Albion

Albion was once the earliest known name of what is now Great Britain and is sometimes still used as a poetic name for it. It’s related to Latin albus meaning “white”, in reference to the White Cliffs of Dover, though I’ve also seen it related to Common Celtic *albiyo “white; upper world” as opposed to the underworld. It’s also been linked to Proto-Indo-European *alb meaning “mountain”.

Origin: Latin, Celtic, Proto-Indo–European

Variants:

  • Albiona (f)

Hedwin

Hedwin could be a variant spelling of Heddwyn, a Welsh male name meaning “blessed peace” or “fair, white peace” from Welsh elements hedd (peace) and gwyn (white, fair, blessed). Hedwin has also been used as a female name, perhaps from a Germanic name meaning “battle bliss” or “battle joy” from Germanic element hadu (battle) and Anglo-Saxon wynn (joy, bliss). It could also simply be a variant of Hedwig meaning “battle war”.

Origin: Welsh, Ancient Germanic

Variants:

  • Heddwen (Welsh female form of Heddwyn).

 

Lukan

Lukan is a variant spelling of Lucan, derived from Roman Lucanus meaning “from Lucania”, referring to someone who came from the city of Lucania located in southern Italy. The name seems to be derived from Ancient Greek *leukos meaning “white” and “bright, shining”, or it could be derived from Latin lucus meaning “sacred wood” or “sacred grove” (lucus is also a cognate of lucere meaning “shining, bright” from the same root word as *leukos). Lucan is also a place name in Ireland, deriving its name from Gaelic Leamhcán meaning “place of the elms” from leamhán (elm) and ceann (headland, point).

As well as being a given name, Lukan is also a surname which seems to be derived from the given name. Lucan is also the name of a character in the Arthurian legend, a knight of the Round Table, as well as Butler of the royal court.

Origin: Ancient Greek, Latin, Gaelic

Variants:

  • Lucan (English, Ancient Roman)
  • Lucanus (Ancient Roman)
  • Loukanos (Ancient Greek)

 

Gillian

Gillian is the Medieval feminine form of Julian, which comes from the Roman family name Julius which is either possibly derived from Latin ioulos meaning “downy-bearded” or it could be related to the Roman god Jupiter, which is made up of Indo-European *Dyeu-pater, dyeus meaning “shine” or “sky” and pater meaning “father”.

Gillian is also a surname, the Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Gileáin meaning “son of Gileán”, the latter derived from personal name Gealán, a diminutive of geal meaning “bright, white”.

The name Gillian has two possible pronunciations, either with a hard like Gilbert, or like a j, like Julian.

Origin: Latin, Indo-European, Gaelic

Variants:

  • Jillian (English)

 

Nola

Nola is a short form of Finola, an Anglicized form of Fionnuala meaning “white shoulder” from Irish elements fionn (white, fair) and guala (shoulder). It could also be a nickname for Magnolia, a flower named after French botanist Pierre Magnol; the closest I could find about the name is that it might possibly be a diminutive of given name Magnus, a Latin name meaning “great”.

Nola could also be a feminine form of Nolan, itself derived from Irish surname Ó Nualláin meaning “descendant of Nuallán”, Nuallán meaning “noble, famous”.

Nola is also a town in Campania, Italy, and one that seems to have a long history. It was fought over for control by Hannibal and the Romans three times when the former invaded Italy and failed. I couldn’t find what the etymology behind the name is but it might have derived its name from Latin nola meaning “bell” since the first use of bells for Church services began there.

Origin: Irish, Latin

Variants:

  • Nuala (Irish)
  • Nolene (English)

 

Male forms:

  • Nolan (English, Irish)

 

Birch

Birch is the name of a tree from Old English berc and beorc meaning “birch” which comes from a Proto-Indo-European source meaning “to gleam, shine, white”. Birch is also a surname referring to someone who lived near some birch trees.

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

 

Jennifer

Jennifer is the Cornish form of Welsh name Gwenhwyfar (from which the name Guinevere comes from) meaning “fair phantom” or “white phantom” or “white specter” from Celtic elements gwen (white, fair, blessed) and sebara (phantom, demon, spirit, specter, magical being).

Nicknames include: Jen, Jenny/Jennie and Jenna

Origin: Welsh

Variants:

  • Jenifer (English, Cornish)
  • Yenifer (Spanish)
  • Jenna (English)
  • Gwenifer (Cornish)
  • Guinevere (Norman French)
  • Guenevere
  • Gwenhwyfar (Welsh)
  • Gwenevere (English)