Indonesian Baby Named “Asian Games”

The 2018 Asian Games, which lasted from August 18 to September 2, was co-hosted by the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang.

On opening day, just hours before the opening ceremony, a couple in Palembang welcomed a baby girl. She arrived a month ahead of schedule.

Parents Yordania Denny (dad) and Vera Nova (mom) were ready with the first name Abidah. In honor of the sporting event taking place in their city, though, chose to add a second name: “Asian Games.” This made their daughter’s full name Abidah Asian Games. (Like many Indonesians, she has no surname.)

Sources: Meet ‘Abidah Asian Games’, Couple Names Their Newborn After Sporting Carnival in Indonesia, Keluarga Unik di Palembang, Nama Anaknya Adiba Asian Games, Bapaknya Yordania

The Baby Name “Burjoice”

I found the following story in a 106-year-old newspaper article about Southern names. No doubt many of the names/stories in the piece were made-up (urban legends, perhaps) but this one had such weirdly specific details that I’m hoping it was true.

Around in the next cove was the boy, Burjoice Robbins, whose mother derived even greater satisfaction from his curiously un-Christian Christian name. The Cumberland Presbyterian preacher who christened the child insisted on calling him “Rejoice,” and that is the way it is written in the church record. The explanation is simple in the extreme. That summer a learned man ran away from the city to the seclusion of the mountains while he was reading proof on a profound work that was being printed in Chattanooga. Every few days a youth would come out from the printing office with a bunch of galley proofs and there was always a discussion of the type. The learned man wanted some paragraphs set up in small pica, for emphasis, and certain foot notes set up in nonpareil, but the body of the text was to be in bourgeois, which the printer’s helper invariably pronounced “burjoice.” Whenever the writer said anything about “bourzhwa” the youth repeated it after him, making the correction in pronunciation, “burjoice.” The mother of the little boy was convinced that this wonderful thing, which was to play such an important part in a learned book, would make the grandest name her son could possibly have. Even when the preacher said it was heathen she did not yield, writing it in the family bible, in defiance of the church record.

The words “pica,” “nonpareil,” and “bourgeois” refer to letter sizes that predate the point system we use today (e.g., 12-point Times New Roman, 10-point Arial).

And here’s a twist: In the world of printing, the word “bourgeois” was indeed pronounced burjoice. So the printer’s helper was correct in making his correction. :)

Source: “Peculiar Names Found in the Southern States.” San Francisco Call 28 Sep. 1912: 2.

No One Wanted to Name These Triplets

On March 8, 1911, George and Lida Duncan of Corydon, Kentucky, welcomed triplets — one boy, two girls. They asked several public figures of the day to name the babies:

  • William Howard Taft, who was serving as U.S. president at the time, “congratulated the parents and wished “a long, prosperous and happy life” for the children, but declined to name them.”
  • Theodore Roosevelt, who was president before Taft, “tendered “hearty congratulations” to both parents, particularly to Mrs. Duncan,” but declined as well.
  • Philanthropists Helen Gould and Olivia Sage “also declined to name the children, but sent expressions of appreciation to the parents.”

So George and Lida took it upon themselves to select names for the babies. They settled on Ralph, Ruth and Ruby.

If they had asked you, though, what names would you have suggested for the triplets?

Source: “All Decline to Name Children.” Spokesman-Review 27 Apr. 1911: 12.

Baby Named “Lloyd” for Steamship Company

In late 1964, a baby boy was born to Maria and Gottfried Spizenberger while they were aboard the ocean liner Berlin en route from Bremerhaven and New York.

The Berlin was owned by the North German shipping company Norddeutscher Lloyd, so the Spizenbergers named their new baby Lloyd, after the shipping company.

In fact, the surname Lloyd is used frequently in the names of shipping companies. Examples include Balkan Lloyd, Österreichischer Lloyd, Hapag-Lloyd (a descendant of Norddeutscher Lloyd), Lloyd Sabaudo, Asiatic Lloyd, and Atlantic Lloyd.

Why? It all goes back to coffee…kinda.

A man named Edward Lloyd founded a coffee house in London in the 1680s. Lloyd’s Coffee House was a meeting spot for London merchants and ship-owners, and soon became known as a place where ship-owners could obtain marine insurance. Many years later, this evolved into the famous insurance market Lloyd’s of London.

But going back to the marine insurance thing: “[F]or the past century or more, the name [Lloyd]…has been freely borrowed by maritime companies around the world in the belief that it added cachet.” And this is why the surname Lloyd — which is based on the Welsh word for “gray” — pops up so often in the names of shipping companies worldwide.

What are your thoughts on name Lloyd? Do you prefer it as a name for a baby, a coffee house, or a shipping company?

Sources:

Miss Zane Grey

According to a newspaper article from 1911, many people assumed that Zane Grey was a woman because of his first name:

Zane Grey, who is spending the summer at Cottage Point, Lackawaxen, Pa., complains that his unusual first name is the cause of much misunderstanding and that he has received numerous letters addressed to “Miss” Zane Grey and requests for the lady’s photograph.

But “Zane” wasn’t his actual first name. It was his middle name, taken from his mother’s maiden name.

His full name at birth was Pearl Zane Grey. He was born in early 1872 in the Ohio town of Zanesville, which was named after his maternal ancestor Ebenezer Zane.

The name “Pearl” is usually considered feminine, but it seems to have been used for males in Zane’s family; he had a male cousin named Pearl. He disliked the name and dropped it when he began his writing career.

Various sources claim the name “Pearl” was chosen because, around the time of Zane’s birth, newspapers were describing Queen Victoria’s mourning attire as pearl gray. (He was born a few weeks after the tenth anniversary of Prince Albert’s death.) I did some research, though, and couldn’t find a single American newspaper from that era that mentioned pearl gray in association with the queen.

What are your thoughts on the name Zane? Do you view it as masculine or feminine?

P.S. The Zane Grey-inspired television show Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater (1956-1961) gave rise to five (!) other TV shows. These spin-offs were behind several baby name debuts, including Hoby.

Source: “Authors and their work.” Sun [New York] 14 Jul. 1911: 7.