In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, during the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Hapsburgs, several Dutch port towns were handed over to England temporarily so they could be better defended against Spain.
One of these towns was Brielle, which was called Brill by the English. The name can be traced back to the Celtic word brogilo, meaning “marshland.”
Englishman Edward Conway was the governor of Brill for twenty years (1596–1616). In 1598, he and his wife Dorothy had a baby girl. They named her Brilliana after the town.
She went on to marry Robert Harley and have seven children: Edward, Robert, Thomas, Brilliana, Dorothy, Margaret, and Elizabeth. She’s remembered today because of her prolific letter-writing. In the letters, she addressed her own daughter Brilliana by the short form, “Brill.”
Several of her descendants and her siblings’ descendants, including Ethel Brilliana Tweedie (1862–1940), also got the name.
Alabamian Danny Pitts, who today works as a pastor, spent most of his childhood in an abusive home. He was taken in by the Pitts family in his teens, and soon after decided “that he wanted a new name, something to give him a fresh start.” So he and his adoptive mother began looking through a baby name book…
A knock on the door interrupted, and Ann Pitts got up to answer. The caller was an insurance salesman, who handed her his card and asked if she might be interested in a policy.
“She left him at the door and came over with his card. She said, ‘I like his name and how it is spelled — D-u-a-n-e,'” Danny Pitts recalled.
He said “Danny Duane Pitts” aloud, liked it and that was who he became.
I love how the name was essentially hand-delivered to them as they were searching. :)
In mid-1986, Brenda and Richard Lee Roberts of Toledo, Ohio, welcomed a son. They weren’t intending to name the baby boy after his father, but then…
The anesthesiologist was Dr. Tom Richards, the attending physician was Dr. Lee Hammerling, and the pediatrician was Richard Roberts. Then, back in the room after the little one was born, Mrs. Roberts saw a notice on the table advising her to call Lee Richards if anything was wrong with the room.
“Someone seemed to be trying to tell me something about my husband’s name,” Mrs. Roberts noted, “and we wound up naming our son Richard Lee Roberts, Jr.”
So the series of coincidences nudged them in the direction of dad’s name after all. :)
Has anyone out there ever been prompted by coincidence to choose a particular baby name?
Source: “The Naming.” Toledo Blade 6 Nov. 1986: P-1.
In early 1898, the St. Landry Clarion (and other newspapers) ran the following story about a baby boy who has named after the train on which he was born:
When the St. Paul train No. 4, the through Omaha and Chicago express, rolled into the Union depot at Chicago the other day it brought one passenger who had neither ticket nor pass and who had not boarded the train at any station. The extra passenger was a baby boy, the child of Mr. and Mrs. George Morrow, born on the train near Elgin. The young couple came from Nora Springs, Ia., and were on their way to visit relatives in Chicago. They were passengers in the day coach, but the young woman was given the drawing room in the sleeper and a doctor telegraphed ahead for. He got on at Kirkland and came on to Chicago with the young mother. When the station was reached the coach was switched in a side track and later mother and boy were taken to the home of friends. The child has been named St. Paul.
Do you like that they went with “St. Paul,” or do you think they should have gone with “Paul” by itself?
Where did Bombay-born English writer Joseph Rudyard Kipling, most famous for The Jungle Book, get his memorable middle name?
His parents, John and Alice, got engaged in the summer of 1863 on the shores of Rudyard Lake in Rudyard, Staffordshire, England. Wedding planning finally started in late 1864, after John secured a job in India. The pair married in March of 1865, set off for India a month later, and welcomed Joseph Rudyard, nicknamed “Rud,” at the end of December.
Rudyard Lake had been created in 1799 by damming a brook. It was named for the surrounding settlement of Rudyard, which had existed since at least the early 11th century, when it was called Rudegeard (derived from a pair of Old English words meaning “shrub rue” and “enclosure”).
According to the SSA data, dozens of U.S. baby boys were named Rudyard during the 20th century. Do you like the name Rudyard? Would you consider giving it to a modern baby boy?