Female Names in the Upper New River Valley of North Carolina, 1700's to about 1850
A Very Brief History of Names in England and America
Naming Conventions and Spelling in the Upper New River Valley
Short List of Names

Note: if a link takes you to an outside website, use the "back" button on your browser to return
CALEDONIA - the ancient Roman name for Scotland, revived by poets in the 17th century, e.g., "Caledonia - A Ballad" by Robert Burns (1789).  It became a somewhat popular girl's name in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Nicknames: Aldonia, Donia.

CAMILLA - the feminine form of the Latin family name "Camillus."  Camilla was a warrior maiden in ancient Roman mythology.  Although this name can occasionally be found in English records from the Middle Ages, it did not really become common until the Classical Revival period.  At that time, its popularity was probably inspired by translations of Virgil's Aeneid, as well as the Spanish novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605), which has a character named Camilla.

CANDACE, CANDICE, CANDIS - New Testament; a queen of Ethiopia mentioned in Acts 8:27.  The origin of the name is uncertain.  It was apparently a title borne by several Ethiopian queens.

CAROLINA - from the U.S. states, which were named in honor of King Charles I.  "Carolina" is the Latin feminine form of "Carolus" (Charles).

CASSANDRA - in Greek mythology, Cassandra was a princess in the city of Troy who angered the god Apollo by rejecting his advances.  For revenge, Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy but decreed that her predictions would never be believed.  Cassandra eventually went mad and was murdered.  Despite its tragic connotations, "Cassandra" was a fairly popular name in England during the Middle Ages.  Nickname: Cassie.

CASSIE - a nickname for Cassandra, or sometimes a variation of Keziah.

CATHERINE, KATHERINE - English and German form of a Greek name ("Aikaterine") which has been been common in Europe since early Christian times, due to its association with royalty and various saints including the popular St. Catherine of Alexandria.  Dutch "Katrien," Italian "Caterina," Spanish "Catalina," Scottish "Catriona," Irish "Caitlin".  Nickname: Caty, Katy.

CECILIA, CECILY -  a name of Latin origin ("Caecilia") that was brought to England by the Normans in the 11th century.  It is the female form of an ancient Roman family name, "Caecilius," from the Latin word caecus, blind.  It became very common in England during the Middle Ages due to the popularity of St. Cecilia, who was considered the patron saint of music.  Variations: Cicily, Sissily, Sissy.

CELIA - an Italian name that was popularized in the English-speaking world by Shakespeare, who used it as the name of a character in his play As You Like It (1599).  It originally comes from the Latin name "Caelia," which is the feminine form of an ancient Roman family name, "Caelius" (from caelum, heaven).  Edmund Spenser used the Latin spelling "Caelia" for a character in The Faerie Queene.  Variations: Cela, Celey, Sela, Selia, Seley.

CELINDA - see Selinda.

CENA, CENIA - this name seems to be an American invention.  It can be found in both northern and southern states as early as the mid-1700's.  It was frequently a nickname for Asenath, Lucinda, Serena, or similar names, but it was also used as a given name in its own right, especially in the 19th century.  Variations: Sena, Sina, Sinia.

CHARITY - a "virtue name" introduced by the English Puritans.

CHARLOTTE - the French feminine form of "Charles."  The name was uncommon in England until 1752, when the German Princess Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz married King George III.  Queen Charlotte was a plain and pious woman, who was well-loved by the English people for the many charitable works she undertook during her 65-year reign.  Nicknames: Lotty, Lockey.

CHASTITY -  a "virtue name" introduced by the English Puritans.

CHLOE - New Testament; a Christian woman mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:11.  Her name means "green herb" in Greek.  "Chloe" is also a Classical Revival name, made popular by translations of the ancient Greek romance "Daphnis and Chloe" (an English translation was published in 1587) and by poems such as John Wilmot's "A Letter from Artemisia in the Town to Chloe in the Country" (1679).

CHRISTINA - this name, which is a feminine form of "Christian," has been common in England and most other European countries since the early Middle Ages.

CINDERELLA - from the famous fairytale "Cinderella" published in 1697 by French author Charles Perrault.  The story was translated into English in 1729 by Robert Samber, who Anglicized the heroine's name from the original French "Cendrillon," which is based on the word cendre, cinders. 

CISSIAH - see Keziah.

- the feminine form of the Latin name "Clarus" which means "famous."  Both "Clara" and "Clare" have been popular in England since the Middle Ages, probably due St. Clare of Assisi (c.1193-1253) who founded the order of nuns called the Poor Clares.  The name was used in many other European countries as well, including Germany ("Klara").

CLARINDA - a name apparently invented by the English poet Edmund Spenser in his poem, "Faerie Queene" (1590-1596).  It was further popularized in the 18th century by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who used the name in "Verses to Clarinda" (1788) and other poems.

CLARISSA - an 18th-century variation of the Medieval English name "Clarice," which in turn is a variation of "Clara."  "Clarissa" was popularized by Samuel Richardson's 8-volume novel Clarissa: or The History of a Young Lady, published 1747-1749.

CLEMENTINE, CLEMENZA - feminine forms of "Clement," from the Latin name "Clemens" meaning "merciful."  "Clemence" and "Clementia" were used in England in the Middle Ages.  "Clementina" and "Clementine" first appear in the late 18th century, probably due to the popularity of Samuel Richardson's novel Sir Charles Grandison (1754), which features an Italian heroine named Clementina Poretta.  However, the name is now forever associated with the American folksong "Clementine" written about 1880.

CLEMMIE - a nickname for Clementine.

COLUMBIA - feminine form of "Columbus," occasionally used as a girl's name in the U.S. in the 19th century.

COMFORT - a "virtue name" introduced by the English Puritans.

CORA - this name seems to have been invented by the American novelist James Fenimore Cooper for a character in Last of the Mohicans (1826).  See also "Corinna."

CORDELIA - a name apparently coined by Shakespeare for the play King Lear (1608).

CORINNA, CORENA - a classical Greek name ("Korinna") which appears in love poems by the poet Ovid; popularized in England during the Classical Revival by works such as Robert Herrick's poem "Corinna's Going a-Maying" (1648). 

CORNELIA - a very old Latin name found in England, Holland, Germany, and other European countries.  It is the feminine form of the ancient Roman name "Cornelius."  Nickname: Nelly.

CYNTHIA - a Greek name ("Kynthia") associated with the goddess Artemis, who was supposed to have been born on Mount Kynthos, on the island of Delos.  The name's popularity in England dates to the 16th century when various poets used it to symbolically depict Queen Elizabeth I as a virgin moon-goddess (e.g., Edmund Spenser's allegory "Colin Clouts Comes Home Againe").  Variations: Cintha, Cinthia, Syntha, Sintha.
    <<Previous                                                                                                                                    Next>>
Copyright 2002 by Rebecca Moon