Wednesday, August 4, 2010


There are so many articles this past decade discussing the unique name trend that parents are supporting. Naming their children after fruit, countries, animals, or just making it up, everyone is quick to worry about the effect it will have on children who have to grow up with these odd names. Yes, there are some I would avoid. Actually, probably many I would avoid. But I like the creativity that parents are utilizing as well as the opportunity for a child to stand out. Yes, they might get picked on. But if 99% of your class also has a strange name, who is going to pick on whom? And really, it strengthens your character to stand up for yourself in some way. I loved that I knew nobody else with my first name, while many of my friends had to be distinguished by a last initial. Just sayin'.

Yet, I really don't think that creative, clever, or obnoxious names are really new to the baby-naming game. I'm VERY involved in genealogical research for my family and I've been lucky that most of our history is already documented in two published books (Just enough to still leave puzzles for me!). I enjoy the stories about my past relatives but what I really like is looking at their names. Who named which child after which relative? Which name got copied the most within a family branch? And I can say with certainty, weird names abound! My great-grandfather and his siblings all had first names that started with the letter O, although they only ever went by their middle names: Robert Elisha Nixon and his wife Mary Hempleman had: Ola Floyd, Ora Emerson, Orval Leslie, Olive Katherine, and Ollie Ulric. And before anyone suggests that some of these could have been related to ethnicities or their native culture (seemingly normal for them) but sounds strange to me, my family (this side in particular) is Irish. And they moved here in the late 1700s. There are almost NO Irish names in my family. Odd, I know. I guess they wanted to be different.

Also, the preponderance of fall birthdays is nearly 100%. I know they were all farmers but I guess this proves it since what other time of year besides winter would you have time to get it on? ;)

Here's a list of my favorite unique names from my family tree.

Irish side:

  • Andrew Jackson Nixon (he's the older gentleman in the Nixon family photo, some of these other names are there too but I can't remember who's who besides his wife Cassandra.)
  • Luella
  • Valvera
  • Polly
  • Cora
  • Huldah
  • Ardona
  • Alta
German side:

  • Philomena
  • Amandus (male)
  • Urban
  • Euphrosina
  • Bartholomaus
  • Franziska
  • Isidore
  • Amalia
  • Bernadette
  • Boniface (or spelled Benifacious)
The Czech/Austrian/Hungarian side had mostly boring names that repeated a lot, like Stephen, Mary, Paul, Catherine, etc. Do you have a favorite family name?

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite for my family is Ellis Johnson, named after Ellis Island. We also have a train of Amasa Beryls that run through one side.