What’s in a Name?
I was born Elizabeth Jane St. Hilaire one warm July day at the Boston Lying-in Hospital. The first child of Albert John and Jane Duncan St. Hilaire, I entered the world with a full head of dark hair that resembled my French Canadian Grandfather. Wilfred St. Hilaire, never did go gray in all of his 75 years. My mother’s middle name, Duncan, was her mother’s maiden name. There’s a lot of significance in a family name. My maternal grandmother was from Canada and a big fan of the Queen of England. I remember admiring her teacup and saucer collection in the dining room hutch, some of the teacups had images of Elizabeth on them. I think there was a photo of Queen Elizabeth in the upstairs hallway as well.
Hello my name is Elizabeth St. Hilaire
The name Elizabeth has many variants in use across the world and has been in consistent use worldwide. Elizabeth was the tenth most popular name given to baby girls in the United States in 2007 and has been among the 25 most popular names given to girls in the United States for the past 100 years. It is the only name that has remained in the top ten US girls’ names list from 1925 to 1972.
It has been among the top 50 names given to girls born in England and Wales as well as in Canada and in Australia in the past 10 years[when?] and has been in the top 100 most popular names given to baby girls born in Scotland and Ireland in the past 10 years. Elizaveta (Eлизaвeтa), a Russian form of the name, has been in the top 10 names given to baby girls born in Moscow, Russia in the past 10 years.[when?] The name is also popular in Ukraine and in Belarus. One of the most popular variants is Isabel or Isabella. In French there is the variant Isabelle. — Courtesy Wikipedia
Elizabeth is the only girl name that has been in the Top 100 every year since 1880. It’s no wonder though, as it is a classic name with an abundance of nicknames to create some uniqueness to each special girl.
Do You Have a Nickname?
Therein lies the eternal question when you have a long name like Elizabeth, not to mention Elizabeth Jane St. Hilaire. Everyone wants to shorten that mouthful to Liz. Truth be told, I do not like Liz–I grew up a Beth. My family and high school friends call me Beth to this day. For 18 years, I was Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. Now I have come full circle to Elizabeth St. Hilaire (again) but if you find me on Facebook I’m Beth St. Hilaire. I wanted to go back to the name I grew up. But, truth is that I’ve been Elizabeth for almost as long as I was Beth. Well, just about.
My father’s brother also named his daughter Elizabeth St. Hilaire, she goes by Betsy. How funny is that? My father also has a sister who named her daughter Elizabeth, but she was Elizabeth McCartin. Elizabeth McCartin also went by Betsy until she was about 16, then she became Liz.
To reiterate, I’m not a fan of being called Liz.
When I moved to Florida from New England in and around 1993, I told everyone that my name was Elizabeth. When they asked if I had a nickname, I said “no.”
Reinvention. Simple as that.
After all, I remember Grammie’s Queen Elizabeth teacups. I was given this name for a reason, it was beautiful and royal, and much more lovely than Beth.
There’s no better way to re-invent yourself than to move thousands of miles away, and insist that you don’t have a nickname.
Nice to Meet You, Liz
There are tons of nicknames for Elizabeth, but for some strange reason people love to call me Liz. When I introduce myself as Elizabeth, I can’t tell you how many people say, “Nice to meet you Liz.”
My Two Cents is … There are a almost million nicknames for Elizabeth, so if you are thinking about calling me (or any other Elizabeth) Liz, think again. It’s kind of an assumption to go with Liz… And you know what they say about assuming.
SOME Nicknames for Elizabeth include…
The Name Game
Recently I went to Panera for lunch and when the woman across the counter asked me for my name for the order, I said Elizabeth. She took my payment, looked my way and said, “I’m just going to put you down as Liz.” OMG my crooked smile and bugged eyes must have been an indication of how I felt about that.
I gave her My Two Cents without EVER saying anything, my facial expressions said it all. A picture is worth a thousand words. When I got to the food pick up area, the receipt on my to-go order did not say Liz after all.
Less is More
Sometimes you don’t have to say anything. My Two Cents were loud and clear to the Panera employee. My crazy crooked grimace and asymmetrical eye rolling at the idea of being referred to as Liz with 26+ other nicknames to assume from, came across loud and clear.
My Two Cents
If someone introduces themselves with a proper name, respect it. Lots of us don’t want our birth name to be shortened. We have a story, a history, a relative we are named after, and we want to give respect to that. If we introduce ourselves with a formal name, that means we want to keep it.