Category: Family Names
This week’s news includes creative honor names, storms and stars, trends from New Zealand, and a baby aardvark.
News from the Midwest: honor names and Arabic names
One couple chose Lennie for their daughter. They started off looking for nicknames for Eleanor, then realized the nickname was what they really loved. (This reminds me of the parents who considered Hazel and Zelda for their daughter, before paring it down to short, sweet Zel.)
This week’s news includes Christmas babies, thankful names for miracle babies, and inspiration from high society.
While some of us were enjoying mince pies and Monopoly on Christmas day, others out there were busy having babies.
One was Poppy, born in a car in Minnesota – her parents say they might add a Christmassy middle name to mark the occasion. In England, baby Angel’s parents quickly changed their name plans when she arrived on Christmas day. Originally she was going to be called Daisy, but dad felt she needed something more festive.
Elsewhere in England, Santa visited a hospital – to give birth. It made the news when a mother called Santa had a baby girl called Rebeka on Christmas day, but it’s not an uncommon name in the mother’s home country of Latvia: it was in the top 100 until 2010.
Should they name their son Thor? He’s big on the heroic heritage pick, but she fears it might be too much name for a mere mortal.
I’m writing with an odd conundrum. My husband is dead set on naming our son Thor.
My husband’s family is Norwegian and very proud of their heritage though they’ve been in the US for several generations. My father-in-law is named Thor. My husband is one of the few men in his family without a clearly Scandinavian name. He’s Kurt, with family members called Lars, Per, Nils, Ole, Bjorn, and even Torbjor.
But he doesn’t want just any Scandinavian name. He wants to name his son after his father.
I shut down the possibility the minute we started talking about marriage and kids. I adore my father-in-law, and he wears his name well. He even loves Thor movie memorabilia.
Therein lies my problem. I fell asleep during the Avengers movie. My favorite names are Henry, Thomas, Jack, August, or Jude. Maybe something from a novel. I don’t want to explain for the rest of my life that he wasn’t named after a superhero. I can’t stop thinking about the looks I’d get from other parents. (I know I shouldn’t care, but I do.) Plus, we plan on having more than one child. What would we possibly name a sibling for Thor?
And yet, since we found out we were having a boy, Thor is starting to grow on me! I love seeing how excited it makes my husband to talk about how much my father-in-law would love it. I know a little boy would probably love to be named Thor, and now a tiny part of my brain is considering it, which I never thought would happen. Am I going crazy? Can I name a child Thor? Should I?
I spent much of last winter devouring a book called A Dictionary of English Surnames, by Reaney and Wilson, which presents family names used and recorded in England dating from back to when surnames first started being documented there (after the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century) up to the present day.
I was surprised and delighted by the meanings and/or origins of so many of the entries, several of which seem to cater neatly to the modern desire for creative first names, interesting nicknames, and offbeat ways of honoring relatives or other important people. In addition, their deep roots and historic usage give them a gravitas that other unusual names sometimes lack.
Here are some of my favorites:
Parents have been naming babies after other people since they started naming babies. No other naming tradition has endured and thrived across so many different cultures and time periods. The exact approach varies — many Jewish families, for example, name babies after deceased relatives, and WASPs often name the firstborn son after the father — but the basic idea remains the same.
We asked you, a few weeks ago, what you thought of cross-gender namesakes for kids born today. But a super-hot thread on the Nameberry forums made us curious about you, our beloved Berries. Were you named after someone?
It doesn’t have to be a relative. Maybe you were named after Isabel Allende, Rosa Parks or Amedeo Modigliani! Nor does it have to be your first name — we’re certainly interested in your middle name as well. We want to know it all!
We’re also curious about how you feel about your namesakes. Do you feel a kinship with them? Have they influenced your own behavior?