Name: Ursula Carroll
What name you go by: Ursula, Urs, and when I was little, Ursa
Ethnic background: White
Place of birth: Michigan
Year of birth: 1980
Popularity of name that year: Ranked 916th.
Meaning/origins of name: A borrowing from Middle Latin, Ursula is a diminutive of the Latin ursa (she-bear). The name was borne by a legendary 4th-century saint, a Christian British princess said to have been martyred along with eleven thousand virgins by the Huns at Cologne. The story was very popular in the Middle Ages, which helped establish the name throughout England and Europe.
Why did your parents choose this name for you? They liked how it sounded and that it meant “bear,” which is a strong, significant animal in Native American culture, which my dad studied and respected. They also liked that it was literary–from D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love and The Rainbow.
Does your family have any naming traditions? No…not that I know of.
What names have people called you based on your name? Of course there is the Ursula the Sea Witch comparison, which arose when I was in elementary school. It bothered me slightly that Ursulas in popular culture were always negative characters, but I was never really that worked up about it.
Do you like your name? I love it. I loved that it was meaningful to my parents and that it was so unusual. I felt like I owned the name.
Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? No, not really. I have always liked it.
Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? Yes…I get mispellings. Usually Ursela or Ursella.
If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? I feel strongly identified with my name, so I don’t think I would change if I could.