Character of the Week: YA Historical Names

This is one of my earlier namings, when I gave a lot of opinion. After a while I mostly just gave the names, in part because the writer doesn’t need to be bombarded with other people’s opinions.

Female, 15 or 16 in 1860, so born around 1845 in Maryland, probably Baltimore
Other characters are named Benjamin and Clara.
She hopes to marry and have children, but may go into nursing.
Young Adult Historical Fiction

As you can see there isn’t much information for me to go on. I looked at the names the writer had already chosen, but I wanted to give her a list of names that I thought were interesting and appealing.

I have not chosen Anne, Elizabeth or Mary because those are probably over used in Historical Fiction. I’ve given you a list of first names with what I think the names feel like, and below I’ve listed each with a suggested last name. All names are historically accurate to the general time period.

  • Cornelia (Nell): A serious sort of name for a future nurse
  • Alice: Wonderland feel, whimsical
  • Julia: Serious and graceful
  • Susan: Perky
  • Caroline: Sweet or haughty
  • Letitia (Letty): Could be hard for readers to pronounce, but good for a friend

If you are wed to Clara, do not use Cornelia or Caroline since the names are too close sounding. I liked them enough to suggest in case you chose to change Clara.

If Benjamin is the love interest, don’t use Caroline because the two names together are a mouthful (not a problem if he is a brother or father). If you call him Ben do not use Nell.

  • Cornelia Perry (Nell Perry)
  • Alice Sewall
  • Julia Long
  • Susan Biddle
  • Caroline Bancroft
  • Letitia Morse (Letty Morse)

The writer replied: Thanks for this wonderful list. I’m not married to Clara. I think I chose that name because of my childhood love of the biography of Clara Barton.

See what I meant about giving the writer a lot of opinion? While I like all of the first name/last name combos I gave, I feel like I named a good portion of my imaginary version of this story. I would much rather have known a bit more about what the writer wanted/needed so I could have given names that were more tailored to the writer’s taste and to the story being written.



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