Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: What the Ella

Greetings, readers!

Ella names are incredibly popular today - Isabella, Gabriella, Anabella, even Ella. The -ella ending has long been used to add an element of femininity and flair to any name that needs pizzazz. For this post, I'll be looking at the lesser-known -ella names found in the history books!

My criteria: names for girls that end in Ella, found in records between 1880 and 1889, with less than 25 babies born with the name any given year. 

A variation of Ida, meaning "industrious", Idella is a great alternative to Isabella without losing the cool first initial and melodic ending. Idella dropped off the US top 1000 in the 1940's, so it's got some retro charm that should definitely make a comeback. 

I have yet to find an origin source for Ozella - perhaps linked to Oswald or Osgood? In any case, Ozella is an enchanting vintage name with the cute nickname Ozzie. It has the added bonus of a unique first initial, and could make a great substitute for Olivia

Another name with mysterious origins, Ardella could be a great alternative for Arden or Adele. Like Idella, Ardella bounced around the top 1000 until the 1940's. An aural connection to the word "ardent" makes this name stand out today. 

A feminine diminutive of Joel or Joseph, Joella almost sounds like a two-part name: Jo Ella. Similar-sounding Joelle (and Joëlle) have been popular in the US and French-speaking countries, so why not switch out the last A for an E?

From the Italian for "young", Novella is a beautiful name that works in many ways: there's the literary connection for writers, the auditory connection to Nova, and the sweetness of the meaning for any new baby. Novella is definitely my favorite on this list!

Meaning "warlike", I'm surprised that this name hasn't stayed high in popularity. The M-beginning, -ella ending, and similarities to Marisol and Mikayla make it a total winner by today's trends. But Marcella's lack of visibility might appeal to those looking for a unique -ella name!

I'll admit, I don't understand with this name was used so often in the 1880's - the clunky L-sounds, the lack of visible connection to other names, the total drop-off in usage by 1901. I highly recommend finding a different -ella name. 

Somehow this name doesn't have the sweetness of Lily or the femininity of Layla. It's origins are also unknown, but it might have been a nickname for -ella names. Try Lillian or Laura for vintage L-names instead. 

Fans of Shakespeare who think Juliet, Viola, and Portia are too popular should check out this feminization of Othello. You'll have to explain it almost every time you say it, but Othella is way cool for any other literary nerds out there. 

As a fan of bird-related names, I'm always on the lookout for appellations like Wren, Sparrow, and Robin. But Birdella takes the cake! I'm not sure that this could (or should) make a comeback, but it's definitely worth knowing about in name history.

What are your favorites? Tell me in the comments!

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