Origin of the name GERTRUDE.
Etymology of the
Meaning of the baby name GERTRUDE.
English and French form of Old Norse Geirthrud,
meaning "spear maiden." (History
of Christian Names, Yonge, 1884). Diminutives, Gertie,
Usage: America, England, France.
Gertrude Stein (d. 1946), was an American art
collector, poet and writer. Getrude Lawrence (d. 1952), was an
have called their girls Gertrude have imagined the name to mean "a
maiden trusted and true," but this is an error.
From Gar = a spear, we have War, which is precisely
the same word as the French guerre. Gher, or gier, in Valkyr days
meant "spear," and trude or thrüdr (also a Valkyr name) means
"maiden" and not "truth."
In the realm of Church history and legendary lore we
find four St. Gertrudes, each of whom did much towards popularizing
The first of these was the daughter of Pepin of
Landen, and a younger sister of St. Beggha. Born in A.D. 626, she
was brought up in her father's palace, but early evincing a preference
for a single life was not pressed to marry. By her mother Itta's
desire a nunnery was built for St. Gertrude at Nivelle in Brabant, and
she became its abbess at the early age of twenty, performing the onerous
duties of the office with "prudence, zeal, and virtue."
She courted poverty in her own person, but enriched the poor, and by
much prayer and meditation "obtained wonderful lights from
heaven." At the age of thirty she resigned her office in
favour of a niece, and during the three years of life which remained to
her spent her days in preparing for her death. More than one
miracle is ascribed to her during her life, and ten years after her
death her spirit is said to have "appeared visibly" in the
College of Nivelle, for the purpose of extinguishing a fire, which would
otherwise have destroyed the entire building.
Perhaps the most popular of all the Saint Gertrudes
was born at Eisleben (Luther's birthplace) in Upper Saxony: she at the
early age of five years was dedicated to a religious life and placed in
the Benedictine Nunnery of Rodalsdorf, where twenty-five years later she
officiated as Abbess. It is said that she was subject to ecstacies
and visions, and spent much time in watching, fasting and all forms of
self-denial, being remarkable for her profound humility and her devotion
to the service of others. She published a much esteemed devotional
book called Divine Insinuations, or Communication and Sentiments of
Love, and was a good Latin scholar. After faithfully
fulfilling the duties of abbess for forty years, Saint Gertrude died in
1292. Her memory is still held dear in the land of her birth.
Saint Gertrude of Ostend was of lowly parentage, and
was at one time betrothed to a young man who jilted her for the sake of
another woman with a larger dowry. She was famed for her ecstacies,
in which she would sometimes remain wrapped for weeks, for having had
the stigmata or five wounds, and for having worked many miracles.
She died in 1358.
Finally there was Saint Gertrude of Vaux-en-Dieulet,
she who on arriving in the valley of Argonne, on the borders of the Vaux,
could find no water anywhere. Thereupon Saint Gertrude touched the
earth with a stick and a fountain of clear water bubbled up, which has
continued to flow until this day, and is known as the "Fountain of
Saint Gertrude," lying somewhere to the west of Dieulet.
In literature, there is Gertrude in Eastward Ho,
a drama by John Marston, and Thomas Campbell's poem on the destruction
of the village of Wyoming in Pennsylvania in 1778, called Gertrude of
Wyoming. Gertrude of Wyoming is the daughter of the patriarch
of the village, Albert. (Girls' Christian Names, Swan, 1905)