"At Harvest Time" by Jules Bastien-Lepage

Origin: English
Gender: Unisex
Meaning: "The Season for Gathering Crops; To Gather or Catch"
Pronunciation: HARR-vist
Other Forms: N/A

This is the first of my Fall/Halloween inspired posts this year! If you have any suggestions on ones you'd like to see, drop a comment below.

I've always had a love for word names, the more unusual the better, and Harvest is no exception. I love the image it evokes, autumn leaves, the warmth of a fire, full moons, and the cozy feeling it gives me. I also love how well it would work for either a boy or a girl!

The word Harvest has comes from the Old English hærfest, meaning "autumn" or "harvest-time", eventually evolving into the Middle English hervest. Harvest has been celebrated all over the world, from Thanksgiving in the States and Canada, to the week-long Jewish festival called Sukkot. In Britain, since Pagan times, a good harvest has traditionally been celebrated on the Sunday nearest, or on the night of, the harvest moon. Like many cultures they celebrated with singing, praying, and sometimes weaving the blades of the cereal into a "dolly", which they would keep safe for good luck until they would sow seeds the following year. Until about the 20th-century, farmers would celebrate the end of harvest by having a big meal called the "harvest supper", and all who helped with that year's harvest would be invited to eat.

In China there is the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, one of the largest and most widely spread harvest festivals in the world. It is the second most important celebration following the Chinese New Year and has been celebrated for 3,000 years, dating all the way back to when the Emperors would worship the moon in the hopes of a bountiful harvest. Lanterns are displayed as beacons meant to light the way to prosperity and good luck, and the traditional Mooncakes, pastries filled with sweet-bean or lotus-seed paste are eaten. 

Harvest would make a lovely, and surprising, name for any Autumn-born baby! Not as adventurous as that? It works just as well in the middle.

Lucky Blue Smith Welcomes Second Daughter!

Nara and Lucky

Model Lucky Blue Smith has just welcomed his second child, a girl, the first child for his wife, model Nara Pellmann. They named her Rumble Honey. He previously had a daughter, Gravity Blue, with Stormi Henley.

If You Like Noah, Then You'll Love...

"The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark" by Jan Brueghel the Elder

Hello! I'm back with more alternatives to popular names and this time we're talking about Noah. Biblical, classic, and catchy, there's no surprise Noah shot up the charts all the way to #2. For the US, Noah has featured in the Top 1000 since its inception in 1880, when it sat comfortably at #126, and only ever dipped as low as #696 in 1963. When I think of Noah I think specifically of how it has an ending which is most often found in girls names, and of a wholesome, quiet sort of strength.

Noble - Noble has to be my favorite virtue name for boys (#2 being Valor!), and I think it's just a great alternative to Noah. It comes from the Latin nobilis, meaning "well-known, excellent, superior, of high-birth", which in turn came from the earlier gnobilis, "knowable". Originally used mostly to refer to a well-known, well-to-do family during Ancient Rome, the later meaning of "superior" or "excellent" is first thought to have been used as far back at the 13th-century. It hasn't ranked since 1954, making it ripe for revival.

Ike - This diminutive of the Biblical Isaac, which means "he will laugh, he will rejoice", has always been one I've been surprised hasn't been used more. It's short, has a strong sound, and a sort of homespun handsomeness that I think is adorable. Dwight D. Eisenhower's nickname was Ike, based on the first syllable of his last name, and it was even worked into his campaign with the famous "I Like Ike" slogan. Funnily enough, his mother chose the name Dwight so he wouldn't have any nicknames! Ike's last appearance in US's Top 1000 was in 1957, when it ranked #861.

Hosea - Coming from the Hebrew Hoshe'a, meaning "salvation", Hosea is a perfect choice for parents looking for an unusual name from the Bible! Hosea is the name of one of the twelve minor poets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Hosea, and in the form of Hoshea, was the name of the 8th-century BC King of Israel who was the ruler before it was conquered by Assyria. It also does double duty as being a nature name; Hosea lobbii is a flowering plant endemic to Borneo. Hosea last ranked in 1963 at #970.

Saul - Another lovely, soft, Biblical name, Saul is derived from Hebrew Sha'ul, which means "asked for, prayed for". The most famous Saul from the Bible is King Saul, who eventually fell out of favor with God and was succeeded by David. A lesser known Saul is actually the Apostle Paul, who was originally called Saul of Tarsus until Jesus changed his name. Paul is widely regarded as one of the most influential people of Apostolic Age, which lasted from 33 AD-100 AD, and founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe. Thirteen of the twenty-seven books of The New Testament are also attributed to him. Saul currently ranks at #530.

Asa - I love the meaning of this name, "healer", and I expect to see it being used more and more, especially since British actor Asa Butterfield, currently starring in Netflix's "Sex Education", but probably best known as the protagonist of the movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", is becoming more well-known. In the Bible Asa was the third King of Judah, a man who at his death was respected by his people and regarded as a righteous man. Welsh Saint Asaph, is sometimes called Asa. Story goes Saint Kentigern, also known as Saint Mungo, founded the Celtic Monastery of Llanelwy in Wales, and among the many disciples was the young Asaph. Kentigern would often pray in the icy river Elwy, and one day requested Asaph bring a brand of burning wood to warm him. Asaph went above and beyond and brought him back live coals which he held in his apron, which would not burn. Later Asaph would become the first Welsh Bishop of the see. Asa ranked #510 as of 2019.

On My Mind: 10-4-20

Hermine from GBBO Season 8

Bona -
I stumbled across the unusual name while researching royals and found out there is not only one but two Princess who bore it! The first Princess was Bona of Savoy, Duchess of Milan, who lived from 1449 to 1503 and married into the famous Sforza family. The second was Princess Bona, or Maria Bona, of Savoy, who married Prince Konrad of Bavaria. She lived from 1896 to 1971. Bona is Latin and means "good", "noble", or "kind". In Italy when you call a girl "Bona" you mean that she is beautiful.

Hermine and Sura - I've started the newest season of the Great British Bake Off, one of my favorite shows ever, and as usual there are some interesting names in the mix! I'm especially intrigued by Hermine, the French and German feminine form of Herman, meaning "army man", and Sura, which is Arabic and means "Highness of Status" or "Glory".

Gudrid - Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir (Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir), a Viking born in Iceland and the granddaughter of a Scottish slave, is considered one of the most well-traveled people of the Middle Ages. She and her husband, Thorfinn Karlsefni, traveled to "Vinland", an area of coastal North America 500 years before Columbus would set foot there. It was in Vinland where she would eventually give birth to their son, Snorri, in what is considered the first European birth in the Americas outside of Greenland. Gudrid comes from the elements guð, meaning "God", and fríðr, which means "beautiful". In Iceland she is known by her byname - víðförla - "far-traveled".


King Arthur's Knights Seeing a Vision of the Holy Grail (King Caradoc is in blue)

Origin: Welsh
Gender: Male
Meaning: "Love"
Pronunciation: ka-RA-dock
Other Forms: Caradog, Caratacos, Caratacus

This strong Welsh name has a surprisingly soft meaning - it comes from the Celtic car, meaning "love" and shares this root with the girl's name Carys. In mythology (some believe he was real, or at least a amalgamation of few a historical figures) King Caradoc Freichfras, also known as Caradoc Strongman, lived during the 5th- or 6th-century and was a knight of the Round Table. He was said to be a King of Gwent, a medieval Welsh kingdom that laid between the rivers Wye and Usk, and existed from the end of Roman rule until the Normans invaded in the 11th-century. 

In the Welsh Triads, medieval scripts that have preserved much of Welsh myth and history, he is said to be Arthur's chief elder at Celliwig in Cornwall. Cellwig is one of the earliest named locations for Arthur's court. Caradoc even had his own romance called the "Life of Caradoc", featuring in the first continuation of de Troyes' "Perceval, the Story of the Grail".

Caradoc has a few different forums and they all seem to derive from the original form, Caratacos. Caratacos is also the name of a 1st-century British chieftan famous for rebelling against Roman rule. In Shropshire there is a hill named Caradoc that is purported to have been in honor of a Celt who was taken as a slave by the Romans. He refused to bow down when beaten and was cheered by the crowd and eventually freed. 

If you are looking for a name with history, then Caradoc, rumored to be one of the oldest names from Britain, is a name I can't recommend more!

The Children of Sylvia Storey

Sylvia Storey, Lady Poulett, was born Sylvia Lillian Storey to William Frederick Clayton Storey and Lilian Margaret Thorley Holmes. Like her parents, Sylvia was an actress and also a dancer and Gaiety Girl. She married William Poulett, 7th Earl of Poulett.

She had two children with him:

George Amias Fitzwarrine Poulett, "George Poulett, 8th Earl of Poulett"

Bridget Elizabeth Felicia Henrietta Augusta Poulett, "Lady Bridget Poulett"

She also had a child with Major Percy Howard Hansen:

Phoebe Amie Sybil Poulett, "Lady Phoebe Poulett"


Gender: Female
Meaning: "Pearl"
Pronunciation: BIH-ser-uh, BEE-ser-uh
Other Forms: Biserka

I've been really into Slavic names lately, and this lovely name, used most commonly in Bulgaria, Macedonia, is no exception! 

Bisera comes from the South Slavic word biser, meaning "pearl". Pearls are the lustrous object produced within the soft tissue of shelled mollusks, and like their shell is made up of calcium carbonate. While most pearls today are cultured, also known as farmed, a naturally formed pearl is still considered the best quality. Pearl hunting can be traced all the way back to 543 BC, when the only way to gather them was to use free divers who would have to swim to a depth of more than 100 ft on a single breath. Indians harvested freshwater pearls from the lakes and rivers in Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The beautiful pearls produced in the waters around the British Isles were one of the big attractions for Julius Caeser.

I found two famous namesakes, Bisera Veletanlić, a Serbian jazz singer, a star of music festivals of the 1970s, and Olga Bisera, born Bisera Vukotić, a Yugoslav-born Italian actress who featured in "The Spy Who Loved Me".

The Children of Blanchette Rockefeller

Blanchette and John

Blanchette Rockefeller was born Blanchette Ferry Hooker to Elon Huntington Hooker and Blanche Ferry. Blanchette was an American art sponsor and philanthropist. She married John D. Rockefeller III.

Their children were:

Jay Davison Rockefeller, "Jay Rockefeller IV"

Hope Aldrich Rockefeller

Sandra Ferry Rockefeller

Alida Ferry Rockefeller

Ed Sheeran Welcomes Baby Girl

Cherry and Ed

Ed Sheeran and his wife, Cherry Seaborn, just welcomed their first child, a little girl! Her name is Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran. Many believe the name is inspired by Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" books, as Ed is a fan of them.

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom Welcome Baby Girl!

Katy and Orlando

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom have welcomed their first child together, a girl who they named Daisy Dove. Bloom already has a son, Flynn Christopher, from his previous relationship with model Miranda Kerr.

On My Mind: 8-23-20

Jördis Triebel at the "Dark" Premiere

Julika and Jördis - A couple of weeks ago I finished my favorite series of all time - Netflix's "Dark". After getting past the emotional trauma of the finale I thought I would write about to of the most interesting names associated with Dark, that of Julika Jenkins and Jördis Triebel. 

Julika Jenkins plays one of the most mysterious and important characters of the show during middle age, Claudia Tiedemann. The daughter of a Welsh and German couple, Julika was born in Heidelberg, West Germany, in 1971. Julika is pronounced YOO-lee-kah, sort of like Yulia with a K, and is commonly a Hungarian diminutive of Julia. Jördis plays Katharina Nielsen, the mother of the Nielsen children, and she was born in Prenzlauer Berg, which was once the hub of East Germany's counterculture, which including the gay community, bohemians and Christian activists. The name Jördis is the German form of the more modern, Swedish, Hjördis, which in itself comes from the Ancient Scnadinavian Hjǫrdís! It means "sword maiden". I'm not completely sure of its pronunciation, I imagine it is something like "YUR-dis".

Briar Louise and Catherine May, to Name a Few - I just read the wonderful novel "Such a Fun Age" but Kiley Reid and highly recommend you do too! I found a lot of interesting names too, especially among one of the characters, influencer Alix Chamberlain's, friends. Alix herself has two girls, Briar Louise and Catherine May. Her friends have Payne and Prudence, Imani and Cleo, and Hudson. The protagonist is named Emira, which I've found is a Bosnian form of the Arabic Amirah. Amirah is the feminization of Amir, meaning "commander" or "prince". Her friends include Zara, Shaunie, and Josefa called "Sefa".