In 2014 I featured a series of blog posts introducing you to 2,014 names. For the most part they were names that were brand new to me as well. Some names may be more familiar but I found the meaning or origin or some other aspect of the name made it worthy of inclusion here. You may love some of the names, you may hate some, but hopefully you enjoy learning about all of them.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Big Finish

Thanks to the website Behind the Name for some of the names featured today, though I have used their website frequently as a source throughout the series this year. The African names featured here come from a scholarly paper entitled Tracking the Origins of African Slaves in the Indian Ocean through personal names: the evidence of Sumatra records by Thomas Vernet and Philippe Beaujard. Thanks to, possibly most of all, for access over the past year to countless books that are out of print and hard to find, except that they are easy to access on their website. Today's entries include names I found in History of Christian Names, Vol. I by Charlotte Mary Yonge, though this is not the first time I've consulted her work.

It's been a very fulfilling experience to share all these fabulous finds with you. I look forward to updating all the entries that need research with better information. Please share anything you know or think about these names or names you think should fit into another post series down the road. I don't anticipate anything as sizable as this post series has been, but I would like to find good name combinations for the names that are practical to use on a child nowadays. Ok, I'd like to come up with some for even the not so practical (Henhenet from the other day comes to mind). Just for the fun of it. So share anything along those lines. And if YOU are one of the names listed here, please comment. I'm interested in how you feel about your name or the experiences you've had with it. Or how you came about getting your name.

Actress Lana Turner, classically
 "stunning", like the name Alessandria


Alexandretta - feminine form of the Greek masculine name Alexander, meaning "defender of mankind" from 'alexo' meaning 'defender' and 'andros' meaning 'man'. Etta is also a way of making a name a diminutive, which is to say that it makes the name more appropriate for a younger person or makes the name more of a term of endearment for someone you love. You could call your Alexandra Alexandretta out of fondness. Another feminine version of Alexander offered in the History of Christian Names is Alessandria. I've heard Alexandra and Alexandria and Alessandra and Alejandra, so I don't know why I had not thought of Alessandria. It's stunningly beautiful.

Ansa - Finnish, derived from 'ansio' meaning 'virtue' or 'ansa' meaning 'trap'.

Damaspia - Celtic, meaning "horsetamer".
wild horses, in need of a tamer

such a sweet little girl!
Evlalija - Serbian form of Eulalia.

Glykera - Greek, meaning "the sweet".

Gytha - Teutonic, meaning "good fame" or it may be from an Old Norse name meaning "god" and "beautiful".

Haggy- nickname for Agatha.

Hilja - Finnish, derived from 'hiljaisuus' meaning 'silence'.

Irja - may be a Finnish form of Irina.

Jevlalija - a Russian form of the Greek Eulalius.

Kirsikka - Finnish, meaning 'cherry'.

Lahja - Finnish, meaning 'gift'.

Leocadie - French form of the Spanish name Leocadia.

Lelica - Serbian form of the Greek Eulalius, meaning "fair speech".

Matoaka - Algonquian, this was a secret religious name that Pocahontas had before

Merja - may be the name of one of the ancient peoples of Finland. 

Seija - Finnish, meaning 'tranquil' or 'serene'.


Andragathos - Greek, meaning "good man".

Aristobulus - Greek, meaning "best counsel".

Brancalleone  - Italian, meaning "arm of a lion".

Eelis - Finnish form of Elijah.

Ippolito - Italian form of Hippolito or Hippolytus, meaning "horse destroyer".

Jedrzej - Polish form of the Greek Andrew, from 'andros' meaning 'manly'.

Melissus- Latin, meaning "bee".

Nantequaus - Algonquian, this was the name of the brother of Pocahontas.

 Opachisco- Algonquian, this was the name of the uncle of Pocahontas

Opechancanough- Algonquian, this was the name of one of Pocahontas' uncle.


Arwystli - possibly a Welsh form of Aristobulus.

Aspamitras - Persian, meaning "horse-lover".

Caroomayna - may be Malagasy, from 'karamaina' meaning 'person who is salaried.

Eilah -may be Malagasy, from 'ela' meaning 'long', in reference to time or distance.

Embia - a name from the East coast of Africa (could also be spelt Mbia).

Kaleelee - Swahili, meaning 'noise'.

Keysaw- may be Swahili, meaning 'story' or 'reason' or 'affair'. Or it may be Malagasy, meaning 'small knife' (though this is suggested as deriving from 'kiso' with that word coming from the Swahili 'kisu').

Massay - may be Malagasy, from 'masay' meaning small.

Moora - may come from Malagasy 'mora' meaning 'easy' or 'sweet'.

Riela - may be Malagasy, ri coming from 'iri' meaning 'that one' and 'ela' meaning 'long'.

Risooarah - may be from Malagasy 'soa' meaning 'good' and 'hara' meaning 'seek'. Ri is a just an element used in Malagasy personal names.

Sayvolah - may be Malagasy, from 'say' meaning 'small' and 'volah' meaning 'money'.

Serranlaza - may be Malagasy from 'serana' meaning 'port' and 'laza' meaning 'renowned'.

Soassooah - Nias (a language of Africa) pronounced 'swasua'. Susua is the name of a Nias river.

Sooah - Malagasy, from 'soa' meaning 'good'.

Soovooratto - may be Malagasy, from 'sovoka' meaning 'bandit' and 'ranto' meaning 'search far away'.

Tanandah - may be Malagasy meaning 'the village of a man'.

Tassy - Malagasy meaning 'sea'.

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