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Isabeau

isabeau 

Isabeau (IZ-ah-bow, EE-sah-bow) is a French variant of Isabel, derived from the Hebrew name Elizabeth (Elisheba/Elisheva), meaning "God's promise, my god is a vow/oath." There are more alternate forms of the name, including Ysabeau, Esabeau, Isabetta, Ishbel, Isabelle and Isobel. Beau in French is the masculine form of beautiful, or should I say handsome. One possible explanation for this masculine ending could be the way the Spanish translated Elizabeth, and the Occitan (or medieval Gascon language) version: Eisabèu.

While Isabelle was the name of several Spanish queens, Isabeau has its own namesakes. Isabeau of Bavaria, who may have been born "Elizabeth," was Queen Consort of France, wife of King Charles VI. She had quite an amount of power for a medieval queen as regent. There was a different Isabeau that was convicted of being a witch. Another well known Isabeau was the short-lived Isabeau of Brittany.

More recently than historical queens, Isabeau was an opera by Pietro Mascagni, a retelling of the Lady Godiva legend, and Lady Isabeau was a heroine found in the movie "Ladyhawke." She can also be seen in the form of heroic succubus Bo/Isabeau in the TV series "Lost Girl." A quick search on Youtube will reveal "La Belle Isabeau" by Berlioz, which I believe was based on a troubadour song from the 1100's AD. You'll even find a pretty model named Isabeau Hitijahubessy.

Never charting in the U.S., the baby name Isabeau remains rare, even in its native country. In 2011 there were just 13 girls given the name Isabeau, and there have never been more than 18 born in a year. It was, however, popular in the Middle Ages, and the name did make it to several countries.

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Allifair

Alifair Hatfield
The baby name Allifair, alternatively spelled Alifair, Alafair, or Alafare, has a very interesting history. This girl's name suddenly popped into existence in the U.S. around the mid 1800's, with no mention why or how.

Some history buffs may be familiar with the Hatfield-McCoy "New Year's Day" Massacre, in which a long-time hatred between families (including Union vs Confederacy differences) finally escalated into an all-out violent battle. Alifair was the name of Randolph McCoy's daughter, born in 1858, who suffered from Polio as a child but remained productive. During an attack on the McCoy home, Alifair was shot and killed. There was later a legal trial for her murder. Ironically, there was an Alifair Hatfield born in 1873 in Kentucky.

So how did she get her name? There are records of others in 1809, 1815, 1819, 1831, 1870, 1883, 1920 and 1923. 1767 or 1787 seems to be the earliest it was recorded. It could come from Alfher/Alvar/Aelfhere…