Posts Tagged With: Iona

5 Alternatives to Freya

I seemed to be inadvertently working my way through the most popular names in England&Wales list with these posts, but that matters not.

The name Freya hit the Top 100 in 1998, and has resided there ever since. In 2011 she ranked at #19, exactly the same as she did in 2010. Freya is an interesting name; she comes from Norse mythology where she is the Goddess of love, beauty and fertility.

When it comes to selecting names for these posts, I like to look at the aspects of the name that makes it so fantastic and match up those qualities with those of other names; hence, the names I’ve collected together are either similar in sound or have similar qualities to Freya.

1. Elska

Like Freya, Elska also has Norse origins: she means love in Old Norse. With no non-English characters, such as å, to deal with, this makes the name more accessible and indeed she has potential to cross into English-speaking use as Freya has done so before her.

2. Feya

Not a Norse name, rather, a Russian name meaning fairy. I added this name in for it’s similarity to Freya in sound.

3. Chaya

This name is from Hindu mythology, where Chaya was the name of the hand maid of Surya. In Sanskrit, the name means shade, shadow, play of light. Also, Chaya exists a a feminine form of Chaim, a Hebrew name meaning light. Like Feya, this name makes an appearance on the list as she shares the ay-ah sound.

4. Embla

Another Norse Mythology name, Embla comes from Old Norse and means elm tree. In Norse Mythology, Embla is the name of the first human female. Like Elska before her, Embla also has potential to cross into English-speaking use (she also happens to be an anagram of Mabel).

5. Iona

Long popular in Scotland and the name of an isle there, this name means yew. Finding the right name for the #5 spot was hard, but for some reason Iona felt like the right name to throw into the mix. Like Freya, she isn’t popular the world over, moreover, only appears in Scotland’s Top 100, so is familiar in the English-speaking world, but only really used widely in one part of the world.

The near-misses: Fauna; Fuschia; Anya; Enya; Astrid; Feray and Elsa.

Categories: Alternative Names | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Popular Names in Scotland

I’ve been playing around with the name data from Scotland a lot recently, and there’s been a few surprising finds for me in terms of what names are in Scotland’s Top 100, here’s a quick overview of the six names I was pleasantly surprised to see making an appearance:


1. Fraser

He ranks at an impressive #53, and is a Scottish surname turned popular first name. The origins of the name remain unclear, although many relate it to the French fraise, hence taking the name to mean strawberry. However, this meaning remains disputed.

2. Hamish

Ranking at #98 he just sneaks in to the Top 100, the name derives from the name Seumas which is the Scottish version of James. The name therefore means supplanter. This name often frequents the London Telegraph Birth Announcements.

3. Angus

Our last male name ranked at #73, and he derives from Aonghus which possibly means strength. Perhaps the most famous Angus from Scotland will be the Aberdeen Angus, which are a breed of cattle popularly used in beef production. British actress Celia Imrie has a son born circa 1994 named Angus.


1. Iona

A surprise for me, Ben Fogle has two children named Ludo and Iona. The name derives from Old Norse and simply means island, so you could consider her as an alternative to the more popular elsewhere name Isla. Then name ranked at #67 in 2011.

2. Eilidh

She comes as a diminuative from Eilionoir, which is the Scottish version of Eleanor. This name is sometimes taken as the Gaelic form of Helen, a name which means torch. She’s the highest ranking of the three at #26.

3. Mirren

Ranking at #95, this is the name of actress Dame Helen Mirren, albeit a stage name for her real name Helen Lydia Mironoff. I asked on Formspring a few moons ago whether one preferred Mirren or Merrin and the tally currently stands at 4 1/2 for Merrin and 5 1/2 for Mirren so they seem pretty evenly split.

To those inspired to know more, here’s a complete list of all the names in the Scottish Top 100 [2011] which do not rank in the US Top 1000:

Beth #71 Mirren #95
Eilidh #26 Neve #83
Freya #16 Niamh #41
Imogen #73 Orla #52
Iona #67 Poppy #46
Lucie #88 Robyn #83
Maisie #38 Rosie #73
Alfie #24 Finlay #21
Angus #73 Fraser #53
Archie #41 Hamish #98
Arran #67 Harris #49
Blair* #87 Murray #72
Calum #64 Ollie #81
Ciaran #100 Robbie #65
Euan #62 Ruaridh #85
Ewan #79 Zak #95
Categories: Scottish Names | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Name Spot of the Week: London

The Olympic Rings at St. Pancras station, London. I found out last week that I managed to get two tickets in the 2012 draw 🙂

As you probably know by now, I spent all weekend in London, and it’s quite easily my most favourite place on Earth. But maybe that’s because I always meet the nice people in London. Either way, it made for some interesting name spotting:








Lynden (Male)



Pancras (I travelled through St. Pancras station, one day I will look him up)


A few days ago I saw Ben Fogle’s announcement that he’d welcomed his second child, a little girl named Iona. Such a lovely name, and she joins elder brother Ludo. Personally, I always think of Ludo Decker, Til Schweiger’s character in the german film: Keinohrhasen, when I hear Ludo.

The aim of my London trip was to go and see All’s Well that Ends Well at Shakespeare’s Globe, and I came away with a love of the name Parolles, a character in the play.

Whilst in London, I made time to finally go through the Cabinet War Rooms, which in itself was a treasure trove of names:

Clarita ‘Clara’


Clementine (known as Clemmie)








And whilst I remember, the picture in a recent  post is not Embankment, it’s Bank. Specifically the central line station at Bank. It’s nice to have that issue cleared up.

Categories: Name Spot of the Wek | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Crazy Brits

Let’s indulge ourselves with a litte name spotting in the London Birth Announcements, notable names are in bold, siblings in brackets:

Alexandra Charlotte Ozanne, (Isabelle)

Alice Dhanlaxmi

Amelia Jonquil Angharad

Amélie India Lucy, (William)

Beau Vivienne, (Ada Rose)

Celia Jane Vanessa, (Dougal)

Charlotte Carol Jane, (Oscar)

Darcey Carmen Rose, (Theo)

Ellen Andrea Maria

Florence Iona Emily Peel, (Isla and Willa)

Isla Aris

Henrietta Philippa Rose, (Annelies and Martha)

Iona Kathryn, (Imogen May)

Iris Arabella, (Katinka)

Isla Katherine

Isobelle Susannah

Jemima and Willa, twins

Katinka Alice Belsham, (Bella and Freddie)

Katinka Lily

Liberty Valentina Vaughan

Louisa Jane, Alistair

Mair ‘Polly’ Elisabeth Patricia, (Florence)


Martha Maud, (Guy)

Martha Sophie Poppy, (Tilly and Olive)

Mary Beatrice Rose

Mary Constance, (Elsa and George)

Molly Elizabeth Sarah

Molly Juliet

Nancy Rebecca, (Lily)

Nancy Rose

Octavia, (Claudia)

Sadie Francesca

Soma Isis, (Seth and Saul)

Tessa Charlotte Jane, (Isabelle and Eliza)

Tessa Honor Bruce, (Tamsin and Jemima)

Willa Victoria Joanna Rees, (Hamish)

Zinnia Alice Victoria

Alasdair James Dudley

Alexander George Walter Halley, (Serena)

Archie Geoffrey

Arthur John Christopher, (Thady)

Caspar Anthony Wallace

Freddie Samuel, (Jack and Georgia)

George Alfred Beresford

George James Sherlock

George Raffles Tyndale

Griffyd Hunter Heber

Hector David

Henry Arthur Bromhead, (Jenkyn)

Henry Leonidas Tiberius, (Mark and Rupert)

James Luigi Wood, (Johnny)

Jasper Florian

Lawrence Happy John Owen, (Minnie Love and Heidi Sunshine)

Luke Christopher Æneas, (Angus, Orlando and Cosmo)

Oscar Gürsel

Oscar Jack Peter, (Kit and Jemima)

Peter Jack, Angus

Raphael Willam, (Isabella Flora and Lochlann James)

Rudy Felix James, (Olly and Chloe)

Tarka Alexander Arthur

Tobias Tarquin

Thomas Douglas Marinho

Wilbur Clement, (Patti Plum)

My favourite sibset? It has to be Lawrence Happy, Minnie Love and Heidi Sunshine.

Categories: London Telegraph Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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