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The Daily Genealogist: Gloriana

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Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto

GLORIANA (f): In his book, American Given Names: Their Origin and History in the Context of the English Language (1979), George R. Stewart notes that this name, which means "glorious one [feminine]," was coined in the late sixteenth century by courtier poets to honor Queen Elizabeth I. The name was formed by adding the feminine adjective suffix "-ana" [of or pertaining to] to a base word, in this case "gloria" [glory]. Use of this name in colonial America generally bears strong Anglican connotations - Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603, Queen from 1558) was considered to have re-founded the Church of England after the reign of her Catholic sister Queen Mary I Tudor (1516-1558, Queen from 1553).

Gloriana (Treadwell) Pell (1731-1814), was buried in St. Paul's Churchyard in the Bronx, New York, with the following inscription on her tombstone: In / Memory of / Gloriana / Relict of Philip Pell / who departed this Life / the 10th of Septr 1814 Aged 83 / Years, 4 Months & 28 Days. (Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections on She was named for a maternal aunt, Gloriana (Thomas) Stevenson, daughter (as was Mrs. Pell's mother, Margaret Thomas) of Rev. John Thomas, rector of St. George's Church, Hempstead, N.Y. (William A. Robbins, Descendants of Edward Tre(a)dwell through his Son John (New York: Tobias A. Wright Press, 1911), pp. 49-52, 74-75).
The best-known Gloriana is Gloriana (Folsom) Sterling, b. Stratford, Conn., 24 Dec. 1753 to Samuel and Anne (Bingham) Folsom, who had come from Ashford, Conn. to Stratford in 1743, so he could make the ironwork for Christ Church (Episcopal), Stratford. Like most Anglican/Episcopal families of the time, her parents did not record her birth with the town clerk, so it's not in the Barbour Collection. She married at Stratford, 10 March 1771, John "Sterling," said to be son of a baronet in Scotland. He was summoned home and the good people of Stratford assumed desertion, even as daughter Mary Glorianna "Sterling" was baptized in Dec. 1771. The town was amazed when in fact he did send a ship for Gloriana and took her home to Scotland, where they produced many more children (not in Scottish OPRs, which suggests they were Scottish Episcopalians) and corresponded for many years with Stratford relatives. The whole story is given in Rev. Samuel Orcutt, The History of the Town of Stratford and City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 2 vols. (1886), 1:448-451. (The given-name term glorian* produced 33 hits -- the earliest 1787 -- in the index to pre-1855 births and baptisms at the Scottish government site,; among them is Gloriana Folsom Lapslie, baptized at Campsie, Stirlingshire, 20 Nov. 1797 [OPR Births 475/00 0020 0297 Campsie]).


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