As you probably know, Annabel Austen isn’t my real name, so I thought I’d write a few words about how I chose it.

My own name is really quite boring, almost as boring as you can get.  Originally I thought my pen name should be some kind of take on my real name, and, for a long time, I was going to be Mary Brown, but then, one morning I woke up and thought no. If I became Mary Brown, I’d be throwing away my one opportunity of being something far more interesting.

So I was going to be Annabel because it was the sort of name my parents wouldn’t have given me in a million years, and I was going to be Austen as a tribute to Jane Austen, one of my favourite authors.

But then, yesterday, I was doing some research into my family history, and the name Annabel took on a whole new significance.

I know that my great great grandmother was a Hunnibell before she married, but, despite the fact that it is a comparatively unusual surname (most instances occurring in Suffolk, where she was born) I’ve had some difficulty tracing the family.  So yesterday, after another fruitless session online, I decided to look up the meaning of the surname and thus prove that I’d made some progress.

One suggestion I came across is that Hunnibell comes from the Latin amabilis, meaning lovable, and that Annabel is also a corruption of amabilis.  However, this isn’t the only possible derivation of Annabel:  it could also be a combination of the names Ann and Belle, in which case it means “God has favoured me” plus “beautiful”.

While I like both of these possibilities, for now I’m going to favour the first one: it makes me feel closer to my ancestors, and, in some way, I feel that Annabel is now a tribute to them.

Fullscreen capture 20022015 232433-002


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Filed under amabilis, Annabel, family history, Hunnibell, Jane Austen, Latiin, Mary Brown

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