Emmeline, Emeline


Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Eng (EM-me-Line; Em-me-LEEN; EM-me-LIN); Fre (ey-meh-LEEN)

The name was originally a diminutive form of the Germanic, Amelia, but has been used as an independent given name since the Middle Ages. It was introduced into England via the Normans and she has had plenty of usage among English-speakers since.

In the English-speaking world, she has appeared as Emaline, Emmaline, Emmeline and Emoline.

Its French form of Emeline seems to have been most common in Maine and New France, appearing in the Census records as early as the 1860s. The highest she ever ranked was in 1886 coming in as the 476th most popular female name in the United States, while Emmaline was at one time the 449th most popular female name back in 1880.

As of 2010, Émeline was the 190th most popular female name in France.

Emmeline is the eponymous heroine of two novels, the modern classic, Emmeline by Judith Rossner (1980) brings to life a legendary figure in Maine lore. It is a modern story of Oedipidus, recounting the tragic tale of a girl named Emmeline who gives birth to an illegitimate child in her teens, gives him away, and ends up unwittingly falling in love and marrying him many years later. An opera of the same name by Tobias Picker was based on the novel.

Emmeline is the name of another eponymous heroin, the first novel written by Charlotte Turner Smith. Emmeline, The Orphan of the Castle (18th-century) is a contemporary take on the Cinderalla story set in 18th-century England.

The name also appears in the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series as the names of minor characters.

Recently, Emaline was the subject of a Ben Folds’ song.

Notable bearers include:

  • St. Emeline, a 10th-century French saint, nun and hermit.
  • Lady Emmeline Stuart-Wortley (1806-1855) a British poet.
  • Emmeline B. Wells (1828-1921), an American suffragette and diarist, it should be noted that her mother had quite an interesting name, Deiadema.
  • Emeline Piggott (1836-1919) was a famous Confederate spy from North Carolina.
  • Emeline Roberts Jones (circ. 19th-century) was the first woman ever to have practiced dentistry in the United States.
  • Emmeline Pankhurst (1859-1928), leader of the British Suffragette movement.
  • Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Baroness Pethick-Lawrence (1867-1958) another British womens’ rights activist.
  • Emmeline Lott, an 18th-century British author who wrote of her life as a nanny in the Middle East.
  • Emeline Meaker (d.1883) was the first woman ever to have been tried and executed in Vermont, for the murder of her husband.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Amelina (Old High German)
  • Emeline (English)
  • Emmeline (English)
  • Émeline (French)
  • Emelina (Spanish)

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