Two Babies Named Ivernia

The British ocean liner SS Ivernia (1899-1917) made many voyages between Europe and North America during the early 1900s. Various babies were born on board during these years, and at least two of these babies were given names to honor the ship.

The first was born in May of 1906, while the Ivernia was sailing from Liverpool to Boston. A Polish passenger (“Mrs. Micholius Pacer”) welcomed a baby girl named Pauline Ivernia Pacer.

ivernia, baby, news, 1906

The second was born in April of 1914, when the Ivernia was sailing from Naples to New York City. A Hungarian passenger (“Mrs. Sandor Szentkiraly”) welcomed a baby girl named Gazilla Ivernia Szentkiraly.

The word “Ivernia” is a version of the geographical term “Hibernia,” which was used by ancient Greek and Roman writers to refer to the island of Ireland.

Sources:

  • “Ivernia Met Fogs and Gales.” Boston Evening Transcript 11 May 1906: 3.
  • “Two Babies Born on Ship.” New York Times 27 Apr. 1914.

Baby Named “Nimrod Shackleton”

Years before the the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Ernest Shackleton led the Nimrod Expedition to Antarctica. The party set sail from Lyttelton, New Zealand, on January 1, 1908.

A few months later, a New Zealand newspaper reported that a local baby had been given an expedition-inspired name:

What would the infants say if they felt the full weight of the names that are put upon them? Since Lieut. Shackleton left for the Antarctic with the Nimrod a baby — presumably a boy — at Lyttelton has been christened “Nimrod Shackleton.” Shall we hear of a dainty wee girl being dubbed Mollymawk, and will these islands be by-and-bye picturesque with Albatross Jones, King Edward VII Land Smith, Penguin Peterson, Antarctica Adams?

I can’t find any record of the baby, but I can tell you that a “mollymawk” is a type of albatross whose name comes from the Dutch word mallemok (from mal, “foolish,” and mok, “gull”).

Sources:

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.

Train Baby Named ‘Santa Fe’

santa fe, baby, train, baby name

A short newspaper item from early 1908:

TOPEKA. Kas., Jan. 4. — A little girl was born to Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Harvey today on an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe train as the latter was pulling into Topeka. The parents of the little girl are prosperous residents of Chicago and were en route from San Francisco to that city. They named the child “Santa Fe.”

I couldn’t find any record of this Santa Fe Harvey, but I did found another Santa Fe Harvey — though it was her married name. She was born in New York in 1889.

Related name: Seeva Fair. Baby Seeva Fair, born four decades after baby Santa Fe, had initials that referenced the Santa Fe Railroad.

Source: “Child Born on Train.” Los Angeles Herald 5 Jan. 1908: 2.