Holland

Origin: Dutch, English, Irish

Meaning: from Middle Dutch holtland meaning “wooded land” or “wood land”.

It’s also derived from an English locational name meaning “ridge land”.

I’ve also seen it as being an Anglicized form of Gaelic surname O’hÓileáin from personal name Faolan meaning “wolf”, or the Anglicized form of Ó’hUallacháin meaning “descendent of Uallachán”, the latter meaning “proud” or “arrogant” (the surnames have also been Anglicized as Houlihan and Holohan).

Roland

Origin: Germanic

Meaning: from Germanic elements hrod “fame” and land “land” meaning “famous land”.

Rolande is the French feminine form of the name, while Rolanda is also a feminine form of the name.

Variants: Rolland, Rowalnd, Orlando (Italian), Rolando (Italian, Spanish)

Ellen

Origin: English, Greek, Dutch

Meaning: a medieval form of Helen, probably derived from Greek ‘ελενη (helene) meaning “torch” or “corposant” or possibly related to Greek σεληνη (selene) meaning “moon”.

Ellen is also a short form of Dutch Eleonora, a cognate of Eleanor meaning “the other Aenor”.

Variants: Helen, Helene, Helena, Hellen, Elena, Eleni, Elene

Tatiana

Origin: Latin

Meaning: the feminine form of Tatianus, a derivative of Tatius, of unknown meaning.

Tatiana is a name mentioned once in Book 4 (The Miserable Mill), as a friend of the author Lemony Snicket.

Tanya/Tania is a short form of the name.

Variants: Tatyana (Russian); Tatjana (Finnish, German), Tatianna, Tatyanna (English); Tatianus (m); Tatienne (French)

Olaf

Origin: Old Norse

Meaning: from Old Norse Áleifr meaning “ancestor’s descendant” or “ancestor’s relics” from Old Norse elements anu (ancestor, father) and leifr (descendant, heir, heritage).

Variants: Olav (Norwegian, Danish); Oluf (Danish).

Count Olaf is the main antagonist of the series, relentlessly pursuing the Baudelaire children for their fortune.

Josephine

Origin: French, English

Meaning: the French feminine form of Joseph from the Hebrew Yosef meaning “He will add” or “God shall add”.

Josephine Anwhistle is one of the guardians of the Baudelaires’ in the 3rd book (The Wide Window), a woman who loves grammar and was absolutely afraid of everything- doorknobs, stoves, and even realtors.

Variants: Joséphine (French); Josephina

Georgina

Origin: English

Meaning: feminine form of George which comes from Greek georgos (γεωργος) meaning “farmer, earthworker”, from Greek elements ge (γη) “earth” and ergon (εργον) “work”.

Georgina Orwell is one of the antagonists in Book 4 (The Miserable Mill), an associate of Count Olaf’s who tries to help him steal the Baudelaire fortune. She meets a particularly gruesome end. Georgina Orwell is a nod to George Orwell

Esmé, Esmée

Origin: Old French

Meaning: “esteemed” or “beloved” from Old French Aimé. Apparently, Esmé was first recorded for Esmé Stuart, Duke of Lennox (1542-1583) in Scotland, whose parents’ had French ties.

Esmé Squalor is one of the guardians of the Baudelaire children in Book 6 (The Ersatz Elevator), who turns out to be one of the villains and girlfriend of Count Olaf.

Helena

Origin: Greek, Latin

Meaning: Latin form of Helen, which comes from Greek helene meaning “torch” or “corposant”, or possibly related to selene meaning “moon”

‘Ελενη (Greek)

Helena has different pronounciations depending on where you’re from. It’s he-LE-nah, hay-LAY-nah or he-le-nah. I prefer the he-le-nah pronounciation.

Milan

Origin: Slavic

Милан (Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian)

Meaning: from Slavic element milu meaning :gracious, dear”. According to Wikipedia, it also has Indian and Latin origins; in Hindu it’s supposed to mean “eager”, “worthy”, or “competitor”, all coming from an expression meaning “a coming together”. In Latin, it’s supposed to mean “eager and laborious”

In Slavic-speaking countries, Milan is strictly a male name with Milana or Milena as its feminine counterparts, although it’s also been used for girls, probably inspired by the city in Italy (whose name comes from a different source- either from Latin or Celtic roots)