Indian Baby Named “Treasurer”

rupee notesLast month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unexpectedly demonetized 500- and 1,000-rupee banknotes. His long-term goal is to crack down on corruption, but the result so far has been chaos…likely to be followed by a substantial economic slowdown.

Last week, on December 2, a pregnant woman in Uttar Pradesh went into labor while waiting in line at the bank. With the help of other bank customers, she delivered a baby boy on bank premises. To mark the occasion, the baby was named Khazanchi, which means “treasurer” or “cashier” (from khazana, “treasure,” plus the agentive suffix -chi).

Sources: Born in bank, UP baby named Khazanchi (cashier) Nath, Born in bank queue, boy named Khazanchi


Another Baby Named After a Soccer Team

soccer-ballIn 1992, Leeds United superfans Jeanne and Andrew Cazaux welcomed a baby boy. They named him “Dominic Andrew Lukic Newsome Fairclough Whyte Dorigo McAllister Batty Strachan Speed Chapman Cantona Cazaux” after the following Leeds players:

  • John Lukic
  • Jon Newsome
  • Chris Fairclough
  • Chris Whyte
  • Tony Dorigo
  • Gary McAllister
  • David Batty
  • Gordon Strachan
  • Gary Speed
  • Lee Chapman
  • Eric Cantona

So which team does Dominic root for these days? Arsenal. “I think I chose Arsenal mainly to rebel,” he said. “I was only about eight years old and it was just one of those things you do to go against your parents. They were disappointed but said that it was my choice.”

Dominic isn’t the only person out there named after a soccer team, believe it or not. There are several others, including Jensen Jay Alexander Bikey Carlisle Duff Elliot Fox Iwelumo Marney Mears Paterson Thompson Wallace Preston, who was named after 14 Burnley F.C. players.

Source: So what would you do if your parents named you after the entire Leeds United team?

Kennedy Baby Named for Vieques

Vieques, Puerto Rico

The U.S. Navy annexed about two-thirds of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques in the 1940s and kept control of that land for decades, using it for military training.

The accidental death of a Viequense civilian on the naval base in 1999 kicked off a series of protests against the U.S. military presence on the island. The protests received international attention, and many prominent people (incuding Ricky Martin, Rosie Perez, Jesse Jackson, and Rigoberta Menchu) visited the island to show their support.

One of the visitors was attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., nephew of John F. Kennedy. Robert ended up serving 30 days in prison in mid-2001 for his involvement in the protests.

On July 13, while Kennedy was incarcerated, his wife Mary gave birth to a baby boy named Aidan Caomhan Vieques Kennedy. Mary said, “I think that when he is older, the child will understand why he has the name of Vieques and how important it is and he’ll be proud to be a part of that history.”

The place name Vieques is based on the Taíno name for the island: Bieke, meaning “small land.”

The protests eventually convinced the U.S. Navy to leave Vieques in the early 2000s. Much of the former Navy-controlled land is now a national wildlife refuge.

Sources: Newest Kennedy a Vieques Namesake, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – Wikipedia, Vieques, Puerto Rico – Wikipedia
Image: © US Fish & Wildlife Service

Marie Ahnighito, the Snow Baby

Marie Ahnighito Peary
Marie Ahnighito Peary, mid-1890s
Roald Amundsen was the first explorer to verifiably reach the North Pole (in 1926, with the help of a dirigible). But he wasn’t the first explorer to claim to have reached the North Pole.

One of those early claimants was Robert Peary, who said he reached the Pole in 1909. While no one knows for sure if this is true, other facts about Peary’s travels are not in question.

For instance, there’s the fact that he brought his pregnant wife Josephine to northern Greenland in 1893 so that she could give birth to their first child in the Arctic. The baby girl, who arrived in September, was the first Caucasian child to be born at that altitude.

The baby’s name? Marie Ahnighito. She was often called the “snow baby” by the media.

In her 1901 book “The Snow Baby: A True Story with True Pictures,” Josephine described an outfit one of the Inuit women had constructed for Marie, and that led to the story of the name:

This costume was made by a woman named AH-NI-GHI-TO; so, when the baby was christened, she too was called AH-NI-GHI-TO. She was also named Marie for her only aunt, who was waiting in the far-off home land to greet her little niece.

(I wish she’d included a translation/interpretation of Ahnighito, but alas she did not.)

Marie Ahnighito was probably the first non-Inuit baby to get that particular Inuit name, but she wasn’t the last. So far I’ve found four U.S. babies (two male, two female) named Ahnighito. Two were born in the late 1930s, not long after Marie’s book “The Snowbaby’s Own Story” (1934) was published, and the other two were born in the late 1950s. (One was Ahnighito Eugene Riddick.)

…Oh, and I know of one more thing named after Marie Ahnighito: A meteorite. Or at least a big chunk of one.

About 10,000 years ago, a meteorite entered the atmosphere, broke up, and landed in pieces close to Cape York, Greenland. For centuries the Inuit of the region used iron from the fragments to make tools and harpoons.

Peary discovered these meteorite fragments around 1894. A few years later, he sold the three largest pieces — called “Tent,” “Woman” and “Dog” by the Inuit — to the American Museum of Natural History for $40,000. (Essentially, he profited from stealing/selling the Inuit’s only source of metal.) At some point Peary renamed the largest fragment “Ahnighito” in honor of his daughter, and today all three pieces — Ahnighito, Woman and Dog — remain on display in New York City.

Sources:

Image: Marie Peary (LOC)

Obama’s Mama: Stanley Ann

It’s election day!

While we wait for news about the next U.S. president, let’s talk about Stanley, the late mother of the current U.S. president.

Stanley Ann Dunham was born in 1942 to Stanley and Madelyn Dunham of Wichita, Kansas. According to most sources, her father had been hoping for a baby boy. When a baby girl arrived instead, he stubbornly decided to pass his name down regardless.

But Pulitzer-winning journalist David Maraniss has another theory: “The naming of Stanley Ann had less to do with the dictates of a presumptuous father than with the longing for sophistication of a starstruck mother.” He explains:

Since her teenage years as a moviegoer at the commodious Augusta Theatre, Madelyn had devoutly followed the film career of Bette Davis, her favorite actress. A new picture starring Davis and Olivia de Havilland reached Kansas during the summer of 1942, while Madelyn was pregnant. In the movie, In This Our Life, Davis and de Havilland played the two Timberlake sisters, each with a man’s name: Davis was Stanley and de Havilland was Roy.

In This Our Life, Bette Davis, Stanley
Bette Davis as Stanley in the movie In This Our Life

According to Maraniss, this is what inspired Madelyn to name the baby Stanley, and the fact that the baby’s father was also named Stanley was just a coincidence.

The movie In This Our Life was based on a Pulitzer-winning novel of the same name by author Ellen Glasgow. The 1941 novel is set in Glasgow’s home state of Virginia — one of the many states throughout the South in which family surnames were often bestowed upon baby girls (especially in families without many sons).

Stanley Ann Dunham “was teased mercilessly for her name” as a youngster, according to Barack Obama in his book Dreams from My Father. She ended up dropping “Stanley” and simply going by “Ann” as an adult.

Where did her father get his name? “His mother, an avid reader, named him in honor of one of her favorite historical characters, Sir Henry Morton Stanley, the British newspaperman and adventurer who became famous probing the nether regions of interior Africa.”

Interestingly, Sir Henry Morton Stanley was born John Rowlands; he created the name “Henry Morton Stanley” for himself upon emigrating to America from England.

What do you think of the name Stanley for a baby girl?

Sources:

  • Maraniss, David. Barack Obama: The Story. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012.
  • Obama, Barack. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. New York: Crown Publishers, 1995.

Baby Born at Police Station, Named for Cop

On October 6, 1947, a 20-year-old Los Angeles County resident named Dolores Del Real went into labor. She wasn’t going to make it to the hospital on time, so she stopped at the El Monte police station for help.

The on-duty policeman, Joseph V. Ervin, “acted as midwife” and “delivered the boy in a rear room of the station.” In honor of Officer Ervin, Dolores named her baby Joseph.

(And records show that the baby’s middle name was Virgil — this may have come from Ervin as well.)

Source: “Infant Born in Station Named After Policeman.” Los Angeles Times 7 Oct. 1947: A1.

Baby Named for Slain Amish Schoolgirl

On the morning of October 2, 2006, a gunman took ten girls (aged 6 to 13) hostage in a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding the other five, before committing suicide.

One of the victims was 7-year-old Naomi Rose Ebersol. Earlier during the incident — before the gunman had ordered the adult women and the boys to leave — Naomi had been comforted by a pregnant woman named Lydia Mae Zook:

[Lydia] reached over and patted the frightened child on the back.

“It’s going to be all right,” she assured the little girl.

On October 10, Lydia gave birth to her baby girl three weeks early. She named the baby Naomi Rose.

(The other little girls who lost their lives were named Anna, Lena, Marian, and Mary.)

Source: Dribben, Melissa. “In Amish survivor’s baby, hope lives “Shattered, but strong”: Woman who escaped death relates her story.” Philadelphia Inquirer 22 Oct. 2006.