McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties, TN
~ an ongoing compilation ~
by Sandra Ratledge
Newcomers may find this list of unusual names from the Knobs in McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties helpful. Kinfolks researching local families sometimes have difficulty pronouncing and spelling these strange names and nicknames. Our East Tennessee dialect through generations is a contributory factor, no doubt. Youngsters do not know origins for curious names. Neophytes do not even understand that quotation marks indicate a nickname and that nicknames are not legal names but merely "pet" names used commonly by family and friends. Over decades of research, I found such nicknames, naming patterns, learned local pronunciations, and sought origins. The following chart may help researchers, but better still, bring a smile to the rest of us senior citizens. Thanks to Cousins Mildred Maupin and Denise Keltch for their help and additions to this list! I appreciate their encouragement and the laughter we share.
|Arkie||Arthena / also Arkadelphia||see Athena||inventive spelling of Athena|
|Artie||Artemisia||Latin||aromatic shrub like wormwood|
|Deelie / Deal||Cordelia||?||?|
|Creasie||Luretia||Roman||a noble woman who committed suicide|
|Eckie / Eck||Echinacea||herb derived from coneflower and used to improve immune system||from Latin meaning prickly|
|Feenie / Josie||Josephine||Biblical||feminine version of Joseph|
|Fronie||Sophronia||Greek||"of sound mind / heart"|
|Leevie||Olevia||Knobs version of feminine for Oliver||Latin "man of peace"*|
|Lice||Elias||Biblical||Hebrew for "prominence"*||Iggy||Ignatius||St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch||saint martyred at Rome|
|Mealie||Amelia / Permelia||Latin||"industrious or golden-tongued flatterer"*|
|Merky||America||geographical||bestowed for patriotism|
|Nervie||Minerva||Roman myth||goddess of wisdom|
|Neal / Neely||Cornelius / Cornelia / Cornel||from Greek, "cornel tree"||"Cornel-cherry" is the dogwood tree bearing cherry-red seeds in fall.|
|Nicie||Eunice||Biblical||woman of assured faith|
|Parkie||Parthena||variant spelling of Athena||version of mythology|
|Sinee||Sinai||Biblical geography||Mountain of Moses|
|Thenie / Thener||Athena||Greek myth||goddess of wisdom|
|Thursie||Thursa||Norse mythology||Norse god Thor's day is Thursday.|
|Unie||Eunice||Greek "happy victory"*||in Bible, the woman of assured faith|
|Zeddie / Zettie||Arzada||unknown to me||Who knows?|
*Some meanings above come from What's in a Name? by Favius Friedman, Scholastic Book Services, Scholastice Magazines, Inc., New York, NY, Jan 1975.
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All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!