Train Baby Named Marion

In January of 1910, Cleveland-based pastor W. J. Vernon and his pregnant wife were riding through Ohio aboard a southbound passenger train. As the train reached Marion, Ohio, Mrs. Vernon gave birth to a baby girl. “The baby was named Marion, in honor of the first stop in her journey in the world.”

Source: “Born on Railway Train.” St. Joseph News-Press 24 Jan. 1910: 7.

Names in the News: Arrow, Burrow, Winter

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Alam: DJ Khaled’s second baby boy, born in January of 2020, was named Alam* (SheKnows). At the 2020 Grammys, where he co-won the award for Best Rap/Sung Performance, DJ Khaled announced both the birth and the name:

I just had a new baby boy a week ago. His name is Alam. It means “the world” in Arabic.

Arrow: A baby boy born in Missouri on a recent Super Bowl Sunday was named Arrow after Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs (KCTV). In light of the fact that Arrow was born with a congenital heart defect that ultimately required a heart transplant, his mother had this to say about his name:

His name has been so fitting for his journey and everything he’s been through. I think we couldn’t have chosen a better name for him and his life. […] I’ve had people tell me an arrow must be pulled back before it can be launched, and I think about that a lot. He’s had a lot of things that have pulled him back but he’s being launched into his future and it’s going to be a very beautiful future.

Burrow: A baby boy born in Louisiana in January of 2020 was named William Burrow McKnight, middle name in honor of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (

Raddix: Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden’s first child, a baby girl born in December of 2019, was named Raddix Chloe Wildflower Madden. (The Blast). Here’s what Cameron posted on Instagram:

Happy New Year from the Maddens! We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden. […] While we are overjoyed to share this news, we also feel a strong desire to protect our little one’s privacy. So we won’t be posting pictures or sharing any more details, other than the fact that she is really, really cute!! Some would even say RAD:)

Winter & Winter: The first baby born in the Fredericksburg, Virginia, region in 2020 was a baby girl named Winter Wren Kagarise. The second 2020 Fredericksburg baby was a boy who was also named Winter: Winter Gael Aparicio. ( — thank you Ellyn for the link!)

*Not “Another One” as I had hoped. ;)

[For more names in the news, check out the name news category.]

Cuban Baby Named Barbara Benita

Andres holding Barbara Benita
(Bettmann / Getty Images)

A few days ago we talked about Cuban refugee babies whose names were associated with the Mariel boatlift, but here’s an even earlier Cuban refugee baby name I haven’t written about yet: Barbara Benita.

She was born in a small open boat fleeing from Cuba in late April, 1964. Her father, a farmer named Andres Mejias, was quoted as saying: “I never dreamed of delivering a baby, especially at sea running from my country.”

The family was picked up by H.M.S Tartar about 13 miles south of Marathon, Florida.

The baby was named Barbara for the Cuban saint of thunder because it was rainy during the night, and Benita for the British naval officer on the Tartar who first spotted the refugee group. Mr. Mejias said he knew only that the officer’s first name was Ben.

In the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería, Saint Barbara was syncretized with Shango, the Yoruban god of thunder and lightning, fire, and war.

Source: “Cuban Refugee Gives Birth in Small Boat at Sea.” Toledo Blade 30 Apr. 1964: 1.

Babies Named for the Mariel Boatlift

I mentioned the Mariel boatlift in last week’s post on Margaux Hemingway. It was the mass emigration of 125,000 Cubans to Florida in 1980 (from April to October). All the boats leaving Cuba sailed from the port of Mariel — the port closest to the United States.

So far I’ve discovered two Cuban refugee babies who were given names related to the event. The first was a baby girl named Reina Mariela:

A steady stream of refugee boats returning from the Cuban port of Mariel swelled the 35-day total past 71,000 Friday, including the youngest refugee, Reina Mariela Miranda. She was born about eight hours before the 80-foot “Reef Queen,” packed with 308 refugees, docked here early Friday, said Dr. Armando Cruz. The baby’s name means Queen Mariel.

The second was a baby boy named Valiant:

During the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, James M. Loy commanded the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Valiant and rescued a Cuban woman clinging to a sinking piece of Styrofoam. She soon gave birth on the ship’s deck and was evacuated to a hospital. Days later, he went to see her at the hospital. She had named the baby Valiant.


Image by Raymond L. Blazevic under CC BY 2.0.