Baby Named for Judge Who Granted Divorce

In 1928, the Aberdeen Journal mentioned a London woman who had been granted a separation from her husband by London Magistrate Basil B. Watson.

She was apparently very pleased about the decision, because when she later gave birth to a baby boy, she named him “Basil Watson Ratcliffe.”

(I checked the records — a Basil Watson Ratcliffe was indeed born in London in 1927.)

Source: What’s in a Name? Choosing a Name for a Baby


Twins Named for Paul and Lloyd Waner

paul waner, lloyd waner
Paul and Lloyd Waner in 1940

From the 1920s to the 1940s, brothers Paul Glee Waner (1903-1965) and Lloyd James Waner (1906-1982) played major league baseball, primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Many Pirates fans of the era named their kids after either Paul or Lloyd, and some named their kids after both Paul and Lloyd. In January of 1940, for instance, Jack and Dorothy Munyon of Pittsburgh named their son Paul Lloyd Munyon. A couple of years earlier, a St. Louis mother named her twin boys Paul Glee Kraatz and Lloyd James Kraatz. (From the article: “The Waners have had baseball teams, cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, hogs, race horses and now even twins named after them.”)

Where did Paul Glee Waner get his gleeful-sounding middle name? One source claimed he was born Paul John Waner, but his middle name was changed at the age of six after he received a shotgun from his curiously named Uncle Glee.

[Here’s another set of twins named for famous people of the ’30s.]

Sources:

Image: © AP

Babies Named for the Wind…

the association, 1967, album

In January of 1940, The McMillan family of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, welcomed a baby girl “[a]t the height of a windstorm.”

Naming the child was easy. The McMillans called her Wendie Dae.

Had this scene occurred in the late ’60s instead of the early ’40s, I wonder if the McMillans would have gone for “Windy” instead of “Wendie.”

Why? Because in mid-1967, a song called “Windy” — about a woman named Windy — was the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks straight.

Who’s tripping down the streets of the city
Smiling at everybody she sees?
Who’s reaching out to capture a moment?
Everyone knows it’s Windy

The usage of the baby name Windy doubled that year. Windy was boosted into the top 1,000 for the first time, and it saw peak popularity in 1975, ranking 553rd that year.

Wendy also got a boost from the song “Windy,” though it didn’t need any help: the name Wendy was in the top 100 from the ’50s to the ’80s, reaching as high as 28th in 1970.

Which name do you prefer, Windy or Wendy? (Or Wendie?)

Source: “Daughter Born in Windstorm Is Christened Wendie Dae.” Morning Avalanche [Lubbock, Texas] 18 Jan. 1940: 6.

Baby Name Story: Kimberly Sunshine

In September of 1983, Margaret Kruger of Stuart, Florida, went into labor three months early. She was put into an air ambulance helicopter heading to Tampa…but the baby wasn’t going to wait that long. So pilot Ron Ray made an emergency landing in a cow pasture near Okeechobee, and a baby girl was born soon after the landing.

Kruger said:

“Everyone was rushing around, getting the incubator out of the helicopter it wouldn’t open inside and trying to get the baby to breathe […] Cow manure was everywhere caked on the incubator and helicopter skids.”

The baby weighed less than two pounds and spent the next three months in the hospital. Despite being given a 20% chance of survival, she lived.

Her name? Kimberly Sunshine — Kimberly because it means “field” or “clearing” (in part*) and Sunshine because it recalls “the sunshine that surrounded her the day she was born.”

*The “ly” part of Kimberly comes from a word meaning “field,” but the “kimber” part is based on any of several Old English names (e.g., Cyneburga, Cynebald).

[Here’s another baby name story that involves both a helicopter and a pilot named Ron, ironically. And here’s one with a cow.]

Sources:

  • Plarski, Pat. “Baby Born in Copter Beating All the Odds.” Palm Beach Post 25 Mar. 1984.
  • Swartz, Sally. “Pilot Visits Girl who was Born in his Helicopter.” Palm Beach Post 28 Jun. 1992.

Baby Isla, Named after Coney Island

Isla Tudor, 1915In the late 1800s and early 1900s, English showman and “Animal King” Frank C. Bostock brought his performing menagerie of lions, jaguars, elephants, camels, and other animals to various cities in Great Britain and America.

Given that Bostock was famous for hosting weddings (for humans) inside the lion cage, the following story isn’t too surprising:

On August 23, 1903, Bostock’s English-born, Brooklyn-based business manager, Harry E. Tudor, had a baby girl. At three weeks old, the newborn was taken to an afternoon Bostock show on Coney Island, at the Sea Beach Palace.

Bostock’s lion tamer, Captain Jack Bonavita, took the newborn inside the lion cage, which contained 27 lions at the time. “[H]e commanded them to stand on their hind legs, which they did, supporting themselves against the bars of the cage.”

He then conducted some sort of naming ceremony in front of several thousand spectators, choosing the name Isla for the baby because, he said, it paid tribute to Coney Island. The baby was then passed out of the cage “and the regular exhibition took place.”

According to New York City birth records, the baby’s name was officially Isabel, same as her mother. Regardless, she was always called Isla by the newspapers.

And why was she in the newspapers? Because she led a fascinating (if short) life.

During her childhood, Isla crossed the Atlantic dozens of times “and visited Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.” She spent her eighth birthday sailing to Europe aboard the RMS Olympic, and her 12th picnicking with a lion named Baltimore at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

When her father took up flying, she took it up as well. She participated in aviation exhibitions in both England and America, eventually piloting a plane herself. Aerial Age Weekly said Isla was “known on two continents as the youngest girl aviator.”

isla tudor, air lady
Isla Tudor, “Little Air Lady” (1914)

Sadly, Isla Tudor died of appendicitis in 1916, one month after her 13th birthday. News of her death was reported in the New York Times, Billboard magazine, and many other publications. (In the New York City death records she’s listed as Isla, not Isabel; her name may have been legally changed at some point.)

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