The other day we talked about two girl names that were influenced by the 1984 Summer Olympics, so today let’s look at two boy names that were influenced by the same event.
The first is Breland, which appeared in the U.S. baby name data once in the 1920s, returned in 1984:
1986: 9 baby boys named Breland
1985: 11 baby boys named Breland
1984: 10 baby boys named Breland
The man who brought it back was welterweight boxer Mark Breland, who won a gold medal at the Olympics after defeating South Korea’s Young-Su An.
The surname Breland could be either French or Norwegian. The French version was based on the Old French word brelenc, meaning “card table” (i.e., gambler), while the Norwegian version was a place name based on either bre, “glacier,” or breid, “wide.”
Back when sea voyages were the only way to reach distant lands, many babies ended up being born aboard ships. And many of these ship-born babies were given names that reflected the circumstances of their birth. A good portion of them, for instance, were named after the ships upon which they were born.
I’ve gathered hundreds of these ship-inspired baby names over the years, and I think it’s finally time to post what I’ve found…
Emma Abergeldie Walsh, born in 1884
Eva Abernyte Congdon, born in 1875
Herbert Bealie Abington Tait, born in 1884
Abyssinia Louise Juhansen, born in 1870
Abyssinia Elfkin, born in 1872
Louise Abyssinia Bellanger, born in 1874
John Achilles Denchey, born in 1871
U. Actoea Jones, born in 1868
John Adriatic Gateley Collins, born in 1879
Adriatic O’Loghlin Gould, born in 1880
Agnes Adriatic Cook, born in 1880
Frederick Agamemnon Dingly, born in 1876
Mary Alaska Magee, born in 1884
Gertrude Alcester Dart, born in 1884
Mary Duncan Alcinosa Greenwood, born in 1887
Aldergrove Andrew Fullarton Feathers, born in 1875
He in turn gave his name to Medford, Minnesota, in the 1850s. His father, Englishman William K. Colling, was an early Minnesota settler who “said that he had a son who was born on board the ship Medford, and was named Medford, in honor of the ship, and proposed that the town should be named Medford in honor of the boy.”
I love that the Social Security Administration releases so much baby name data to the public. But I’ve always had mixed feelings about that 5-baby threshold for inclusion. (Due to privacy concerns, the government doesn’t release names given to fewer than 5 babies per gender, per year.)
Part of me appreciates the threshold. For instance, I like that it adds significance to the pop culture-inspired debut names I’m always posting about, as these names had to hit a certain minimum level of usage in order to register in the data.
But the other part of me? The other part just really, really wants to see those rare/crazy names at the bottom of the list.
So I get excited when I find U.S. data from an official source that does go down to single-instance usage. Up until recently, I only knew about Sonoma County and Los Angeles County, but recently I discovered that Iowa (an entire state!) also releases down-to-1 baby name data. Yay!
But before we get to the rare names, let’s look at the state of Iowa’s top baby names of 2016:
If you decide to dig through the data, leave a comment and let me know what you spot!
And if you’re friends with any expectant parents in Iowa, tell those lucky ducks that they have access to full sets of baby name rankings for their state. Either send them a link to this post or to one of the pages below…
In South Korea, parents are slowly moving away from traditional methods of choosing baby names.
Name decisions used to be made either by a grandfather or by a professional baby namer (who would use the Chinese zodiac to spot “weaknesses” in the baby’s fate and choose a name to help counter those weaknesses). While many parents still consult with professionals, the belief that choosing a name via astrology can affect a baby’s fate is less common than it once was.
So how are parents in Korea choosing names these days? In various ways…
Some are choosing names based on how easy they are to pronounce in English, avoiding tricky Korean syllables such as “Eun” and “Eo.”
Some are looking to pop culture (especially celebrities and reality TV) for names.
Some are taking a more creative route, turning Korean words into names. (One woman interviewed by Arirang News mentioned her son’s name was Ara, from the Korean word for “sea.”)
Some are going for a unisex sound with syllables like “ji” and “bin.”
According to Arirang News, the most popular baby names in South Korea from 2008 through most of 2013 were Seo-yeon for girls and Min-jun for boys: