This article is reprinted from a series on names originally published in the year 1922. This one appeared in The North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune in North Platte, Nebraska, on September 19, 1922. For more stories from yesteryear, check out our ArchiveAmericana.com site.
Facts about your name: Its history, meaning, whence it was derived, significance, your lucky day and lucky jewel.
Like so many feminine names, Evelyn comes from Aoiffe, whose more modern equivalent was Eva. In early times Aevin, or Evin, was occasionally found in the house of Kennedy, but Eveleen is by far the most common form of both names in Ireland.
Aveline, or Eveline, made their appearance among the Normans long before the marriage of the earl of Penbroke. Aveline was the name of the sister of Gunnar, the great-grandmother of William the Conqueror, and Aveline, or Eveline, was so a favorite a Norman name that it well suits the Lady of the Garde Douloureuse in the “Betrothed.”
Avelina de Longo Campo, as the name is Latinized in old chronicles, married the last Earl of Lancaster, and her daughter, the heiress Avelina, or Eveline, brought to her husband and his sons by a subsequent marriage, the great county of Lancaster, thus establishing the widespread power of the Red Rose. An Eveline Elstove lived in 1539, but, though history faithfully chronicles her name, there is no record of her activities or explanation concerning the reason for her carefully preserved memory.
The name suffered a temporary eclipse in England in the early seventeenth century, but was revived in an ornamental fashion by Miss Burney’s “Evalina.” Since then, its vogue has been unquestionable, but it would be difficult to say what affected influence brought about the change in spelling to Evelyn. Etymologists insist that it should only be spelled with a “y” if it is meant to imitate the old French form of the Latin Avellana, meaning hazel. Eveline is really a man’s name, and few women have used that form, preferring rather to employ Evelina, or Evelyn.
Cat’s-eye is Evelyn’s jewel. Its mysterious translucent depths, shot with green, indicates a vigilant charm against evil spirits and promises its wearer immunity from all harm. Thursday is her lucky day and 6 her lucky number.