I mentioned Maisie yesterday and today we’re talking about Maude. Why ever for? Because I know of sisters named Maisie, Maude and Mollie. It certainly seems odd at first that these three names come together as names for three sisters, but if you shake off first impressions and really think about it, there are similarities between the names.
First off, the most obvious link is that all three begin with the letter M, all are 5/6 letters long and all have 1/2 syllables. That may even be why these names ended up together in the first place. It’s also worth noting at this point that the birth order is: Maude, Mollie and Maisie – and it’s not Maude who has the different father, but Maisie. It feels like a good time to mention a few other similar M- names that could sit alongside the existing three:
Mabel; Maddie; Maeve; Magda; Maggie; Mandy; Marcie; Margot; Marie/Maria; Maris; Mavis; Megan; Myrtle
Whilst Maisie and Mollie are relatively popular, the name Maude is only enjoying relative popularity in her extended family: there are currently two forms of Madison in the England&Wales Top 100 and Matilda is also in amongst the top flight as well as her short form of Tilly.
The name Matilda comes from the Germanic name Mathilidis, which means strength in battle. It seems apt therefore that a famed Matilda in British history is Empress Matilda, who spent many year fighing King Stephen for the crown. Matilda was the daughter of Henry I, and indeed was his heir following the death of her only brother, William, in the White Ship disaster of 1120. She was never crowned, however, and it was her cousin Stephen of Blois who is usually named as the King between 1135-1154. Their rivalry for the throne led to many years of unrest and civil war in England now know as The Anarchy.
Matilda herself was sometimes recorded as being name Maude and her mother was Matilda of Scotland, who was actually born as an Edith. The godmother of Matilda of Scotland was Queen Matilda – wife of William the Conqueror, and when Matilda of Scotland was crowned, it was as Matilda. It is widely accepted that the Normans brought the name Matilda to England with them.
The name Maude is a medieval short form of the name Matilda, and for many years the names were interchangeable – such as with the aformentioned Matilda’s often being known as Maude instead.
The name Maude remained popular until circa the 14th century in England, but usually used with the slight variant spelling of Maud. After this time the name died out somewhat, but was revived by the Victorians. It was in this time that Alfred Lord Tennyson penned a collection of poems entitled Maud. Tennyson also helped boost the popular of the name Elaine and Ida, thanks to his writings and he penned also first the name Lynette as an alternative spelling of Luned, which itself is a varient of the Welsh name Eluned.
In terms of popularity, a table is in order for all of the mentioned related names. Here wer’re comparing data from 2005 and 2010, both for England&Wales:
A breakdown of the movement of the names works out as such, with the highest climbers/fallers at the top and working down:
The name Maud did not change when it came to birth numbers. I normally give both ranking and the number of births to give the full picture of where the name is going – since one of them just doesn’t give the full picture. If you take the case of Maud, from the ranks you may deduce that she’s falling out of popularity given that she fell 342 places between 2005 and 2010 – but the same amount of them were born in each year. It’s only because of the changing number of births each year that Maud received a different ranking in each list. However, observe the table and you’ll see that if the name fell in rank, it also fell in birth number (aside from Maud). So, you could indeed infer from the data that those names on the left-hand side of the table are growing in popularity whilst the ones on the right-hand side are falling in popularity.
What does this say to me? Well, first of all, a five-year comparison may not take in the whole picture of movement. A name can move fast in those years, but most take many years to really grow in favour or fall out of favour. In short though, neither Maud nor Maude are popular by any means, and whilst they may start to become popular it will likely take a few years for her to really rise up the rankings. On the flipside, in the next five years Maisie could easily start to fall – she’s already inside the Top 20 and may have peaked in popularity. I do think Maisie is a future Top 10 name, though.
Seeing the name Maude alongside current favourites such as Maisie makes me reconsider her potential. Whilst writing this post I’ve been think about the combination of Maude Eulalie, now I don’t really suggest combinations as a rule but Maude Eulalie has me tickled. The light, freshness of Eulalie combined with the solid, classic Maude really rather makes me smile.