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Names: My newspaper column: now featuring the Big Lebowski and the Amazon chief


Ormond
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31 minutes ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

Interesting. 

Went to college in the early/mid 90s with an Iris.  Though I do think her name was derived from the flower, not the goddess...

Oh, most parents who gave the name were probably thinking of the flowers rather than the goddess by 1900. It's just that the earliest uses of it in the 19th century are more likely to have been from the goddess. 

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Here is the link to today's column, the annual one of the most popular names in the USA for last year:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-liam-olivia-top-us-baby-name-lists-in-2021/article_7d9b6ff8-d6dc-11ec-b93c-a72313e5cfb7.html

If you read the whole article you will see their headline is wrong. When you add spellings together Sophia, not Olivia, is still #1 and at present rates of decrease and increase will still be until 2025.  That may partly be my fault since I forgot to include the totals for Olivia in my spellings added together list. In 2021 there were 19,969 girls named Sophia, Sofia, Sophiya, etc. and 19,249 named Olivia, Alivia, Olyvia, etc.

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Here is the link to today's column:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-exotic-ian-found-american-popularity-after-the-1960s/article_e9b065f2-e1bf-11ec-a43d-9ba23c71b6fc.html

 I was a bit surprised myself to see that there was only one Ian in the 1851 census of Scotland. It's another example of how attitudes toward translation and names have changed. Before the late 19th century, since most names then used in all European cultures were drawn from either the Bible, the saints' calendar, or well-known ancient Greek and Roman figures, people thought of names as translatable words and foreign language versions of a name were automatically translated when shifting from one language to another. Not only did any Scottish men who were called Ian when Gaelic was spoken become "John" in English, but immigrants to the USA made the same sort of shifts. When I did research in the U.S. census records in Michigan years ago, Immigrants who were Carl or Karl in Germany almost all called themselves Charles in Michigan. There was a time around 1880 when the name Carl was just becoming fashionable with native-born Americans when most of the Carls in Michigan were young boys without German ancestry while the German immigrants were still listed as Charles! Then in the 1900 census some of the German-born men who had been Charles in earlier censuses reverted to Carl, evidently having realized it was now "acceptable" in the USA.

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17 hours ago, HoodedCrow said:

My husbands family free has four different spellings for “Thompkins”:)

 

 

This is completely normal if we are talking about a tree that contains people born before 1860. Spelling of surnames wasn't set until sometime in the 18th century, and even after that there were a lot of people who were illiterate and so themselves had no idea how to spell their surname, and so whoever was filling out the records referring to them had to use their own ideas about how it would be spelled. 

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Here is the link to today's column:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-kyle-raced-up-the-charts-of-boy-names/article_a4e2fa86-0df5-11ed-bba3-f3c7c5b6824d.html

Something I didn't have space to fully explain in the column was that technically Kyle was a middle name for both Kyle MacDonnell and Kyle Rote. She was Ruth Kyle MacDonnell and he was William Kyle Rote on the birth certificate. However, they both seem to have been called Kyle from early childhood.

It's also probably no accident that both of them were born in Texas. Kyle families seem to have been particularly prominent there. The football stadium at Texas A&M is named Kyle Field, after Edwin Jackson Kyle (1876-1973) who was a professor there who promoted athletics. The town of Kyle, Texas, now a fast-growing Austin suburb, was named for his family. 

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Horse Named Stranger wrote:

Quote

Small anecdote, my best friend and his wife had to jump through a few hoops for the given name of their first born. (An expert opinion that it is actually a real female name is probably an expense, parents in the US will not have to pay for). Of course that caused me joking, that the first thing she will do on her 18th birthday is file for a name change. True story.

I know something about the naming laws in Germany and Austria. As a name expert I was contacted years ago by some parents in Austria would wanted to name their son Keanu after the actor Keanu Reeves, and had to prove to the registrar that this was a "real" name and not just arbitrarily invented as a stage name. (It's Hawaiian, Reeves' father had some Hawaiian ancestry.) I also know that Germany and Sweden have laws which prevent turing surnames into given names, so there is no one in Germany with Schmidt as a given name.

(Of course there are German surnames derived from given names which confuse this. I once had a student who was born in Germany whose parents had immigrated to the US when he was a small child. His name was Bernhard Karl, which was a great nuisance to him in the USA as everyone assumed Karl was his given name and Bernhard his surname instead of the opposite.)

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6 hours ago, Ormond said:

Horse Named Stranger wrote:

I know something about the naming laws in Germany and Austria. As a name expert I was contacted years ago by some parents in Austria would wanted to name their son Keanu after the actor Keanu Reeves, and had to prove to the registrar that this was a "real" name and not just arbitrarily invented as a stage name. (It's Hawaiian, Reeves' father had some Hawaiian ancestry.) I also know that Germany and Sweden have laws which prevent turing surnames into given names, so there is no one in Germany with Schmidt as a given name.

(Of course there are German surnames derived from given names which confuse this. I once had a student who was born in Germany whose parents had immigrated to the US when he was a small child. His name was Bernhard Karl, which was a great nuisance to him in the USA as everyone assumed Karl was his given name and Bernhard his surname instead of the opposite.)

@A Horse Named Stranger 

Saw your posts in the politics about the Tudor name. First, I too was surprised to see it given to a female. In my home country of Romania it's a fairly common male given name, but also a surname. My cousin's name is Tudor. How a name that is apparently Welsh in origin got to Romania, I don't know. Probably has to do in some way with the House of Tudor. Here is a list of historical figures who had the name, most are either English speaking people or Romanian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_(name)

Ironically, a Romanian right-wing politician that would have fit at home with the current GOP had the surname Tudor.

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10 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

@A Horse Named Stranger 

Saw your posts in the politics about the Tudor name. First, I too was surprised to see it given to a female. In my home country of Romania it's a fairly common male given name, but also a surname. My cousin's name is Tudor. How a name that is apparently Welsh in origin got to Romania, I don't know. Probably has to do in some way with the House of Tudor. Here is a list of historical figures who had the name, most are either English speaking people or Romanian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_(name)

Ironically, a Romanian right-wing politician that would have fit at home with the current GOP had the surname Tudor.

According to my Dictionary of Surnames by Hanks & Hodges, as a Romanian surname Tudor is a form of Theodore. As a Welsh surname it is derived from the given name Tudur, which is from Old Celtic "Teutorix", combining the words for "tribe" and "ruler".

As simple short words, there are hundreds of examples of names which have completely different origins in different languages or cultures.

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On 8/3/2022 at 9:10 AM, Ormond said:

According to my Dictionary of Surnames by Hanks & Hodges, as a Romanian surname Tudor is a form of Theodore. As a Welsh surname it is derived from the given name Tudur, which is from Old Celtic "Teutorix", combining the words for "tribe" and "ruler".

As simple short words, there are hundreds of examples of names which have completely different origins in different languages or cultures.

Ormond -- tell me about the greatness that is my name, Wade, sil vous plait. Make stuff up if you need to.

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Here is the link to today's column. I was really surprised when I checked the census data to see how much more common Sylvester was in the USA than in the UK during the 19th century. Also, if I'd had more space I'd have discussed Sylvan, an intermediate form between Sylvester and Silvanus that had some use in the early 20th century, and that I think might be a candidate for revival today.

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-as-a-name-sylvester-has-had-a-rocky-run/article_08171d6c-23e5-11ed-b1d1-571157f6db67.html

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On 8/14/2022 at 6:32 PM, Ormond said:

Ormond -- I'd forgotten, I did read one of Danielle's books, Jewels. First and last romance novel, cause of some girl's recommendation back in High School. Ah, yes ... the Whitfields; their son, warm and generous; their daughter, rebellious and willful. Surprisingly, the book wasn't bad at all.

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Here's the link to today's column. 

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-agathas-popularity-is-a-mystery/article_720caf3a-2eed-11ed-ade2-9316cc96ecea.html

It's very interesting to see Agatha start to rise again. In addition to what I mentioned in the column, I think there have been several novel, TV and movie depictions of Agatha Christie herself as a younger woman that have recently helped to make the name seem more attractive to the young parent generation.

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Here's the link to today's column:

https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-once-a-rare-name-heathers-popularity-peaked-in-the-70s-and-80s/article_8ae4e332-3aab-11ed-babd-d3a2b5444632.html

This one took a long time to research. The index to the USA census recrods on ancestry.com listed many woman in the 19th century supposedly named Heather, but when I looked at the PDFs of the actual census forms almost all of them were misreadings of Hesther or Hattie. 

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Ormond -- well written article, thank you for sharing! A few interesting ideas you could cover (if you haven't already):

1) why the contemporary butchering of names; e.g., Jasmyn vs Jasmine, Brandyn vs Brandon, Jaxson vs Jackson, et al.

2) what's the origin of diminutives of James vs Jim or Jimmy; Richard vs Dick; William vs Bill, John vs Jack, et al.

3) what's the origin / evolution of African-American names like Tayshaun, Deontay, Lashawn, et al. And I'd be curious how much of an impact the French language had on their development.

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