I have seen Hazel
used as a male name in the 19th century USA before. This could have come about in two different ways:
1. It could be a transfer to given name status of the surname Hazel
. In the early 19th century it was common for parents to give a son almost any surname of a relative, friend, or famous person that they admired as his first name.
2. I think it may also in some cases come from confusing the Old Testament male name Hazael
(Hebrew "God sees" according to Who's Who in the Old Testament
) with Hazel
in the Bible was a general of Aram
(present day southern Syria) who visits the prophet Elisha
and is told he will become king of Aram
turns this into a self-fulfilling prophecy by going home, killing the present king, and usurping the throne. Hazael
is not presented positively in the Old Testament, but occasionally even Old Testament characters with an even worse press such as Jezebel
got real kids named after them in the 18th and 19th centuries.