Names from the Hemingway Family


Ernest Hemingway was one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. He was a Nobel Prizing winning author and a legendary man. His life, family tragedies, and novels continue to be written about. Today I thought we’d take a look at names from Hemingway’s family tree.


Ernest in 1918 & 1952

Ernest Hemingway in 1918 (left) & in 1952 (right)

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899.

Ernest was #27 the U.S. year Hemingway was born. It has dropped 906 spots and is currently #933. Ernest comes from a German name, meaning “serious”. Oscar Wilde created one of the most notable characters named Ernest in, The Importance of Being Ernest. With so many vintage names making a comeback, is there room for Ernest?

Miller is an English occupational name, meaning “grinder of grain”. Currently #943, Miller is a familiar surname that I expect to see rise in use as a first name. Stella McCartney used this name for her son, Miller Alasdhair James Willis in 2005.

Hemingway – I’ve always thought there was something so romantic and lyrical about the sound of the name Hemingway. An English surname and place name, Hemingway is definitely closely associated with this writer. I think Hemingway would be a cool name to use in a novel as a little nod to Ernest Hemingway.

 Parents & Siblings

The Hemingway's 1905 Left to right: Marcelline, Madelaine, Clarence, Grace, Ursula, & Ernest. Before the births of Carol & Leicester.

The Hemingway’s 1905
Left to right: Marcelline, Madelaine, Clarence, Grace, Ursula, & Ernest.
Before the births of Carol & Leicester.

Ernest was the second of six children born to Dr. Clarence Edmonds Hemingway and Grace-Hall Hemingway.

Clarence, like Ernest is a name that has fallen out of fashion. A Latin name, meaning “bright”, Clarence always reminds me of George Bailey’s lovable guardian angel in the film, It’s a Wonderful Life. Clarence Hemingway went by the nickname “Ed”.

Grace however, is still widely being used. Currently #22 in the U.S., Grace is quite popular in many English-speaking countries. An English virtue name, Grace not only has a great meaning but it also has the classy association to the timeless beauty, Grace Kelly.

Ernest had one brother and four sisters.  The birth order of the Hemingway siblings; Marcelline (1898), Ernest (1899), Ursula (1902), Madelaine “Sunny” (1904), Carol (1911), and Leicester Clarence (1915).

Marcelline is French from a Latin name, meaning “dedicated to Mars”.  Pronounced mahr-say-LEEN. Marcelline is a lovely, feminine name that has never been in the U.S. top 1,000.

Ursula comes from the Latin  name Ursa, meaning “little female bear”.  Although this name has an adorable meaning, it is closely associated with the villain in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Madelaine went by the nickname “Sunny”.  Madelaine is a French name meaning “high tower” or “woman from Magdala”. The spelling Madeleine is much more popular in the U.S.

Carol is an English name that comes from the name Charles, meaning “free man”.  Carol can also refer to a “song or hymn”. Originally a male name, Carol became popular for girls in the late 1930’s.  Carol however, has not been in the top 1,000 for either sex since 2006.

Leicester is a rare English name, meaning “from Leicester”.  Leicester is pronounced “Lester”.  Neither Lester or Leicester are quite due for a comeback.  Lester was most popular in 1906 when it was #52.  It fell out of the top 1,000 in 2009.

 Wives of Hemingway

Ernest with first wife Hadley Richardson

Ernest with first wife, Hadley Richardson

Ernest Hemingway had four wives and was rumored to have had several mistresses.

❤ Elizabeth Hadley Richardson “Hadley” was Hemingway’s first wife.
Hadley is an English surname and unisex name, meaning “heather field”.  Similar in sound to names like Hailey and Hattie, Hadley has been climbing the charts and is currently #111 for girls in the U.S.

❤ Pauline Marie Pfeiffer “Fife” was Hemingway’s second wife.
Pauline was popular in the 1920’s and 30’s but has steadily declined since the 1940’s.  No longer in the top 1,000, Pauline is a feminine form of the name Paul, meaning “small”.

❤ Martha Ellis Gellhorn was the third wife of Hemingway.
Martha is slipping each year in popularity, currently #803. An Aramaic name, meaning “lady or mistress”, Martha has a very traditional sound.

❤ Mary Welsh was Hemingway’s fourth wife and widow.
Mary is one of the most classic and timeless female names. #1 in popularity from 1880 through 1946, Mary is currently #121. A Hebrew, meaning “bitter”, many names are derived from Mary.

 Hemingway’s Sons

Ernest with sons Patrick & Gregory

Ernest with sons Patrick & Gregory

Ernest Hemingway had three children, all boys.

John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway “Jack” was Ernest’s oldest son with his first wife, Hadley Richardson.  As a small child, Hadley and Ernest affectionately called Jack, “Bumby”.
Jack is a diminutive of the name John, meaning “God is gracious”.  At #40 in the U.S., Jack is now more popular than John, which sits at #27.

Patrick Hemingway is Ernest’s second son and first son from his second marriage with Pauline Pfeiffer.
Patrick is often thought to be an Irish name, because of Saint Patrick, though it is actually a Latin name. Patrick means “nobleman or patrician”.  Currently #154 in the U.S., Patrick has never been lower than #166 in popularity.

Gregory Hancock Hemingway is Ernest’s third and youngest son with his second wife, Pauline Pfieffer.  Gregory was known to go by many nicknames, including Gig, Gigi, and Gloria.
Gregory is a Greek name meaning, “watchful”.  Once associated with Old Hollywood, modern parents may be more inclined to use a name with a similar sound like, Gregor.

 Hemingway’s Grandchildren

Two of Hemingway's granddaughters, Margaux and Mariel

Two of Hemingway’s granddaughters, Margaux and Mariel

Jack Hemingway married Byra “Puck” L. Whittlesey.  Together they had three daughters.  Joan “Muffet”, Margot Louise “Margaux”, and Mariel Hadley.

Joan is an English name that comes from John, meaning “God is gracious”. No longer in the top 1,000, Joan was #40 in 1950 when Joan Hemingway was born.  Joan was often called “Muffet” by her family.

Margot is a French diminiutive of Margaret, meaning “pearl”.  Margaux Hemingway adopted a new spelling of her name after she learned she was named for a wine, Château Margaux, her parents drank the night she was conceived.

Mariel is one of the many names that is derived from Mary, meaning “bitter”.  This melodic name was only briefly in the top 1,000 from 1985-1994. Mariel has two daughters, Dree Crisman and Langley Fox Crisman.

Patrick Hemingway had one child, an adopted daughter named Mina Hemingway.

Mina is often a diminutive of longer names, like Wilhelmina. The character in Dracula, is one of the most memorable bearers of this sweet little name.  Mina has risen 246 in the past 7 years and is currently #753.

Gregory Hemingway married 5 times, twice to the same woman.  He had eight children, including an adopted stepson – Lorian, John, Brendan, Maria, Patrick, Sean, Edward, and Vanessa.

Lorian comes from the names Laura, meaning “bay laurel”, and Ann, meaning “grace”.  This spelling is quite rare. Lorian has a daughter named Cristen Hemingway Jaynes.

John Patrick Hemingway was named for his two Uncles.  John is a timeless classic meaning, “God is gracious”.

Brendan is a hearty Irish name that means, “Prince”. Popular in the 1990’s, I suspect similar sounding names like Brayden are pulling from Brendan’s popularity.

Maria is a form of the name Mary, meaning “bitter”. A popular name in many counties, Maria is now more popular in the U.S. than the name Mary.

Patrick is one of the names we see repeat in the Hemingway family tree (see above for more info). I think Patrick would make a handsome middle name choice.

Sean is an Irish form of the name John, meaning “God is gracious”. A solid little name, Sean started gaining popularity in the mid 60’s and stayed popular through the late 90’s.

Edward is an English name meaning, “wealthy guardian”.  There are many famous bearers of this name.  In pop culture there’s Edward Scissorhands and Edward Cullen. 

Vanessa is an invented name by writer Jonathan Swift. I love that Vanessa is also the name of a species of butterfly.

What are your favorite names from the Hemingway family tree?

One response to “Names from the Hemingway Family

  1. Michael Thornton

    Mina Hemingway’s birth name is Edwina.

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