The “Elda Rema” baby name formula

"Elda Rema" baby name formula

In his book The American Language, H. L. Mencken mentioned a “woman professor in the Middle West [with] the given name of Eldarema, coined from those of her grandparents, Elkanah, Daniel, Rebecca and Mary.”

The woman he’s talking about did exist, but Mencken didn’t get her name quite right.

Elda Rema Walker was botany professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. And so was her sister — here they are, listed one after the other, in the University of Nebraska General Catalog for 1916-1917:

Elda Rema Walker and Leva Belle Walker

(Leva Belle’s names were also inspired by family — parents Levi and Isabel.)

So here’s the Elda Rema baby name formula:

  • First name =
    • First 2 letters of one grandfather’s name +
    • First 2 letters of the other grandfather’s name
  • Middle name =
    • First 2 letters of one grandmother’s name +
    • First 2 letters of the other grandmother’s name

Using the names of your parents and your partner’s parents, can you come up with any usable first + middle combos?

The best I can do is “Aujo Elhe.” Hopefully you can do better…

Source: Mencken, H. L. The American Language. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1919.

14 thoughts on “The “Elda Rema” baby name formula

  1. OK, let’s see…

    Kato Róha
    Kato Haró
    Toka Haró
    Toka Róha
    * = ó pronounced like ‘oo’

    I’m not a fan of all four but if I have to, I might pick the second one out of all of these four.

  2. My father-in-law’s name was Orland. They switched letters around and came up with two choices for their son: Roland or Ronald. Thankfully, they chose the latter!
    We had neighbors – Simon and Anoop. (He is Irish, she is East Indian.) Their lone child was named Simran.

  3. I guess my child would have ended up either “Besc Rica” or “Besc Cari” — because “Scbe” doesn’t work!

    I could’ve been “Rowa Kama” or “Waro Maka”!

  4. The first two are complete unusable. I’d probably go with the 3rd if I had to choose; it looks like Nowi is the name of a character in a video game.
    Wino Rove
    Wino Vero
    Nowi Vero
    Nowi Rove

  5. My grandparents are Bryan and Isobel and Harold and Jamesie
    Habry Jais
    Bryha Isoja
    Clearly I won’t be naming my future child this way
    With my parents names Elspeth and Darren the best name I can come up with is Dael

  6. So for a child of mine, the best option is probably Mima Macy. She’d have to go by her middle name.

    And I could have been Stama Kage, Masta Geka, or some variation. All of which sound like an evil alien.

  7. Well, my grandfathers are Owen & Joseph, and my grandmothers are Lois & Lorraine. Looks like my child will be called…..Owjo Lolo? Maybe I’ll just go with Jolo :P

  8. Sticking with first names, I’d be Alll Rupa (Almont, Lloyd, Ruby, Patricia). Not too bad, although the three L combo is a spelling/pronunciation nightmare, like I’m being called as a contestant on the Price is Right, Allllllllll, come on down!

    I toyed with middle names, which didn’t work at all for my grandmothers, but did net me East for my grandfathers (Earnest, Stanley). So, with a little massaging of the rules, I could also be East Rupa.

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