The Baby Name Buff: Places I’ve Lived—Susquehanna County, PA (Part II)

Last week’s blog was about names inspired by place locations in Susquehanna County, PA. But my dear friend Kristen Shipsky—a Susquehanna County native—pointed out a host of great names I missed! So, here’s a Part II post, courtesy of Kristen’s personal knowledge and research efforts. Enjoy!

This name means “old river crossing” (The Name Meaning, Alford), which makes Alford (Al-ferd) a great name choice if you hope for a son who will always be able to stop and take a look at things from multiple angles before moving forward with a decision or a life path. Alford is a distinguished alternative to the more common boys’ name Alfred. I love Ford as a nickname option, though the more traditional Al is also a possibility.   

For anyone who has read the Bible, the Torah, or the Quran, this name likely conjures an image of Mr. Ararat, the mountain peak that Noah’s Ark landed on after the flood receded (, Ararat). Translated variously as “hill,” “mountain,” “sacred land,” or “high land,” naming your son Ararat (Ah-ruh-rat) can help give him an elevated presence in the world from the get-go. My top nickname choice for Ararat is Arrow.     

I really like the meaning of the boys’ name Brackney (Brack-nee): “wild or uncultivated land” (, Brackney). A newcomer to the surnames-as-first-names club, Brackney offers a variety of cute nickname options, including Brock, Brick, Rocco, and Ace.

Before 1990, the girls’ name Brooklyn (Brook-lin) would have been considered very unique, as it was not even in the U.S. top 1,000. But this name was #47 in 2018 and even got as high as #21 in 2011, so it is much more popular than the names I typically include on my blog. Still, because Brooklyn, PA is such a cute little place, and because I have a cousin named Brooklyn who is dear to my heart, this name makes the cut. While Brook and Lynn are obvious nickname options, I actually really like some of the boys-names-on-girls nickname possibilities for this Brooklyn, like Brody, Bo / Beau, Oak, or Oaklyn.  

As a teen, I loved attending the Harford Fair each year. I therefore like the boys’ name Harford (Har-ferd or Hart-ferd) for the nostalgia factor. Like Alford, my favorite nickname for Harford is Ford, but Harry would work as a more commonplace option.

I like the sound of the boys’ name Herrick (Heh-rick), but the meaning is what really sold me: “peaceful power” or “peace as power” (, Herrick). For me, the only downside of this name is that all the nicknames I’ve brainstormed are not very unique: Harry, Eric / Erick, and Rick. Even so, Herrick’s meaning trumps that potential issue in my mind, and I suppose Era could work as a fun, atypical nickname choice.

Oakland and Oakley
While the boys’ name Oakland (Oak-lind) has yet to breach the U.S. top 1,000, the gender-neutral name Oakley (Oak-lee) has been popular for quite some time now; in 2018, it was #388 for girls and #459 for boys. Both of these names bring to mind a forest full of towering oak trees, which is a beautiful image. And the nickname Oak is a popular choice for either of these full name options. (Fun side note: my father-in-law wanted to name my husband’s brother Oak, which would have been totally bad ass. Instead, they went with a much more mainstream name: Kevin.)

When I first encountered this name on Kristen’s list of Susquehanna County locations, I really liked it. I thought it was short, spunky, and definitely unique. But imagine my surprise when I found out that the name Royal (Roi-uhl) has made many appearances on the U.S. top 1,000, for both boys and girls! For girls, Royal only entered the scene in 2015 at #745, peaked at #632 in 2016, and still remained in the top 1,000 as of 2018 (#805). But the history of Royal on the boys’ top 1,000 list is much more interesting (and puzzling); Royal made the list every year from 1900 until 1971 and then resurfaced again in 2013. An obviously regal name for boys or girls, I like the nickname Ro (for either gender).

While Kristen notes that Starucca township is technically in Wayne County, she included the (girls’) name Starucca (Stuh-roo-kuh) on her list because it has ties to Susquehanna County in a couple of ways. First, the Starucca Creek runs into Susquehanna County. Second, Starucca House—a defunct hotel that is now a historic landmark in the area—is located in Susquehanna, PA (which is, as you might guess, in Susquehanna County) (Susquehanna Station). One of the most unique and interesting names on this list, Starucca reminds me of the more well-known girls name Verruca, which I’ve always kind of liked. And any name with the nickname Star as an option is cool by me.  

According to Kristen, Tirzah is the name of a road in the township of Union Dale in Susquehanna County. By far my favorite name on this list, the girls’ name Tirzah (Tear-zuh) means “delight” or “she is my delight” (Nameberry, Tirzah). I really like Terra, Tira, or Tara as nickname options, though Zo or Zoey would also be very cute.  

Photo Credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli

Author: thebabynamebuff

Hi, I'm Vickie. I'm a baby name enthusiast, and I'm excited to share and discuss with others the unique baby names I find. Besides talking and writing about baby names all day long, I also enjoy spending time with family, hiking, astronomy, reading (mostly science fiction and dystopias), and all things Star Trek. (Are you noticing a theme?) I currently live in Champaign, IL with my husband, Kyle, and my son, Felix.

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