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Tamarix

Tamarix_gallica01
Tamarix gallica


Tamarix (TAM-ar-iks) would make for quite an unusual baby name, but the salt cedar plant, shrub, and small tree also known as tamarisk is no different than other flowering plants used as baby names, such as Rose, Magnolia, Petunia or Laurel. The only difference is that everyone knows what a rose looks like, while little Tamarix would have to say "Google it" with every introduction. She's also very similar to other familiar names like Tamar/a, Beatrix and Tamsin. This pretty namesake might just be worth the trouble.

From Latin, the name may have originated from the Tamaris River in Spain, now know as the Tambre or Tamariz, because these plants grew along the river. Tamaris may have been directly connected to the Biblical names Tamara and Tamar, meaning "date palm tree," but more likely the ancient goddess Tamara of Britian, goddess of rivers and streams or at least specifically the Tamar River, which borders Cornwall and has a different meaning, "great water." The etymologically connected Thames River (the Tamesis) means "dark [water]."

The tamarisk is popular in mythology and religious tales, from The Epic of Gilgamesh to the Quran to Genesis to Egyptian mythology. The Biblical Hebrew name Eshel (AY-shell) means "tamarisk tree."

Tamarisk showed up in U.S. records twice in 1979 when it was given to 9 girls and 1980 when it was given to 5 girls. Tamaris, however, can be found in census records a handful of times between 1797 and 1898. After 1980 Tamaris pops up again on five girls in 1980, 1986, 1990, 1992, seven girls in 1999 and five again in 2001. It was also given to boys six or seven times in some of those years. Tamarix was not used.

Comments

  1. This is a unique name. I had to look it up just to see what it was. I think it could make a nice name, especially with the -x ending.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a cool name! Sounds like it's straight out of a fantasy or sci fi movie, or a video game :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, it reminds me of Bellatrix without the Harry Potter association.

    ReplyDelete

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Allifair

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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…