Where did the baby name Kanavis come from?

The unique name Kanavis has popped up in the U.S. baby name data a total of twice:

  • 1992: unlisted
  • 1991: 9 baby boys named Kanavis [peak]
  • 1990: unlisted
  • 1989: 5 baby boys named Kanavis [debut]
  • 1988: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Linebacker Kanavis McGhee — both times.

Kanavis (pronounced ka-NAY-vis) played college football for the University of Colorado from 1987 to 1990. His senior year, “he helped lead Colorado to the consensus national championship,” and was also “a candidate for the Butkus and Lombardi awards.”

In the 1991 NFL draft, he was picked in the second round (55th overall) by the New York Giants. He played in New York for three seasons, in Cincinnati for a fourth season, and in Houston (his hometown) for a fifth and final season.

What are your thoughts on the name Kanavis?

Sources: Kanavis McGhee – Wikipedia, Kanavis McGhee – Football – University of Colorado Athletics

Babies Named for Sailing Ships (U, V, W)

The people below were born aboard — and named after! — ships with U-, V-, and W-names…

  • Umbria:
    • Umbria Alva Marie Lindh, born in 1889
  • Utopia:
    • Daniel Utopia Thomson Sullivan, born in 1874
  • Valetta:
    • Maggie Valetta Riddock, born in 1887
  • Valiant:
    • Valiant (surname unknown), born in 1980
  • Varuna:
    • Varuna Rowe Kennedy, born in 1874
  • Venture:
    • Avis Cygnet Venture Hilliard, born in 1892
  • Verum:
    • Mary Verum Parry, born in 1863
  • Victory:
    • Victoria Gibbon Baird, born in 1863
    • Jane Frances Victoria Mosley, born in 1883
    • Victory Elcoate Dowle, born in 1884
  • Viscata:
    • Elizabeth Sofia Viscata Drummond, born in 1865
  • Voltaic:
    • Elizabeth Moore Voltaic Boyle, born in 1889
  • Waikato:
    • Ruth Waikato Eswick, born in 1875
  • Waimate:
    • Annie Rose Waimate James, born in 1874
  • Wainsfell:
    • Eliza Wainsfell Trescoth, born in 1863
    • Hugh Wainsfell Garbride, born in 1863
  • Wairoa:
    • William Wairoa Joss Diffey, born in 1877
    • Joseph Wairoa Hill, born in 1879
  • Waitangi:
    • Alexander Waitangi Danks, born in 1876
    • William George Waitangi Connelly, born in 1877
    • Priscilla Waitangi Rundle, born in 1878
  • Waitara:
    • Emily Waitara Morgan, born in 1876
    • James Waitara Jenkins, born in 1877
    • Anne Waitara Adcock, born in 1879
    • Waitara Sarah Clark, born in 1879
  • Walmer Castle:
    • Charles Walmer Bud, born in 1859
    • Jane Walmer Fergusson, born in 1880
  • Waroonga:
    • Mary Waroonga Cook, born in 1883
    • Rose Waroonga Buchanan, born in 1883
    • Alice Waroonga Poffley, born in 1883
    • Elizabeth Waroonga Brown, born in 1883
    • Margaret Waroonga McLaughlin, born in 1885
    • Emily Waroonga Griffiths, born in 1887
    • Emily Waroonga Finlay, born in 1887
    • David Waroonga Griffiths, born in 1887
  • Warren Hastings:
    • Taylor Hedley Warren Hastings Henley, born in 1863
  • Warwick:
    • Ellen Mary Warwick Bourke, born in 1874
    • Warwick Temperley Skinner, born in 1874
    • Warwick Sexton Clifford Timmins, born in 1879
    • James Warwick Davis, born in 1879
    • Annie Warwick Chappell, born in 1884
    • Warwickina Shields, born in 1884
  • Wellesley:
    • Charles James Wellesey Taylor, born in 1858
  • Wellington:
    • David Cowan Wellington McColl, born in 1876
    • George Edward Wellington Duncan, born in 1878
    • Harry Cowan Wellington Haworth, born in 1879
    • William Wellington Chaplin, born in 1882
    • Ida Wellington Cowan, born in 1884
  • Western Monarch:
    • Thomas Western Radcliffe, born in 1876
  • Westmeath:
    • May Westmeath Wright, born in 1884
  • Westminister:
    • Mary Westminster Lucas, born in 1956
  • Wimmera:
    • George Wimmera Bennett, born in 1874
  • Windsor Castle:
    • Bertha Windsor Schultz, born in 1881
  • Winifred:
    • Winifred Hascher, born in 1881
  • Wishart:
    • Emma Wishart Willard, born in 1874
    • Emma Edith Wishart Brown, born in 1874
    • Daisy Constance Wishart Layard, born in 1874
  • Wisconsin:
    • Francis Owen Wisconsin O’Donald, born in 1879
    • Sarah Wisconsin Whitehead, born in 1879
    • Wisconsin Beardall, born in 1880
    • Jennie Wisconsin Cottrell, born in 1882
    • Wisconsin Ward, born in 1883
    • Wisconsin Wolfer, born in 1886
    • Elizabeth Wisconsin Hanlon, born in 1886
    • James Wisconsin Goodall, born in 1886
    • Johanna Wisconsin Cunningham, born in 1887
    • Edward Wisconsin Cothom, born in 1887
  • Wistow:
    • Wistow Tapp, born in 1885
  • W. J. Pirrie (now part of a marine sanctuary):
    • Nora Pirrie Duckworth, born in 1886
  • Wyoming:
    • Wyoming Grainger, born in 1880
    • Wyoming Liddle, born in 1883

Do you think any of the ship names above work particularly well as human names?

Source: FamilySearch.org

Where did the baby name Tighe come from?

baby name, tighe, politics,
Tighe E. Woods in 1952

The name Tighe (pronounced tie, like the second syllable of necktie) has been in the U.S. baby name data most years since 1970, but it first appeared in 1949 specifically:

  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: 9 baby boys named Tighe [debut]
  • 1948: unlisted
  • 1947: unlisted

Why that year?

Likely because of Tighe E. Woods, who served as Housing Expediter under President Truman from late 1947 to 1952.

During the summer of 1949, his name was mentioned in the news more frequently than usual in association with the Senate subcommittee investigation into the so-called “five-percenters”: Washington lobbyists, “usually former Government officials or ex-Congressmen,” who helped businessmen obtain Federal contracts and then took five percent of the profits. Woods testified before the subcommittee in August.

His first name was his mother’s maiden name. It’s an Anglicized form of the Irish surname Ó Taidhg, meaning “descendant of Tadhg.” The Irish name Tadhg (pronounced tyg, like the first syllable of tiger) means “poet” or “philosopher.”

What are your thoughts on the name Tighe? Do you like it more or less than Tadhg?


Image: Screenshot of a 1952 episode of Longines Chronoscope.

Popular Baby Names in Moscow, 2020

According to the Civil Registry of Moscow, the most popular baby names in the city last year were (again) Sofia and Alexander.

Here are Moscow’s top 6 girl names and top 6 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Sofia (Sofya), over 2,800 baby girls
  2. Maria, 2,200 baby girls
  3. Anna, 2,084
  4. Alisa, 1,729
  5. Viktoria, 1,705
  6. Polina, 1,603

Boy Names

  1. Alexander, over 2,500 baby boys
  2. Mikhail, 2,427 baby boys
  3. Maxim, 2,284
  4. Artyom, 1,827
  5. Mark, 1,666
  6. Ivan, 1,617

Less commonly bestowed names include Vesna, Dionysus, Iskra (“spark”), Lucifer, Venus-Veronica, Sever, Severina, and Yermak-Alexander. (Yermak could be a reference to the Russian folk hero Yermak Timofeyevich.)

Sources: From Mars to Zlatoslava and many more 2020 rare baby names

Where did the baby name Yma come from?

Yma Sumac album "Mambo!" (1954)
Yma Sumac album from 1954

The name Yma debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1950s:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 7 baby girls named Yma [peak]
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 5 baby girls named Yma [debut]
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: unlisted

It may look like parents were simply experimenting with the spelling of Amy, but Yma actually had a specific source: exotica singer Yma Sumac (pronounced EE-mah SOO-mak). Known as the “Peruvian songbird,” she had a four-and-a-half-octave range and a very distinctive sound.

Yma Sumac album "Legend of the Sun Virgin" (1952)
Yma Sumac album from 1952

Originally from northern highlands of Peru, Yma Sumac moved to the U.S. in the mid-1940s and released her first album in 1950. Here’s a review of her August 1950 performance at the Hollywood Bowl:

For the first few bars of a Peruvian folk chant called High Andes, the full-figured Peruvian girl onstage rumbled roundly at the bottom of the contralto range. Then, to their astonishment, she soared effortlessly up a full four octaves, began trilling like a canary at the top of coloratura. At the end of her first song, the audience was still too surprised to raise more than warm applause. The second, Tumpa (Earthquake), brought cheers; after the third, a pyrotechnical Inca Hymn to the Sun, the applause and cheers swelled to a roar for encores.

Here’s Yma lip-syncing to “Tumpa”:

She was born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo in the early 1920s. For her very first radio performance — in Peru, in 1942 — she used the stage name “Imma Sumack.” By the time she reached the U.S., she had settled upon the spelling “Yma Sumac.”

According to some sources, this name was part of her mother’s full name. Perhaps more importantly, it was the name of a character in the Quechua-language Peruvian drama Ollantay, thought to be of Inca origin. Often spelled Ima Sumac, the character’s name means “how beautiful” in Quechua.

Do you like the name Yma? (Do you like it more or less than Amy?)