How Do You Like Your Name, Marsheela?

Here’s a crazy coincidence: While I was putting yesterday’s post on Marsheila together, I got an email from a 52-year-old Californian named Marsheela.

Here’s what she said about her name:

My mother gave me the name Marsheela after her grandmother who was Chinook Indian. She told me the name means morning glory. I was the only Marsheela around, all thru school and adulthood, I would get mixed comments from, what a beautiful name to your mother must not have liked you. Luckily my husband loved the name! I will say it was difficult thru school not having a common name.

Thank you, Marsheela!

(Marsheela would have been born in the early ’60s — several years after the 1957 Broken Arrow episode that presented the name as Native American. Was the TV show an influence here? Hard to say, though it does seem possible. Marsheela didn’t mention what her great-grandmother’s birth name was specifically.)

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]


How Do You Like Your Name, Zana?

I haven’t published a name interview in a while!

Today’s interview is with Zana (“rhymes with Donna”) who is 73 years old and comes from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

What’s the story behind her name?

My name comes from my Italian grandmother’s maiden name, Zanolin. Hence I was named Zana Lynn.

What does she like/dislike about her name?

My name is unique. Others I have met with the same name pronounce it like the man’s name Zane (the first a as in the English word April). I have even had woman who spells their name as I do, tell me I mispronounce my name (ignorance abounds).

Would she recommend that her name be given to babies today?

If parents want an exotic and pretty name for their daughter, which is different and pronounce it as my Italian family does go for it.

Thank you very much, Zana!

P.S. The baby name Zana saw a big spike in usage in 1994, probably because of the short-lived Sinbad Show, which featured a young character named Zana [ZAY-na] Beckley.

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]

How Do You Feel About Your Name, Ebony?

Today’s name interview is with Ebony Anne, a 15-year-old from Australia who happens to be the blogger behind Baby Name Obsessed.

How did she get her name?

My parents just liked it. My mother has never really given me a reason for it but I do know Ebony was near the bottom of her list. Anne is my mums middle name, my grandma’s middle name and my great-grandmother was named Annie.

What does she like most about her name?

It’s common but not everywhere and it’s a name that is [not] hard to pronounce or spell.

(Here’s the U.S. popularity graph for Ebony.)

What does Ebony like least about her name?

The stereotypes it has (I’ve been told online that it’s a black name or a stripper name or a lower class baby name), the way people question my colour when I say my name and the nickname Eb.

Finally, would she recommend that her name be given to babies today?

Yes, even though it is dated especially in Australia where it just fell off the top 100 but it makes a good alternative to the more common Emily.

Thanks, Ebony!

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]

How Do You Feel About Your Name, Roseanna?

Today’s interview is with Roseanna, a 26-year-old from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

What’s the story behind her name?

In the 80’s, singer Chris de Burgh wrote a song for his daughter called “For Rosanna”. When my mom heard the song, she instantly loved the name. She chose my spelling, Roseanna, because she figured it was the most intuitive. Rose-anna.

The name Rosanna (and all sound-alike names) had become trendy in the early ’80s thanks to Toto’s 1982 song “Rosanna.” Perhaps this trendiness is what inspired Chris de Burgh to name his daughter Rosanna in 1984. His song “For Rosanna” was released on the same 1986 album as mega-hit “The Lady in Red.” (The specific spelling Roseanna, though, was most popular back in 1950 thanks to the 1949 movie Roseanna McCoy.)

What does she like most about her name?

I love that it is uncommon. I have only met a few others with my name. I like the nickname options too, though I don’t use them often. When I was younger, I was called Rosie, which I quite like these days. My family calls me Zana, which I really love.

What does she like least about her name?

I am constantly called Roseanne. And despite my moms best intentions, people usually spell it without the E, Rosanna.

Finally, would Roseanna recommend that her name be given to babies today?

Perhaps? In some ways, Roseanna seems kind of dated. I have yet to meet anyone my age, or younger, with this name; most I’ve met are a couple decades older. That said, both Rose and Anna are well loved these days.

-anna/ana names are all over the charts: Arianna, Brianna, Gianna, Adriana, Joanna, Hanna, Leanna, Liliana, Eliana, etc

Then there are names like Annabelle, Annalise, Annalee, Rosemary, Rosalie, and Roselyn that are all in the top 1000. I think Roseanna could fit in nicely. It is certainly usable and might be considered somewhat unexpected.

Thank you, Roseanna!

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]

How Do You Like Your Name, Caitlin?

Today’s name interview is with Caitlin, a 30-year-old from Boston who happens to be the blogger behind Republic of Names.

What’s the story behind her name?

I was born in Massachusetts in the mid-’80s, so I think it came pre-printed on the birth certificate.

(Here’s the national popularity graph for the baby name Caitlin. Highest usage was the late ’80s and early ’90s.)

What does she like most about her name?

I’m glad my parents went with this spelling.

What does she like least about her name?

The proliferation of cutesy spellings is annoying. Many of my senior colleagues have grandchildren named Kaitlyn/Caytlynne/Katelin and I sometimes feel that the name identifies me as a child, rather than as a professional.

Finally, would Caitlin recommend that her name be given to babies today?

No. It will never be spelled the way you want it to be spelled. It gets mixed up with all the Kaylas and Kaylees and Kaylins.

Thanks so much, Caitlin!

P.S. Just noticed that the baby name Caitlin saw a sizable jump (+2,253 baby girls) from 1987 to 1988. My best guess (from a whopping 3 minutes of research) is the Miami Vice character Caitlin Davies, played by Sheena Easton from 1987 to 1988. Does that sound about right, or is it something else…?

P.P.S. Recent NBN post Distinctive Baby Names, State by State is based on Caitlin’s research at Republic of Names.