If you're like me you look at some of today's baby names in amazement. For instance: Pilot Inspektor, Audio Science, Moxie Crimefighter, Blue Angel, Sage Moonblood, and Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa.
Singer Frank Zappa and his wife gave three of their children creative names: Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his wife bestowed sweet names upon their children: Buddy Bear, Poppy Honey, Daisy Bunny, and Blossom Rainbow. (Do you think the Olivers watch Sesame Street?)
Unusual baby names are a contemporary trend, right? Wrong! Apparently people in past centuries liked unique names too. Researchers in Britain have compiled more than 1,000 unusual names from birth, death, marriage and census records going back to the 16th century.
I’m guessing that these kids born before the 20th century were teased because of their names:
- Boadicea Basher
- Philadelphia Bunnyface
- Leicester Railway Cope (He was born in a train carriage at Leicester Railway Station)
- Freke Dorothy Fluck Lane (I picture her as the historical counterpart to the little girl in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off who sits by herself on the school bus holding melted gummy bears.)
These children in the 1800s may have had inferiority complexes due to their first names:
- Friendless Baxter
- One Too Many Gouldstone
- That's It Who'd Have Thought It Restell
- Offspring Gurney
Arthur and Sarah Pepper had a baby girl in 1882 and gave her a name for every letter in the alphabet:
Ann Bertha Cecilia Diana Emily Fanny Gertrude Hypatia Iug Jane Kate Louisa Maude Nora Ophelia Quince Rebecca Starkey Teresa Ulysis Venus Winifred Xenophen Yetty Zeus. Her last name, Pepper, accounted for the 26th letter of the alphabet.
Can you imagine a teacher taking attendance using the girl’s full name?
Today, some parents try to be clever with their kids’ names. My friend’s niece has the last name of Kane. Her parents named her Candace. Yep, Candy Kane. Actor Rob Morrow and his wife named their daughter Tu—Tu Morrow. Then there's Filet Minyon, Dyl Pickle, and Ben Dover.
However, parents in earlier centuries had a sense of humor joining first and last names:
- Mineral Waters
- Zebra Lynes
- Thomas and Alice Day named their son Time Of—Time Of Day.
- Windsor Castle (Her mother’s maiden name was King.)
We've all snickered over marriage announcements where contemporary couples have interesting last name combinations:
Do you think people chuckled when these duos married?
- Nicholas Bone and Priscilla Skin in 1636
- Charles Swine joined Jane Ham in 1711
- John Mutton and Ann Veale in 1791
- Richard Dinner with Mary Cook in 1802
We may be separated by centuries, but we're not that different after all.
Have you heard any unusual names?Do you give your characters creative names?