Last week we went on a road trip, mainly to Minnesota and Missouri. Here are some names I spotted while we were out and about:
Ole & Lena
At the Mall of America, I noticed a display of “Ole and Lena” branded items — joke books, mugs, jams, jellies, even fortune cookies. Apparently the characters Ole and Lena are well-known in the Upper Midwest, where there are a number of Scandinavian-Americans.
Ole is a short form of Olaf.
Lena is short form of Helena, Magdalena, and other names that end with -lena.
In Kansas City, we toured the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank.
We saw the huge cash vault, and the three robots that carry large containers of cash into and out of storage.
I noticed that robot #2 was named Dewey. That made me think of George Dewey, so I told my husband, “I bet all three names have some sort of military connection. Maybe they’re all named after naval commanders, or war heroes.”
And then we saw car #1, Huey. Then car #3, Louie.
He laughed at me.
Not war heroes. Just Disney. Figures.
Also at the money museum, we watched a short movie about how Kansas City fought to be chosen as one of the nation’s Federal Reserve cities back in early 1914.
The movie featured a lot of old black-and-white photographs, one of which was a building with “Uneeda Biscuit 5¢” painted on the side.
That reminded me about the baby name Uneeda, which has popped up in the U.S. baby name data a handful of times:
- 1968: 5 baby girls named Uneeda
- 1962: 5 baby girls named Uneeda
- 1961: 7 baby girls named Uneeda
- 1931: 9 baby girls named Uneeda
- 1929: 5 baby girls named Uneeda [debut]
In fact, the popular Uneeda Biscuit was probably the very thing that inspired parents of the ’20s and ’30s to try out Uneeda as a first name.
The biscuit was a product of the National Biscuit Company, later shortened to “Nabisco.”
I’m thinking the ’60s usage was more likely inspired by the Uneeda Doll Company.
Of course, since we were in KC, we had to go and test out Google Fiber at the Google Fiber Space.
While we were there, I noticed a big map of the city on the wall. And that’s where I spotted Askew Avenue:
It goes on for blocks and blocks, perfectly straight, never veering east or west. Not askew at all! I found that funny.
Have babies ever been named Askew? Yes, hundreds. A few examples:
- Askew Mathew, born in 1611 in Hertfordshire, England
- Askew Beards Burbidge, born in 1751 in Warwickshire, England
- Askew Peacock, born in 1888 in Alabama
- Askew Kenneth Edward Taylor Askew, born in 1996 in Texas
Askew beards! What a visual.
I’m sure that in most (if not all) cases, the first name Aksew was inspired by the surname Askew, which referred originally to the village of Aiskew in North Yorkshire, England.
We’ve taken I-80 a bunch of times, but never I-70, so the town names on this trip were all new to me.
One of the names I noticed was Bovina, which is a town in eastern Colorado. The name was surely inspired by the word “bovine.”
The states of Mississippi, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin also have places called Bovina.
And dozens of U.S. babies have been named Bovina, believe it or not. Some examples:
- Bovina Lemming, born in 1846 in Indiana
- Bovina Wheeler, born in 1878 in Vermont
- Bovina Parmer, born in 1910 in Texas
…And that’s most of the names I spotted. There are a few others (e.g. Cabela) but I’ll give them their own posts.