What’s In A Name? And Do We Mind?

Lots of us have names which seem to get mis-spelt. But does it really matter? In my books, for most of the time the meaning behind the name is more telling than how people may spell it. My parents chose names to give me a very well-blessed start in life, and to that has been added another positive label. Who could ask names with a nicer meanings than healing, happy and free? Spell these as you will, I’m a really lucky person.
I suppose none of us should worry about it. If it was good enough for Shakespeare, it must be good enough for us. They didn’t fuss too much about how names were spelt in Good Queen Bess’s days, I’m told….. But it’s still a bit off-putting when we get a letter which we know is intended for us, but is addressed with a mis-spelt name.
How can so many of us have so many identities? Hilliary, Hillary, Hillery and even, surprisingly often, Helen / Helene or Hazel, are first names which appear on envelopes for me, some of them to Ms, some to Miss or Mrs, and even some to Mr.
A mediaeval family name
And that’s before we get to the family name – not of course actually my own family name at all, but nonetheless a fine old English moniker if ever there was one: Burradge, Berridge, Borage, Burge, Burbage, Borrage, Barrage, Burnage, Burgage, Burbadge and more. (The best of all, from a five-year-old whispering conspiratorally to me that she already knew my name, by way of welcome during a visit I made to her school many years ago, was… Mrs Porridge.)
To be honest, in general I don’t mind. Our family name has a long history both in the U.K. and I believe as a Boston foundation of benefactors in the USA. I think the name probably derives from the excellent mediaeval herb, a tasty plant with an attractive blue flower, for which healing properties are claimed. I like blue flowers, I approve of nutritious plants, and I very much enjoy the idea of the connection with history and a tradition of healing over the centuries.
Happy and free
And as for my first names, my middle one is Frances (not Francis, which is the version for chaps), and it means free; and my chosen name means happy and cheerful. Blessings indeed. Spell these as you will, who could ask for anything more?

Posted on February 22, 2006, in The Journal. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. try being Penny! spend a penny, penny for your thoughts etc etc

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