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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

'Funny Names' in the New Penny Magazine 1899


I found this little gem of an article in an issue of  'The New Penny Magazine', published by Cassells & Company.   It continues: 
There is, indeed, a good deal of humour in the Somerset House registry, the fun consisting in an odd or barbarous collocation of names. For hours the eye of the clerk will roam over reams of dull propriety in such names as Henry Wilson, George Williams, or Samuel Smith, and then the face of the clerk will be covered with a smile as he comes across 'Ether' for the front name, attached to the surname of 'Spray'. It may seem strange, but is certainly true, that entered in the books is 'foot-bath', which must be written in capitals, 'FOOT-BATH' as really the name of a fellow-creature. 'River Jordan' is another case in point...Mr Anthistle had a daughter to name, and he must be forgiven for giving her the Christian names 'Rose Shamrock'. 'Rose Shamrock Anthistle' is a young lady whose names must please any patriotic man. Another happy father who gave his innocent offspring the names 'Arthur Wellesley Wellington Waterloo Cox' behaved rather unfairly to the infant, as he pledged him to a career of greatness. 
I couldn't resist searching FreeBMD to see if these were genuine, and indeed they were. A little poetic licence was in play in the case of the first, where the only example I found was Rose Foot Bath, born in 1840 and married in 1863, whose surname was Bath, and Foot was her middle name, with no hyphen. The others all checked out OK, though, and there were even TWO young ladies called Rose Shamrock Anthistle, both of whom found favour with patriotic young men - well they both got married, at least!

1 comment:

  1. I have always been fascinated by the pattern, trends and fashions in Christian names and emjoyed reading your article. Susan.

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