Join the ANS Special Interest Group: Teaching Onomastics

Proposal for the establishment of a ‘Teaching Onomastics’ Special Interest Group


The Ehrensperger Report was a printed, later web-based PDF, ANS publication, named in honour of Edward C. Ehrensperger, one of the founders of ANS. It was an annual report on the research and other activities conducted in the world of onomastics, and proved to be a valuable resource. The first Report appeared in 1955, and was compiled by Ehrensperger until 1982. At the end of every academic year he sent a letter to ANS members, asking what they had done over the last year. Kelsie Harder compiled the Report from 1983 to 1991, after which Michael McGoff took over the reins from 1992 to 2007, which was the last year the Report was published. The Report probably ceased to be published because it was too much work for one individual to compile.

Even though the Ehrensperger Report focused on individual achievements for the forgoing year, it seems it was originally designed to be a publication in which ANS members could share and discuss ideas. Given it was a printed annual report of ANS members’ activities, it was static and lacked the ability to be interactive and collaborative.


With the internet facilities we have at our disposal nowadays, it is possible to revamp the Report and make it a dynamic, interactive, and collaborative web resource allowing it to constantly change, adapt, and develop.

The proposal, then, is to revive and modernize the Ehrensperger Report, to retain its current name in honour of Ehrensperger, and to fulfill his original intention of being a resource and discussion forum for the teaching of onomastics and the compilation of material for this purpose.

Making the Report an online tool accessible to ANS members should also help to guard against the project becoming too much work and responsibility for any one person. Naturally, a moderator would also be needed.

Jan Tent is prepared to start off the project, but we call on ANS members who are willing to volunteer their help in advising, setting up, and managing the SIG. Please contact him at and he will coordinate this venture.

Note: You must be a member of the ANS to serve on this SIG. This proposal was put forward and approved by the membership at our annual meeting in January 2022.

About Names: “Evelyn historically popular for both men and women”

Olympic gold medalist Evelyn Ashford (Photo: public domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 27th column, he looks at the history of the name Evelyn.

Ann Campbell of Omaha, whose granddaughter Evelyn Campbell turns 5 today, asks about the name Evelyn.

Evelyn is a rare English surname derived from the Norman French woman’s name Aveline. Aveline is from ancient Germanic Avi (perhaps “desired”) with affectionate suffixes -el and -in added.

Emmett (from Emma) and Beaton (from Beatrice) are other examples of surnames derived from women’s names. It’s likely this happened when a woman was widowed when her children were young.

Around 1656, Elizabeth Evelyn — daughter of Sir John Evelyn — married Robert Pierrepont, a nephew of the Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull. In 1665, they named their third son Evelyn, one of the first examples of a mother’s maiden name used as a first name.

After his great-uncle and older brothers died childless, Evelyn Pierrepont became Earl in 1690. A chief advisor to Queen Anne, he was made a Duke in 1715 by King George I. His fame led other upper-class British families to name sons Evelyn. One later example was novelist Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966).

However, the Duke himself turned Evelyn into a female name in 1691 when he named his third daughter Evelyn. She married the Earl Gower and bore 11 children, including Lady Evelyn Leveson-Gower (1725-1763), wife of the Earl of Upper Ossory.

In 1841, England’s first census found 42 men and 42 women named Evelyn. In 1851, there were 196 women and 88 men. The 1850 United States census found 310 female and 53 male Evelyns. The girls have been far ahead on both sides of the Atlantic ever since.

Call for Papers: Special Journal Issue of NAMES devoted to Ukrainian Names and Naming

The American Name Society (ANS) is issuing its first call for abstracts for an upcoming special issue of the Society’s journal, NAMES.  In celebration of Ukrainian culture, history, and language, NAMES is issuing a call for abstract proposals for papers on Ukrainian Names and Naming.  All name types and methods of research are welcome.  However, all proposals must include a clearly articulated theoretical framework as well as research question(s) and a preliminary reference list. Topics for papers include, but are by no means limited to the following issues: controversies in Ukrainian naming policies and practices; Ukrainian names and naming as acts of resistance; Ukrainian names and naming at home and in exile; contested place names in Ukraine.

Proposal Submission Process

  • Abstracts proposals (max. 400 words, not including references) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Professor I. M. Nick (;
  • The preliminary reference list should follow the formatting regulations of the NAMES Style Sheet;
  • Proposals must include “Ukraine” in the subject line of the email;
  • All submissions must include an abstract, a title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the accompanying email and NOT within the body of the abstract;
  • DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 15 July 2022. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 15 August 2022.

For further information about this call, please feel free to contact Dr. I. M. Nick (

Call for Contributions: “Decolonizing Our Names in the 21st Century: Place, Identity, and Agency”

Dr. Lauren Beck and Dr. Grace Gomashie announce a call for contributions for a volume titled “Decolonizing Our Names in the 21st Century: Place, Identity, and Agency”. The call for papers describes the volume:

“The last three decades have resulted in broad efforts to address the coloniality of the names that designate our communities and the people who live in or come from them. Calls to consult and give greater voice to marginalized groups, whether in Australia, Canada, Latin America, or Africa (among other nations and regions that have experienced or continue to experience colonization), shine light on the need to address harmful naming practices that have impacted and shaped our identities. Names have also been used to resist the settler-colonial normativity implied by maps, toponyms, street signs, institutional names, and even individual and collective names given to people. Furthermore, tools such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People—which many countries have adopted or are considering embracing—are transforming into calls to action so that marginalized groups choose and adopt their own names, and society more broadly subscribes to decolonized names and naming practices.”

“This collection of essays will offer both case studies that demonstrate how names are (or are not) decolonized, as well as theorizations about decoloniality at its intersection with names and identity. The book will bring together scholars working in Indigenous Studies, Critical Race Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Postcolonialism, Onomastics, among other fields interested in decolonizing names. The book will attempt to offer tools to marginalized groups around the world so that they can pursue the decolonization of their names while challenging the so-called authorities who claim to govern naming conventions and practices.”

Abstract and submission instructions can be found on the call for papers here. Proposals are due by April 15, 2022. Completed chapters (8,000 words) are due in October 2022 for a 2023 publication.

Publication announcement: Names: A Journal of Onomastics 70, no. 1 is now available

The latest issue of Names: A Journal of Onomastics is now available online! Click here to read the latest in onomastics scholarship in volume 70, number 1 of Names. A table of contents appears below.

Names is published as an open access journal available to all via the Journal’s new home at the University of Pittsburgh. All journal content, including the content found in previous volumes, is now available for free online as downloadable PDF files.

Subscribers to the print version of the journal will receive their copies within the next few weeks.


Table of Contents


Spanish Place Names of the Falkland Islands: A Novel Classification System, by Yliana V. Rodriguez

Wherefore Art Thou Juanita? The Life of a Spanish Name in Newfoundland, by Ainsley Hawthorn

Mapping Digital Discourses of the Capital Region of Finland: Combining Onomastics, CADS, and GIS, by Jarmo Harri Jantunen, Terhi Ainiala, Salla Jokela, and Jenny Tarvainen

Revisiting Semantic Issues of Proper Names: A Vietnamese Perspective, by Nguyen Viet Khoa

Book Reviews

Tim Bryars and Tom Harper, A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps, by Christine De Vinne

Oliviu Felecan and Alina Bugheşiu, eds., Names and Naming: Multicultural Aspects, by Paul Woodman

Report & Announcements

Name of the Year Report 2021, by I. M. Nick

American Name Society Call for Papers for MLA 2023, by Maggie Scott


In Memoriam: Allan Metcalf (1940-2022), by I. M. Nick

View All Issues 

On Kyiv/Kiev, Zelenskyy/Zelensky, and the Spelling of Ukrainian Names

In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Benjamin Dreyer writes about the various spellings of Ukrainian place names and personal names. “Kyiv” and “Zelenskyy” are transliterations of Ukrainian spellings, whereas “Kiev” and “Zelensky” represent Russian spellings. Adding the definite article before “Ukraine” evokes a colonial past, when the now-sovereign state was a territory. Dreyer writes, “Those of us who follow publishers’ usages and standards at least as much as we set them out will continue to watch the Zelensky(y) matter with interest — and will be reminded that words, even “the” small ones, even their smallest components, can carry a big meaning.”

Read more in The Washington Post.

US Interior Department to Remove Derogatory Term from Federal Lands

In November 2021, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland moved to declare the word “squaw” derogatory. Now, the Department of the Interior is seeking public comment on how to rename over 660 geographic features that contain the derogatory word. Secretary Haaland commented, “Words matter, particularly in our work to make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds … Consideration of these replacements is a big step forward in our efforts to remove derogatory terms whose expiration dates are long overdue.” Read more over at NPR.

University of Alabama to Remove Klan Leader’s Name from Building

The former Graves Hall at the University of Alabama (Photo by DXR, CC-BY-4.0)

The Trustees of the University of Alabama have voted to remove the name of former Governor and Ku Klux Klan Leader Bibb Graves from an academic building. The building will now be known as Autherine Lucy Hall, named for Autherine Lucy Foster, a student who attended the formerly all-white University for a short time in 1956. Read more about the decision over at NPR.

Stolichnaya Vodka to be Rebranded “Stoli”

Luxembourg-based SPI group, makers of Stolichnaya Vodka, have announced that they will rebrand their products: Stolichnaya will now be “Stoli”. Even though the alcohol has been produced in Latvia since 2000, the Russian Vodka line has faced immense backlash following the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. American bars and liquor stores have organized a boycott of the Latvian vodka brand, bottles of which appear covered in images of a Soviet past.

Read more over at CNN.