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Monday, November 20, 2006

What is in a name?

For those wondering about the trend of naming children after figures from popular culture or literarure it seems that the trend is not new. A letter in today's Times Newspaper points out that those children who have been called Kylie, Gandalf or Reebok can take comfort from the fact that it has been happening for a long time.

Lucinda Ganderton from Richmond, Surrey tells us that the 1871 census for England includes 46 Horatio Nelsons, 23 Percy Shelleys and 1,967 Elizabeth Bennetts. They were joined in 1881 by two Oliver Twists and two Bill Sykes. Five years after the Crimean War, no fewer than 23 babies had been christened Florence Nightingale and by 1901 there were 217 girls and women named in her honour.

Who would have thought it?
Seems obvious to me. People don't change that much... with more people we undoubtedly get more really bizarre choices, and today's media is far more likely to pick up on it, which may lead us to think its more common. Greater exposure to celebrity probably causes more cases as well.

I bet you'd find an increased number of Pericles's in Athens when he was in favour, or a number of Ovids in the Roman Empire.

It was certainly the case that there were lots of Saddam Hussains in Iraq during his reign (although ISTR some sort of incentive from the government to do that).
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