Posts Tagged With: Francis

Sibset of the Week: The Burnses



A few weeks ago I spent some time in Ayrshire during the Commonwealth Games, and this week’s family hails from that very part of the world and seemed a fitting way to end the unofficial ‘Scottish Week’ we’ve had going on.

Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns is one of the most noted poets to hail from Scotland, and indeed is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. As well as writing in English, he also wrote works in the Scots language, being one of the best known poets to do so. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV. His family therefore seemed an obvious choice to round off this week.

First, let’s take a look at Rabbie’s own family. He was the eldest son of William Burness and Agnes Brown:

Robert (1759-1796)

Gilbert (1760-1827)

Agnes (1762-1834)

Annabella (1764-1832) (I’ve also seen her name listed as Arabella, the Scottish form of Annabella)

William (1767-1790)

John (1769-1785)

Isabella (1771-1858)

All the names are pretty typical 18th century names, although the one that I took note of is Gilbert, since I’ve never covered the name on the blog. He’s a Germanic name that means bright pledge.

Then we have the children of Rabbie Burns who, unless noted, are also the child of Rabbie’s wife, Jean Armour.

Elizabeth ‘Bess’ (1785) by Elizabeth Paton

Robert (1786, twin of Jean)

Jean (1786, twin of Robert)

Unnamed twin daughter (1788)

Unnamed twin daughter (1788)

Robert (1788) by Janet Clow

Francis Wallace (1789)

William Nicol (1791)

Elizabeth ‘Betty’ (1791) by Ann Park

Elizabeth Riddell (1792)

James Glencairn (1794)

Maxwell (1796)

There are some pretty interesting middle names here: Nicol; Glencairn; and Riddell. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Nicol comes from a friend of Rabbie Burns’, so it could be logical to assume the same for the other two.

Maxwell is interesting to me, because he appears in several popular PC games: Scribblenauts as the primary playing character; Don’t Starve as the antagonist; and partially in the Max Payne games as the titular character. Maxwell also happens to be the codename of a Nvidia graphics processing unit (GPU).

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For the American readers, this name may initially seem a tad amusing, but for the British one, it’s borderline vulgar, but thousands of French girls to this day answer to the name Fanny.

As a young girl, and to this day my grandmother uses the phrase ‘ stop being such a Fanny Adams‘ when we (that is, her delightful grandchildren) are being particularly difficult, although the more common phrase you’ll hear people using is ‘Sweet Fanny Adams‘,  which means something completely different:  ‘nothing at all’.

I have a naturally curious mind, any yet it was only last year that it occurred to me to look up who exactly Fanny Adams was.

It’s not a pretty, bedtime-esque story, harking back to August 1867, when a girl named Fanny Adams was rather brutally murdered, causing a wave of horror in the small village of Alton, Hampshire not used to bearing witness to such crimes.

Fanny was with her younger sister Lizzie and friend Minnie at the time when they were approached by a man who offered three halfpence to Lizzie and Minnie to go spend, whilst he offered Fanny a halfpenny on the condition that she would accompany him down a road which lead to the nearby village of Shalden. The link to my Grandmother’s phrase is likely Fanny’s reaction to the offer of money: she took the halfpenny, but refused to accompany the man. However, he picked her up and carried her off anyways.

The second phrase comes courtesy of the rather dark sense of humour of British Sailors, who came to claim that the tinned mutton served to them onboard must surely be the remains of ‘Sweet Fanny Adams‘, a reference to her dismembered remains and this has since passed into common usage, with the meaning later changing to the one we know.

Which leads us ultimately to discussing the name Fanny itself, which as you may have guess from above did originally derive as a nickname from Frances.

Referencing back to the tale of Fanny Adams, one might dabble with the idea of the three girls being called Frances, Elizabeth and Wilhelmina, however, I’m hesitant to accept this given that both her tombstone and the record of her death both give her name as Fanny.

The name Frances comes from the Latin franciscus, which means frenchman. However, french name website gives the meaning of Fanny to be free. I have an inkling about where this interpretation could’ve derived from as you see, in 1999 the fine country of France decided to give up it’s old currency and take on the Euro.

It’s old currency was known as the French franc, and the origin of the name of the currency lies in the origin of the currency itself.

The first French franc came into play in 1360, and was used to pay the ransom of King John II of France which gained the king’s freedom. Since the coin showed the King atop a horse, the coin came to be named franc à cheval, which in French means free on horse. These days a Frenchman is more inclined to use the word libre to mean free.

Of course, that’s all just pure speculation.

Another reason that the the new currency came to be known as the franc comes from the Latin title of the King: Francorum Rex (King of the Francs).

Going back to Fanny, the name is of relative popularity in France as I’ve already mentioned above, and continues to be so despite the English connotations. It’s also worth noting that Fanny is popular as a stand alone name in France, rather than being popular as a nickname for Frances (which is nowhere near as popular).

The days if you’re looking for a nickname for little Frances, your best bet is probably popular Frankie, or even Frannie, as opposed to Fanny.

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Royal Name Speculation

Normally I try to avoid putting out similar posts to ones already circulating in the blogosphere, but since nameberry so nicely asked me for an opinion over on twitter, I figured I might as well chip in to the discussion.

My gut feeling is that George is the top choice for a boy, and indeed Georgina is a worthy of an outside chance for a girl.


It’s quite simply really: there are only really three living royals who have any likelihood of ascending to the throne: Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry. Of those three, only Prince Charles wears the name George, and only as his third middle name.

That said, the has been speculation before that Prince Charles may take George as his regnal name upon his ascension the the throne, i.e. he becomes George VII, not Charles III. The big reason for this lies along the lines of the previous two sovereigns to bear the name Charles both have questionable legacies (one was a playboy, the other was beheaded).

It’s certainly not an uncommon practice, as whilst our current monarch reigns by her first name, her predecessor and father reigned as George VI, but he was born Albert Frederick Arthur George. Good ol’ Queen Victoria reigned by her middle name, as her first name was Alexandrina.

Other choices for boys are a little less intuitive, given that many clear favourites such as James, Edward and Charles are currently ‘assigned’ so to speak to another prince-ly member of the family (for those wondering, whilst strictly speaking there exists a Prince James, his parents choose to style him as Viscount Severn).

I don’t particularly believe that the Duke&Duchess of Cambridge will choose a first name already in use by another male styled a Prince, not least because of the potential confusion, so this automatically rules several names out of the running for first name status: Philip; Charles; Edward; Henry; James; Andrew; and Michael.

These names are all, however, still just as likely to be used for middle names. It’s worth noting that Michael is the name of the Duchess’ father, and thus despite Michael seeing rare use by the royals, this fact really rather increases the likelihood of Michael’s inclusion.

The glaringly obvious name left over to pick from is Arthur, and this is one of William’s middle names and indeed Prince Charles’ middle name, too. Of course, Prince William could kick off a new family naming trend and give his eldest son the middle name Arthur, too.

Another option is Frederick, also popularly used by royals in the last century or too. Then there’s also the possibility of Alexander, too.

When it comes to the choices for girls, Elizabeth is a clear middle name contender (and there is the chance of her use as a first name, too), being of course the name of our current monarch and the Duchess’ middle name. The variation of Eliza is unlikely for the simple reason that Prince William has a niece via his step-sister Laura Lopes with the name Eliza. Our current Queen was known as Lilibet when she was younger, so one could even speculate about the name Lily being used as a nod to her (although it makes more sense for them to simply use Elizabeth instead). The names Mary and Alexandra are also undeniably in the running, given that both are the Queen’s middle names.

The name Victoria would be a good call as a first name contender, given that currently Princess Eugenie is the only senior royal to bear the name as one of her middles.

Another name I have a gut feeling is in the running is Alice, the name of Prince Philip’s mother. I’m calling this because the name Andrew wasn’t an oft-used royal name in centuries gone by, but ‘lo and behold it was the name of Prince Philip’s father, and now also that of his second eldest son.

A name I’ve yet to see given mention is Margaret, who stands a good chance of being used in the middle name spot as a nod to the late Princess Margaret, younger sister of our current Queen. Her middle name, Rose, is another middle name possibility, albeit more likely for subsequent daughters.

Then we have both Diana and indeed Frances: the name of Prince William’s mother and her middle name. In the eyes of some, Diana is almost a certainty as a middle name should the child be female. It’s also worth noting that the Duchess’ father has Francis as a middle name, creating a greater possibility of the couple’s eventual use of either Frances or Francis.

Sophia is a currently popular name with historical use as a royal name, but she’s not seen much use of late, however, in order to be eligible for the line of succession, you must be a legitimate descendant of Electress Sophia of Hanover.

There’s an outside chance for both Harriet and Henrietta as potential nods to Prince William’s younger brother, Prince Harry. 

Final acknowledgements to other names with an outside chance of use goes to several names from the Duchess’ family, which include: Philippa, Charlotte and Carole/Caroline. Then there are a few more royal picks: Marie; Maud; Adelaide; Helena; Louisa.

What’s for certain is that this is an extensive list of names, and at the end of the day many of these names mentioned above are more likely to be in the running for subsequent children, rather than for a child that will one day most likely ascend to the throne.

Thus, I suggest the three most likely names to be used for each gender:

BOY: George, Charles and Michael

GIRL: Elizabeth, Diana and Alice

Categories: Royal Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Spot of the Week: A Car Named Gypsy

It seems an age since I’ve sat down to write one of these posts, what with all the other craziness recently taking over my life.

Something that I have wanted to mention was that on my last shift my area leader introduced himself as Frankie, and I went on to be surprised to find out from his accreditation that Frankie was, well, a nickname for his full name (Franklin).

This certainly got me thinking, once I decided that if Frankie had been on the other side of 50, I’m certain that I would’ve assumed his name was short for Francis.

Away from the Paralympics, as I’m sure you’re all well aware by now, I recently threw caution to the wind and bought a car. A car that my father has since dubbed Gypsy due to the last three letters of it’s registration plate. Part of me is torn between the idea of wanting to give the car a name, and my distaste over the apparent name it has since been given. I have since tried to come up with other names that fit the three letters in question, but to little avail.

I fear I may end up losing this fight.

To end, whilst it almost immediately became clear that teams were given names according to the NATO Phonetic alphabet, that didn’t stop me being slightly thrilled to be a part of Team Juliet on one of my shifts.

Team Juliet10

Categories: Spot of the Week | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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