It turns out that finding two names as a single entry on Behind the Name is problematic, so today's is a two-for-one deal. (Can't wait until we get to Jim-Bob.)
Mary is the English form of Maria, which comes from the Hebrew Miryam. Behind the Name lists several possible meanings, including "rebelliousness", which kinda works for Mary Ellen Walton (as rebellious as a Walton gets, anyway), or "beloved", which is sweet and more like Mary Ingalls.
Ellen is a form of Helen, which means "torch". Both names have fallen off in popularity as standalone names in recent years. Mary Ellen peaked in the 1940s, and not even a fun-loving Walton could save its freefall off the popular-name charts.
|There's an astronaut named|
Mary Ellen! Awesome. Source.
Fictional Mary Ellens: Mary Ellen Walton, naturally, although I think of her more as a childhood friend than a fictional character.
My Mary Ellens: Believe it or not, I do know a Mary Ellen! She was a supervisor at a job many years ago, and if I may draw on the name's meaning-- yes, she was my beloved supervisor. (I don't know what I'll do if I ever get a job where I don't immediately love my supervisor six ways to Sunday.) The day she left was one of the saddest days of my life. I seriously cried at work for a week. I've never written a Mary Ellen, mostly because of that "Mary Ellen Walton was my best friend" thing.
Do you know any Mary Ellens? Were you as attached to the Walton family as I was?
Behind the Name
Baby Name Wizard