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Have you ever wondered what your name means? Does it have a family history? Where are your name’s origins? We always did here at Her Campus Geneseo.

People don’t usually get to choose our names because we’re babies. So, we’ve asked our parents, guardians and the Internet to figure out what our names really mean.

Let’s see what our names really name.


Margaux Carmel

According to this website, my name was popularized by Hemingway’s daughter Margaux. Her name was originally spelled Margot, but she changed it after she found out that her parents conceived her while drinking a bottle of Chateau Margaux wine. That wine is French, which makes sense for me because I am Québécois and my family takes great pride in our Canadian and French heritage!


Rebecca Williamson

My name literally means “servant of god.” My name is one of the first names from the Old Testament; however, it was originally spelled Rebekah. Now, there are so many different spellings. I’ve seen quite a few odd ones, even ‘Rabecca’ which makes no sense. My parents chose the name because of a tradition where the family takes the first letter from the name of older relatives. I got the letter “R” from my great grandfather and grandpa. I guess a lot of names start with “R,” but I prefer Rebecca so much more than Rachel anyways.


Victoria Cooke

The name “Victoria” means “Victorious” because I’m obviously a winner. Victoria was the name of the Roman goddess of victory, so that’s actually pretty cool since I’m Italian. My middle name is Jayne spelled with a ‘y’ because Jane is just too plain. Apparently, Jayne means “God has been gracious.” I’m sure my parents chose this name for me since I am a gift to the world. And my last name means exactly what you’d think—that one of my ancestors must have been a cook.  I suppose the added ‘e’ is just to add extra flair. So in full, my name technically translates to “Victorious gracious cook’ so basically I’m a cooking GODDESS. In reality, I think my parents just liked the sound of my first and middle name together.


Sydney Julien 

My dad tells me that Sydney is a janky pronunciation of Saint Dennis who used to be the patron Saint of France. Julien means my ancestors were from Julien, France before they were shipped off to Québec. This isn’t even true since the original Julien who came to Canada was actually Polish, but adopted a French name to fit in better. 


Emily Tsoi

My first name means “trying to equal or excel, riva.l” I think this is pretty funny since in the year I was born, 26,527 other people in the U.S. were also given the name Emily and now there’s almost always another Emily or two in each of my classes. In naming us Emily, were our parents setting us up to compete with one another as we grew up or trying to start an army of Emilys to take over the world?


Kayla Glennon

My parents really must have picked my name out of nowhere because it has Arabic and Hebrew origin meaning “Laurel, crown” according to this website, which has nothing to do with our family history. I didn’t find out until I was like19 that apparently they picked the name when my mom was pregnant and they went to Jack Astor’s at the Walden Galleria in Buffalo. They wrote a bunch of names on the table, which included Kayla, and ended up circling my name. It’s a cute story, but I wish they told me earlier!


We hope we’ve inspired you to go seek out your own name origins!

Rebecca is a senior and the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Geneseo. She is a double major in English (Creative Writing) and Communication. Rebecca is also the Copy Editor for the student newspaper The Lamron, Co-Managing Editor of Gandy Dancer, a Career Peer Mentor in the Department of Career Development, and a Reader for The Masters Review. She hopes to work in the publishing industry and pitch articles to different magazines. When Rebecca is not reading, writing and editing, she can be found dancing with OGX on campus. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Becca_Willie04!
Victoria Cooke is a Senior History and Adolescence Education major with a Women's and Gender Studies minor at SUNY Geneseo. Apart from being an editor and the founder of Her Campus at Geneseo, she is also the co-president of Voices for Planned Parenthood and a Curator for TEDxSUNYGeneseo. Her passions include feminism, reading, advocating for social justice, and crafting. In the future, she hopes to inspire the next generation of history nerds and activists.
Emily Tsoi

Geneseo '21

Emily Tsoi is a Senior English major with a minor in Art History. She is an avid journal writer who has one too many rolls of washi tape. When she isn’t studying or journaling, she enjoys reading, watching 80s movies and going to baseball games.
Kayla Glennon

Geneseo '21

Kayla is a junior English major who is optimistic but enjoys exploring lots of emotions, not just ignoring the "bad" ones. They love writing silly things but also being serious, because there are a lot of things that matter and need to be talked about, but giving yourself a break is important too. They love writing about literature but also coming up with ideas for stories of their own. Kayla is constantly just trying to be themself and trying to be around people that make them happy.
Sydney is a member of the class of 2020 majoring in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in French. She is also Vice President of Geneseo's club figure skating team and coaches local kids in the sport on the weekends. While she's not really sure where life is going to take her yet, she's optimistic about the future.
Margaux (they/them) is a senior Women and Gender Studies major at SUNY Geneseo. Outside of Her Campus, they work at Geneseo's Office of Diversity and Equity, is on the executive board of Pride Alliance, and is an active Safe Zone trainer. They love to write about diversity, mental health, and environmentalism, with the occasional goofy topic or two (or five). Margaux hopes to someday be the coolest gender studies professor you will ever have.
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