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Names: My newspaper column: Now featuring a time-traveling nurse and an Omaha elephant


Ormond
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On 6/6/2017 at 0:08 PM, Ormond said:

The name of the Queen of Sheba is not given in the Bible. Bilqis (which also turns up as Balquis, Balkis, Belkis, and Bilkis) is a name originally assigned to her in Islamic commentaries on the story. It is not sure where it comes from, but it may be an "Arabized" version of a Hebrew word meaning "concubine."

Here is the link to today's column:

http://www.omaha.com/living/evans-lion-s-share-of-daniel-s-cachet-is-thanks/article_84941b56-5e85-5ee1-960c-8252f1c85b2d.html

Thank you for the information. I really appreciate it when you respond to my queries. I think you are awesome. In your Daniel column you posted: "Daniel, like most Old Testament names, receded in popularity in the late 19th century, but it never became rare." Is there a theory on why these names receded?

 

Edited by Baitac
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Here is the link to today's column:

http://www.omaha.com/living/evans-today-is-the-st-birthday-of-the-united-states/article_92a8179b-c2bd-556a-be04-377ab9e43919.html

There is a third theory of the origin of the name America -- a few British authors like to claim it comes from the surname of Richard Ameryk, a wealthy merchant of Bristol, England who supposedly financed the voyages of John Cabot. However, there is no written record that Ameryk ever backed Cabot's voyages in any way -- the only record is that Ameryk, as the customs inspector for the port of Bristol, was given the task of paying Cabot the pension the king granted him after those voyages were over.

Old Testament names receding during the 19th century is just part of the changes going on in American culture, where people were no longer likely to go directly to the Bible for baby names, instead finding them in other literature or in the newspapers of the day. 

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A colleague has named his new son Tobias. I remember you've talked previously about differences between "formal" and shortened versions of names, I was wondering if you have anything specifically on Tobias vs Toby

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http://www.omaha.com/living/evans-mccartney-is-a-rare-talent-and-a-historically-rare/article_c9883ef3-c286-515b-87f2-8d89e6f85e06.html

Above is the latest column. Sorry it is over a week late but back on July 18 when I went to post this site was down and I then got too busy and forgot.

Maltaran, I am not sure what you are asking. Do you want to know the relative numbers of babies born named Toby vs. Tobias? Or something else?

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Here's the link to today's column:

http://www.omaha.com/living/evans-august-a-name-with-ancient-roots-is-again-in/article_47a8d2db-2ea8-54bf-acdb-422ea7918f58.html

I unfortunately made a mistake in the name of the actor who played the title character in "August Rush." It's Freddie Highmore, not Claymore. My apologies to him and his fans.

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Hi Ormond! Thank you for your column. I was wondering why the US government decided to start keeping a list of baby names in 1880. What was the rationale behind it or benefit to the government? It's very interesting. 

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On 8/5/2017 at 2:51 PM, Baitac said:

Hi Ormond! Thank you for your column. I was wondering why the US government decided to start keeping a list of baby names in 1880. What was the rationale behind it or benefit to the government? It's very interesting. 

The government did not start keeping a list of baby names in 1880. The lists are created from Social Security records. 1880 is the earliest birth year that Social Security has enough records from to create a good national list. (The Social Security act was passed in 1935 and the first monthly payments to a retiree were in 1940.)  

It was not possible to create a baby name list from Social Security records until after 1987, when the IRS first required those filing income tax forms to provide a social security number for all dependents, including infants. Before then many if not most people did not get a social security number until they took their first job. (For that reason, some of the data on names before about 1975 needs to be taken with a grain of salt, since many people born earlier may have entered the social security system with a form of their name which is not actually on the birth certificate. For one example, I believe their are many men listed in the early years of the data as "Joe" who were probably "Joseph" when they were born.)

In the late 1990s a social security employee named Michael Shackleford decided on his own to write a program that would count up the given names in SSA records. His superiors at the time thought he was crazy. But today the baby name data is one of the most accessed pages on the SSA site. 

P.S. And here's a link to the Wikipedia page about Shackleford -- he's gone on to bigger and better things as a mathematician. :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Shackleford

Edited by Ormond
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Here's today's column. Debra Paget is a great example of someone who's mostly forgotten today who had a bigf impact on baby names during her brief period of fame.

http://www.omaha.com/living/evans-once-big-deborah-had-a-fall-from-grace/article_7afabd43-db78-5c5f-b513-38dcc4d23b65.html

Edited by Ormond
grammar
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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 11:20 PM, Xray the Enforcer said:

(my own given name is definitely in the realm of Old Ladies these days hahaha)

 

Funny you say that, the medical/surgical assistant my doctor used the other day shares your name, and she was barely 22.  I admit I was kind of surprised (would be the same reaction if she shared my name as it also falls in that group ;) )

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Here is today's column. It didn't even dawn on me while I was writing it, but this year is of course the 75th anniversary of "Casablanca", which makes the topic even more appropriate. Another tidbit I didn't have space to include was that the name "Inger" made the SSA top thousand baby names for the one year of 1966, while actress Inger Stevens (1934-1970) was starring on TV's "The Farmer's Daughter."

http://www.omaha.com/living/evans-here-s-looking-at-you-kid-and-ingrids-everywhere/article_1374effe-e205-5fb4-9b92-1495222421d6.html

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On 8/29/2017 at 11:54 AM, Ormond said:

Here is today's column. It didn't even dawn on me while I was writing it, but this year is of course the 75th anniversary of "Casablanca", which makes the topic even more appropriate. Another tidbit I didn't have space to include was that the name "Inger" made the SSA top thousand baby names for the one year of 1966, while actress Inger Stevens (1934-1970) was starring on TV's "The Farmer's Daughter."

http://www.omaha.com/living/evans-here-s-looking-at-you-kid-and-ingrids-everywhere/article_1374effe-e205-5fb4-9b92-1495222421d6.html

Love the PR Beauty Queen reference. Not only did Ingrid Rivera serve as Miss World Puerto Rico but she also represented PR in the Miss Universe Pageant. Alas, she didn't place, a rare thing for a Puerto Rican beauty. Orgullo!

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I’ve got a question for you professor. Why do people with last names that sound like first names give their children generic first names? I have to look at names all day and it drives me nuts because you never know if they’re writing first name, last name or last name, first name.

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10 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I’ve got a question for you professor. Why do people with last names that sound like first names give their children generic first names? I have to look at names all day and it drives me nuts because you never know if they’re writing first name, last name or last name, first name.

Such a large proportion of the given names now used in English speaking countries were originally surnames that it's hard to make a distinction between them any more. What sort of given names do you think people who have surnames like Martin, Douglas, Scott, Ashley, Mitchell, George, or Brandon supposed to use? If they can't use any given name which is also someone's surname, that rather limits them, especially for boys.

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  • Ormond changed the title to Names: My newspaper column: Now featuring a time-traveling nurse and an Omaha elephant

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