24 by Moe via Flickr

You know the stories that always surprise me?  There’s the one like this one from Nancy about a baby named Orbit, because he was born on the same day that John Glenn because the first American to orbit the Earth.  I’m not surprised that current events influenced the baby’s name.  No – what gives me pause is the fact that his name wasn’t decided until the very day of his arrival.

Can you imagine?

Or maybe you can.  Our kids’ names were both decided several months into each pregnancy.  In fact, the general idea of their names – give or take a middle and a nickname – was settled well before we knew they were on their way.  Others are still struggling to decide as they’re checking out of the maternity ward.  Who knows?  If we had a second boy, that could be us.

Still I wonder … did the news coverage persuade baby O’s parents to discard a previously agreed upon name?  “We were going to go with James, but then the news came on and we realized Orbit was the one.” Same question applies to babies born in unusual circumstances.  “If we’d made it to the hospital, we would probably have gone with Anna, but after that traffic jam changed everything, we knew we had to call her Camry.”

Elsewhere online:

  • Is there an account of how Elizabeth Gladys Dean became known as Millvina?  She was just a few weeks old when she survived the sinking of the Titanic, and it appears that her name was always given as Millvina.  Lou mentioned her in a post last week, and I’ve been looking ever since … no luck.
  • This debate never gets old, at least to me.  I’m firmly in the longer-names-create-options camp, and yet I completely see the appeal of the short and informal name – Kate rather than Katharine, Tess instead of Theresa, Greta instead of Margaret or Marguerite.  But I’d never do it.
  • Which reminds me, there’s a mystery on my family tree – I had a great aunt called Grete – pronouncedgreet.  I realized a while back that she must have been baptized Margaret and somehow ended up with Grete as a nickname.  But how?  My grandmother passed away a few years ago, and she was the baby of the family so I may never know.  Moral of the story?  Ask all of those important questions now …
  • Vielka is officially one of my new favorites, found on this list.  How did a Dominican beauty queen end up with the name of a character from a nineteenth century German opera?  There was a revival of Ein Feldlager in Schlesien in the 1980s, retitled Vielka, but Vielka Valenzeula was born in 1972.  A Panamanian pageant contestant wore the name in the 1980s, and I can find a few more in Latin America – there’s clearly an intriguing connection and a missing link.
  • Capone, Gotti, and Corleone – what career path do we imagine for these children?
  • Interesting to see how Wattenberg’s Why Not list evolves.
  • Clover Angelina is on the right side of daring, but does she really have a big brother called Trigger?  Snicker.
  • A couple is looking for a girl’s name with sass, and possibly literary connotations, at Swistle.  If I were them, I’d consider Bianca Riley, nn Bibi or Bebe, though Fiona Wren and Marlowe Maeve seem quite kicky, too.
  • Merida is very large on the tag cloud at Nameberry this Sunday.  I haven’t seen the movie yet – how ’bout you?
  • The initials game on the AppMtn Facebook page was pure fun.  My favorite combo so far might be Katherine Rosanna Lark, but there are really too many to choose.  We’ll have to do that again …

That’s all for now.  As always, thank you for reading and have a fantastic week!


About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. I was just saying to Lou that Millvina doesn’t seem too unusable today. The name looks like a cross between Milliicent and Malvina (both trendy in her day), but how they got there from Elizabeth Gladys I have no idea.

    (I did scream when I saw Trigger, I’m still hoping it’s a nickname and he’s really Theodore or Tristan).

    1. Oh, I do hope Trigger is short for something … Trigger for Tristan seems possible, and I love it for Theodore, too.

  2. Grete made me think of Griet in Girl With a Pearl Earring (the name was pronounced the same.) Apparently it’s a nickname for Margriet. Does your family have Dutch roots?

    1. Not even a shred! Unless there’s some influence I’m not aware of … Dutch neighbors, long forgotten, maybe?

  3. Hi
    Vielka is a Polish name wich came with the Polish community to Panama many many decades ago. It is as common as Joanne in Panama and with the challenges to the Dominican economy in the 1960-1990’s Dominican emigrants to Panama used it for their little girls and took it back home and elsewhere in Latin America. I like it now but as a kid it was a challenge.