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}> Alison originated as a matronymic surname "son of Alice". }
} Not according to Hanks & Hodges' Dictionary of First Names :

Oh, man? You couldn't even let the spreader sink to the bottom?

R. J. Valentine
Can't say the thread is particularly edifying, but here's y $0.02, anyway: it wasn't at all uncommon in the 19th Century for men to be named Beverly, Evelyn and Vivian, which we consider female names. Of course, there were also Algernon and Murgatroyd to offset the others, so I guess everything is in balance.
It seems to me that y'all are concentrating on English or anglisized (sp?) names, when you should look a bit farther afield. How 'bout, for example, Konstanz/Constance? Or the Spanish practice of incorporating female saints' names, as in Jose Maria Aznar?

Robert G. Melson Nothing is more terrible than Rio Grande MicroSolutions ignorance in action.
El Paso, Texas Goethe
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The character in the book was Sidney, not Sydney, and ... also one I've disliked, because of its resemblance to "kidney".

Because of the popularity in the 1890s of the paired names, Kate and Sidney, steak and kidney pudding became known as Kate and Sidney

A prejudice confirmed!

Steve Hayes
E-mail: (Email Removed)
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I've just been reading "A suitable vengeance" by Elizabeth George, ... to read about a female character with the name "Sidney".

So what's new? It was never common, but it is found more than a few times. And it appears to stem from one of the Puritan style names, since in the C17 it occurs as Sindenye.

What was iuts origin?
Sidney, .like Denis, Julian, Cecil, Francis, Douglas, Philip, Nicholas, Laurence, and in Scotland, James and Giles, was a female name before ever it was a male one. And latterly Leslie and Shirley have gone the other way.

Some of those I find hard to believe.
Especially Philip, Nicholas and Laurence.
Philip of Macedon, a girl?
Was St Nicholas actually Mother Christmas?

Steve Hayes
E-mail: (Email Removed)
Web: http://www.geocities.com/hayesstw/stevesig.htm http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/books.htm
A mediaeval diminutive of Alice, yes.
Alison originated as a matronymic surname "son of Alice".

There is indeed a matronymic surname Allison, but are you sure that that's how Alison originated? Alison has been a girl's name since Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale" (written in the late 1380s) if not earlier.
Search for "Alisoun".
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There are a couple of other things in George's writing that I would regard as Americanisms - when characters speak of "the Big Dipper", for example. Wouldn't English people say "the plough"?

Yes. And write The Plough (or the Plough, but that's another matter). Or Ursa Major if they know the Latin names of constellations.
And a character "kneeled" at the side of a bed wouldn't that be "knelt".

In BrE, yes. We use "burnt", "dreamt", "leant", "learnt" (as part of the verb, not instead of the 2-syllabled adjective "learned") "smelt", "spelt", "spilt" and "spoilt", too.

Richard Sabey Visit the r.p.crosswords competition website cryptic fan at hotmail.com http://www.rsabey.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rpc /
Those are all variations that local publishers
may tamper with, by the way, so it's not always
safe to attribute them to an author's personal
style if it's a transatlantic publication.

Michael West
Melbourne, Australia
Withycombe's Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names , 1977, (that's going to need renaming, on two counts, if it hasn't happened already!)

Perhaps she meant English-language given names used in "Christian" countries.
But, if I've identified your two counts correctly, I take your points. Hanks and Hodges has (small, inadequate) sections on Arabic and Indian given names, and gives names from many European countries in its main section. The name of this book is "A Dictionary of First Names".
Richard Sabey Visit the r.p.crosswords competition website cryptic fan at hotmail.com http://www.rsabey.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rpc /
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(re 'Sidney' as a girl's name)

Withycombe's Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names , ... not uncommon in Ireland, and relates probably it to 'Sidony'/'Sidonia'/'Sindonia'.

Well, that's not too surprising. This newfangled popularity of 'Sidney' as a female name smacks of Hiberno-Britosupremacism(TM).

I can't let that go unchallenged!
What does a fashion in naming have to do with supremacism?

It seems to me that this fashion is more prevalent in the US than in the British Isles, although it has certainly crossed the Atlantic.

What's more, the quantity and variety of such names is dwarfed by the enormous number of synthetic names given by US blacks to their daughters. But you were discussing "Hiberno-Britosupremacism", so let's return to that.
In general, Hiberno-Britosupremacism usually manifests itself in the area of child-naming in the giving of names to girls wherein the ... satisfied only, yet the name has come to be in use. In those cases, generally the more Pseudo-Celtic-sounding the surname,

Why "pseudo"? Can you give us some examples that sound Celtic but really aren't, please?
the more likely it is to be accepted, though, again, there are limits (e.g., no "O'" surnames seem to be catching on). Then there are cases where (a), (b) and (c) are satisfied but the name seems to be prohibited, as for example with "Dempsey".

Interesting observations.
(a) an established Hiberno-Britic(tm) surname

That is certainly part of the name stock from which such names are drawn, but by no means the whole of it. Names of places and regions are also fair game, and not necessaarily those in the British Isles. For example:

Chelsea (part of London)
Brittany (region in France)
Lorraine (region in France; doesn't match your pattern b) Kylie (popularised by Kylie Minogue, of course)
Destiny (Destanie etc.) (abstract noun)
Some names formed in this fashionable way draw on the stock of traditional English-language girl's names. But, you say, we've been varying the spelling of names for centuries! Katharine and Catherine, for instance. Yes, but how do you explain Kathryn? That wouldn't have arisen were it not for this vogue. I count the following in this category; any one of them might have many variants consistent with this vogue:
Katelyn (Caitlin reanalysed as Kate + -lyn)
(b) a name ending in /i/ pronunciation-wise (for standard AmE)

Other patterns also have a certain vogue, e.g.
* final /Il/ as in Cheryl, Sheryl
* final /lIn/, e.g. Jocelyn and numerous girl's names with -lyn(n)(e) suffixed. * final /rIn/, e.g. Erin.
* final /@n/, e.g. Megan, Raven, Reagan.
(Final /@/ is also popular, e.g. Brianna, but this has been popular for centuries, so I don't count it as part of this new vogue.)

Have you noticed that initial /k/, /S/ or /tS/ is also popular? For example, Kayleigh, Carly, Kelly, Kylie, Kerry, Cherie, Kelsey, Chelsea, Casey, Courtney.
Kerry and other Irish names are popular, but (like Dempsey, which you noted) Murphy isn't.
Chelsea is but Bromley isn't. (The Wombles
are all named after place names. Interestingly, one of the new ones is named Stepney; I wonder if the resemblance to Stephanie was an influence).

Richard Sabey Visit the r.p.crosswords competition website cryptic fan at hotmail.com http://www.rsabey.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/rpc /
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