Posts Tagged With: Jacob

Family Tree Alternatives

Usually when people ask for alternatives of other names, they tend to look at similar-sounding names. However, in this post we’re delving into names related to popular names and picking out some intriguing possibilities for alternative names.

1. Harry and Amelia

Harry was born as a nickname for Henry, and these days is living it large in the #1 spot. Another offshoot of Henry is the Scottish variant Hendry.

Whilst choices were plentiful for Harry, the pool of potential names is smaller for Amelia and basically revolves around the same letter combinations, e.g. Amalia, Amélie etc. Perhaps the best bet is Emelia.

2. Oliver and Olivia

There are plenty of weird and wonderful international variants of Oliver, but I’m rather partial to Noll, which is an old medieval diminutive for the name.

Oliver and Olivia are interrelated, and my favourite other female name in the family tree is almost certainly Olivette.

3. Jack and Lily

There were quite literally a bazillion choices for both names here; in terms of Jack I’m thinking either the Welsh Ianto, or the French Yannick. The name Ianto is a diminutive, like Jack, of Ifan which is the Welsh form of John. As for Yannick, he comes from Yann which is the Breton form of John.

However, a last minute acknowledgement must go to the name Manech: he’s the Basque form of Jean, and Jean is of course the French form of John.

Then we have Lily, and my initial thought was the Scottish form of Lilian: Lillias or Lileas. Or go psuedo-chemistry with Lilium.

4. Alfie and Jessica

The complete opposite of the above pair of names, in that both Alfie and Jessica have few options. Alfie is, of course, a nickname for Alfred, and my best suggestion is Avery: a medieval form of Alfred.

Jessica is a toughie for the simple reason that she has few cousins, however Iscah is an intriguing possibility, being a possible source of the name Jessica.

5. Charlie and Emily

Charlie is a nickname for Charles, and in France they have Charlot. Anyone familiar with the French language will note that the t is silent, thus the name does not sound like Charlotte, more like SHAR-lo.

With Emily we encounter the same problems as with Amelia; there is a tenuous link between Emily and the Welsh name Emlyn, but alas, Emlyn is technically a male name. Best suggestion is likely to be either Emmy, Émilienne or Aemilia.

6. Thomas and Sophie

The Welsh short form for Thomas is Twm (said something like tuwm), or alternatively there is the Scottish variant Tavish.

As for Sophie, in Scandinavia they use Vivi as a nickname for Sofia.

7. Jacob and Ruby

There are, again, a plethora of options to choose from here, but I’m opting for the short’n’sweet option with Jeb.

Being a word name makes Ruby difficult, but the French for Ruby is Rubis and the German is Rubin.

8. James and Grace

For James, I would opt for Jem, which is an old and now rarely used nickname for James.

Ditto Ruby when it comes to Grace; once more turning to French we have both Grâce and Joliesse as translations. The former isn’t so practical, given that the French pronounce it to sound more like grass than grace.

9. Joshua and Ava

We’re venturing into the Arab world for Joshua, with the name Isa; the Arabic form of Jesus.

As for Ava, Chava is undoubtedly a wonderful suggestion – being the Hebrew form of Eve – but she’s mostly reserved to parts of the world not inflicted with the word chav. There is also the option of Hungarian name Évike.

10. William and Isabella

With William, I’m thinking maybe the German and Dutch dimiutive, Wim. Aside from him, we also have the option of Wiley, or even the Dutch Pim.

As for Isabella, being related to Elizabeth gives us plenty of options. As for the ones vaguely similar to Isabella, we have the German name Ilsa, which is a diminutive of Elisabeth.

Categories: Alternative Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cricket Days

Snapped by me at cricket

Cricket is a massive sport here in the UK, and it’s a crime that it’s not included in the Olympics 😉

So why am I talking about the sport? Well, I have a younger brother who plays cricket with a team and since I passed my driving exam about 2 months ago now I’ve been the one to ferry him around to various training sessions and games.

Of course, I’ve come to learn a lot about names and perception of names amongst the 13ish year olds of the UK since I always seemed to be sat next the the man keeping score, who uses the players first names rather than surnames.

I’d like to therefore share with you some rather interesting exchanges/findings, and the first one may surprise a few.

Remember the belief that using a popular name will mean ease of spelling? Forget it. At this week’s game, it was a 12 year old keeping score under the watchful eye of his Grandad, and the next kid up to bat was called Jacob. Oh yes my friends, he queried as to how to spell the name that has now ranked at #1 for boys in the USA for many years.

However, I have my own mini-theory on this, which namely involved the Polish. You see, with the influx of people immigrating to the UK from Eastern European countries such as Poland, that brings with you an increased exposure to Polish names at school. I remember sharing a physics classroom with a lad named Bartek, but just don’t ask me how to say his name. Getting to the point, the only Jacob I know is a Polish lad named Jakub.

Thinking about it, though, Jakub and Jacob are said differently; Jakub is said more like YAH-kuwp, not JAY-kub.

The other thing I wanted to mention was the name Elliott. I’ve sat and watched my brother play against at least 3-4 other teams and every single one seemed to have at least one player named Elliott.

So I went and took a look at the 1999 data for England, and there Elliott is at #95. Since then he has fallen outside the England Top 100, and currently ranks at #130 for England&Wales.

That’s still not rare, though.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that these aren’t boys only teams, just boy-dominated ones. The only two girls I’ve seen in the teams this year are called Sashi and Kayley.

Sashi is an interesting one because it’s not a nickname for Sasha, rather, a legit female name from dear India. It is a slight variant of Shashi, which is a traditional word for moon in Sanskrit.

The name rather reminded me of the male name Sachin, as in, the famed Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. He’s considered to be one of the greatest batsmen of all time. The name means pure in Sanskrit.

I would end this post by saying this: it’s not only Olympic sports that are a great source of names.

But I’m sure many of you already knew that, indeed, I highly recommend you go take a peek at Ren’s blog, which has spent the last few weeks running a series on names from the MLB, whilst Gabby has recently set up a blog and is covering names from the NFL.

Categories: Name Spellings, Popularity | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sibset of the Week: The Fiennes

I could only cover one family this week – I almost posted this on Friday after finding out about some of the names but held back a few days, I even resisted the temptation to post some of the names on Twitter.

Mark Fiennes was an English photographer and illustrator. He is a cousin of the noted explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. He met and married a lady named Jennifer Lash in the 1960s. As an aside, his wife was more often known as Jini, and was a noted artist and novelist. Sadly, these days neither are still with us, but together they welcomed no less than seven children:

Martha Maria

Ralph Nathaniel

Joseph Alberic (twin of Jacob)

Jacob Mark (twin of Joseph)

Sophie Victoria

Magnus Hubert

We could stop here, but if you dig a little deeper, there are plenty more wonderful names to discover. Let’s start with Jacob, who is married to a lady named Melanie. Together they have two children, born in the early 2000s:

Teale Isabella


Whilst both Isabella and Nathaniel are relatively heard of, the choice of Teale as the name for their eldest child is certainly unexpected. Nathaniel could simply be a family name, given that young Nathaniel shares his name with Uncle Ralph, for whom the name is a middle name and with one of his cousins whom I shall mention shortly.

I also wanted to mention the children of Magnus, with his wife Maya, born in the late 1990s:

Cheyenne Allegra

Shanti Atalanta

The name Shanti was recently championed over at Name Fancy, and I certainly was surprised to see it used on a child so soon after reading the post. But alas, it is the last sibset which really inspired this post. It was inspired by a rather humourous email from a friend asking whether I was aware the the actor who played a young Lord Voldemort was called Hero. How ironic, I remember thinking.

Martha is married to George Tiffin, and together they have three children:

Titan Nathaniel

Hero Beauregard (m)

Mercy Jini Willow

Some scoff at using Hero as a girls name, despite the historical usage, so I kindly present them with a male Hero, born in the late 1990s. It’s worth noting that Hero’s uncle, Ralph Fiennes, plays Voldemort in the films.

Categories: Sibset of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Babies in the early ’90s

Let’s number-crunch. Courtesy of my sister, I got my hands on the class lists for her year (grade) at school. The names totalled around 150, and when we factor in the sixth form class list, who are two years older, we have a reasonably sized data covering popular baby names for catholics (catholic school) in England in the early 1990s:

British Babies Born Circa 1990-1994


Aidan +Aiden

Alexander x3 +Alistair +Alisdair

Andrew x2

Ashley x2

Benjamin x2 +Ben

Bryn +Finn

Christopher x2

Connor +Conor

David x4

Hugo +Hugh +Huw

Jack x5

Jacob +Jakub

James x7

John +Jonathan

Joseph x7 +Joe

Joshua x2

Frederick + Freddie

Matthew x2 +Matteaus

Michael x4

Ryan x2

Theodore +Theo

Thomas x7

William x2 +Liam x2

BOYS – NUMERICALLY (3 or more)

Joseph et al = 8

James = 7

Thomas = 7

Daniel = 6

Alexander et al = 5

Jack = 5

Michael = 4

William et al = 4

Benjamin et al = 3

Hugo et al = 3

Matthew et al = 3


Alexandra x2 +Alexa

Alice x2 +Alicia

Amy x2

Ana + Anne +Joanne +Leanne +Rhian +Roxanne

Beatrice +Beatrix x2

Cara +Clare +Clara

Caroline +Karolina

Chloe x3

Eleanor x3 +Ellen x2 +Helen x2 +Helena

Elizabeth +Eliza

Emma x2 +Emily

Esther +Esme

Eugenie x2

Frances x2

Hannah x2

Hayley x2

Jennifer x3

Jessica x3

Kathryn +Catherine +Katie x2

Laura x5 +Lauren

Lucy x4

Lily x2 +Lila +Lillian +Lilia

Maria x2 +Marie

Molly +Mollie

Natasha +Sasha x2

Olivia x3

Sarah +Sara

Sophie x3

Vanessa x2


Eleanor et al = 8

Ana et al = 6

Lily et al =5

Kathryn et al = 4

Lucy = 4

Alexandra et al = 3

Beatrice et al = 3

Cara et al = 3

Chloe = 3

Emma et al = 3

Jennifer = 3

Jessica = 3

Natasha et al = 3

Olivia = 3

Philippa = 3

Sophie = 3


Daniel x6 +Danielle

George x2 +Georgina

Harry +Hattie +Harriet

Phillip +Philippa x3

Valentino +Valentina


Sean x2 +Shaun +Sian

Sinead +Seamus +Roisin +Bronagh +Lorcan +Ciara x2 +Niall

Patrick x2


The prevalence of Irish names is not taken as uncommon in a catholic school.

Jack was outnumbered by several names: Joseph, James and Thomas. He began his stay at the top of the UK Top 100 list at the end of the decade. Two of the Jacks had the same surname.

Both of the Ashley’s, born when America embraced the name as a female one, were male.

The Eugenie’s were born just after Princess Eugenie, and the Beatrice/trixes born after Princess Eugenie’s sister: Princess Beatrice.

Non of the Lucy’s were a Lucille, Lucienne etc. They were all just Lucy.

The Emma’s outnumbered the Emily.

From personal knowledge:

-None of the Philippa’s in the list shortens their name to Pippa.

-All of the Eleanor’s were nicknamed Ellie.

* In the interests of not boring you all to death with an endless list of data, any name on the class lists which appeared once, without a similar name has been omitted from the data. This accounts for around 30 names out of the roughly estimated 240 names.

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