This name was requested by Entity over at Behind The Name.
The name of a goddess associated with (according to what most scholars believe to be) the earth, Siv caught the interest of Entity, however it is a name more often used on elderly or middle-aged women throughout most of the Nordic countries, hence it’s uncommonly given to girls today.
According to Nordic Names, Siv is a “younger form of Sif.” Sif, in turn, has 2 (or 3, depending on how you look at them) etymologies:
- It can come from either sif or sifjar, both Old Norse in origin, meaning “wife, bride” or “affinity, connection by marriage” respectively…
- … or it can be a shortened form of Ellisif and its variant forms, Ellisif being the “Nordic form of Elisaveta,” which is how the Nordic countries spell Yelizaveta (Елизавета), the Russian form of Elizabeth.
The goddess I mentioned is actually called Sif. According to Dan McCoy of Norse Mythology for Smart People, she’s “said to be the mother of the similarly obscure god Ullr, whose unknown father is apparently someone other than Thor.” She, in passing references, is mentioned somewhat often and the second meaning given here suggests that that there is just a familial association, no personality or function.
Why was she associated with earth then? Dan said that many of the scholars have suggested, when referring to her magnificent hair and the golden colour of it, that “this is a symbol of a field of flowing grain ripe for the harvest.” Viewing her huge, golden hair from a comparative religious standpoint with the added knowledge one has about Thor would make the suggestion a “sound intuition.”
Now onto the main bit, which is, of course, the statistics.
According to the aforementioned site, Siv was first recorded in Norway in 1918, while its older form, Sif, was first recorded in Sweden (modern times) in 1871 and in the 19th century in Denmark. In Iceland, Siv was officially accepted as a given name on February 1, 2012.
The site also mentions that Siv saw its strongest usage in Sweden from 1930-1949. In Finland, according to the fourth source below, Siv saw its strongest usage there from 1940-59 (statistics include first and additional middle names) – I might assume that most of the Sivs in Finland are Swedish-speaking Finns. While it’s most often seen on women over the age of 55-60 in Sweden and Finland, in Norway, according to the last source below, Siv, interestingly enough, saw its strongest usage (used on over 300 women) from 1966-1974.
Current statistics show that:
- At this moment, in Norway, 6 girls born last year were named Siv.
- In Sweden, 9 girls were given this name last year (2013 was the last year that Siv was given to 10+ girls).
- In Denmark, 6 girls born in 2014 were named Siv.
- In Finland, from 2010-2015, 15 girls have Siv as either their first name or one of their middle names.
This name hasn’t appeared on the SSA list (United States) nor the ONS list (England & Wales), which makes it a rare, OK-ish name at the very least, however, to me, it does sound similar to “sieve,” even if it’s actually pronounced SEEV, so that puts me off a bit with this name.
If you have any thoughts on the name, the post, the statistics, anything relevant to this post, please comment below the ‘Sources’ section.
Norse Mythology for Smart People on Sif: http://norse-mythology.org/sif/
Nordic Names on Siv: http://www.nordicnames.de/wiki/Siv
Danmarks Statistik’s Name Barometer: http://www.dst.dk/da/Statistik/emner/navne/Baro
Finland’s Population Register Centre: http://verkkopalvelu.vrk.fi/Nimipalvelu/default.asp?L=3 (includes first and middle names on name statistics)
Statistics Sweden: http://www.scb.se/be0001/
Statistics Norway: http://www.ssb.no/navn/ (full data taken from residents – domestic and foreign- of Norway from 1945 to 2015)