I am fascinated by names, all sorts of names, of people and places; it was one of the most difficult things of my life to name my children – my husband and I like most parents struggled no end to think of a name we both liked and which wouldn’t be awkward, difficult or embarrassing for our offspring.

Thee was an article in the paper about names, and the differences between the most popular names in Britain compared to those in the USA:

Most popular boys’ and girls’ names in America, 2014:

  1. Noah / Emma
  2. Liam / Olivia
  3. Mason / Sophia
  4. Jacob / Isabella
  5. William / Ava
  6. Ethan / Mia
  7. Michael / Emily
  8. Alexander / Abigail
  9. James / Madison
  10. Daniel / Charlotte

Most popular boys’ names in England and Wales, 2014:

  1. Oliver / Amelia
  2. Jack / Olivia
  3. Harry / Emily
  4. Jacob / Ava
  5. Charlie / Isla
  6. Thomas / Jessica
  7. Oscar / Poppy
  8. William / Isabella
  9. James / Sophie
  10. George / Mia

A name I came across today, having read this list and the article with it, was Kerenhappuch… It was in a census that I was looking at from 1841. I’d never eve heard the name before, and it seemed so unusual for the nineteenth century. I looked at the original record written in sloping copper-plate, and I wondered if it had been mistranscribed and maybe was Helen something… at least I could see it was a girl’s name.

With a little more investigation I found that it is a name from the Bible, so maybe not so unusual for Victorian Britain! Kerenhappuch was the daughter of Job, and had several sisters and many brothers; two of the other girls were Jemima and Kezia – lucky them with such easy names! Jemima means ‘dove’, Kezia means cinnamon and Kerenhappuch…. as if it wasn’t bad enough having such  a difficult name to pronounce, it actually means something like ‘cosmetic box’ or ‘horn of face paint’. I can’t see Amelia, Olivia or Emily being pushed off the top ten baby names!

The Office for National Statistics has some fascinating information:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/baby-names–england-and-wales/2013/info-boys-names-2013.html

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