The most popular girls’ names in Tudor England

The “Darnley Portrait” of Elizabeth I (c. 1575)

What were the most popular names for girls in England during the 16th century? This was one of the questions examined by Scott Smith-Bannister in his book Names and Naming Patterns in England 1538-1700.

A large section of Smith-Bannister’s research was to follow the records of baptisms found in 40 parish registers spread throughout England. By following their records from 1538 to 1700, the author was able to get a sample of 122,710 names. Here is a sample from his lists:

Years: 1538-49

1. Joan
2. Elizabeth
3. Agnes
4. Alice
5. Anne
6. Margaret
7. Mary
8. Jane
9. Margery
10. Edith

Click through to this post at to see the rest of the results!

WIll Olivia Garton get free breadsticks?

Justin Garton/Twitter

One Olive Garden–loving couple has decided to give their new daughter a name bearing a striking resemblance to the restaurant, both confusing and delighting the Internet at the same time: Olivia Garton.

Both Jordan and Justin grew up eating at Olive Garden, but it wasn’t until shortly after their wedding in 2015 that their enthusiasm turned into outright love. After purchasing a $100 never-ending pasta pass, the Arkansas couple ate their fill at Olive Garden every day for weeks. “We committed to eating there every day for six or seven weeks to get our money’s worth,” Justin told ABC News. “It saved us several hundred dollars when we really needed it.”

They decided to go with Olivia instead, claiming that they “immediately” felt like it was perfect for their little girl. “We were able to make the joke, but a little more subtle, and it’s still a pretty name,” said Justin. “It was definitely an easy decision.”

Click through to this article at CafeMom to see how the internet reacted!

About Names: Walter weathers name’s ebbs, flows

Walt and Lillian Disney departing from Kastrup Airport CPH, Copenhagen 1959

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 5th column, he looks at the history of the name Walter.

Walt Disney (1901-1966) was born Walter Elias Disney 116 years ago. After creating Mickey in 1928, he made “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937), the first successful animated feature. He won 22 Academy Awards, the most by one person, and created the theme parks Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

The name Walter comes from an ancient Germanic name combining “wald” (ruler) with “hari” (army). The form Walter was brought to England by Norman conquerors in 1066. Around 1380, Walter ranked eighth for English men. It was especially common in Devonshire. There, Walter of Cowick, a 12th century monk who had visions of purgatory and wore bearskins, was revered as a saint. Back then, Walter was pronounced “Water,” and its nickname was Wat. Family names Walters, Watt, Watts, Watkins, Waters and Waterson show descent from Walter. After 1600, as literacy increased, people started pronouncing the “l.”

With such a long stretch of popularity, there are scores of famous Walters besides Disney. Poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and basketball star Walt Frazier (1945) are two known by the nickname.


Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Walters in history!

In Memoriam: Sheila Barry, children’s literature publisher

The award-winning publisher of Groundwood Books, Sheila Barry, died on November 15 at Mt. Sinai Hospital due to complications from cancer. An advocate for children’s literature that championed the rights of children and adolescents, the Newfoundland native was the publisher of Canadian children’s literature was a trailblazer in the industry. Among the many critically-acclaimed works she helped to bring to the market over the course of her impressive career was the New York Times’ 2017 pick for Best Illustrated Children’s Book: Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith. Barry’s passion, positivity, and light will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Debate over changing the name of South Africa

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, inadvertently started an onomastic earthquake this year when he suggested that South Africa’s name be official changed to Azania.  According to the Minister, the toponymic makeover would be a fitting reflection of the significant cultural and political changes the country has undergone since the ending of Apartheid.  While some have applauded the suggestion, others have criticized that the geographic rebranding is not only unnecessary but would be prohibitively expensive.  More details about the onomastic debate can be found in this article at the Independent Online.

Call for Papers: TOTh 2018 (11th International Conference on Terminology and Ontology), Chambéry, France, June 7-8, 2018

From the 7th to the 8th of June 2018, the international conference, “Terminology and Ontology: Theories and Applications” (TOTh2018) will take place in Chambéry, France at the University Savoie Mont-Blanc. The purpose of TOTh is to bring together researchers and practitioners who work on terminology, language, and knowledge engineering. The annual events that TOTh organizes include a conference, a training session, and a Workshop. Under the patronage of an international scientific committee, the TOTh Conferences cover an extensive field of studies and research concerning terminology and/or ontology. The conference languages are French and English; and the deadline for abstracts is January 26, 2018. Interested in learning more? Details about the conference can be found at the website, and the call for papers can be downloaded here.

Exhibition: Landscapes Below: Mapping and the New Science of Geology, Cambridge University Library, 11/17-3/18

Landscapes Below: Mapping and the New Science of Geology“, a new exhibition curated by Allison Ksiazkiewicz, is now open. Featuring the biggest-ever object (1.9mx1.6m) to go on display at the Library — George Bellas Greenough’s 1819 A Geological Map of England and Wales (the first map produced by the Geological Society of London), as well as a visually stunning collection of maps from the earliest days of geology – the exhibition explores how these new subterranean visions of the British landscape influenced our understanding of the Earth. All the maps belonging to the library are going on display for the first time.

The exhibit runs from November 24, 2017 to March 29, 2018 at Cambridge University Library’s Milstein Exhibition Centre. Admission is free. Opening times are Mon-Fri 9am-6pm and Saturday 9am-16.30pm. Closed Sundays. Also please note that it is also CLOSED 24 December 2017 to 1 January 2018 inclusive (i.e. between Christmas and New Year).