Australia Post to support use of Aboriginal place names on mail

Australia Post says it will support the optional use of Aboriginal place names on mail addresses, following a large grassroots campaign.

The national mail service changed its guidelines this week to include advice on how to include traditional names. While some areas are known by their original names, many Australians often have little knowledge of place names that pre-date European settlement. Activists welcomed the endorsement of their push for greater awareness.

Aboriginal woman Rachael McPhail started the campaign on social media in August, noting Aboriginal people had lived in Australia for at least 60,000 years.

How Denver got its name

Colorado’s capital is named after James W. Denver (1817-1892), a 19th-century Renaissance man who served in Congress, fought in the United States Army, and served as Governor of the Kansas Territory.

In November 1858, while Denver was still serving as territorial governor, William Larimer, Jr., a land speculator from Leavenworth, planted the townsite of “Denver City” along the South Platte River in Arapaho County in western Kansas Territory (the present-day state of Colorado). Larimer chose the name “Denver” to honor the current territorial governor with the intention that the city would be chosen as the county seat of Arapaho County. Denver retired as territorial governor in November 1858 and was reappointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs, serving until his resignation on March 31, 1859.

He only visited his namesake city twice, in 1875 and 1882, and was reportedly unhappy that the residents didn’t give him more of a hero’s welcome.

About Names: Jack’s reach has stretched from nursery rhymes to literary heroes

By Fox Fisher - https://instagram.com/p/9JSSulhigl/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44467471

British food writer, journalist and activist Jack Monroe (Fox Fisher, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his October 25th column, he looks at the history of the name Jack.

Jack is an English nickname for John. In medieval England, “-kin” was common in nicknames, such as Wilkin and Adkin, from William and Adam. John led to Jankin, which became Jackin and then Jack. It’s possible confusion with Jacques, the French form of James, was also involved. By 1350, though, the English linked Jack to John, not James.

Around 1380, a third of Englishmen were named John. With so many Jacks, “jack” soon meant “common servant,” or any mechanical device doing servants’ work. By 1560, Jack Sprat was a skinny man. Jack and Jill have tumbled down hills since 1765. In 1660s Britain, a Jack-o’-lantern was a night watchman; in the United States, it became a candle-lit, carved Halloween pumpkin around 1834.

In 1996, Jack was back in Social Security’s top hundred. It peaked at 34th in 2005. That new popularity is exemplified by Omaha-based singing duo Jack & Jack (Gilinsky and Johnson), both born in 1996.

Then the American love of two syllable forms caused Jackson to explode to the No. 1 status it’s held since 2013. Between 2006 and 2015, Jack receded as Jackson boomed. Since 2017, as parents tire of Jackson, Jack has surged 10%. The 9,393 born last year ranked it 27th on my “combined spellings” list, beating John as an official name for the first time ever.

Holocaust Education Week lecture explores discrimination based on names

The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University will host an event on November 3 2020 that explores how Nazis used names to fulfill Hitler’s genocidal vision.

The event runs during 2020 Holocaust Education Week and features a lectures with guest presenter Iman Nick on “Hitler’s Lists: How the Nazis Used Names to Spawn the Holocaust.” It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Zoom.

Even before the infamous Yellow Star, the Nazis devised a simple yet effective method to pinpoint victims for wide-spread discrimination, marginalization, relocation, deportation and finally extermination. Using first-hand accounts from Holocaust survivors and documents unearthed from the once secret files of the Nazi Party, this lecture tells the story of how personal names were used to fulfill Hitler’s genocidal vision. The talk will also present modern-day examples in which something as seemingly innocuous as a person’s name has been used to carry out crimes against humanity.

Register online here to join the virtual event.

How Cleveland got its name

Cleveland takes its name from General Moses Cleaveland, a surveyor and investor for the Connecticut Land Company who led the first group to settle in the area in 1796. Cleaveland oversaw the planning of the early town, then headed back to Connecticut a few months later and never returned to the town that bears his name.

It’s not exactly clear when the first “a” in his surname got dropped from the city’s name, but one story explains that in 1830 the Cleveland Advertiser was pressed for space on its headline and simply axed the “a.” The change caught on, and the town became known as Cleveland.

About Names: Historical Carries did not keep calm, but the name has carried on

TV personality Carrie Ann Inaba

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

Carrie is a pet form of Caroline. That feminine form of Charles (Germanic “a man”) was introduced to England by Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737), Queen Consort of King George II. Its use soared in 1820 when her great-grandson George IV unsuccessfully tried to divorce his wife Caroline of Brunswick (1768-1821), making her a tragic heroine to Americans.

The 1850 U.S. Census, the first listing all residents by name, includes 123,617 Carolines and 152 Carries. Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) led the fight for women’s suffrage and founded the League of Women Voters in 1920, becoming as famous as Carry A. Nation. Both, however, helped give Carrie an elderly image after 1900. It fell off as a baby name, bottoming out at 241st in 1950.

Carrie began booming again in the 1960s, about a generation earlier than expected. It was seen as an alternative for Karen, and also was helped by Kerry and Kari. Kerry, an Irish place name and surname, and Kari, a Norwegian form of Katherine, have different origins than Carrie. Most Americans, though, pronounce all three the same.

About Names: Hurricanes can cause a brief rise in a name’s popularity, then a drop

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

During World War II American meteorologists commonly gave women’s names to storms they tracked. This was practical: Using names is quicker and less error-prone than the previous latitude-longitude identification method. It reduces confusion when two or more tropical storms are active — as illustrated recently with Laura and Marco.

In 1951 and 1952, the National Hurricane Center used a phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie, etc.) to name tropical storms. In 1953, it began using lists of women’s names. In 1979, male names were added, six rotating lists were created and the task of maintaining the lists turned over to a committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

How do hurricanes affect baby names? Names of infamous hurricanes often bump upward for babies in the year they occur, and then fall back. Katrina, which had been receding, rose 13% in 2005. Since 2005, it’s nosedived as “Katrina” has become an ongoing symbol of disaster. Similar if less sharp rises and falls occurred with Camille (1969), Celia (1970), Mitch (1998), Lili (2002), Charley (2004), Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012).

How Cincinnati got its name

From 1788-1790 the first settlement in the area was called Losantiville. This name was given to the settlement by John Filson, one of the founders of Cincinnati. The name is a compilation of “L” for the Licking River, “os” from the Latin meaning “mouth”, “anti” from the Greek meaning “opposite”, and “ville” from Anglo-Saxon, meaning “city” or “town”. This comes out as “The Town Opposite the Mouth of the Licking”.

In 1790 General Arthur St. Clair, the first governor of the Northwest Territory and a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, did not like the name Losantiville and changed it to Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Society was named in honor of the Roman general Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. He lived in the Fifth century BC. While plowing his fields one day he was told to take command of Rome’s army. Within 15 days he led the army to victory over the enemy. He then went back to his plowing. The Society of the Cincinnati was started by, and consisted of, Continental Army officers of the American Revolution.

Dr. Karen Pennesi on the Baby Names Podcast, with Jennifer Moss

On the Baby Names Podcast, ANS Member Jennifer Moss interviews Dr. Karen Pennesi!

This is the first of a two-part episode on Changing your Name. Mallory and Jennifer discuss why a person might want to change their name-first or last-and how to do so. They talk with Dr. Karen Pennesi, linguistic anthropologist at the University of Ontario, on name changing pertaining to immigration and cultural assimilation.

Check out Universal Design for Belonging: Living and Working with Diverse Personal Names by Dr. Karen Pennesi.

Names and Selves: Transnational Identities and Self-Presentation among Elite Chinese International Students

What accounts for name choices in a transnational context? What does the choice of ethnic or English names reveal about global identities and the desire to fit into a new culture? Drawing on the sociology of culture and migration, Philip Jun Fang and Gary Fine examine the intersection of naming, assimilation, and self-presentation in light of international student mobility. Based on 25 semi-structured interviews with mainland Chinese students enrolled in an elite Midwestern university, they find that these students make name choices by engaging in both transnational processes and situated practices. First, Chinese international students negotiate between multiple names to deal with ethnic distinctions. While ethnic names can signal distance from other ethnic communities, they also distinguish individuals from others. For these students, names are multi-layered and temporal: their name choices evolve throughout school lives, shaped by power relations in American cultural contexts and channeled by images of their home country. Second, multiple names allow these students to practice situated performance, incorporating the reflective self, the distinctive self, and the imagined self. The authors address “cross-cultural naming” that accounts for identity in transnational social spaces.

Fang, J., Fine, G.A. Names and Selves: Transnational Identities and Self-Presentation among Elite Chinese International Students. Qualitative Sociology (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-020-09468-7