Monthly Archives: February 2017

Name of the Day: Bronson

Meaning brown’s son, this name has a long history of use as a first name and surname. I love the nicknames Bron, Brons, Bro and of course Sonny.

Bronson Alcott is the father of Louisa May Alcott. He is known himself as an educator, philosopher, abolitionist and an early feminist. (The father of 4 daughters, I suppose it’s not surprising he felt strongly about women’s rights.) He was known for controversial teachings, as he encouraged young students to be self reliant and didn’t agree with many forms of punishment. He asked students whether they thought the stories in the gospel were literal or not, which many found blasphemous, but which I find refreshing. He allowed a black student into his school and refused to expel him despite protests that he do so. His family was often poor, but this is because Bronson refused jobs that he did not agree with morally.

Bronson has also been the name of many athletes, a couple actors, politicians, even the surname of a war hero who received the U.S. Medal of Honor.




Name of the Day: Abigail

I can’t tell you how much joy it would bring my kids if I ever used the name Abigail. They are obsessed with Abby Cadaby on Sesame Street. The meaning “Father’s Joy” is beautiful… and for some reason I found it surprising. Also surprising to me was that this name was known as a servant’s name for many years, due to her story in the Bible and several other classic books. It wasn’t until this last century Abigail has shaken that image… I also thought of it as almost snooty, so this was funny to me.

Besides a Muppet, Abigail is also the name of two first ladies, Adams and Fillmore. Abby Wambach is a gold medal Olympic athlete who actually grew up not far from where I grew up. Abby’s also the mother of Louisa May Alcott and the pen name for sister advice columnists (Dear Abby). Nick name Abbey is also a reference to the Beatles album Abbey Road, which is why my husband likes it and I’m trying to sell myself on it. (Not that he’s dead set on keeping our accidental Beatles theme going. But he thinks it’d be sort of cool if the name we chose ended up having a Beatles connection too.)




Name of the Day: Oisín

Meaning little deer, this Irish name is pronounced osh-een or ush-een. I love that it sounds sort of like ocean.

Oisín is known in Irish legends as the son of Finn mac Cumhaill and Sadbh, the greatest poet in Ireland and a great warrior. In his most famous tale he falls in love with a fairy woman, Niamh of the Golden Hair. They lived together for 300 years in the land of the young. When he decides to visit his old home, the 300 years catch up with him an he dies, never returning to Niamh.

James Macpherson published a series of poems in which Ossain (based off legendary Oisín) is the narrator. Osheen is a 3rd acceptable spelling, and probably the one that would cause the least amount of confusion.




Name of the Day: Jessamine

Jessamine is a rarely used flower name… but I can’t figure out why it’s so rare. It’s lovely!! And nickname Jessa is adorable! I don’t know which pronunciation I prefer, the English JESS-ah-min or French Jess-ah-MEEN. With the first I worry that people would hear Jasmine… and the 2nd, well we’re not French so I feel like that’s not the correct version for us..?

Jessamine Shumate was an artist from Virginia. Reading about her I am inspired by her painting called “Cookie Pan”. She accidentally burned a cookie pan. She scrubbed and scrubbed trying to get it clean. When she couldn’t she just said, whatever, I’ll paint it. That’s an attitude I want my child to have, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade! I also love that she didn’t become a serious artist until her daughters were grown. Not because I think a woman can’t be both a mother and artist at the same time, of course. That would be inspirational as well. I just like that it’s something she always wanted to do and even though it took her a long time to get started, she did it! So many people get hung up on being too old to start new things, and that’s crazy. You never know how much longer you have, do what makes you happy no matter how long or short it may be!

Jessamine is a character in several books, none of which I’ve read. Though if this name becomes a finalist I will! Check Nameberry to see some of the books she’s a part of. I first encountered the name upon reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s not a character, but it was the first I’d heard mention of jessamine flowers, little Eva picking them! I thought, that’s a pretty flower name, I wonder if people use it as a name? And, sure enough! Anyways, since I read it in Uncle Tom’s Cabin and specifically in relation to the character Evangeline, I find Jessamine southern, sweet and innocent.



Name of the Day: Sylvester

Meaning “of the forest”, Sylvester was my great grandfather’s middle name. I’m aware most people will associate it with a cartoon cat and Sylvester Stallone, but as neither of those are bad associations, I think it’s worth consideration. Let’s see who else has had the name.

Sylvester Churchill was a distant relative of Winston Churchill. Born in Vermont in 1783, he is a war hero in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War. He also published a weekly newspaper called The Vermont Republican.

Sly Stone (birth name Sylvester) is a Rock an Roll Hall of Famer, the front man in Sly and the Family Stones. The band was very influential for soul, funk and psychedelic music.

Also the name of several popes and saints.

Nick names Silly, Sly and Ves are all adorable!



Name of the Day: Odette

When I was growing up The Swan Princess was my very favorite movie. I wanted to be Princess Odette. I still love the name and the memory of my favorite movie makes my heart smile. And the connection to the ballet the movie is based off of, Swan Lake, makes it even better.

Odette means wealth and fortune. Besides it’s fictional namesakes, Odette Hallowes was a Works War II heroine. An Allied Intelligence Officer, she was imprisoned and spent time in a concentration camp, being tortured constantly but never gave any information or her true identity. She was incredibly brave, smart and full of energy and life.



Name of the Day: Tavish

Tavish is the anglicized Scottish form of Thomas. Thomas means twin, which is kind of fun because Peter’s dad is a twin, and his name starts with T. So, I feel like it would honor him. Thomas is also the last name of my closest aunt, uncle and cousins. In Hindi Tavish also means heaven.

I haven’t dug up any significant info on Tavish, but if course Thomas has history galore. So if you want to honor a Thomas without using Thomas, this is an interesting way to do so!



Name of the Day: Claudia

Meaning lame or crippled to many, some historians think it was more likely to have originally meant enclosure. I like that definition better, so let’s roll with it.

Claudia was a character in the Babysitter’s Club books, which pretty much defined my preteen years. A model, actresses, a Catholic Saint, Claudia is certainly a familiar name, but also not overly popular, ranking in the 700s on the girl popularity list.

Lady Bird Johnson’s real name was Claudia Alta. She got her nickname because as an infant she was “pretty as a lady bird”. Her family began calling her lady so much that her real name became almost irrelevant. In school they would pick on her and call her bird, which if you watch It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia you will understand, this makes me laugh! Would it be weird if I had a Claudia and called her Lady Bird? I think its precious…. Moving on…. Wife of Lyndon B. Johnson, Lady Bird was much more then just the President’s wife. She was very smart and through her investments she made her and her husband millions of dollars. As first lady she was more involved than any wife had been up until then, which earned her both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. She worked to beautify our cities because “where flowers bloom so does hope.” She was also a big supporter of Head Start, a program that helps educate children in low income families.


Name of the Day: Holger

A Scandinavian name meaning “island spear” this name is rugged and uncommon. Again, so uncommon I didn’t find it on nameberry. But don’t worry, I dug up some info thanks to behind the name and of course, Wikipedia.

When I hear Holger I picture someone big and muscley, maybe because it sounds a little like hulk. Anyways, that fits the many athletes that bear the name. Maybe not quite as burly, it’s also the name of several politicians in America, Germany and elsewhere past and present. A couple German musicians as well as a Danish composer, several actors, businessmen, astronomers and more… it’s a way bigger list than I expected and frankly I can’t research them all. Having a professional background in radio I do need to mention Holger Peterson who has hosted Saturday Night Blues since 1987, which is syndicated throughout Canada and is also on Sirius. He also owns and operates an independent music label, Stony Plain Records.

Holger Cahill deserves his own paragraph. Cahill is best known for his role as national director for the federal art project during the New Deal. During this time 100 cities across the country started community art centers and 10,000 artists were able to support themselves throughout the Great Depression. Besides being one of the Art’s biggest supporters and influencers, he was also an artist himself, primarily a writer. He wrote 3 novels and was working on a 4th at the time of his death. He also wrote a biography, several essays and short stories over the years. This is all the more impressive as he grew up in a poor family that didn’t want him, was mistreated and forced to runaway. Perhaps the arts provided an escape from his sad life as a child, and that’s why he grew to treasure them so.



Name of the Day: Annelies

Annelies has always been a favorite of mine. The multiple acceptable spellings kind of bugs me, but I’ve decided this is my preferred spelling because it’s German and the version used by Anne Frank. Anneliese is also German but would be pronounced in Germany as “ahn-ne-LEEZ-ah” and I prefer the 3 syllable Ah-ne-LEES. A combination of Anna and Liese it means “grace” and “my God is abundant”.

In the comment section of behind the name people seem concerned that this spelling is “Anne lies”. Truthfully, I don’t see that as a big deal. Actually I think it’s great, because it’s an easy way for people to remember how to spell the name.

Some people probably consider Anne Frank to be a rather sad namesake, and I suppose she is. But I think she’s also the perfect namesake, always optimistic, honest and understanding. Her outlook on life is beautiful, seeing and believing the good in everything. I want to teach my children to look at the world that way, but not to ignore the evils that do exist. Don’t focus on them, but be cautious. Anne’s tragic death is of course a reminder of such evils.

Anne is my mom’s middle name, both her sister’s middle names, and all 3 of her sister’s daughter’s middle name. I’ve always loved Anne, Annie and Anna and all 3 would be great nicknames for Annelies. Lees or Leesy are super cute too!