Monday, January 16, 2012

What do you do with your name?

George Albert Smith (1870-1951) once told a story about a dream he had. His grandfather, whom he was named after, came to him and asked him what he had done with his good name. Fortunately George Albert Smith could tell his grandfather that he had done nothing to put shame on the name.
I read a book once about unusual names. Some names in themselves put shame to a person. The Hog family who named their little girls "Ima" and "Ura" are examples of this. Also "Lemongelo" and "Orangelo", two poor little boys with dessert names pronounced Lem'ongelo and Or'angelo, with a Italian twist. I also remember a family with many children with names ending in "itis". The children were reminded of illness every day. Another family started with "uno" and counted their way through the line of children with names according to the number in line they were.
I know a family in Austria, who alphabetically started with number one on the letter A and ended with F. An American family in Japan, who according to the father's passion for Greek history named their children "Apollo" etc., or one family who named all their children with names starting with "Tr".
It's fun to be allowed to choose a baby's name. I made a list for the father to choose names for the children. He had a history of not having much of an imagination naming his horses (one was called "Horse", the other one "Horsie"), and I felt I had to rescue the situation to avoid our children being named "Girl" and "Boy". The list of pretty names was presented to him and he put one, two or three stars next to the names he liked.
Our dog has a name to live up to. "Duck and Cherry's Hector" is his full name on paper. Named after our home and a Greek legendary hero, known for defending his family and his people and being a good leader and example.
When I was little I told my mother, that only little girls were named Heidi, and that it was impossible to be an adult with such a name. I had read the book "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri enough times, and connected the name with a young child. My mother convinced me it would be fine to grow up with such a name and that she knew a lady by that name. It's a happy name - and I still like it.
Doing genealogy I notice that many names go around in circles. Names your grandparents have, reappear after two or three generations and become popular again. Parents can find names for their children from different people who cross their path. A good example is from Arnfinn's family, where the girls were names simple named like "Anna", "Magda" etc. until a little daughter was named "Oniva Hildora Charlanka", a name with "schwung" you could say.
There are lots of fun and beautiful names in the world, but the most important thing is probably what George Albert Smith's grandfather asked: "What have you done to the name?"

Today's water color is a children's picture named after a Norwegian nursery rhyme "Bæ, bæ, lille lam".

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