What’s in a name?

As my last blog “A trip down cemetery lane” indicated, over the last few weeks I have been researching and building my paternal family’s ancestry tree and I must admit I could turn this little hobby into a full time occupation as it’s very interesting and very time consuming. However, the pay’s lousy so I guess I’ll stick to my day job.

Anyway, while building the ancestry tree it would have been easy to accidentally link-up non-ancestors with similar names.  Luckily many of the ancestors not only passed down the patrilineal (father’s) family name from generation to generation, they also passed on first names and luckily again they passed down the matrilineal (mother’s) family name which was usually given as a middle name.  For example if my great-grandfather was called William Wilson Jones and he married Helen Clarke, they would name their three children: William Wilson Jones, Tomas Clarke Jones and Patricia Clarke Jones.  Therefore, making the identification and linking of ancestors much easier.

This practise got me thinking about modern society and the names we give our children.  If our great-great-grandchildren research their family history are our current naming conventions going to confuse them?  Especially these days as we call our kids after popular TV characters, subculture names, or after animals and plants of no ancestry origin – of which I am a serial offender given the names I planned for my children.

When I was pregnant with my first born, I loved the name Summer.  Summer was a popular name of the hippy subculture, as was Sky, Rain or Dusk.  I’ve always been a bit of a hippy at heart, even in 1980 which was well past the 60′
s hippy era. Unfortunately for me, my husband hated the name and when my daughter was two days old, he called her Kristy.  I wasn’t opposed to the name, so I went with his suggestion secretly wishing I had won that battle.  The boy’s name we agreed on was Matthew.  I guess I couldn’t think of a male hippy name.

When I was pregnant with baby number two I really liked a female character in the soapy “The Young and the Restless”, her name was April and come hell or high water my baby girl was going to be called April.  Luckily for my son I had a boy’s name picked out – Joshua. The name Joshua was taken from the bible – this was a time when I was taking the two-way bet. See previous blog “The moment of enlightenment”. These days Joshua insists his friends call him Josh.  His siblings and I get away with calling him Joshua.

What a shame I didn’t like the name April when I had my daughter three years earlier as she was born in April.

And then there was my third pregnancy where I fell in love with a character in a novel by V.C. Andrews called “Heaven”. The character’s name was “Heaven Leigh”.   Don’t laugh; Heaven Leigh Casteel was a lovely girl and her story was followed through with a series of five books of which I’ve only read three.  Knowing this name may cause waves, I ran it by my family – they thought I’d finally lost the plot or was suffering from some type of sickness through my pregnancy.  But I wasn’t too concerned; I still had my backup name, April.

Anyway, I had another boy and luckily for him I had a boy’s name ready – Tylan, a name I created.  I fell in love with the name Ty when I was pregnant and attending Motor X racers with my husband, who at the time was racing against a lovely young man called Ty.  Although I loved the name Ty, I wasn’t a big fan of shortened names and I didn’t like the racer’s full name which was “Tyronne”.  My daughter was 6 years old at the time and there was a little fat kid named Tyronne in her class, he also attending the same swimming lessons.  His mother was a lovely lady, but the kid – well I wanted to drown him as did the swimming instructor.

Other long versions of Ty were Tyran or Tyron – both sounded like “tyrant”. So I played around with the alphabet and came up with Tylan.  When my husband rang my Auntie with the news of the birth and the baby’s name, she said “why on earth would you call a baby after an Asian country?” mistaking Tylan for Thailand. To this day, we’ve never come across another boy or girl called Tylan.

And let us not forget the ridiculous names handed to the children of our popular personalities such as the model Jordan (aka Katie Price) and her ex-husband Peter Andre, naming heir baby daughter Princess Tiaamii – oh please, if she takes after her big-titty mummy, she’s got a hope in hell of being a princess.  And there’s Apple – WTF?  Does this mean the other siblings will be called Mandarin or Kiwi Fruit?

And what about Bob Geldof and Paula Yates kids Fifi Trixibell, Peaches and Pixie?  Which leads me to believe both Bob and Paula were spending most of their nights high as kites. And by the time Paula was with Michael Hutchence and named their baby Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily – well it was only a matter of time.  BTW..it’s not that I minded the Heavenly but the rest of the name?

And as Juliet Capulet said; ”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet” may downplay the importance of one’s name but names really are important, they define who we are and where we come from.  So I think society as a whole should really think about the names we give our children, the history they carry and the ability for our future generations to trace where they come from and where they are going.

Author: Kitty

First and foremost I'm a busy working woman but I'm also a mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. I was brought up in a small country town but I've lived and worked in Sydney for over 20 years. I'm a slack blogger because life and earning a living gets in the way.

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