Cook Islands considers name change

The Cook Islands in the South Pacific is considering a name change to reflect its Polynesian heritage. The nation was named after British explorer James Cook who landed on the islands in the 1700s.

A committee is considering 60 options in Cook Islands Maori including Rangiaroa, meaning Love from the Heavens and Raroatua which translates as We Stand Under God. The updated name should reflect the country’s history, its religious beliefs and its people. A referendum was held in 1994, when voters opted against a name change.

However, the name-change may take a while. There would probably have to be a new referendum and the process could take two years.

Claiming the History in Family Names

Raffi Joe Wartanian told an amazing story of his family by pointing out their interesting family name. His immigrant father Ghevont Vartanian, who left his hometown, Beirut, in 1974, thought adopting an American name was a prudent measure to avoid mispronunciations. To his son it felt like admitting defeat.

Raffi Joe describes how he cringed whenever his father called himself George. He wanted him to declare his name rather than defer to its otherness. He wanted him to teach people how to pronounce his name and appreciate its Armenian origins. History echoed within his father’s name: Ghevont is a canonized orator; Vartan, an honored warrior. Both served as Armenian leaders in the fifth-century Battle of Avarayr. But the name of George silenced that history.

About Names: Stella’s star is shining bright again

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 12th column, he looks at the history of the name Stella.

Stella is the Latin word for “star.” Its first use as a woman’s name came in 1591 in “Astrophil and Stella,” a book of sonnets and songs by Philip Sidney (1554-86). Astrophil (“star lover”) describes his beloved as “Stella, Star of heavenly fire, Stella, loadstar of desire; Stella, in whose shining eyes are the lights of Cupids skies.”

German author Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) wrote “Stella: A Play for Lovers” in 1776. It created a huge scandal when hero Fernando resolves his love for both Stella and Cecilia by living in a ménage à trois. Goethe rewrote the play with Stella committing suicide at the end in 1806. Both versions spread the name across northern Europe. By 1770, romantic parents were naming real girls Stella in America. The 1850 United States census, the first listing all residents by name, found 548 Stellas.

In Social Security’s yearly baby name lists, Stella peaked at 55th in 1889. It gradually declined, leaving the top hundred after 1923.

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

Female street names wanted in Brussels

The City of Brussels joins the call for more ‘women in the streets’. The inhabitants of Brussels can suggest female heroes who deserve a place in the public space, but they can also propose places, squares and parks that do not yet have a name.

 

The rules are simple:

  • the person may no longer be alive
  • the proposal must be submitted by the City to the Royal Commission for Toponymy and Dialectology

 

 

All proposals are welcome on the:

Facebook page of the City of Brussels (in French)
Facebook page of the City of Brussels (in Dutch)

Bridge named to honour the first black member of Quebec’s national assembly

The Quebec government will rename a bridge on Highway 50 in the Outaouais to honour Jean Alfred, the first black member of Quebec’s national assembly. The Pont Jean-Alfred will span the Petite-Nation River about 20 kilometres east of Lochaber, in the heart of the riding Alfred represented, Quebec’s Toponymy Commission confirmed this week.

“Jean Alfred devoted a part of his life to build bridges between Quebecers and the Haitian community here,” Minister of Culture Nathalie Roy said in a February release. Born in Haiti, Alfred went to the University of Ottawa for studies and received a PhD in education.

ANS Vice President Laurel Sutton on the Baby Names Podcast, with Jennifer Moss

On the Baby Names Podcast, ANS Member Jennifer Moss interviews Laurel Sutton, ANS Vice President and founder of Catchword, one of the top naming companies in the world. Laurel discusses how the process of naming people is not that different than naming  companies and products.

Jennifer and Mallory also gab about the current celebrity baby news and take listener questions on names and naming!

Names mentioned in this episode: PraxidikeBenedict Cumberbatch, Hannah Hart, NovaHomerIgorMallory

About Names: Levi’s genes can be traced to the Bible and denim

Levi Strauss button

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his February 26th column, he looks at the history of the name Levi.

The first Levi was Jacob and Leah’s third son in the Bible’s book of Genesis. At his birth, Leah says “Now my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Hebrew “lawah” means “joined.” Levi’s descendants became priests and attendants at Jerusalem’s temple.

Before the Reformation, Levi was only used by Jews. Then some Protestant parents took it up. Unlike other Old Testament names such as Abraham and Joshua, Levi didn’t become generally popular in England, appealing only to more radical Puritans. Britain’s 1851 census found 4,727 Levis. In the 1850 United States census (when the nations had about the same population), there were 36,624, most descendants of New England Puritans living in the North.

Modern Levis now gaining fame include Levi Leipheimer (born 1973), the U.S. national champion road racing cyclist in 1999 and 2007, and Levi LaVallee (1982), winner of seven gold medals in snowmobile racing at the Winter X games between 2004 and 2014.

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

Names of All Montgomery Schools Will Be Reviewed

At the meeting on the 25th February 2019, the school board unanimously approved a resolution to create a committee to suggest new names for Lee Middle, in Silver Spring, and asked for a review of existing school names to “ensure that all names are appropriate candidates for school facilities.” County Council President Nancy Navarro is pushing for a change based on Lee’s history that included implementing racist housing policies, forcing minorities from buying or renting homes in some subdivisions.

There are 206 public schools in Montgomery County serving about 163,000 students. Staff members have begun researching school facility names and the history of the people. Although a timeline for the review wasn’t given, it is an “in-depth process that will take a little time.”

Investors dismiss analysis from those who have less favourable surnames

Investors and financial advisors may be influenced by an unusual element of a stock market forecast – the analyst’s name. That’s the finding of a new study by researchers at the Cass Business School in London which discovered that a more favourable surname elicited stronger market reactions to earnings forecasts.

The researchers measured surname favourability using the US historical immigration records to identify countries of origin associated with a particular surname and the Gallup survey data on Americans’ favourability toward foreign countries. The research paper ‘An Analyst by Any Other Surname: Surname Favorability and Market Reaction to Analyst Forecasts’ is conditionally accepted for publication in the Journal of Accounting and Economics.

The $33-million deal for the naming rights

Ten years after custody of the struggling Cobo Center transferred to a regional authority, the 59-year-old Detroit landmark has a new identity of fiscal responsibility — and a new name.

The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority said on 20th February it had struck a $33-million deal with Chemical Bank to rename one of the largest convention centers in the United States. Chemical Bank CEO Tom Shafer said the company will pay $1.5 million annually over 22 years for the naming rights. Should the bank’s merger with TCF Financial Corp., the center’s name would be the TCF Center. A new name will be finalized by the end of 2019.