Thursday, August 25, 2011

For one to be named later...

Names matter.

Strange, coming from one who went by "Nolichucky" for a time. But it is a source of comfort to me that my name is one shared by my great-aunt and Rusyn cousins. My husband's middle name is a family name he shares with his mother and great-grandmother. My own children have first names that have appeared for generations in my father's Eastern European family and middle names taken from family surnames.

In a few months our family will welcome its newest member. Baby Clark's parents have an abundance of family names to choose from should they wish - Biblical names, lyrical names, and (as was made clear in this post) truly awful names. There are dozens of surnames that are also candidates for given names. After all these years of researching we've even resorted to using surplus names for our pets (my mother-in-law was none too amused).

But there are a few (in addition to Nargalsharezzer) that I hope they'll avoid...

  • Cansada (my husband's 2nd great-grandmother) - An amazing woman, well worth emulating, but that name! Actually when you add in her surnames it's pretty impressive. Cansada Jones Stokes Sneed Caulk Sweely. Just rolls off the tongue.
  • Clevel (my great-aunt) - Not so unusual to me because I grew up knowing her, but try to find another Clevel. Anywhere. 
  • Cuthbert Fenwick (my husband's 7th great-grandfather) - What can you say thay? 
  • Eleven (my husband's 4th great-uncle) - You're guessing he was number eleven. He was. Number twelve was named Elisha. 
  • Hardena Sophronia (my husband's 3rd great-aunt) - This was probably considered a lovely name in the 19th century. 
  • Melchior (my husband's 5th great-grandfather) - Terrific if the kid grows up to be a Magi, but tough to live with otherwise.
  • Orrick Cromwell (son of Philomen Cromwell) (my husband's 3rd & 4th great-grandfathers) - Even if they could get past the first names, Cromwell is a non-starter in a Catholic family. 
  • Reverdy (my husband's 2nd great-uncle) - I actually like this one in the abstract. Makes me think of dreams and pastors. All good things. But not in the real world. 
  • Talitha Rosetta (my husband's great-grandmother) - See Hardena above. She went by Rosa. Smart woman.
  • Ulysses Dakota (my 2nd great-uncle) - Wildly romantic. Greek heroes, generals, the wild west, Indians. He went by Dakota, and was much loved by his family. But he in no way matched the promise of the name. It's too much to saddle anyone with. 
My husband's family wins the first name contest. But I get the prize when we pull out the surnames... Pereksta, Tegza, Popp, Perehenic. There's a reason Eastern Europeans use patronyms! 


  1. Totally delightful name game! Simple names like Thomas and Emily start sounding real good, eh??

  2. And I thought my ancestors had some strange names. There are two Talithas in my lines, though.


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