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The Daily Genealogist: Priscilla

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Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

PRISCILLA (f): The name Priscilla is said to be derived from the Latin Prīscilla, a feminine diminutive of prīscus, meaning ancient. (Note the long “i.”) [Calvert Watkins, American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 3rd ed., 2011.] Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible indicates that in the Bible Priscilla is the wife of Aquila and is a co-worker with St. Paul. She’s referred to five times (Acts 18:2, 18:18, 18:26; Romans 16:3, 1 Corinthians 16:19) as Priscilla, and once as Prisca (2 Timothy 4:19). This woman must be the model for the Puritan name. Mayflower passenger Priscilla (Mullins) Alden (born circa 1602) was immortalized in The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. (Some of the history and lore behind the story of Priscilla Mullins, Miles Standish, and John Alden is available on the website of the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts.)

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