Baby Name Story: Handa

Puffins on Handa Island (Scotland)

English ornithologist Reynold Bray was “an Arctic explorer of considerable achievement and much promise” who was lost at sea during a visit to northern Canada on September 14, 1938.

A month earlier, on August 10, a baby girl was born to Reynold’s widow Gillian back in England.

Notice was cabled to Bray at Churchill [in Manitoba] where he was waiting to embark upon what proved to be his last expedition. At his request the child was named Handa, after a bird island off the northwest coast of Scotland that he and Mrs. Bray had visited the previous May.

These days, Handa Island is a wildlife reserve.

The island’s Scottish Gaelic name, Eilean Shannda, is of mixed Gaelic/Norse etymology and means “island at the sandy river.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Handa?

[Interesting fact: In 1964, Handa Bray inherited Shere Manor Estate in Surrey. She is currently the fifteenth (and first female) Lord of the Manor.]


Image: Puffins by Donald Macauley under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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