About Names: Fan of Shania Twain? Here’s the story behind her adopted name

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his May 8th column, he looks at the history of the names Shania – and Twain.

Shania Twain has had an amazing rags-to-riches life. Born in Canada in 1965 as Eilleen Regina Edwards, her divorced mother, Sharon, took her three daughters to Timmins, Ontario, in 1968. There Sharon married Jerry Twain, an Ojibwe Native American who adopted her girls. At age 8 Eilleen began singing in bars to support her impoverished family.

 Twain’s budding career was delayed when her parents died in a car wreck in 1987 and she had to raise her siblings. When her career resumed around 1993, she adopted “Shania” as her stage name, saying it meant “on my way” in Ojibwe. Recently she’s said she got it from a woman at Ontario’s Deerhurst Resort.
American girls were named Shania before Twain. Like Shanice and Shaniqua, it was created as an African-American name blending fashionable sounds in the 1970s, usually pronounced “Sha-NEE-uh.” However, there were never more than 86 born in one year, and it never made the top thousand names.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Shanias in history!