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This baby didn’t get 139 names, but 49 is still excessive, don’t you think?
Diana and Arthur Martello of New Brighton, Pennsylvania, had a baby girl in May of 1989 and gave her 49 names. (Initially it was just 43, but they added 6 more a few weeks later.)
Here are all 49 names:
Princess India Rosa Kathleen Pearla Meshelle Suzanne Luchianna Irena Iris Veronica Donna Holly Robin Concha Kristian Tonya Elizabeth Joana Magali Lavinia Ruth Sandy Lori Appolonia Concepteone Stephenie Victoria Ira Maria Jane Claudia Pamela Shirley Mellissa Leah Rebecca Simone Alana Loren Joy Angie Pheonix Cynthia Christine Eleanor Meg Sophia Eunice
Diana was the one who came up with them. She said her inspiration included TV shows like Matt Houston, T.J. Hooker, Santa Barbara, and The Young and the Restless.
If you could go back in time and rename this baby girl, which two names (out of the 49) would you choose as her first and middle names?
- Musala, Jane C. “A Nickname Makes it 45.” Allegheny Times 30 May 1989: A3.
- Musala, Jane C. “The Good News is Short-Lived.” Allegheny Times 28 Jun. 1989: A3.
Alana Odegard is a pregnant Canadian woman living in Reykjavík with her Icelandic husband. In an article she wrote for Iceland Review Online, she describes the process of naming a baby in Iceland:
Generally a baby’s name is not revealed until its official naming ceremony (often accompanied by a baptism).
Legally, parents have up to six months to name their baby and it’s not uncommon for a child to be “nameless” for this period of time (of course the parents may know the name, but it’s kept a secret from everyone else).
So, what do you call a baby with no name?
Up until the naming ceremony babies are often referred to as drengur (boy), stúlka (girl), elskan (an affectionate term like “honey” or “sweetheart”), or Gunnarsson/Gunnarsdóttir (depending on if it is a girl or a boy, according to the Old Norse naming system).
Alana also mentions that baby names in Iceland must be chosen from an official list issued by the Mannanafnanefnd, or personal name committee. If Icelandic parents want to use a name that is not on the list, they must submit a petition to the committee, along with a small fee, and wait to hear if the name is accepted or rejected. (Exceptions to the naming law are made for foreign-born parents.)
Sources: And the Name Is…, Malm and Adils forbidden as Icelandic names, What’s in a Name, Name Law and Gender in Iceland
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about Icelandic baby naming laws, check out the giving a name page on the Intercultural Centre of Iceland website.