About Names: “Darci rooted in old English aristocracy”

Illustration by C. E. Brock for Pride and Prejudice (Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his February 27th column, he looks at the history of the name Darci.

Darci will be throwing her voice in Omaha next Sunday.

Darci Lynne, born Darci Lynne Farmer in 2004, won the top prize on “America’s Got Talent” in September 2017, a month before turning 13. A ventriloquist whose puppets include sweet bunny Petunia and stuttering Motown mouse Oscar, she stars at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater March 6.

Darci’s a respelling of Darcy, a surname with two origins. Darcy came to England with William the Conqueror’s knight Norman D’Arcy. He was granted vast lands in Lincolnshire. He was from Arcy, a French village whose name meant “Bear’s place” in Gaulish.

Darcys have been English aristocrats ever since. Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy of Darcy (1467-1537), was beheaded for rebelling against Henry VIII’s seizure of monasteries.

The most famous English Darcy is fictional Fitzwilliam Darcy in Jane Austen’s 1813 novel “Pride and Prejudice.” Proud but honorable Mr. Darcy is the model for romantic heroes in countless other novels and films.

In western Ireland, Darcy’s the English form of Ó Dorchaidhe, “descendant of the dark one.” Patrick Darcy (1598-1668) was a Galway lawyer who wrote the constitution for Confederate Ireland, Catholic rebels who ruled two-thirds of Ireland between 1642 and 1649.

When the custom of turning surnames into first names began during Elizabethan times, Darcy turned up among sons of British nobles. It remained rare; in 1841, the first British census found 29 men named Darcy.