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Palmer

the palm leaf william bouguereau 
The Palm Leaf by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Palmer is an Old English name meaning "palm-bearing pilgrim," which is perfect for babies born around Thanksgiving. Originally a medieval surname, it referred to a Christian pilgrim carrying a palm branch when traveling to a holy shrine, or one who returned with a palm leaf. People still use palm leafs in pilgrimages today. It can still be found as a surname (and city names) today. The meaning has nothing to do with male or female, therefore this can be a unisex name, although Palma, Palmira and Palmina do sound more suitable for girls. Palmer has made appearances in Sense and Sensibility, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and recent movies.

While Parker is currently the #1 P name for boys and Porter has a modest middle-of-the-charts ranking, Palmer was last seen on the top 1000 in 1955, disappearing after 1949 for 6 years, but it did rank every year since 1880 until then. In 2011 there were 93 boys given this name, and 63 girls. Though this name has a very old history, it has a decidedly modern feel, perfect for use today, and still rare!


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Lavinia

Italian actress Lavinia Longhi
Lavinia (lah-VIN-ee-ah) is a Latin name possibly meaning "purity," but the name is so old that no specific meaning can be given. It could simply mean "woman from Lavinium," which was an ancient town in Rome/more ancient than Rome/Etruscan. Lavinia was known as the "Mother of Rome." In Virgil's Aeneid, Lavinia was betrothed to a man named Turnus, King of the Rutuli, but when the hero Aeneas came to town her father, King of the Latins, changed his mind and wanted Lavinia to marry Aeneas. The two men then fought for her hand, but Aeneas won. Aeneas then built the town of Lavinium for her. Shakespeare had Lavinia as a character in Titus Andronicus, but her story is an unfortunate one not worthy of repeating and not true to Virgil's Lavinia. Ursula le Guin later wrote more in depth about their relationship in her 2008 novel Lavinia. And she's been a character in many more stories, including The Hunger Games. In all l…