Toponymy Project Coordinator is sought

The British Columbia Geographical Names Office, operating within the Heritage Branch, is responsible for the management and administration of place naming in British Columbia. The Heritage Branch encourages and facilitates the recognition and safeguarding of BC’s cultural heritage through the development and implementation of tangible and intangible heritage policies and programs.

The Heritage Branch currently manages programs related to heritage capacity building, geographical names, historic places recognition, fossil management and the stewardship of physical heritage resources.


Post-secondary education or training in project management, linguistics, geography or related field.

  • Preference may be given to candidates with a degree in cultural geography, Indigenous Studies, GIS, historical cartography, British Columbia history, library sciences, or anthropology.
  • Preference may be given to candidates with culturally-grounded education, training, or experiences within an Indigenous community or organization.


  • Working with Indigenous governments and communities.
  • Providing project management and coordination services for assigned projects.
  • Proficient with technology and software such as all Microsoft Office tools.
  • Experience communicating across diverse cultures.
  • Conducting historical research and developing reference materials.
  • Demonstrated experience with GIS [Oracle, ESRI], web mapping applications, Adobe Creative Suite [Acrobat, Photoshop], Corel Draw, Audacity, or similar applications.

Location: Victoria, BC V9B6X2 CA (Primary)

Salary Range: $54,933.89 – $62,318.99 annually [as of April 12, 2020]

Close Date: 4/9/2020

About Names: ‘Peter Pan’ gave Wendy wings, but the name has fallen back down to earth

Guitarist Wendy Melvoin

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his February 29th column, he looks at the history of the name Wendy.

“Peter Pan” began as a 1904 play by Scottish author J.M. Barrie (1860-1937). He named Wendy in honor of Margaret Henley (1888-1894). Daughter of poet William Ernest Henley, Margaret died of meningitis at age 5. She called Barrie “Fwendy-wendy,” inspiring Wendy Darling’s name. Many names (including Vanessa, Pamela and Dorian) are author creations, and “friend” is a great meaning. Still, many commentators seem embarrassed by Wendy’s baby-talk origin and insist it’s a form of Gwendoline. There really isn’t good evidence that Wendy was used as a pet form of Gwendoline before Barrie’s play.

Wendy is an English place name and surname. Wendy is a hamlet in Cambridgeshire, meaning “island at a river bend” in Old English.

Today’s most famous Wendy is probably “Wendy” Thomas (born 1961), whose father, Dave, named his hamburger chain Wendy’s after her in 1969. Befitting a name created from baby talk, Wendy is a nickname from her childhood mispronunciation of Melinda.

Shall we rename Spanish Flu ‘1918 Influenza Pandemic’?

President Trump has recently taken to referring to the coronavirus outbreak, also known as Covid-19, as the “Chinese Virus,” and has been accused of racism and xenophobia for doing so.

A common response is to point out that the Spanish Flu is the most common name for the flu outbreak that took place after the end of the First World War – so, of course, this is being retconned.

On the Talk page for the “Spanish Flu” Wikipedia article, there is a raging debate going on as to whether to rename the page to the “1918 Influenza Pandemic.” Some commentors claimed that the name “Spanish Flu” is racist, just as “Chinese Flu” is racist, with others swearing that they definitely hadn’t referred to the pandemic as the “Spanish Flu” before.

The Army doesn’t plan on renaming 10 installations named for Confederate leaders

In the wake of news that the Marine Corps is banning Confederate paraphernalia from its installations, the Army says it does not plan to rename its bases and facilities that were long ago named after Confederate leaders.

The Confederate history of several Army installations was brought back into the news following the publication of a new order from Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger which directed any and all Confederate-related paraphernalia be removed from Corps installations.

As military historian Army Maj. Mark Herbert wrote in 2017, the first wave of new installations named after Confederate leaders emerged after the U.S. entered World War I. Those bases were originally named after “war heroes or prominent figures in American history,” Herbert wrote, but in several instances the naming decisions “were left up to local commanders.”

Call for Papers: ANS 2021, San Francisco, CA, January 7-10, 2021

The American Name Society (ANS) is now inviting proposals for papers for its next annual conference. The 2021 conference will be held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America. Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is June 30, 2020. To submit a proposal, simply complete the 2021 Author Information Form.

Please email this completed form to ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton using the following address: <>. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2021” in the subject line of your email.  Presenters who may need additional time to secure international funding and/or travel visas to the United States are urged to submit their proposal as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT: Because of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear whether the conference will proceed as planned. If the LSA decides against an in-person meeting, we will consider online alternatives so that scholars may still present their important research. We will provide updates on the conference status at the ANS website and through email.

All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before August 30, 2020. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS and need to register with both the ANS and the Linguistic Society of America. Please feel free to contact ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton should you have any questions or concerns.

A downloadable PDF of the Call for Papers can be found here.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

About Names: Albert means ‘bright,’ and Einstein wasn’t the only one to live up to his name

Scientist Albert Einstein

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 14th column, he looks at the history of the name Albert.

Albert is an ancient Germanic name combining “adal” (noble) and “beraht” (bright). Albert was a French form brought to England by Norman conquerors in 1066. It replaced Old English Æelbriht, source of the surname Albright.

The first famous Albert was St. Albert the Great (1193-1280), who resigned as Bishop of Regensburg in 1262 to devote his life to scholarship. Albert wrote works on astronomy, chemistry, physiology and other subjects. One of the first since ancient times to record careful observations of nature, he’s patron saint of natural scientists. By 1400, Albert was very rare in England. It’s often assumed that it only revived when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840.

So Albert was in use on both sides of the Atlantic before 1840. There’s no denying, though, that Prince Albert’s fame skyrocketed it. In 1850, Albert was No. 20 in England. In 1880, when Social Security’s baby name data begins, it ranked No. 15 in the U.S. Alberts in entertainment include film producer Broccoli (1909-96), Blue Oyster Cult drummer Bouchard (1947) and actor Molina (1953). Comedian Albert Brooks was born Albert Lawrence Einstein in 1947. If he used his real name, people would think it a bad joke.

Official Statement on ANS 2021 Conference

American Name SocietyAs you probably know, our annual conference is held in conjunction with that of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). While there has been no official statement from the LSA about the next annual conference, we are monitoring the latest guidance about COVID-19 and are developing contingency plans for the ANS 2021 should it need to be postponed or cancelled. We hope, of course, that we will be able to convene next January. However, our top priority is the safety and welfare of our members and guests. We will continue to keep you informed as we move forward with our preparations for ANS 2021. Please look for the official Call for Papers later this week!

Onomastic Congress in Poland

Dear Participants,

The organizing comittee of the 27th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences 2020 in Kraków is aware of the threat caused by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are closely monitoring the evolving situtation.

At the moment, state and local authorities in Poland recommend canceling only events to take place in March and April. THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO PLANS TO CANCEL OR POSTPONE the ICOS Congress in Kraków, which is scheduled to be held on 23-28 August 2020. However, we will continue following the situation and in case of any changes we will inform you immediately.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Please also follow the news on the congress website

The Conference “The Borders of Early Medieval England”, Cambridge, UK, July 11-12 2020

Saturday 11 – Sunday 12 July 2020

GR 06/07, Faculty of English, 9 West Road, Cambridge

Domesday Book reveals that England in 1066 was bounded by complex borderlands to the north and west and criss-crossed with a plethora of internal boundaries demarcating hundreds, shires and other districts. How did these borders and boundaries operate? How did they evolve over time from earlier borders, such as the early Mercian border demarcated by Offa’s Dyke?


Saturday 11 July 2020

Session 1 9:30–11am

Rory Naismith (Cambridge): ‘“Bige Habban”: Money, Trade and Cross-Border Traffic’.

Neil McGuigan (St Andrews): ‘Scots, Normans and the End of Middle Britain: the Emergence of the Anglo-Scottish Border’.

Tom Lambert (Cambridge): ‘Jurisidictional Boundaries and Local Custom in Anglo-Saxon England’.

Session 2 11:30am–1pm

David Parsons (CAWCS): ‘Place-names and Offa’s Dyke’.

Keith Ray (Cardiff): ‘A Purposefully Multiplex Border? The Late C8th – Early C9th Mercian Marchland with Wales’.

Rachel Swallow (Liverpool): ‘Shifting Border, Shifting Interpretation: what the Anglo-Norman Castle of Dodleston in Cheshire might be trying to tell us about the Eleventh-Century Northern Anglo-Welsh Border’.

Plenary lecture 2–3pm

Chris Lewis (Institute of Historical Research): ‘England’s Boundaries 1066–1086 and the Limits of Domesday Book’.

Session 3 3:30–5:30pm

Oliver Padel (Cambridge): ‘King Athelstan and the Cornish’.

Robert Gallagher (Kent): ‘Language, Landscape, Borders and Bounds: Ninth-Century West Saxon Charter Production and its Possible Implications’.

Rebecca Thomas (Bangor): ‘Asser and the Borders of Alfred’s Kingdom’.

Charles Insley (Manchester): ‘The Merfynion and the Mercians: the Anglo-Welsh Borderlands before the March’.

Sunday 12 July 2020

Session 4 9:30am–11am

David Thornton (Bilkent): ‘I’m an Englishman in Newport: Anglo-Saxon Landholding in Domesday Wales’.

Jacob O’Neill (Lancaster): ‘Exploring Ecclesiastical and Tenurial Landscapes across a Frontier: Two Case Studies from the Anglo-Welsh Border’.

Ben Guy (Cambridge): ‘The Pattern of English Policy towards Wales in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries’.

Session 5 11:30am–1pm

Alex Woolf (St Andrews): ‘The Fosse Way: The First English March?’.

Richard Purkiss (Oxford): ‘The Limits of the Danelaw’.

Ben Allport (Bergen): ‘Political and Spiritual Borderlands: Danelaw Conversion Strategies and the Dedications to St Clement’.

Registration costs £20, inclusive of lunch and refreshments on both days.

To register, simply fill out the form below

The Neighborhood Name Game

By C. J. Hughes

Place names come and go — with help from (surprise!) the real estate industry — but a few that have stuck around offer a window onto the city’s past.

by Lindsey Spinks

Manhattan, for all its charms, can sometimes fail the imagination. From the “financial district” to “Midtown” to the “Upper West Side,” the names of neighborhoods can seem just-the-facts dull, seeming to prefer literal and safe over style and mystery.

It wasn’t always this way. Checkering the borough once were names far more novel, like Mackarelville (on the Lower East Side), San Juan Hill (on the Upper West Side) and Jones Wood (on the Upper East Side), names which frequently got wiped off maps with the help of developers.

Read more