In my case, that led to Lucy Andrews or Catalina Andrews. Bet you’re now trying to work out your names, so do tell!
What proved fascinating with this exercise was how people stereotyped names as being ‘upstairs’ or ‘downstairs’ in Victorian/Edwardian times e.g. Lucy Andrews – downstairs; Catalina Andrews (or, even more accurately, Catalina St. Andrews) – upstairs. One friend did the same with hers: Edna Laurence (down) and Frances St. Laurence (up), and another friend had Ellen Joseph (down) or Amelia Joseph (up).
This perception of names is interesting, and makes me wonder why we define some names as being upper class and others as working class. My great-grandfather had 11 brothers and sisters, born between 1841 and 1865. All their names are ‘standard’ Victorian names – John, James, Robert, William, Henry, Richard, and Mary, Sarah, Hannah, Jane, Margaret, Alice. This was a family of cotton mill workers, but of course you can find these same names among the middle and upper class too.
After all, what defines Violet Crawley or Edith Crawley as upper class (which they are in Downton), and Charles Carson and Thomas Barrow as servant class? In fact, both sets of names could apply equally to upper or lower class. But, with the examples I cited above, Lucy, Edna and Ellen were confined to downstairs, and Catalina, Frances and Amelia to upstairs.
Having said all that, and quite apart from perceived class differences, do we stereotype our character names depending on where they live, or even their occupations? Are some names inevitably linked with e.g. Irish or Scots characters, like Patrick or Angus? Do we have a lawyer called Bronco, or a cowboy called Ronald? Do we have a model called Mabel, or a cleaning lady called Araminta? Probably not, but of course it’s possible.
Some people trawl through baby naming sites, looking for names that reflect their characters. I’ve never done that, simply because parents do not know their child’s character (or later occupation) when they choose a name for their baby. If I’m stuck for a name, I look at the popular names in the decade when a character was born and wait for a name to jump out at me, regardless of its meaning.
But maybe one day I’ll turn convention on its head, and my lower class hero will be called Clarence St. George and my upper class heroine Bessie Bloggs. I challenge you to think of some more examples!