After a two-year exclusion, “Elizabeth” once again has made the top 10 list for baby names. And why not? It’s a perfectly good name — with a few exceptions:
After a two-year exclusion, “Elizabeth” once again has made the top 10 list for baby names.
And why not? It’s a perfectly good name — with a few exceptions:
1. Elizabeths are always the last kids to finish writing their names in kindergarten. It’s nine whole letters, plus that goofy Z.
2. Strangers take it upon themselves to rename you, generally Liz, Lizzy or Beth.
3. Little kids — and specifically brothers — take creative license when it comes to nicknames. I still get called “Lizard Breath” at family gatherings.
Even so, my name has grown on me since my kindergarten days. It helps that I don’t hear “Frizzy Lizzy” anymore. And it has been fun to explore the towns named Elizabeth across the country. I have a picture of the Elizabeth Cemetery in Colorado and another one of the Elizabeth Garden Center (motto: Making life more beautiful!) in Elizabeth, Ill.
Next month, the Elizabeths will have their day in the spotlight, as our local Elizabeth in Jo Daviess County, Ill., tries to break a world record by having the most people with the same name — Elizabeth — in one place.
The current record is Mohammed, with 1,093 gathered in Dubai. So our rural town just needs to get 1,094 Elizabeths together.
That could be a tall order for this town, with its population of 668. In fact, organizers are quietly doubtful that they’ll be able to bring in that many.
But a local historical society and the Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, which are putting on the event, are working to bring plenty of out-of-town Elizabeths to the small burg.
“The response so far has been phenomenal,” said Vince Toepfer, chamber president. “Not only are we trying to set a world record, but we are also celebrating the courage of all women, past and present.”
Twenty-first century Elizabeths who want to give a hand to the rural town should show up for the Gathering of the Elizabeths at 10:30 a.m. June 28 with a birth certificate. All Beths, Betsys and Elizas are invited — so long as your given first or middle name is Elizabeth.
The only downside is that Elizabeths have to pay — $10 in advance or $15 at the door — to be part of the official count. Toepfer says Elizabeths will receive a T-shirt and a goody bag, and that fees will help cover the costs associated with putting on such a large event.
If you’re not familiar with Elizabeth, it’s a small town directly on U.S. 20 in the hills of Jo Daviess County. I get chided by family members who drive through town about the speed limit, which practically forces you to stand on the brake while going downhill.
They say that because the town is my namesake, I should really let up on the law.
Since we’re talking about Elizabeth, Jo Daviess County — and my name is Elizabeth Joy Davies — I feel quite a connection to this quaint town. Plus, a key date in Elizabeth’s history — May 14, 1832 — happens to be my birthday.
Well, not the 1832 part.
May 14 is the date when the famed Black Hawk sent out a peace envoy, the capture of whom launched the Black Hawk War. In the area where Elizabeth sits today, families gathered inside a fort and a woman named Elizabeth Armstrong rallied the ladies to help their men defend the fort. More than a century later, the town still bears her name.
And what a fine name it is.
More information on the Gathering of the Elizabeths can be found at mostelizabeths.com.
Elizabeth Davies writes a column for the Rockford Register Star.