As an English name, Abigail first became common after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans. The biblical Abigil refers to herself as a servant, and beginning in the 17th century the name became a slang term for a servant, especially after the release of the play 'The Scornful Lady' (1616) which featured a character named Abigail. The name went out of fashion at that point, but it was revived in the 20th century.
The name has been used by kings of Scotland, Poland and Yugoslavia, emperors of Russia, and eight popes. Other notable bearers include English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), American statesman Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), Scottish-Canadian explorer Sir Alexander MacKenzie (1764-1820), Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), and Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor of the telephone.
Due to the popularity of the saint, the name became common in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was commonly spelled Cecily - the Latinate form Cecilia came into use in the 18th century.
Famous bearers include the British author Emily Brontë (1818-1848), who wrote 'Wuthering Heights', and the American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).
Despite this potentially negative association, the name was occasionally used by Christians during the Middle Ages. In the English-speaking world both Eve and the Latin form Eva were revived in the 19th century.
As an English name, Hannah was not regularly used until after the Protestant Reformation. The Greek and Latin version Anna, which is used in the New Testament, has traditionally been more common as a Christian name.
In the Middle Ages this name was common in England, partly because of a second saint by this name, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury. Likewise it has been common in Ireland due to the 12th-century Saint Laurence O'Toole (whose real name was Lorcán). Since the 19th century the spelling Lawrence has been more common, especially in America. A famous bearer was the British actor Laurence Olivier (1907-1989).
Apart from royalty, this name was only moderately popular in France during the Middle Ages. After the French Revolution, when Louis XVI was guillotined, it became less common.
The Normans brought the name to England, where it was usually spelled Lewis, though the spelling Louis has been more common in America. Famous bearers include French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), Métis leader Louis Riel (1844-1885), who led a rebellion against Canada, Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), who wrote 'Treasure Island' and 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', and American jazz musician Louis Armstrong (1901-1971).
This was the name of two ruling queens of Portugal. It was also borne by the Habsburg queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), whose inheritance of the domains of her father, the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI, began the War of the Austrian Succession.
An influential bearer of the name was Martin Luther (1483-1546), the theologian who began the Protestant Reformation. The name was also borne by five popes (two of them more commonly known as Marinus). Other more recent bearers include the German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929-1968), and the American filmmaker Martin Scorsese (1942-).
As a Christian name, Samuel came into common use after the Protestant Reformation. Famous bearers include American inventor Samuel Morse (1791-1872), Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and American author Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain.
In England, Sarah came into use after the Protestant Reformation. A notable bearer was Sarah Churchill (1660-1744), an influential British duchess and a close friend of Queen Anne.