My Favorite Old Folks

I like old people, always have. I had more fun hanging out with my Grandmother and her sisters, their husbands and their friends as a kid, even.

Never said I wasn’t odd! 😀

Some of them are back now: Lillian/Lilian & Caroline (never left), John and Josephine’s on her way.  While the rest of them are becoming rather obscure or in danger of vanishing completely: Arthur, Roland, Warren, Harvey, Clarence, Philip/Phillip and Leslie on a boy. Frances, May, Sylvia, Florence, Margery.

Helen, Margaret & Edward are the only three falling but not in danger of vanishing just yet.

All of those names are family names for me (if you hadn’t guessed)

I’ve been thinking about them, the old folks I used to know (they’re all long gone now). I wonder of any of their names will come back?   I think most of them are neat. Arthur & Roland and knightly and dashing, Philip/Phillip feels princely (maybe I’ve watched too much “Sleeping Beauty? Hmm)? 😉   Warren feels artsy and creative to me, Harvey feels almost happy, Clarence is warm and softly handsome and I so wish Leslie had stayed boy. I mean Lesley is the girly version, why did they take Leslie? Poor GrandPop!  
May is sweetly charming, Frances is zippy and sweet, and Florence fits in with the place name girls. I’m surprised actually, that Sylvia hasn’t popped up yet. She’s simple yet three syllables, has a ‘v’ and a ‘y’ and seemingly fits in with the Audrey/Ava/Vivian crowd. 

I’ve also been wondering how medieval Margery might come across by herself or maybe as an alternate nickname for Margaret?  I’ve always been a sucker for ancient names and medieval names fit that nicely.  Margery, Edith, Cecily, Beatrix, Amabel, Clarice (I’ve loved Clarice since I was a tot!), Euphemia, Florence, Helen, Lettice/Leticia, Matilda & Maud are some very favorites. I could have a dozen girls and happily name them the previous names.


What do you think of old people’s names? What are your thoughts on medieval names and their possible use today?



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cat
    Nov 23, 2008 @ 10:34:18

    Oooh, interesting post! I love old folks’ names. You know how I feel about Leslie on a boy: utterly charming and debonair. In a favorite book of mine, the main character (a male named Rose) changes her name to Leslie because she wanted something gender-androgynous for her travels. Although she was appearing as a man by this time…

    Anyway, I love most of the names you’ve listed, especially Clarence, Philip, Leslie, Frances, Sylvia, Florence and Margery. I’d probably never use Margery, being a Margaret fan myself, but I can see the definite charm. I knew a Philip my age in high school, which I always thought was cool. Florence is my boyfriend’s paternal grandmother (the other one is Dorothy), but instead of making me seriously like it, it makes me waffle. She’s a nice woman but a bit of a difficult one. There’s some bad feelings in the family, so I’d be more inclined to use Joseph (the grandfather) or Anthony/Antony (the 30-some year boyfriend she had after Grandpa Joe died; he was a really fun guy, Italian. His real name was Cesar but everyone called him Tony.) Clarence has got that same clear sound I adore in Clara, and May is just sweet.

    Roland will always be Stephen King’s character to me. He’s from the Dark Tower series.

    As far as old people’s names, I can think of Philomena right now but am sort of blocking the rest. I know I love a ton, but my brain has ceased to cooperate.


  2. Lola
    Nov 23, 2008 @ 12:39:33

    Thanks! I was thinking of the Grandparents late last night (maudlin me) and started thinking, I hear Grandma’s name (Lilian/Lillian) everywhere but hardly any of the others… and that’s what prompted this meandering post.

    Just in case you need to (or feel inclined) Dorothy could easly be Theodore on a boy but I’m still pondering how to turn Florence boyish. Joseph or Anthony – Josephine or Antonia/Antonina on a girl. Not that Joseph or Anthony are awful on a boy, I just prefer the girly versions. Adn hey, if you want to honor Grandma Dorothy and end up with boy parts… you have options!

    I don’t read Stephen King anymore. Since Misery, I keep trying but it all seems whiney… So Roland in Dark Tower rather skipped past me. It’s not a problem, though, I mean, other people are pulling Gage from “Pet Semetary” right? 😆

    Let your brain boot up and post your own old folks! I’d love to see them! 🙂


  3. Emmy Jo
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 14:32:43

    Arthur and Edward are family names for us, too, so they’re pretty high on my future baby names list.

    Of yours, I really like Roland (this one makes me think of the poem by Robert Browning), Philip (my favorite Disney prince), May, Margaret, and Helen. I’m indifferent to Leslie, but I’m toying with the idea of using Ashley for a son’s middle name.

    Other good “old folks'” names in my family are Clara (this one is slated for our first daughter), Violet (grandma’s friend), Hazel, Jewel, Opal, and Calvin. The ones that I’m not so fond of are Barbara, Anita, Ethel, Janice, Floris, Leonard, Wilbert, and Philo.

    As far as medieval names go, I’m a HUGE fan. A few that I’ve been thinking of recently: Clerimond, Bellisant, Fazon, Laurana, Rowena, Rosamund, Philena, Eglantine, Marian, Blanche, Gwendolena, Amice, Idony, Melisende, Ioveta. I do think Margery could make a comeback. Did you know Tiffany was originally a medieval girls’ name? I was shocked when I found that out a couple weeks ago.


  4. Lola
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 15:07:09

    Tiffany was medieval unisex, equally given to boys or girls born on 06, Jan. At least, that’s what I’ve always read. I adore Eglantine, she’s a family name for me. I have her paired in my “if I lived in Medieval England: Lettice Eglantine Maud” I should really do a post on the Medieval names I have, I think!
    Violet’s a family name for me (but that was just what the Aunt went by, her real name was Valeria, and that’s gorgeous!). I like Clara & Calvin. And I’m a sucker for anything ends in ‘O’ and Philo’s right up there for me. Too bad he’s my favorite pastry dough in sound (and almost looks: phyllo)!

    Thanks for Roland & Browning, There’s my first assocation too. Barrett & Browning are relationship “role models” for us. It’s fun trying to keep that “I just fell in love with you” feeling. They help.


  5. Emmy Jo
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 16:26:46

    This discussion prompted a call to my mother to ask the names of my great-, great-great, and great-great-great grandparents. She came up with quite a few lovely names I had no idea were in my family: Stella, Flora, Leta Alice, Cora Elizabeth, Geraldine, Daisy, Addie, Beulah, Demetra, Faye, Jarrett, Marshall, Simeon, Isaac Branson, and Peter.

    Of course, there were a few odd ones as well: men named Alva, Thede (maybe short for Theodore?), Mahlon, and Methodius.

    Anyway, thanks for prompting me to look more deeply into my family history!


  6. Lola
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 16:36:26

    You’re very welcome, what a boatload of awesome names! 😀 Leta Alice is darling! I have a cousin named Geraldine, she’s gone by Gerry since she was a teen. Gods help yopu if you call her Geraldine! I still wish I’d gone with Simeon instead of Simon. Drat!


  7. babynamelover
    May 17, 2009 @ 20:38:13

    My mums middle is Leslie


  8. Lola
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 17:44:13

    Babynamelover, so was my Pop’s! (Leslie, that is), as well as my Great Aunt (Buddy really was Leslie) and her husband, my Great Uncle was too. So my Grandmother was related to one by blood & two by marriage! 😀


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