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.”

Call for papers: Symposium “Place Names and Migration”, Vienna, Austria, November 6-8, 2019

The Austrian Board on Geographical Names is celebrating the 50 year anniversary and invites to the GeoNames19 Symposium “Place Names and Migration” in Vienna, 6-8 November 2019.

Migration is a global and all-time phenomenon. Related to place names, this prompts a number of delicate questions: How do migrants deal with place names? Do they accept the place names they find? Do they adapt them to their own language by translation, morphological or phonetic adaptation? Do they create new names of their own for already named places? And how do long-term residents of the place react to these attitudes?

Submit the title of your paper until the 31st March 2019.

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.

Lecture: The Crimean toponymy in Ukraine, Berlin (Germany), March 14, 2019

The German-Ukrainian Academic Society cordially invites you to their next lecture “The Crimean toponymy in Ukraine: living evidence of the centuries-old interactions between Crimea and the mainland Ukraine”. What relations exist between “decommunization”, historical toponymy, and how Ukrainian society perceives the changes of geographical names? What lessons could we learn from this complex story? Lecture will be given in Ukrainian by Roman Alieiev, engineer at the Research department of MAN Truck & Bus AG, PhD student at the Technical University of Braunschweig.

When: Thursday, 14 March 2019, 18:00 – 19:30 (entry from 17:30 onwards)

Where: Embassy of Ukraine, Albrechtstraße 26, 10117 Berlin

REGISTER by the 11th of March at: berlin (at) ukrainet (dot) eu.

The Surnames of Cornwall

The book, The Surnames of Cornwall (published in January 2019) , a gazetteer of family names in Cornwall, grew out of the Surnames of Cornwall Project. That aimed to study the surnames by looking at the historical evidence for their geographical distribution and at early spellings. The Surnames of Cornwall

  • gives the purported meanings for 760 of the surnames which were the most common or the most unique to Cornwall in past times.
  • includes spelling variants of the names.
  • describes the areas in which the names originated and where they were found in the 1800s.
  • notes some well-known bearers of some of the names.
  • includes an introduction setting out the context for the study of surnames.

10 Questions about Icelandic Names

Icelandic names have left many a foreigner puzzled and tongue tied. On the volcanic island in the North Atlantic lives a nation of a little over 350.000 people with it’s own language and a unique alphabet. Jón Jónson and Björk Guðmundsdóttir might seem like a random jumble of letters but in Iceland they are as mundane as boiling hot water shooting out of the earth.

Naming traditions in Iceland are fascinating and might seem complicated to the outside eye. Icelandic people often get questions from foreigners about their names. The following are answers given by Laufey Haraldsdóttir to some of the most common questions about Icelandic names.

Call for papers: 29th Anthroponymy and Toponymy Conference, Algaida, Spain, October 4, 2019

The 29th Anthroponymy and Toponymy Conference will take place on 4th October 2019 at the Casal Pere Capellà (Algaida, at the University of the Balearic Islands). The call for abstracts will remain open until 31st May 2019.

The thematic areas are:
a) Toponymy. Geographical aspects
b) Toponymy. Historical aspects
c) Toponymy. Normative aspects
d) Anthroponymy. Philological and historical aspects

If you would like to present a paper, we would appreciate it if you would send the title of the paper and abstract (300 words max.). Registration for attending the conference is also now open. Registration is free. We will be issuing attendance certificates.

University of Minnesota task force urges renaming Coffman Memorial Union


A University of Minnesota task force has recommended changing the names of four Twin Cities campus buildings because of what it deemed their namesakes’ racist or anti-Semitic practices. The group’s report, released in February 20, comes after a 16-month process that some regents and students have criticized as overly plodding, with the task force following up last year on the work of an earlier committee. The task force backed renaming Coffman Memorial Union — for former U President Lotus Coffman, who presided over a major university expansion but also excluded black students from campus housing and programs — as well as three other buildings. President Eric Kaler will review that report and present his own proposal to the U’s governing board in March.