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

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DEBORAH - Old Testament; a prophetess who inspired the Israelites to rebel against King Jabin of Hazor (Judges 4 & 5).  Her name means "bee" in Hebrew. 

DELICIA - an Italian name that comes from the Latin word deliciae, delight.  "Delicia" first appears in American records in the late 18th century. 

DELILAH, DELILA - Old Testament; the woman who betrayed Samson to the Philistines (Judges 16:4-18).  Although the Biblical Delilah was deceitful and trecherous, she was also beautiful and clever.  Her name was taken up by the Puritans and remained fairly popular in the United States through the 19th century.

DELLA, DELIA - these names were often used as a nicknames for names like Cordelia, Adella (Adele), Delilah, and Philadelphia.  They were also used as given names in their own right. In particular, "Delia" was a classical Greek name for the goddess Artemis, referring to her birth on the island of Delos (see also Cynthia).  The name was popularized by the English poet Samuel Daniel in a series of sonnets "to Delia" (1592).  Nickname: Dilly.

DELPHIA, DELPHY - a nickname for Philadelphia. Variations: Adelphia, Alphia, Alpha, Della, Dilly.

DIANA - the Roman goddess of the moon and hunting.  The name was first used in England by during the 16th century, and was especially popular with the aristocracy.  It is often spelled "Dianah" or "Diannah" in 19th century American records, perhaps due to confusion with the Old Testament name "Dinah."

DICEY - this was a nickname for several different names including Eurydice, Theodocia, Ludicia, and Diana.  Also used as a given name in its own right, especially in the 19th century.

DILLY - variation of Della or Delia, or a nickname for names like Cordelia, Adella (Adele), Delilah, and Philadelphia.

DINAH - Old Testament; a daughter of Jacob by Leah, and sister of Simeon and Levi  (Genesis 34). Her name means "judged" or "acquitted" in Hebrew.

DOCIA, DOCEY - nicknames for Theodocia.

DOVEY - apparently a Southern U.S. invention.  Sometimes a nickname for Deborah, but also used as a name in its own right, especially in the late 19th century.

DORCAS - New Testament; a pious woman of Joppa mentioned in Acts 9:36-42.  Her name means "female gazelle" in Greek, and is equivalent to the Aramaic name Tabitha.

DORINDA - a name apparently coined by the English writers John Dryden and William Davenant for their play, The Enchanted Isle (1667).

DOROTHEA, DOROTHY - a name derived from the Greek words Theo (God) and doron (gift); equivalent to "Theodora," but in reverse order.  "Dorotheus," the male form of this name, was borne by several early Christian saints.  "Dorothea" has been used as a girl's name in England since the Middle Ages.  Nickname: Dora.  American variation: Dorthula.

DRUSILLA - New Testament; the wife of Felix (Acts 24:24).  Her name means "watered by the dew" in Greek.  Nicknames: Drucy, Silla.
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Copyright 2002 by Rebecca Moon