Sunday, October 30, 2011

Emily, a name I'm going to have to get used to, as it's the name of my latest grandchild, born 48 hours ago.
All I knew about the name is that it comes from the name of a Roman clan, the Gens Aemilia. I don't understand how this type of name enters the modern European name store, Claudia, Julia, etc. Unless it's the name of some early Christian martyr.
I searched the net for a Saint Aemilia - no dice. Santa Emilia - nope; Sainte Émilie? I drew a pair, Émilie de Rodat, and Émilie de Vialar. So that's OK, part of the Frankish tradition, a name recognised by the universal church. Strange how reactionary an old heathen can be with regard to some things, in my case given names.
I'm not keen on Germanic names, Old Testament names, or surnames as forenames. Surnames as middle names pass muster, a common Scottish custom. My Old Man had a belter of a middle name , which he hated, partly because some people thought he had a double-barrelled name and addressed him accordingly. Highly embarrassing for a staunch proletarian.
Later searches have turned up a Saint Emilia Bicheria (d.1314) who, it seems, will come to the aid of sufferers from gout or headaches (Michael Gibson, "Saints of Patronage and Invocation", 1982). I've also learned that Emily was the third commonest girl's name been handed out by parents last year; so nothing adventurous for my progeny.

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