This thread quickly wandered into a discussion of the wonderful 1952 film version of The Importance of Being Earnest directed by Anthony Asquith, with Michael Redgrave, Margaret Rutherford, Dorothy Tutin, Joan Greenwood, and of course Edith Evans as the definitive Lady Bracknell. In connection with that, I would like to bring to your attention the surprising etymology of the name Algernon, as presented by the Hanks/Hodges Dictionary of First Names:
English: of Norman French origin. In Norman French it was a byname meaning ‘moustached’ (from grenon, gernon moustache, of Germanic origin). The Normans were as a rule clean-shaven, and this formed a suitable distinguishing nickname when it was applied to William de Percy, a companion of William the Conqueror. In the 15th century it was revived, with a sense of family tradition, as a byname or second given name for his descendant Henry Percy (1478-1527), and thereafter regularly used in that family. It was subsequently adopted into other families connected by marriage with the Percys, and eventually became common property.