Monday, 27 February 2012

To Honour: Part I

 File:Brooklyn Museum - The Sisters (Eleanor and Rosalba Peale) - Rembrandt Peale - overall.jpg

If you read name website forums then you know a lot of people want to honour a relative or two when naming their children. In our family we have a very, very strict no-honouring policy, mainly because my maternal grandparents went mad with the idea when they had their children (all eleven of them). Not surprisingly, I won't be recycling names from our family tree. The idea of honouring a loved one is not new, but now people are going about it in different ways, sometimes choosing names that are similar but aren't exactly the same. With this in mind, below are six names taken from the England & Wales top 100 that have been paired up with a name that has much in common with it. This could be a great and fun way to bring new names into the family but still honour a dear one.


Alice (#43) and Aleida - Both names are connected through the Germanic name Adalheidis, made up of the elements 'noble' and 'kind'. Alice comes from the Old French name Aalis, which is a short form of Adelais, and Aleida is a Dutch short form of Adelaide, which also stems from Adalheidis.

Elizabeth (#49) and Eliska - There are some names that have the same roots as classic Elizabeth, most notably Isabella, but there are also a number of established diminutives, such as Beth, Betsie, Lizzy and many more. Eliska, a Slovak and Czech diminutive, is one that isn't often mentioned but that could work quite well all by itself. 

Harriet (#86) and Etta - Both have connections to Henry, which means 'home ruler'. Harriet is the English form of Henriette and Etta has very similar beginnings as a short form of Henrietta. Whilst Harriet has enjoyed constant use and has remained within the top 100 since 1996, Etta is lagging behind, usually well outside the top 1000.

Lucy (#21) and Luzia - Both derive from Lucia, the feminine form of Lucius, a Roman given name from the Latin 'lux'. Luzia could do well since one of its nickname options is Luz, which directly translated into Spanish or Portuguese maintains its original meaning of 'light'.

Megan (#23) and Margaux - The former is a Welsh diminutive of Margaret and the latter a French one, and both stem from the Greek name Margarites, meaning 'pearl'. Another alternative to Megan could be Meret, the Danish form of Margaret.

Rebecca (#82) and Riva - Like Elizabeth, Rebecca has a number of nicknames, including Becca, Becky and Bex. Riva is one of them. It comes from the Hebrew form of Rebecca, Rivka. Again, Riva could very well come to be accepted as a name in its own right.

Image: The Sisters (Eleanor and Rosalba Peale) by Rembrandt Peale.