|Related Names:||Bertie, Bertita, Birdie|
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The name Bertha is derived from the Old German word behrt (or behrat), meaning “bright, famous, intelligent” and from the Old English beorht, which also means “bright.” It’s a name which has a rich history, beginning with Norse mythology.
Bertha was the goddess of spinning and domesticity. One telling of her story is that on the nights between Christmas and January 6th, she went through every street in every village and town, looking through every window to make sure the spinning was finished and had been done well. For the maidens who had taken care in doing their task, she left a gift of one of her own golden threads or a distaff full of extra-fine flax, but those who had been careless found their wheels broken and their flax spoiled.  Bertha herself was an excellent spinner and spent so much time pushing the treadle that she is often portrayed with a wide flat foot. This portrayal has led to speculation that she was, in fact, the original Mother Goose.
Also known as “The White Lady,” goddess of fertility, and protector of children, Bertha stole into nurseries at night and cared for the little ones while their mothers slept. In some versions of her tale, she tended the good children and punished the bad.
The Catholic Church has canonized four Berthas:
- St. Bertha (d. 612) was a Frankish princess and the first Christian queen of England. 
- St. Bertha (martyred 680) was abbess at Avenay, France. 
- St. Bertha (d. 725) married a nobleman and had five daughters. She entered a convent at Blangy, in Artois, France after her husband died. There she served as abbess and lived as a recluse. 
- St Bertha, who was related to the Dukes of Lorraine, owned grand properties along the Rhine River in Germany. After her pagan husband died, she raised their son, Rupert, as a Christian. Eventually, they gave away all their possessions and lived as hermits near Bingen. Rupert died when he was 20, and Bertha remained at Bingen until she died, 25 years later. 
Fast forward about 12 centuries to the First World War and “Big Bertha.” Big Bertha was an enormous siege morter developed and manufactured for the German Army by the Krupp armaments factory in Essen. Weighing in at 43 tons, the 420mm howitzer could fire a 2,100 pound shell over 9 miles. In order to transport the gun, it had to be disassembled and each section loaded onto its own tractor. When it arrived at its destination, a crew of 200 men worked six hours to reassemble it.
In Big Bertha, the German Army got just what it had asked for – a weapon that could destroy fortresses. In August, 1914, the Germans set their sights on the fortress town of Liege, Belgium, which was surrounded by 12 forts. They attacked on the 6th, and by the 10th, two of the forts had fallen. Then, on the 12th, two Big Berthas were brought in and opened fire on the 10 remaining forts, the last of which fell only three days later. Big Berthas were also used at the beginning of the Second Battle of Ypres, which resulted the total destruction of that city.
Bertha was a very popular name at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. In 1880, it was the 8th most popular baby girl name in the United States, but from then on it declined and by 1990, it was down to 991st, before disappearing from the top 1000 list in 2000. 
- A bertha is a sort of collar women in the mid 1800s wore on their shoulders over a low-cut dress. 
- In numerology, people named Bertha tend toward humanitarianism. They’re nurturing, affectionate, and romantic, and they tend to fall in love easily.
- Bertha Mason is the mad woman in the attic in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
- Bertha Raffetto (1885-1952) wrote Nebraska’s state song, “Home Means Nevada.” 
- Rent a Bertha movie tonight: 
- John W. Wilson and Bertha Waring (1895)
- Bertha's Mission (1911)
- Bertha, the Buttonhole-Maker (1914)
- Bertha, the Sewing Machine Girl (1926)
- Big Berthas (1928)
- Bertha (1971)
- Boxcar Bertha (1972)
- The Night They Robbed Big Bertha's (1975)
- Bored with the movies? Try rockin’ out to some Bertha songs:
- Bertha places: 
- Bertha, AL, AR, FL, MD, MN, MO, NE, NC, OR, PA, VA, and WV
- In Alaska – Bertha Glacier, Bertha Bay, and Mount Bertha
- In California – Bertha Ridge, Bertha Peak, and Bertha Canyon
- In Colorado – Bertha Gulch
- In Idaho – Bertha Hill
- In Kentucky – Bertha Hollow
- In Texas – Bertha Acres Colonia
- In Utah – Bertha Hollow
- In West Virginia – Bertha Hill
- In Wyoming – Bertha Canyon
- Bertha Sophie Filicita von Suttner (born 1843, died 1914), Austrian author, first woman to win Nobel Peace Prize, 1905
- Bertha Teague, member National Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
- Bertha Townsend, US Open Tennis Champion in 1888 and 1889
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Ross, Wayne. "The Bertha Butt Boogie ." The Mad Music Archive. 16 Apr 2008 <http://www.themadmusicarchive.com/song_details.aspx?SongID=1951/>.
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Author: Madeleine Wieder
|Meaning||bright, famous +|
|Meaningnc||bright, famous +|
|Rank in 2000s||0 +|
|Related||Bertie +, Bertita +, and Birdie +|