Eighteenth-Century Women's Names
After searching the Web far and wide for a page of eighteenth-century English women's names to give my characters, and finding nothing, I gave up and compiled this page on my own. After being out of style for several generations, some of these names are regaining their own among hip young parents--particularly the names from the "Harlot's Progress" section.
There are certain names which were inescapable for the entire period, and for centuries before and after. Though they fell out of fashion in the 20th century, we still hear them every day.
In 1714, Queen Anne died, and the ruling house of England passed from the hands of the Scots/French Stuarts to the German Hanovers. The new king, George I, was a crass old fart who spoke barely a word of English. His son, George II, was slightly less crass and slightly better at English; and George II's grandson, George III, was a bluff but amiable and decent man who spoke excellent English, though perhaps with a slight German accent.
With this tide of Georges came a flood of new names, and a revival of a few old Teutonic names long-lost. These names rapidly trickled down through society, until a few generations later, even the occasional charwoman bore them.
The Georges' English-born daughters were named:
Authors, Artists, Playwrights, Poets, and Philosophers
These women were generally of the upper classes, or at least from the upper strata of the middle class.
Maria (pronounced "Mariah")
Several steps farther down the social scale, John Cleland, author of the Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (better known as Fanny Hill), thought these names evocative enough to give to his midcentury maidservants and kept women: