Friday, April 30, 2010

What's in a Name?

Not quilt related, but along the line of "things I think about while working"...



As a medical transcriptionist, I come across lots of names.  Mostly names of old people because I work for a physiology department and that means lots of echocardiograms, vascular studies, and pulmonary function tests.  It seems to me that the first quarter of the 1900's dispensed a lot of very unusual female names, many of them just plain unattractive (to me, anyhow!).  There are many I am sure will never rise again in popularity.  Now, I'll start with my very own grandmother's name: Thelma.  My grandma, however, was never called this by her family, she was always Sis.  Later, she was called Aunt Sis by her nieces and nephews.  Her sisters were Ella May and Clara--not so bad. 

Another one on the top of my list: Ethel.  Who looks at a newborn baby girl and thinks that is a lovely name?  or how about Mildred, Millicent, or Myrna.  Elsie.  Doris.  Ora.  Eudora.  Eunice. Bernice. Bertha!!!   Where did these names come from?  My mom hypothesizes they came from books or plays.  Then there were all the flower and gem names: Pearl, Ruby, Violet, Lily--but those have been recycled through the decades.  I have a niece named Lily. I can't see a new crop of babies, however, named Opal, Pauline, Eula, Maxine, Beulah, Fern, or Agnes. Oh! and the men's names--Herbert? Floyd? Clarence? Willard? Who came up with these?



Just stuff that goes through my head, and of course, just my personal taste...

9 comments:

Julie in the Barn said...

My grandpa's name was Cloyd and Grandma was Ida Bell. Hubby had aunts Rovella, Thelma, & Elna. Good old fashioned names. Right now we seem to have a crop of kids named after cities and streets like Madison and Paris and Jackson. How's the weather down there? The sun finally came out today and melted the snow!!

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

I'm laughing so hard at this post Annie. My grandmother 's name was Ethel and I totally agree with you. What was my great grandmother thinking? She also named one of her other kids Muriel. Some of the older names are beautiful just not those ones. Someone I know just called their baby an old fashioned name not suitable for a beautiful baby in my opinion. I'm not saying what it is because I dont want to offend anyone.

Maybe though someone will be writing a post like this about all this generations Maddisson's, Taylah's , Dakhota's and Brittney's.

Great Post!

Joyful Quilter said...

I have a great aunt Ola May, she hates her name. My mom had twin sisters Willita and Ollita - even they don't know why my grandmother named them such strange names.

Libby said...

You may be surprised that some of those names will become popular again . . . . someone will be looking for a unique sounding name and *voila* now it's popular again.

Several on your list have shown up in our family over the years and I have a feeling they'll be back *s*

Vivian said...

I grew up with relatives named Louise, Emma, Rose, Clara, Ruth, and Hattie. My mom is Doris, and she had sisters named Maxine and Charlene. They're definitely not high on the name-the-baby list, but maybe some day.

Pokey said...

I'm surprised at the names of today, also, all these names that parents think are creative in spelling, and we teachers are left to wonder how to pronounce it, and is this a boy or a girl? Fun post, Annie.

liz said...

Okay, I think I may have you beat. I was once a med lab tech and also saw many, many namesof elderly folks. Women named Pearl and Bessie, but the WORST I ever saw was RALPHINA!! yikes!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

You and I have a lot in common. I feel like I've got 10 jobs. I work for a medical practice as a manager but I've kept some of the transcription to do as well. I started transcribing in 2000. I keep it up because it gives me some change from the other stuff I do in the office but I have a helper that does what I can't do. Anyway we both sew, blog and work and have families. Big stuff, all of it.

Sherrill said...

That is HILARIOUS that you mentioned Thelma and Ethel--my mom was Ethel & her sister Thelma!! HAHA They had a brother named Melvin. Good GRIEF! But then their mother was Willie Mae and she had a sister named Gladys! We were just talking about this the other night. Too FUNNY!