Can you tell how much I like to use this blog to grumble about critiques and so on? Today’s Issue-I-Need-to-Get-Off-My-Chest regards the use of names. I use the name Harris as a first name for a Regency Lord. Someone commented that Harris wasn’t used as a first name at that time. Oh, really?
Let us consult the Peerage. http://www.thepeerage.com/index_custom.htm (I know I could have used Burke’s, but I found the one above first. Here’s Burke’s:http://www.burkespeerage.com/) (Oh, funny little thing, you have to have a subscription to use Burke’s.) I went to the Custom Index for the Napoleonic Wars, because that’s the time period I want. Here are some of the names listed and the years of the battles. I believe the named person was mentioned in dispatches or some such.
Spencer Minchin, 1801. Stapleton Stapleton-Cotton, 1812. Israel Pellew. 1805. Hercules Robinson, 1805. Connell Scanlan, 1813. Adderly Beamish-Bernard, 1815. Whitwell Butler, 1815. Beaumont Hotham, 1815. Fletcher Norton, 1815. Watkin Owen Pell, 1813. Wroth Palmer Acland, 1809. Galbraith Lowry Cole, 1809. Prosper Aime Victor Combe, 1809. Chichester William Crookshank, 1809. Rowland Hill, 1813. Hardress Robert Saunderson, 1809. Baldwin Layton, 1814.
Harris Butterfield was born in London in 1835.
So, you are asking yourself, what’s my point? That a lot of typical surnames were used as first names, along with some pretty strange names. Come on, Wroth? Hardress? Anyway, at least person received the first name of Harris, even though it was later than the Regency. My point is, there’s every chance that at least one person in the Regency period could have had that name. At least I didn’t go with Throatwarbler-Mangrove.
In looking for the names of the period, I discovered a great site, Almanac, that had a great article on how names wax and wan in popularity: http://www.almanac.com/content/name-game And this site shows which names were the most popular in which decade: http://www.galbithink.org/names.htm
Mary and John were the ruling names for babies in the early 1800s, with boys giving way to William in 1840, and girls getting Elizabeth for a change in 1900. That’s pretty impressive. And no wonder by the time George M. Cohan came along. Mary was an old name, even if a grand one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmzxTtAe6bA&feature=kp
Want to find popular names in more recent times? Baby Center has the information: http://www.babycenter.com/babyNameYears.htm and so does the Social Security Administration. http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/decades/
Have fun looking up all your friends and family. See you on Sunday.