Tired of Riley and Bailey? Here’s another jaunty surname to consider, though it might scream Wild Blue Yonder to some.
Thanks to Elta for suggesting Langley as Baby Name of the Day.
Baby name devotees recognize -ley names as place names, usually describing a wooded area. In Langley’s case, the lang means long, so a long wood –
There are two other possible origins:http://appellationmountain.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6153&action=edit
- There’s an Old Norse feminine appellation Langlíf – long life;
- In French, l’anglais referred to an Englishman and became the surname Langlais or Langlois.
The de Langley family came from France to England with William the Conqueror, and eventually settled in Lancashire. Subsequent generations were powerful into the 1500s. Fourteenth-century Thomas Langley served as Lord Chancellor of England. There’s still a Langley Castle in England, and there are places bearing the name throughout the English-speaking world.
Langley could be just another aristocratic surname, but there’s the considerable legacy of Samuel Pierpont Langley to consider. Born in Massachusetts in 1836, Langley was a scientist and aviation pioneer. Among his many achievements, he was the Smithsonian’s third secretary, and founder of the Smithsonian Observatory at Harvard. Langley also served as Chair of Mathematics at the United States Naval Academy.
He never did design a fully functional aircraft – though his Great Aerodome came close, after many improvements made after his death, and eleven years after the Wright Brothers’ sucess at Kitty Hawk. But his contributions to science are considerable, and everything from the Ly – a unit of energy used to measure solar radiation – to an Air Force base are named in his honor.
In 1916, Langley Air Force Base opened near Hampton, Virginia. It was pre-World War I. The base is still in existence today. Over the years, it has hosted a flying field, test course, training space, engineering labs, and served as an active part of the US’ coastal defense system. Technically it is now known as Joint Base Langley-Eustis; it is open to the public for a huge air show every May.
With so much history, many of us link Langley and flight, giving the name an adventurous spirit.
A handful of other references include:
- Bearers of the surname are many, like Australian poet and author Eve Langley;
- In 1979 All My Children introduced con man character Langley Wallingford. He’d adopted his posh identity after shedding the humble given name Lenny. Langley was intent on marrying the wealthy Phoebe for her money, but they fell in love anyhow, and he was a series regular until the actor’s death in 2001;
- Fort Langley, British Columbia, figures in Canada’s history, as a former outpost of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Mariel Hemingway named her second daughter Langley in the late 1980s. (Big sister is Dree.) But the name failed to chart then, and still has only been used sparingly over the years.
This could be a great alternative to Avery and Delaney, Harper and Madison. With so little use, it is safe to say that you could certainly call a son Langley, but something about the sound suggests the Langley might be among the surname choices embraced by parents for their daughters.