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The Daily Genealogist: Armida

(Name Origins) Permanent link
Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

ARMIDA (f): One of the main female characters in the epic Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso (Italian Renaissance); the story also inspired several operas, such as those by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1686), J.-W. Glück (1777) and G.A. Rossini (1817):

She was a beautiful sorceress, with whom Rinaldo [one of Charlemagne's paladins, based on his nephew, the hero Roland] fell in love, and wasted his time in voluptuous pleasure. Two messengers were sent from the Christian army with a talisman to disenchant him. After his escape, Armida followed him in distraction, but not being able to allure him back, set fire to her palace, rushed into the midst of a combat, and was slain. (Brewer, p. 64).

Armida Potter (1765–1798, daughter of Dr. James and Abigail [Barns] Potter) m. New Fairfield North (Sherman, Conn.) Congregational Church 23 Nov. 1797 Bennett Pickett (1764–1854), and apparently died bearing an only child, Armida Pickett (1798–1826) who herself died unmarried. Why Dr. and Mrs. Potter (several of whose offspring bear imaginative names) named one for an apparently love-crazed sorceress, we cannot now determine; certainly such a choice reflects eighteenth-century America's discovery of non-Puritan literature and ideals. Perhaps Dr. Potter shared his reading material with the neighbors, as the name is more common than usual in the Sherman/New Milford area. For example, Armida Giddings (1773–1827, daughter of Jonathan and Mary [Baldwin] Giddings), later wife of David Gaylord, was one of several siblings bp. New Fairfield North 26 May 1776; other local Armidas were her niece, Armida Giddings (1815–1818, daughter of Samuel Giddings by his first marriage to a cousin, Lydia Giddings) and Mrs. Gaylord's sister-in-law Armida (Sanford) Giddings (1796–post 1881, daughter of Ebenezer and Jerusha [Buck] Sanford), second wife of Samuel Giddings above.

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