59 responses to 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones)
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    Stephani
    Comment on Leora (April 16th, 2015 at 06:10)

    Leora

    Leora is likely an alternative spelling of Lior, which is Hebrew. http://www.behindthename.com/name/lior

    Thanks for doing this! I’m a name nerd and love to hear the names common in other communities.

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    tammy
    Comment on A few other names we have run into (April 16th, 2015 at 06:15)

    A few other names we have run into

    Ivy, Marilyn, Frieda, Rosanna, Magdalena, Adinah.

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      Amish_Girl Rebecca
      Comment on Names (May 21st, 2015 at 11:28)

      Names

      It seems my generation is coming up with names not used as much before. Keep in mind names will vary greatly from generation to generation and community to community. Strong Bible names will probably always be popular. But I’m glad more different names are being used , not as confusing. There are already way too many Johns, Josephs, Davids, Elis, etc. So bring out Boaz, Malachi, Japheth, Isaiah, Micah, Jedaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Ephraim, Tobias, Titus, Elijah, and Jonah which are also all Bible names and are being used occasionally.

      Someone mentioned Joely which probably means “little Joe”. In Pennsylvania Deutsch putting “ly” behind something means little. In German it would be equivalent of adding “lein” to a word to mean little. Joely probably has a father, uncle, or grandfather also named Joe.

      Or like in my grandmother’s family, where 3 sisters had husbands named Joe, the shortest Joe was named Joely.

      The most common Holmes women names in the older generation are probably Mary, Anna, Katie, Lizzie, Esther, Fannie, and Erma.

      • Great comment Rebecca. I’ve seen a few of those men’s names here and there, and Ephraim could be considered a common name in Lancaster County.

        One women’s name that got my attention is Waneta. I guess it’s an alternate for Juanita. Neat name, I think I first saw it in Indiana.

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    Gretchen Troyer H
    Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 16th, 2015 at 07:15)

    Where are Magdalena, Rachel, and Elizabeth? Though I’m guessing names trend and those might be a bit out of date.

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    Naomi Wilson
    Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 16th, 2015 at 08:01)

    Glad “Naomi” made the list. : ) I wasn’t all that fond it as a child. No one else I knew shared my name, and I can still recall my kindergarten teacher’s scratchy voice, with a strong southern twang, saying “Nee-oh-ma,” which made me cringe. I’ve always pronounced it Nay-oh-mee, but everyone says it a little differently, and I don’t ever notice the various pronunciations anymore.

    I really like my name now, and I enjoy it that my husband, who is a Jon, and I have first names that blend in well in Anabaptist circles.

    • Well you answered my question before I even asked it. I still haven’t figured out how we get “Nee-oh-mah” from Naomi. It sounds like someone flipped the i and the a…It’s the way I might pronounce “Nioma”, if such a name existed 🙂

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        Kate
        Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 16th, 2015 at 08:22)

        In this part of PA (mostly with the Nebraska or white top Amish) I hear Naomi pronounced NOY-amy. Took me a while to figure out what they were saying! The other one that got my attention was “Franey” which they tell me is short for Veronica. Vernoica is SO not a name I expected to find among the Amish, but I like it.

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          Gretchen Troyer H
          Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 16th, 2015 at 11:07)

          Frany might be because in German, a “v” is sounded like “f.” I have quite a few Franys in my tree!

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            Mary
            Comment on Amish girl names (February 20th, 2017 at 22:12)

            Amish girl names

            Me too, I’m thinking Frances Emma.

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    Karen Johnson-Weiner
    Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 16th, 2015 at 08:55)

    Cevilla is a common Swartzentruber name; I’ve never encountered any of the other “rare” ones. “Fannie” is another popular Swartzentruber name, as are Katie, Barbara, Mattie, Anna, and Lizzie. In fact, every Swartzentruber family with girls probably has these name!

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      Comment on Cevilla (April 16th, 2015 at 09:00)

      Cevilla

      Thanks for the extra info Karen, I wondered over that one more than any other of the “rare” ones. I believe it was in the Harmony, MN Swartzentruber settlement that I saw the name Cevilla, and there were about 5 or 6 Cevillas listed between a couple of Minnesota settlements.

      I imagine if the Swartzentrubers were included in the Holmes County directory I would have seen more Cevillas then. I like the name, I do wonder where it came from. The harder-to-answer but intriguing question is how some of these names entered the culture.

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      Anonymous
      Comment on Different Spelling (April 16th, 2015 at 10:03)

      Different Spelling

      We see Cevilla and the other spelling, Sovilla, both in family genealogy books. Both are pronounced the same way.

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    Aimee Hunziker
    Comment on Oneita (April 16th, 2015 at 09:05)

    Oneita

    When I saw this name, the first pronunciation I thought of was “wun-EET-a”, like Juanita. It makes me think of the girl Barney Fife was dating in the old Andy Griffith Show!

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    Elizabeth
    Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 16th, 2015 at 11:33)

    What ! No Katie !

    I thought that name would be first on your list.

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    Don Curtis
    Comment on Amish women's names (April 16th, 2015 at 13:02)

    Amish women's names

    Well, as usual, I went to my son, Mark, for some of the common women’s names in the Belle Center, Ohio Amish community. I know a few of them but I don’t know nearly all of the ladies in the community. Mark does, however. Here are some of the ladies’ names that are used more than once: Ruth, Emma, Regina, Susan, Wilma, Barbara, Miriam, Emily, Mary, Leanna, Leah, Julia, Nancy, Laura, Joanne, Martha, Karen, Fern, Lydia, and Carolyn.

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      Jonathan Edwards
      Comment on Interesting (April 16th, 2015 at 14:39)

      Interesting

      This was a very interesting post. Hmmm…

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    Comment on Thank you! (April 16th, 2015 at 13:33)

    Thank you!

    This is fascinating, thank you so much. I love reading The Budget to get a realistic view of Amish names. Some of them are very surprising. My mother’s name was Leora–it’s not a name that one often sees. I was touched to see it on this list.

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      Comment on Leora (April 16th, 2015 at 14:54)

      Leora

      If I hadn’t looked it up, I might have guessed it was someone’s variation of Laura. Glad we got it on there!

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    Terry from Wisc
    Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 16th, 2015 at 14:28)

    Hi Erik, And just where is Esther, Phoebe or Clara? Most of the families have at least some form of Esther in them. Such as..Mary Esther or Esther Mae; or a Clara; Phoebe being popular. How about Sereta, Salome, Susie not Susan…Mary Etta, Sue Etta, Vernetta or Verna, Loretta, LaNae, LaVerda, Dora, Ida and a twin sister Ada, Millie, Nettie, Ruth, Ruth Ann, Ruth Mary, Anna Ruth, Rebecca, Malinda, Edna or Edna Ellen, Ruby, Caroline, Mattie, Fannie and a twin sister Annie, Bertha, Minerva…

    I had two girls in my class at school and we’ve been friends all these fifty+ years. Esther’s mom and dad were Alvin and Esther. Esther married an Alvin and they had an Alvin, and they all lived under the same roof! Esther and Alvin had 10 kids…Alvin, Clara, Floyd, Mary Etta, Toby, Rebecca, Malinda, Arlene, Millie and Emma.

    My other classmate was Clara and she married Ura and they had 11 kids…Verna, Ella, Barbra, William, Melvin, Samuel, Aden, Andy, Daniel and Dena are twins, and Benjamin.

    Our friend Phoebe Yoder who was #9 of 16 married a Gingerich. Last fall I was sitting in their son’s kitchen and we got to talking about the Yoder family, so he got the “book” out! All 16 of the Yoder kids had kids! When I asked Jr how many first cousins he had, he laughed! We decided to NOT add the numbers up! So, in a family that is that big, names would be repeated a time or two or three and more! Ha!

    What a fun time this was to have a cup of coffee with you and think up names! 🙂

    • Well done on all these names Terry 🙂 I may have to get you to write part 2.

      You reminded me I wanted to write a little something on how some names are popular in certain areas. For instance, the names Lavern, Freeman, and Leroy bring to mind northern Indiana. But I am not used to seeing those in Lancaster County. Going the other direction, Ephraim, Isaac or Gideon are common Lancaster male names you wouldn’t see too often if at all in northern Indiana.

      Or as Karen mentioned up above, some names might be seen in certain affiliations, like Cevilla among Swartzentruber Amish. It’s another sign of how Amish circles are circles which don’t necessarily overlap.

      When I was meeting a lot of Amish families in the larger settlements, the rare person who had married or moved from one large settlement into another stood out–it’s pretty easy to spot the one Stoltzfus in a sea of Lehmans and Bontragers!

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        Terry from Wisc
        Comment on More names (April 17th, 2015 at 19:10)

        More names

        Wie gehts Erik, The Budget came in the mail today so I was looking for some more names to add to the list.
        Lela, Calista, Betsy, Rose, Rosa, Rose Ann, Lydia, Norma, Bena, Anna Lois, new baby Kayla Sue..hmmmm…sounds modern, Almeda..another new one…, Edna Fern, Annabelle, Johanna Sue, Corrie, Jalisa…hmmm…, Rhoda, Jolene,

        Mens: I forgot about Yost, Abe, Abbie, another new one Joely, Benuel, Matt or Matthew, Earl, Joas, Clyde, Dwaine, Nelson, Marlin, I was surprised to see an Oscar, Gareth was new, Curvin, Elias, Enos, Jesse, Javan was a new one…, Jerome, Alva, Roy.

        Some of these might have already been mentioned.

        I sent the Budget to a friend who is a retired 1st grade teacher. She thought that after reading the letters that they were of 5th grade level. I’ve wondered for years if the Amish kids that went to public school had better writing capabilities than those who were taught in their own schools? Years ago I asked for a cookie recipe and the Amish lady wrote,”Flour enuf to roll!” And that’s how I wrote it in our own cook book!;)

        When I read that a Jason had church I thought…hmmm…guess they’re looking for some English names to TRY and keep everyone straight! Ha! The poor mail man!

        A good friend who often write us begins her letter with, “Greetings from above.” But she’s NOT in heaven yet! Ha! I just have to chuckle. 🙂

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to write a book again!

        Safe in Christ †, Terry

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          Christy
          Comment on Terry in Wisconsin (April 18th, 2015 at 13:54)

          Terry in Wisconsin

          I sure did enjoy reading Terry’s comment’s. They too made me chuckle. In April’s addition of the Connection one of the writer’s introduced a new addition to their family and it was a Javon. I had not heard that Amish name before.

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          Amish_Girl Rebecca
          Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (May 21st, 2015 at 11:40)

          Terry,
          The comment on the Budget letters is pretty true to form. It bothers me as a teacher to read the poor Spelling and wording. One thing to keep in mind though is many of these writers are older and I’m hoping till the next generation of writers comes around it will be better. A lot of them translate what they’re writing directly word for word from how they think it in Pennsylvania Deutsch without thought to English sentence structure. I know my uncle always proofreads Grandma’s letter. Maybe a good idea for more of them.

          About Ruby- the name probably comes from the verses about the virtuous women in Proverbs whose worth is far above Rubies.

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            Terry from Wisc
            Comment on Letter writing skills (May 21st, 2015 at 13:01)

            Letter writing skills

            The writing and penmanship skills that kids get today in our public schools is atrocious if you ask me! I’m the father of four who griped at parent/teacher conferences for years on their lack of cursive writing. The answer that I usually received from the teachers was, “As long as I can read it.” I have heard my old English teacher roll over so many times, she’s in a knot!lol! The world of education is so different today, but we all know that. I get the satisfaction of sitting at the kitchen table, a pot of coffee, a fire in the cook stove, teakettle singing, the wall clock ticking, and writing to our several Amish friends on paper with a pen! How’s that for a blast from the past!

            We have two military sons; one is out of the US Army, and the other is currently serving in the US Air Force. The letters we’ve received from the boys are tucked away in a safe place to preserve them. Unfortunately you can’t stick an email or text in your sock drawer or old shoe box to read again and again! How great it is to have those keepsakes that are on paper. 🙂

            Psalms 102:18
            This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.

            Holding to the good book, Terry

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              Amish-Girl Rebecca
              Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (May 21st, 2015 at 13:24)

              Letter Writing is alive and well in Amish Country. I love to read and write letters especially to good friends when you can write anything and they understand and take it as you meant it. And yes, you can’t go through a box of old e-mails and reminisce, now can you ?

              Where would we Christians be today if Paul and Luke and other early believers wouldn’t have written letters ?

              God Bless, Rebecca

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          Amish-Girl Rebecca
          Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (May 21st, 2015 at 13:14)

          Terry,
          The greeting “Greetings from above” is probably a shortened version of “Greetings in the name of our Father above” or something like that. Though I agree it is not very proper.

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          April
          Comment on Jason in the Bible (July 8th, 2015 at 13:49)

          Jason in the Bible

          Hi Terry,
          Actually the name Jason is in the Bible. Look in Acts 17 and Romans 16:21. I learned this because one of my Godsons is a Jason. 🙂 Another surprise to me was when one of the readings at church mentioned Chloe. (1Cor 1:11) I always thought Chloe was a “modern” name.

          April

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    Verity Pink
    Comment on Arlowene (April 16th, 2015 at 20:06)

    Arlowene

    I would be surprised if this name was a variant of Arlene, because of the number of Arlowenes who have German sounding surnames (which is consistent with its appearance amongst the Amish). Maybe someone who is fluent in German can help… bearing in mind the compound nature of Germanic names, so that this name could be comprised of two or three segments, each with its own meaning. In Anglo Saxon “Arl” seems to be interchangeable with Ael, Adel or Ayl, meaning noble or honourable, so this could be a variation of Adeline.

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      Verity Pink
      Comment on Arlowene (and Lovina) (April 17th, 2015 at 13:17)

      Arlowene (and Lovina)

      Realised after writing this post that the “wene” part of Arlowene is likely to be derived from “win”, meaning friend (c.f. Winifred, Edwin, etc). There are other Anglo-Saxon/Germanic names, like Ludovin, where the first syllable is joined to the second by an “o”.
      This would make the meaning of Arlowene “noble/honourable friend”.
      And as regards Ludovin, and the feminine version Ludovina (“loud friend”, or presumably “advocate”, in modern parlance) – this seems to me to be a more convincing origin for Lovina than Lavinia (why would the Amish favour a name of Roman origin, and moreover one that was popular in Victorian England?)
      I wonder a bit about Cevilla/Sovilla – allowing for the fact that the letter “v” is a relatively recent development, and would be represented by “w” in older documents, we could be looking at Ce/Sea/Si/Siegwilla – meaning “victory will”.
      I did at one point think of writing my own names book – maybe I still will!

      • In answer to the Roman origin question, I don’t think there is this level of analysis going on or even knowledge/concern over a given name’s origin. It might simply be that the name became popular in general society at a certain time and some Amish adopted it as well. Perhaps it was a more progressive-minded couple, and then the girl with the name became someone’s aunt, and the next generation named their child after the aunt, and so on. It’s interesting to wonder how a name came to be popular. I’d bet a lot of people just assume all Amish names are Biblical, but obviously not the case. Anyway, it looks like we both find names interesting 🙂

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          Verity Pink
          Comment on Clarification (April 20th, 2015 at 20:16)

          Clarification

          Hi,
          I didn’t mean to sound picky – it was more that I was trying to work out – “How would that name get from there to here?” – and thinking aloud. It did strike me whilst I was writing that a lot of the Germanic names are awfully warlike, and if the Amish were as interested in meanings as I am, they wouldn’t touch some of them with a barge pole. I always used to have a private smile over the fact that Baroness Thatcher’s middle name (Hilda) meant “battle maid” – very fitting. And then there’s Louis(e) meaning “loud in battle”, Edgar (rich spear)… need I go on?
          And yes, I plead guilty to being a name nerd. Not sure if Mum knew what she was starting in giving me a Puritan virtue name….

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          Erin
          Comment on Lovina (January 16th, 2016 at 20:01)

          Lovina

          I’m most familiar with Lovina from researching Swedish names (which are Germanic I think). You see Lovina there as a variation of Lo, which is a Scandinavian form of Louisa.

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            Erin
            Comment on Oops! (January 16th, 2016 at 20:03)

            Oops!

            I meant Lovisa. Poor typing on my part.

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              Verity
              Comment on Norse names (January 16th, 2016 at 21:28)

              Norse names

              Hi Erin,
              There’s a website that I’ve looked at which is on Norse names and includes Scandinavian ones – you can type in the start or end of a name and it will bring up all the related ones.

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    Carl Oliver
    Comment on Names (April 16th, 2015 at 21:23)

    Names

    How interesting to see that Ruby is such a common name! There is an Amish woman that writes a diary for a magazine called “our Iowa” that my wife and I are subscri to. We always enjoy her writing. Her name is Ruby Kuhns which I always thought seemed like a less common Amish name. I stand corrected. I guess a couple odd female names that I know of here in Buchanan county Iowa would be Rosie and Sophie.

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      Comment on Ruby (April 17th, 2015 at 14:11)

      Ruby

      I’d just add that it is quite popular in northern Indiana, with dozens of adult Rubies in the directory I checked, but may be unseen in many other communities. In this list I tried to include a mix of names which were widely popular across multiple communities, and ones that were popular in specific places.

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    Eva
    Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 17th, 2015 at 05:51)

    Where might Eva fit in in the uncommon, common names?

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      Comment on Eva (April 17th, 2015 at 14:01)

      Eva

      Hmmmm…not a scientific response, but I am pretty sure I have seen that name, but not often. So I’d slot it towards the uncommon names. I think “Iva” is more common.

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      Amish-Girl Rebecca
      Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (May 21st, 2015 at 13:17)

      Eva and Iva are about in the middle between common and rare.

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    Tom the back roads traveller
    Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (April 17th, 2015 at 05:52)

    In these parts I have never known a Ruby, Lovina or Naomi, but many named Maddy. Ada, Katie, Ester and Rachel. Tom The Backroads Traveller

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    Steven
    Comment on Common Amish Women's Names (June 27th, 2015 at 12:33)

    Common Amish Women's Names

    I am very surprised that Rachael and Leah didn’t make the list because they were both very common Amish women’s names in Michigan and Ohio when I was a kid.

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    Amish Girl-Rebecca
    Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (June 27th, 2015 at 12:41)

    Both of those are very common here in Holmes Co. I’m guessing it just depends on where you’re from.Bible names seem to always be popular and others come and go.

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    Comment on Common Amish Women's Names (July 2nd, 2015 at 21:39)

    Common Amish Women's Names

    In the Church and Family Directory of the Upper Valleys of Pennsylvania, 2013 for our area of South White Deer the common female names are: Rachel, Sarah, Katie, Barbara (Barbie), Emma, Ruth, Ann (Annie), and Fannie. Didn’t find too many unusual ones but a few less common names were Sylvia, Gertrude, Edna, Eva, Lena, Priscilla, Salome, Nancy and Kathryn.

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    Comment on Dual Names (July 7th, 2015 at 14:53)

    Dual Names

    I enjoy seeing when a family will use the same “name” for mother and daughter. Example…Dorcas/Tabitha or Esther/Hadassah. And yes, I know a Ruby where I visit and attend an Old Order Amish Church. Thank you Erik, for the post. It’s always interesting to see which regions feature certain names, male or female.

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    Beverly
    Comment on Common female names (January 24th, 2016 at 16:10)

    Common female names

    No Beverly’s..Beverley..Beverlee. I guess.;(
    Also for men..”Nehemiah” isnt seen either. And it is in the bible! (My 12x greatgrand father’s name)

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      Mark – Holmes Co.
      Comment on 10 Common Amish Women’s Names (And 10 Rare Ones) (January 26th, 2016 at 15:03)

      Beverly, for whatever reason, we hear “Bevly” or “Babbie” often used as a nickname for Barbara, so there is a variation of your name being used. 🙂 It’s heard more in PA than in Ohio, though.

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        Beverly
        Comment on Common female names (January 27th, 2016 at 16:18)

        Common female names

        Hi Mark!
        Bevley would be the closest! “Babbie” is connected to Barbara..so at least I have one simular to mine!
        In any case, that is interesting! Thank you for posting!!

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    Elvesta
    Comment on I'm Listed (June 15th, 2016 at 17:05)

    I'm Listed

    I was just doing a FB search and came upon this old post! Yes, there is my name with the unusual ones! It’s unusual enough you seldom find it in print. Would love to know its origins.

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      Verity
      Comment on Elvesta (June 15th, 2016 at 20:12)

      Elvesta

      Hi Elvesta,
      Assuming a Germanic background, Erik is probably spot on in linking your name to Elvis – which is derived from Eloise http://www.behindthename.com/name/eloise

      The other options would be (a) a version of Elisaveta, the Eastern European take on Elisabeth; (b) a version of Alva, which is derived from Alfred. Various dictionaries suggest that Alfred = elf counsel (ALF + RED), but it is equally possible that it could be noble peace (AEL + FRED).

      Best wishes,

      Verity

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        Beverly
        Comment on Women's names (June 16th, 2016 at 09:06)

        Women's names

        My paternal grandmother’s (1913-1937) name was “Vesta Grace”
        I have never heard of “Vesta” before! Only came across it twice. I like Elvesta!;)

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          Verity
          Comment on Vesta (June 16th, 2016 at 14:31)

          Vesta

          Hi Beverly
          Vesta itself is the name of the Roman goddess of the hearth – which I’d discounted as an origin for Elvesta’s name because the Germanic names were pretty much in place before the Romans invaded Germany. There’s also Sylvesta on the Norse names Wiki – pretty obviously a feminisation of the male name.

          Verity

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    Verity
    Comment on More news on Mary (June 15th, 2016 at 19:38)

    More news on Mary

    I recently found a website on Biblical names, www.abarim-publications.com, which views Mary and Miriam as derived from “myrrh” ratgher than their usual meaning of “bitter”. I had wondered why God didn’t change Mary’s name, which He seems to have made a bit of a habit of doing with key figures whose original name was inappropriate.

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