Thursday, November 14

Mama Kat Thursday: The House of Beverley

The Mama Kat prompt topic today is:
"What does your name mean?"

Beverly is a classic name, an old Anglo-Saxon name, rich in history.
It dates back to a time when peoples "names" related to either one's trade or where one lived. In this case, Beverly or more properly, Beverley, was a description of a place. It meant "beaver streams." So, in the early days of England one might be known as "Phillip of Beverley," for example, meaning "Phillip from the area of beaver streams."

As time progressed, personal taxation was introduced and formal surnames became necessary, so "Beverly" became a last name. Phillip of Beverley suddenly became just "Phillip Beverley."
There was also no standardized spelling for anything back then, so there were variations galore in the spelling of Beverley: Beverli, Beverly, Bevereli, etc.
 The name "Beverley"originated in East Yorkshire, England (now Humberside) and an very early record there lists an East Anglican Bishop, John of Beverley, in the year 721.

When the new world opened up, many Beverley's crossed the sea to America and, until the late 19th century, Beverley was primarily used as a boy's name.
Then, in the early 20th century, after the publishing of a novel by George Barr McCutcheon called, "Beverly of Graustark" in 1904, the name transitioned into popular use as an American girl's name.
(I emphasize American here because it might still be used

 as a boys name other places.)
During the 1920's it also increased in popularity due to it's association with the Beverly Hills of Hollywood.

I explain all this history to show the beauty of the name, but the historic meaning of the name has nothing to do with how I came to be named Beverly.
I also have blood-lines that trace back to England, but not to the  family of Beverley, so that's not why I was named Beverly either.
 I was born in the 1950's. As it happens, the name Beverly enjoyed the highest surge of popularity as a baby name between 1947 and 1953. So, when I came along in 1956, it was still a fairly popular, classic name.
I was named Beverly because my parents liked the name and because it went phonically well with my last name. I also think they wanted a first name starting with a "B," since I believe a few other classics, such as Beatrice or Bertha, also came under consideration.
 (Though Beatrice and Bertha peaked for popularity
as baby names in 1917, they were common

 among the WW2 generation.)

What I do know about how my sisters and I were named is a lot of thought went into the iambic pentameter of our first, middle and last names, so they'd have a nice rhythm when spoken---and I think that is about the smartest thing I've ever heard.
I believe knowing
why you were named a certain name is the thing that makes it special.
P.S.: I'd forgotten a few details of my naming and my Mother reminded me that my name was her sisters middle name, which was also why Beverly was chosen.
My sister is named after Mother's grandmother on her Father's side.
My youngest sister's
 name was the only one my parents could finally come to agreement on, though in all cases, the phonic rhythm of all are names remained important.
She also said they were careful to make sure our 3 initials
didn't spell anything.


1 comment:

Melinda Ott said...

I like the name Beverley, although it isn't as common as it used to be. Perhaps it will make a comeback!

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