Hawk” and “Falcon” for guys, but some of the heroine names just have to be made up, they sound so ridiculous.
    Fascinating topic. Thanks, Nicola!

    Reply
  149. I would be Robouise or Lobert. Maybe Robo-uise could be the half robot/half human who leads a revolution in post-nuclear holocaust America. Maybe not.
    Those Granite boys aren’t much use. They’re usually stoned.
    I don’t usually have a problem with “Hawk” and “Falcon” for guys, but some of the heroine names just have to be made up, they sound so ridiculous.
    Fascinating topic. Thanks, Nicola!

    Reply
  150. I would be Robouise or Lobert. Maybe Robo-uise could be the half robot/half human who leads a revolution in post-nuclear holocaust America. Maybe not.
    Those Granite boys aren’t much use. They’re usually stoned.
    I don’t usually have a problem with “Hawk” and “Falcon” for guys, but some of the heroine names just have to be made up, they sound so ridiculous.
    Fascinating topic. Thanks, Nicola!

    Reply
  151. This is a great topic. As the wife of a teacher I have had many a laugh over some poor unfortunate’s name! I have often abandoned a historical novel when the name is a contrived modern one. I can live with a nick name derived either from an incident or name variation, but to invent a “new” name just jars. It also bothers me when everyone is on first name terms when the correct usage is Miss./Mr. Surname.
    I also wonder why so may heroes and heroines have to be titled? When you look closely at the Regency, there were very few members of the House of Lords but many ancient families of equal distinction. Do we as readers have to have a title to root for the romance?
    Have a great weekend everyone!

    Reply
  152. This is a great topic. As the wife of a teacher I have had many a laugh over some poor unfortunate’s name! I have often abandoned a historical novel when the name is a contrived modern one. I can live with a nick name derived either from an incident or name variation, but to invent a “new” name just jars. It also bothers me when everyone is on first name terms when the correct usage is Miss./Mr. Surname.
    I also wonder why so may heroes and heroines have to be titled? When you look closely at the Regency, there were very few members of the House of Lords but many ancient families of equal distinction. Do we as readers have to have a title to root for the romance?
    Have a great weekend everyone!

    Reply
  153. This is a great topic. As the wife of a teacher I have had many a laugh over some poor unfortunate’s name! I have often abandoned a historical novel when the name is a contrived modern one. I can live with a nick name derived either from an incident or name variation, but to invent a “new” name just jars. It also bothers me when everyone is on first name terms when the correct usage is Miss./Mr. Surname.
    I also wonder why so may heroes and heroines have to be titled? When you look closely at the Regency, there were very few members of the House of Lords but many ancient families of equal distinction. Do we as readers have to have a title to root for the romance?
    Have a great weekend everyone!

    Reply
  154. This is a great topic. As the wife of a teacher I have had many a laugh over some poor unfortunate’s name! I have often abandoned a historical novel when the name is a contrived modern one. I can live with a nick name derived either from an incident or name variation, but to invent a “new” name just jars. It also bothers me when everyone is on first name terms when the correct usage is Miss./Mr. Surname.
    I also wonder why so may heroes and heroines have to be titled? When you look closely at the Regency, there were very few members of the House of Lords but many ancient families of equal distinction. Do we as readers have to have a title to root for the romance?
    Have a great weekend everyone!

    Reply
  155. This is a great topic. As the wife of a teacher I have had many a laugh over some poor unfortunate’s name! I have often abandoned a historical novel when the name is a contrived modern one. I can live with a nick name derived either from an incident or name variation, but to invent a “new” name just jars. It also bothers me when everyone is on first name terms when the correct usage is Miss./Mr. Surname.
    I also wonder why so may heroes and heroines have to be titled? When you look closely at the Regency, there were very few members of the House of Lords but many ancient families of equal distinction. Do we as readers have to have a title to root for the romance?
    Have a great weekend everyone!

    Reply
  156. Thanks for your reply, Virginia. I’m very interested in your comments about names in Virginia. The ones that originate in England, e.g. Staunton are pronounced much the same over here as in Virginia. Norfolk is more Norf’k but it obviously comes from the same 17th century pronounciation.
    Most town names in the UK have been with us for at least 1500 years. The names ending in Chester (Winchester), Caster (Lancaster), Cester (Worcester, pronounced Wooster), which are Roman in origin (Latin: castra = fort) are nearer 2000 years old. It’s inevitable that pronounciation will alter after so long.
    I could also add Berkeley, pronounced Barkley, and Warwick, pronounced Warrick.
    To respond to Sue’s question as to why so many heroes have titles. As my editor once put it:
    ‘Readers just love a lord!’

    Reply
  157. Thanks for your reply, Virginia. I’m very interested in your comments about names in Virginia. The ones that originate in England, e.g. Staunton are pronounced much the same over here as in Virginia. Norfolk is more Norf’k but it obviously comes from the same 17th century pronounciation.
    Most town names in the UK have been with us for at least 1500 years. The names ending in Chester (Winchester), Caster (Lancaster), Cester (Worcester, pronounced Wooster), which are Roman in origin (Latin: castra = fort) are nearer 2000 years old. It’s inevitable that pronounciation will alter after so long.
    I could also add Berkeley, pronounced Barkley, and Warwick, pronounced Warrick.
    To respond to Sue’s question as to why so many heroes have titles. As my editor once put it:
    ‘Readers just love a lord!’

    Reply
  158. Thanks for your reply, Virginia. I’m very interested in your comments about names in Virginia. The ones that originate in England, e.g. Staunton are pronounced much the same over here as in Virginia. Norfolk is more Norf’k but it obviously comes from the same 17th century pronounciation.
    Most town names in the UK have been with us for at least 1500 years. The names ending in Chester (Winchester), Caster (Lancaster), Cester (Worcester, pronounced Wooster), which are Roman in origin (Latin: castra = fort) are nearer 2000 years old. It’s inevitable that pronounciation will alter after so long.
    I could also add Berkeley, pronounced Barkley, and Warwick, pronounced Warrick.
    To respond to Sue’s question as to why so many heroes have titles. As my editor once put it:
    ‘Readers just love a lord!’

    Reply
  159. Thanks for your reply, Virginia. I’m very interested in your comments about names in Virginia. The ones that originate in England, e.g. Staunton are pronounced much the same over here as in Virginia. Norfolk is more Norf’k but it obviously comes from the same 17th century pronounciation.
    Most town names in the UK have been with us for at least 1500 years. The names ending in Chester (Winchester), Caster (Lancaster), Cester (Worcester, pronounced Wooster), which are Roman in origin (Latin: castra = fort) are nearer 2000 years old. It’s inevitable that pronounciation will alter after so long.
    I could also add Berkeley, pronounced Barkley, and Warwick, pronounced Warrick.
    To respond to Sue’s question as to why so many heroes have titles. As my editor once put it:
    ‘Readers just love a lord!’

    Reply
  160. Thanks for your reply, Virginia. I’m very interested in your comments about names in Virginia. The ones that originate in England, e.g. Staunton are pronounced much the same over here as in Virginia. Norfolk is more Norf’k but it obviously comes from the same 17th century pronounciation.
    Most town names in the UK have been with us for at least 1500 years. The names ending in Chester (Winchester), Caster (Lancaster), Cester (Worcester, pronounced Wooster), which are Roman in origin (Latin: castra = fort) are nearer 2000 years old. It’s inevitable that pronounciation will alter after so long.
    I could also add Berkeley, pronounced Barkley, and Warwick, pronounced Warrick.
    To respond to Sue’s question as to why so many heroes have titles. As my editor once put it:
    ‘Readers just love a lord!’

    Reply
  161. I like the name Grada, Joanna! Some of these combinations work a great deal better than others. Robo-uise, Anne? Sounds delightfully French to me.
    The whole bizarre pronunciation of places is fascinating and it’s good to know it happens in Virginia as well as the UK. Toaster for Towcester is definitely my favourite, Elizabeth. When it comes to family names though I’ve been caught out because there is no consistency. I had a visitor to Ashdown House haul me over the coals twice in one tour for pronouncing Villiers and Coke incorrectly. Should have been Villers and Cook respectively! And when you come to two families called Powell, one who call themselves Pow-ell and the other Pole, I give in. Don’t even mention the Cholmondeleys…

    Reply
  162. I like the name Grada, Joanna! Some of these combinations work a great deal better than others. Robo-uise, Anne? Sounds delightfully French to me.
    The whole bizarre pronunciation of places is fascinating and it’s good to know it happens in Virginia as well as the UK. Toaster for Towcester is definitely my favourite, Elizabeth. When it comes to family names though I’ve been caught out because there is no consistency. I had a visitor to Ashdown House haul me over the coals twice in one tour for pronouncing Villiers and Coke incorrectly. Should have been Villers and Cook respectively! And when you come to two families called Powell, one who call themselves Pow-ell and the other Pole, I give in. Don’t even mention the Cholmondeleys…

    Reply
  163. I like the name Grada, Joanna! Some of these combinations work a great deal better than others. Robo-uise, Anne? Sounds delightfully French to me.
    The whole bizarre pronunciation of places is fascinating and it’s good to know it happens in Virginia as well as the UK. Toaster for Towcester is definitely my favourite, Elizabeth. When it comes to family names though I’ve been caught out because there is no consistency. I had a visitor to Ashdown House haul me over the coals twice in one tour for pronouncing Villiers and Coke incorrectly. Should have been Villers and Cook respectively! And when you come to two families called Powell, one who call themselves Pow-ell and the other Pole, I give in. Don’t even mention the Cholmondeleys…

    Reply
  164. I like the name Grada, Joanna! Some of these combinations work a great deal better than others. Robo-uise, Anne? Sounds delightfully French to me.
    The whole bizarre pronunciation of places is fascinating and it’s good to know it happens in Virginia as well as the UK. Toaster for Towcester is definitely my favourite, Elizabeth. When it comes to family names though I’ve been caught out because there is no consistency. I had a visitor to Ashdown House haul me over the coals twice in one tour for pronouncing Villiers and Coke incorrectly. Should have been Villers and Cook respectively! And when you come to two families called Powell, one who call themselves Pow-ell and the other Pole, I give in. Don’t even mention the Cholmondeleys…

    Reply
  165. I like the name Grada, Joanna! Some of these combinations work a great deal better than others. Robo-uise, Anne? Sounds delightfully French to me.
    The whole bizarre pronunciation of places is fascinating and it’s good to know it happens in Virginia as well as the UK. Toaster for Towcester is definitely my favourite, Elizabeth. When it comes to family names though I’ve been caught out because there is no consistency. I had a visitor to Ashdown House haul me over the coals twice in one tour for pronouncing Villiers and Coke incorrectly. Should have been Villers and Cook respectively! And when you come to two families called Powell, one who call themselves Pow-ell and the other Pole, I give in. Don’t even mention the Cholmondeleys…

    Reply
  166. I am one of the Virginians who pronounces the word “about” as “aboat”, out as “oat”, house as “hoess”, mouse as “moess”. The late Peter Jennings, journalist and ABC news anchor man, was a native of Canada and a seasoned world traveler. He also said “aboat”, which always made me smile : )

    Reply
  167. I am one of the Virginians who pronounces the word “about” as “aboat”, out as “oat”, house as “hoess”, mouse as “moess”. The late Peter Jennings, journalist and ABC news anchor man, was a native of Canada and a seasoned world traveler. He also said “aboat”, which always made me smile : )

    Reply
  168. I am one of the Virginians who pronounces the word “about” as “aboat”, out as “oat”, house as “hoess”, mouse as “moess”. The late Peter Jennings, journalist and ABC news anchor man, was a native of Canada and a seasoned world traveler. He also said “aboat”, which always made me smile : )

    Reply
  169. I am one of the Virginians who pronounces the word “about” as “aboat”, out as “oat”, house as “hoess”, mouse as “moess”. The late Peter Jennings, journalist and ABC news anchor man, was a native of Canada and a seasoned world traveler. He also said “aboat”, which always made me smile : )

    Reply
  170. I am one of the Virginians who pronounces the word “about” as “aboat”, out as “oat”, house as “hoess”, mouse as “moess”. The late Peter Jennings, journalist and ABC news anchor man, was a native of Canada and a seasoned world traveler. He also said “aboat”, which always made me smile : )

    Reply
  171. Hi, Nicola. Great post, as always. Fascinating, in fact. Name origins have always intrigued me. I loved the Anglo-Saxon practice of combining the parent names. I would have been Lorrae, or RaeLoren, which I think has a very nice sound to it. My father was named Loren, and at a recent family reunion I learned that this name has been passed down through at least 7 generations.
    I live in the Pacific Northwest, home of many American Indian tribes. As a result, we have numerous towns with Indian names, and it’s hilarious hearing vacationers trying to pronounce names like Puyallup, Tlingit, Quilliute, etc. The tiny rural town where I live (population 4,500) is named Olalla, which is the Chinook Indian term for “place of many berries.”

    Reply
  172. Hi, Nicola. Great post, as always. Fascinating, in fact. Name origins have always intrigued me. I loved the Anglo-Saxon practice of combining the parent names. I would have been Lorrae, or RaeLoren, which I think has a very nice sound to it. My father was named Loren, and at a recent family reunion I learned that this name has been passed down through at least 7 generations.
    I live in the Pacific Northwest, home of many American Indian tribes. As a result, we have numerous towns with Indian names, and it’s hilarious hearing vacationers trying to pronounce names like Puyallup, Tlingit, Quilliute, etc. The tiny rural town where I live (population 4,500) is named Olalla, which is the Chinook Indian term for “place of many berries.”

    Reply
  173. Hi, Nicola. Great post, as always. Fascinating, in fact. Name origins have always intrigued me. I loved the Anglo-Saxon practice of combining the parent names. I would have been Lorrae, or RaeLoren, which I think has a very nice sound to it. My father was named Loren, and at a recent family reunion I learned that this name has been passed down through at least 7 generations.
    I live in the Pacific Northwest, home of many American Indian tribes. As a result, we have numerous towns with Indian names, and it’s hilarious hearing vacationers trying to pronounce names like Puyallup, Tlingit, Quilliute, etc. The tiny rural town where I live (population 4,500) is named Olalla, which is the Chinook Indian term for “place of many berries.”

    Reply
  174. Hi, Nicola. Great post, as always. Fascinating, in fact. Name origins have always intrigued me. I loved the Anglo-Saxon practice of combining the parent names. I would have been Lorrae, or RaeLoren, which I think has a very nice sound to it. My father was named Loren, and at a recent family reunion I learned that this name has been passed down through at least 7 generations.
    I live in the Pacific Northwest, home of many American Indian tribes. As a result, we have numerous towns with Indian names, and it’s hilarious hearing vacationers trying to pronounce names like Puyallup, Tlingit, Quilliute, etc. The tiny rural town where I live (population 4,500) is named Olalla, which is the Chinook Indian term for “place of many berries.”

    Reply
  175. Hi, Nicola. Great post, as always. Fascinating, in fact. Name origins have always intrigued me. I loved the Anglo-Saxon practice of combining the parent names. I would have been Lorrae, or RaeLoren, which I think has a very nice sound to it. My father was named Loren, and at a recent family reunion I learned that this name has been passed down through at least 7 generations.
    I live in the Pacific Northwest, home of many American Indian tribes. As a result, we have numerous towns with Indian names, and it’s hilarious hearing vacationers trying to pronounce names like Puyallup, Tlingit, Quilliute, etc. The tiny rural town where I live (population 4,500) is named Olalla, which is the Chinook Indian term for “place of many berries.”

    Reply

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