How popular is the baby name Castor in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Castor and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Castor.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Castor

Number of Babies Named Castor

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Castor

Names in the News: Pam, Lau, Samuel Kini

Three baby name stories out of Melanesia:

  • Pam: Cyclone Pam, which hit the island nation of Vanuatu on March 13, prompted several new mothers there to name their babies Pam and Pamela. One of those babies, born to mother Trisha Ronald in the back of an ambulance, was named Charlotte Pam after both the storm and the Australian volunteer paramedic (Charlotte Gillon) who delivered her.
  • Samuel: A baby born in Vanuatu at the end of March was named Samuel Kini Lovobalavu after “three different Fijian health officials – Health Inspector Samuela Bolalailai, RFMF Medic Sgt. Kini Nacagilevu, and Chief Health Inspector Kanito Lovobalavu.” The Fijian health personnel were in Vanuatu helping with Cyclone Pam relief efforts.
  • Lau: Yuma Nagasaki of Japan, who is a volunteer language teacher in Fiji, welcomed a son in mid-March and named him Lau after the Fijian province. “He made the decision to name his newborn son after experiencing the warmth and hospitality of people from Lau.”

Castor and Ramsi are two older baby name stories from the same region of the world (Vanuatu & Solomon Islands).

Vanuatu Baby Name Honors French Army

The French army recently conducted a 3-week renovation of the Melsisi Health Centre on Pentecost Island, Vanuatu.

The renovation, called the Castor Operation, included upgrades like a generator, an x-ray machine, and solar panels.

Locals promised the French soldiers that the first babies born after they left would be called Castor and/or Castorine, in acknowledgement of their hard work.

Sure enough, the first baby — a boy — was named Castor Bulekone.

[Other hospital-related baby names: Meadows Brook, Normah, Mash]

Source: Vanuatu baby named for French hospital mission

What Do You Think of the Name Caelum?

A reader named Lisa recently wrote to me about the name Caelum:

So my husband and I named our fist son Rigel and we are looking for a second boy’s name that fits in with the space names. I really like Caelum, but we are having a discussion about the pronunciation. Maybe you can help. The English pronunciation is SEE-lum – but I do not like that. The Latin is either pronounced Kay-luhm or Kye-luhm (rhymes with tie or pie). So do you know which it is? Thanks.

There seem to be two issues here. Or, rather, there’s the question Lisa asked, and there’s a separate issue I’d also like to address.

First let’s look at pronunciation. I’m not a Latin expert, but I consulted a few sources (like Michael A. Covington’s short paper “Latin Pronunciation Demystified” [pdf]) and I believe that caelum would be pronounced KYE-loom in Classical Latin and CHAY-loom in Ecclesiastical Latin. According to modern dictionaries it’s SEE-lum in today’s English, though I think English-speakers trying to sound it out would guess KAY-lum before SEE-lum.

More important than the pronunciation, though, is the fact that Lisa and her husband are having a discussion about the pronunciation. That’s not a good sign.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, they settle on a pronunciation they like and decide to use the name. What then? They’ll still have to explain the name (how to pronounce it, how to spell it, or both) to every person who comes along. After a few years, that burden will be passed down to their son. He’ll have to deal with explaining his name to new acquaintances for the rest of his life.

I think there are better options–names that are space-related, but more intuitive than Caelum. Here are a few ideas: Altair, Castor, Deneb, Draco, Leo, Nash, Orion and Vega. (Actress Danica McKellar named her son Draco a few months ago, incidentally.)

What’s your take on the name Caelum?