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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IBBY - a nickname for Isabel.

INA - common nickname in England and Scotland for names ending in "ina" such as Christina.

IRENA - from the Greek word eirene meaning "peace."  It was first popularized in England by Edmund Spenser's poem "The Faerie Queen" (1590-1596).  Variations: Arena, Orena.  Nicknames: Rena, Reny, Reney.

ISABEL, ISABELLA - a Spanish name that was quite common in England in the Middle Ages, probably introduced by Queen Isabella of France (c.1292-1358), who married King Edward II of England in 1308.  The beautiful young queen, only 16 when she married, quickly won the hearts of the English people.  They loved her even more after she deposed her inept husband in 1327.  Isabella ruled England for 3 years before being banished to a secluded castle by her son, King Edward III, where she spent the remainder of her life.

JANE - an English feminine form of "John."

JEDIDAH - Old Testament; the queen of Amon and mother of the good king Josiah (2 Kings 22:1).  Her name means "beloved" in Hebrew.

JEMIMA - early Puritan families often had daughters named Jemima, Keziah, and Karen-happuch, after the three daughters of Job mentioned in Job 42:14.  Jemima and Keziah remained popular, although Karen-happuch never really caught on.  "Jemima" means "dove" in Hebrew.  Variations: Jemimah, Gemima.

JENNETTA, JINETTY - English; a variation of "Janet," which is in turn a variation of Jean or Jane.

JENNY - in England, "Jenny" has been a common nickname for Jane or Janet since the Middle Ages.  In America, it was also used as a nickname for Virginia.  Variations: Jinny, Gennie, Ginny.

JERIAH - Old Testament (1 Chronicles 23:19; 24:23).  Although the Biblical character is male, this name was also given to girls, starting around the mid-1700's.  Variation: Juriah.

JINCEY, GINCEY - this unusual name is apparently a Southern U.S. invention or perhaps related to the German name "Jensine."  It first appears in the 1770's.  It was often a nickname for Jane, but was also used as a given name in its own right, especially in the 19th century.  Many spelling variations: Jincy, Jincie, Jensey, Gincy, Ginsie, etc.

JINNY - see  Jenny.

JOANNA, JOHANNA - New Testament; a Christian woman mentioned in Luke 8:3, 24:10.  This name has long been a popular name in Germany, but was not really common in England until the 19th century.  It is the Greek feminine form of the Hebrew name "Johanan" (John), which means "God is gracious."

JOSEPHINE - the French femimine form of "Joseph."  The name does not seem to have been used much in England before the early 19th century, when it was popularized by the Empress Josephine of France (1763-1814).  Earlier examples can be found in the U.S., probably due to the influence of French settlers.

JOY, JOYCE - "Joy" is a virtue name that was popular with the Puritans.  The Puritans also revived the Medieval name "Joyce" which they probably considered a variation of "Joy."  However, the experts say that "Joyce" actually comes from the name of St. Jocodus, who was a king of the Celtic country of Breton (northwestern France) during the 7th century A.D.  "Jocodus" is a Latinized form of the Breton word "Iodoc" which means "Lord."  During the Middle Ages, the names Jocodus, Josse, and Joyce were usually given to boys.  The female form of the name was "Jocasa."  

JUDITH - Old Testament; the wife of Esau (Genesis 26:34); also the heroine of the apocryphal Book of Judith.  Her name means "woman of Judea" in Hebrew.  Nicknames: Juda, Judy.

JULIA - Latin; feminine form of the ancient Roman name "Julius" (as in Julius Caesar).  Julia was a Roman Christian woman to whom Paul sent saluations in Romans 16:15.  Variations: Jillian, Jilly, Gilly.

JURIAH - see Jeriah.

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

KETURAH - Old Testament; a wife of Abraham after the death of Sarah (Gen. 25:1).  Her name means "incense" in Hebrew.

KEZIA, KEZZIAH, KIZZIAH, KIZZY -  early Puritan families often had daughters named Jemima, Keziah, and Karen-happuch, after Job's three daughters mentioned in Job 42:14.  Jemima and Keziah remained popular, although Karen-happuch never really caught on. "Keziah" means "cassia tree" in Hebrew.  Also spelled "Cissiah" in American records.
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Copyright 2002 by Rebecca Moon