Bertha of Swabia, by Albert Anker 1888
Eng (BER-thuh); Germ (BEHR-tah)
The name is derived from the Old Germanic element, beraht, meaning “bright.”
It was borne by an early Germanic goddess of childbearing and weaving, also known as Perchta or Berchta in Southern Germanic dialects.
According to Jacob Grimm and Lotte Motz, Perchta was the Alpine version of Holda (see https://legitbabenames.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/hulda/)
As a given name, it was quite common among the Franks, as is demonstrated with Charlemagne’s mother, whose name was Bertha.
As is to be expected, the name does not appear in the U.S. Top 1000. In the latter half of the 20th-century, Bertha has taken on a bad reputation as being the worst name one can give to a daughter. In 1883, however, Bertha was the 7th most popular female name in the United States.
Other forms of the name include:
Behrta/Perchta (Old German)
Obscure Italian male forms include, Berto, Bertinello, Bertillo, Bertino, Bertolo and Bertonello.
Other notable bearers include: St. Bertha of Kent (593-612) known for her Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England; St. Berthe Val d’Or (d.c 690); St. Berthe of Artois (c.725); St. Bertha of Bingen (c. 757); Berthe of Burgundy, Queen of France (c. late 10th-century); Bertha of Swabia, Queen of France (907-966); Berthe of Holland, Queen of France ( 1055-1093); Bertha of Sulzbach, renamed Irene, was a Byzantine Empress and first wife of Manual I Comnenus (1110-1159); Blessed Berta de Bardi (d. 1163); Austrian novelist and pacifist, Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914); First woman Puisne Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court, Bertha Wilson (1923-2007).
The designated name-days are: February 8 (Sweden); May 1 (Germany); May 15 (Poland); July 2 (Slovakia); August 6 (Hungary); August 24 (Estonia); September 23 (Czech Republic)