Friday, 28 October 2011

1826-1830: Helena, Keturah and Rosina

The following names were taken from the Gentleman's Magazine Wedding Announcements for the years of 1826-1830. Here is a closer look at some of the standouts from that list.


This name is full of history; it originates from the Greek for torch. Its meaning is now believed to be ‘light’, although other interpretations include sun ray, shining light, and bright, shinning one. 

The name has two popular pronunciations of hay-LAY-nah and he-LE-nah, with the latter being the most common in Europe.

The main historical figure associated with the name is Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. This Helena later became a saint, and many early Christians used the name to honour her. Other important figures that carried the name were Helena of Adiabene, a queen noted for her generosity, and Princess Helena, daughter of Queen Victoria. literature, the name was used in the Harry Potter series and by William Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

There are many variants of the name, such as Helen, Helene, Ellen, Heleena and Elina. 

Helena has never been as popular as her sister name, Helen. But now with the popularity of girl names with an ending of –a, Helena is definitely catching people’s attention. It is seen as current but has history, not to mention that it has literary and religious links.

It is currently at number 534, recovering slowly from its loss of popularity in the 1990s. The name was at its most popular in 1880 when it ranked at number 198.

Names you might like: Yelena, Eleanor, Lenora, Leyna, Lucinda, Jasmine, Aurelia, Louisa and Cecilia.


Meaning: Hebrew for 'incense'. Can also mean 'fragrance' and 'sacrifice'.

Keturah is a tucked away gem, lost in the midst of other, more common, biblical names.
Keturah was the name of the woman who married Abraham after his wife Sarah died, but there is some debate of whether she remained just his concubine. Nevertheless, she is said to have given Abraham six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.

Keturah is starting to see a rival of sorts. She was adopted by Puritans during the Reformation, but now she is becoming a name to watch. We can in some ways thank the Kardashian sisters and the 'K' name fever they've stirred for the re-emergence of Keturah. 

Right now, the name does not make an appearance in the US top 1000, but maybe this will change. Keturah and its ancient roots could make a comeback and become the next Kylie...or maybe not. If you want to stay away from the trendy K, then there is Qiturah or Qeturah, its Arabic equivalent.

Names you might also like: Kitra, Delphine, Lavinia, Katris, Cordelia, Kiera, Kera and Cyra.


Meaning: Rose

Rosina is another forgotten name, cast away for its more popular sisters. It is an Italian diminutive of the name Rosa or Rose, so perhaps the meaning 'little rose' is more appropriate.

The most famous Rosina is fictional. She is one of the main characters in The Barber of Seville, a 1816 opera by Gioachino Rossini. There is Rosina Lh√©vinne, a pianist, and Rosina Wachtmeister, an Austrian artist. But Rosina is also a place name. There is a town in Bulgaria by that name and a village in Slovakia. upon a time the name did receive some attention. It was at its most popular in 1890 when it ranked at number 443. It slowly disappeared from the US top 1000 in 1937. In England, the name entered the top 100, which it never did across the pond. In 1904, Rosina was at number 84; by 1914 it had dropped five places and sat at number 89.

If you want to get the nickname Rose, Rosie, or Rosa but shudder at the thought of the other 'Rose' names, then Rosina might be for you. It's recognisable, but unexpected. A great choice for the parent who wants a slightly 'out there' name.

Names you might also like: Domina, Adelina, Rosana, Rowina, Romona, Corina and Lina

Images: Paintings by George Lawrence Bulleid.