St. John

August 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
A Norman last name (pronounced “SIN-jun”), possibly referring to any one of the many, many Saint Johns or to one of the many places named for them.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Singen, Sinjin, Sinjon, Sinjun, St. Jean, Stjohn, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– St. John Eyre Rivers, Jane’s hard, cold, deeply religious cousin, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

Diana

August 26, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Latin, meaning “divine”, from the Roman goddess of the moon, hunting, forests, and childbirth.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Dajana, Dede, Dee, Di, Diahann, Dian, Diane, Dianna, Dianne, Dijana, Kiana, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Diana, a girl at school Lily befriends, one of the other “irregular” children in her grade, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).
Diana Duval, one of Lily’s first friends, “a dirty blonde in every sense”, in Sleeping Arrangements.
Diana Rivers (later Fitzjames), one of St. John’s sisters, who befriend Jane after she leaves Thornfield, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

WRITERS:
– Diana Athill (b. 1917), English editor, novelist, and memoirist.
– Diana Gabaldon (b. 1952), American author.
– Diana Gould (b. 1944), American author and screenwriter.
– Diana Hendry (b. 1941), English author and poet.
– Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011), English writer.
– Diana Mitford, the Hon. Lady Mosley (1910-2003), English socialite and writer.
– Diana Morgan (b. 1913), English novelist.

Giacinta

August 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Italian feminine form of “Hyacinthus”, from the name of the hyacinth flower.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Gia, Hyacintha, Hyacinthe, Jacinda, Jacinta, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Giacinta, the “unprincipled and violent” Italian woman Mr. Rochester took as a mistress following Céline Varens’ betrayal, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

Bertha

August 26, 2014 § 4 Comments

ORIGIN:
Germanic, meaning “bright” or “famous”, possibly related to the name of a goddess of animals and weaving.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Berchta, Berhta, Berta, Berthe, Bertie, Bertille, Bertina, Birdie, Perchta, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Bertha Antoinetta Mason, Mr. Rochester’s unfortunate wife in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

WRITERS:
– Bertha Behrens (1850-1912), German novelist.
– Bertha Southey Brammall (1878-1957), Australian writer.
– Bertha Henry Buxton (1844-1881), English novelist and children’s book writer.
– Bertha M. Clay (1836-1884), pen name used by English author Charlotte M. Brame.
– Bertha Eckstein-Diener (1874-1948), Austrian historian, journalist, and writer who also wrote under the pen name “Helen Diner”.
– Bertha Frederich (1825-1882), German novelist who wrote under such pen names as “Georg Dannenberg” and “Golo Raimund”.
– Bertha Harris (1937-2005), American novelist.
– Bertha Damon (c. 1883-c. 1976), American author, editor, humorist, and lecturer.
– Bertha Harmer (1885-1934), Canadian educator, nurse, and writer.
– Bertha Runkle (1879-1958), American novelist and playwright.
– Bertha Muzzy Sinclair (1871-1940), American writer who wrote under the pen name “B.M. Bower”.
– Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914), Austrian novelist and pacifist.

Damer

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ORIGIN:
Variation of the Dutch last name “Dammer”, meaning “lives by the dyke”, or of the German name “Dahmer”, meaning “famous day” or “famous thought”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Dagomar, Dahme, Dahmer, Dammer, Daukmar, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Damer de Rochester, an ancestor of Mr. Rochester, “slain at Marston Moor in the time of the civil wars”, whose tomb Jane notices in the church on her wedding day, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

Fairfax

August 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
One of those “last names as first names” that were once a quite popular way for a mother’s maiden name to be passed on to her sons, from Anglo-Saxon, meaning “fair-haired”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
None, really.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Fairfax is the middle name of Edward Rochester, the moody and passionate master of Thornfield, and the name by which Richard Mason calls him, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

Dionysius

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ORIGIN:
Latin spelling of “Dionysios”, derived from the name of the Greek god of wine, dance, revelry, and fertility.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Den, Denes, Denis, Denney, Dennis, Denny, Denys, Deon, Deion, Dinis, Diniz, Dion, Dionisie, Dionisio, Dionysios, Dionyz, Tenney, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Dionysius O’Gall of Bitternutt Lodge, Connaught, Ireland, whose family of five daughters Mr. Rochester pretends he his sending Jane to teach, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

WRITERS:
Dionysius P.A. O’Brien (b. 1934), American singer and songwriter who goes by the pen name “Tom Springfield”.

 

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