Baxter Ronald and Percival Banjo




Adele Grace
Aishah Lee (Tahnee, Jayden)
Alexis Valda
Alice Georgia (Lucy)
Eloise Wai-Ling
Emilia May Jean (Brianna, Ella)
Iona Jess
Isabella Faith (Leo)
Ivy Lillian (Will James)
Lily Vivienne
Macie Mary
Melody Sarah Rose (Lorelai, Jarod)
Mica AJ (Kohan)
Molly Anastasia (Angus)
Neave Marietta (Ned)
Nicola Kaye (Riley)
Pippa June
Reagan Isobel
Savannah Kate Julie
Stella Daphne Dawn (Caleb)
Violet Dorothy (Lily, Winter, Beau)
Winnie Alma (Monty)
Zane Ieva (Antra)
Zara Rita Joan

Andrew Lewis (Adelaide)
Archie Jye (Darci)
Arjun Scott
Baxter Ronald (Lexie, Braye, Logan, Billie)
Byron George
Chester Stuart
Dane Kyson (Kaelan)
Elijah Whykeham Goodenough (Indigo)
Finley Gray Burbury
Geordie David (Rory, Liam)
Heston Michael (Isla)
Hunter Rhodes
Josiah Cedric
Kylan Roy
Liam Mattis
Max Wallace
Oaklan Maxwell Steven
Ollie Ricky (Jaxon)
Oscar Frank (Maggie, Stephanie)
Patrick Hugh (Caitlin, Samantha)
Percival Banjo “Percy” (Stella, Matilda)
Tanner Caleb
Tex John

(Picture shows six-year-old dairy farmer Josh Hayes with his cow at the Melbourne Show; photo from the Herald Sun)

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Famous Name: Owen


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Owen Glendower Howell-Price was one of a family of brothers from the greater Sydney region who served with distinction during World War I. Owen was studying agriculture when war broke out, and he was commissioned second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces.

Appointed assistant adjutant, he was immediately promoted when the adjutant was killed on the first day of the Gallipoli landing. Promoted to captain, he won the Military Cross for his fighting at Lone Pine, and due to heavy casualties, was temporarily in charge of the whole battalion. A fine trainer and organiser, he continued fighting even when wounded.

After the evacuation from Gallipoli, Owen was sent to northern France where his courage set a magnificent example during those bloody battles, always placing himself in the most dangerous positions. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for his leadership abilities, and promoted to lieutenant-colonel.

In 1916 Owen was shot in the head, and died the following day; his last words were: “Give my love to the battalion”. The young officer, just 26 when he died, was perhaps too serious and responsible for real popularity, but behind his stern manner lay a deep loyalty to his men, and his final thoughts were for them.

Owen’s brothers Philip and Richmond were also killed in France, so of their six boys, five of whom served overseas during World War I, the Howell-Prices lost half.

Owen is the modern form of the medieval Welsh name Owain. One of the most famous of its namesakes is Owain mab Urien, a 6th century prince from one of the kingdoms of northern Britain who fought valiantly against the Angles, and was killed in battle, thus ending any hope that the kingdom could continue.

So celebrated were the victories of he and his father, King Urien, that they were given a place in Arthurian mythology as Knights of the Round Table, despite being more than a generation too late to be contemporaries of any historical King Arthur. In Arthurian legend, Owain is often said to be King Arthur’s nephew, and the son of Morgan le Fay.

There have been several other British and Welsh kings and princes named Owain. Owain ap Gruffudd was known as Owain the Great, and the first to be known as Prince of Wales. Owen of the Red Hand was a Welsh soldier who fought with the French against the English during the Hundred Years War, and was a claimant of the title Prince of Wales until his assassination. Like King Arthur, he is supposed to be merely sleeping until he can become king of the Britons.

Owen Glyndŵr (or Glendower) was the last native Welshman to hold the title of Prince of Wales, and instigated the Welsh revolt against Henry IV. His uprising was fiercely fought, long-running, and initially quite successful, but ultimately the Welsh were defeated. Owen Glyndŵr evaded capture, ignoring offers of a royal pardon from Henry V, and was never betrayed, despite having a large reward on his head.

He features in William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, and is an important figure in Welsh nationalism, on par with King Arthur, and has the same familiar theme of simply waiting until Wales is threatened so that he can once again rise to its defence. It was this Welsh national hero that Owen Howell-Price was named for: his father was born in Wales, and his mother was of Welsh heritage.

Owen Tudor, a courtier of Henry IV whose father had been one of Owen Glendower’s rebels, fought for the English at Agincourt. He secretly married Queen Catherine Valois, the widow of Henry V, and became the founder of the Tudor dynasty, which included the powerhouse Henry VIII, and reached its final flowering in Elizabeth I.

There is a 7th century Saint Owen, a man of high rank who became a Benedictine monk in England, and a French Saint Owen, or more correctly Ouen, who was a Frankish bishop of Rouen. Ouen is based on the Frankish name Audoin, perhaps based on a Germanic name such as Odwin. Yvain is the usual way of transliterating Sir Owain’s name in medieval French chronicles.

The origin of the name Owain is not known for sure. It is often said to be a Welsh form of the Greek name Eugenius or Eugene, but another theory is that it is a Welsh form of the medieval Irish name Éoġan (modernised as Eoghan), which is said exactly the same as Owen. Unfortunately, it is not quite sure what this means either – some say it means “born from the yew tree”, although others are of the opinion that this is also a form of Eugenius, bringing us back full circle.

Although etymologists cannot agree among themselves, what is clear is that Owain shares a similar sound with several other names, like Eoghan and Eoin, and may have been understood as their Welsh equivalent, even if of a different origin.

Owen is a classic name which has never left the charts in Australia. It was #112 in the 1900s, and joined the Top 100 the following decade, remaining there until the 1950s. It reached its lowest point in the 1990s at #166, then began climbing steeply. It reached the Top 100 again in 1997 at #85, then returned in 2003 at the same level. Currently it is #73 nationally, #90 in New South Wales, #81 in Victoria, #86 in Queensland, #46 in Western Australia, #47 in Tasmania, where it was the fastest-rising boys’ name last year, and #67 in the Australian Capital Territory.

This is a handsome, solid classic which has never been out of the Top 200. It has a rich royal history which has become intertwined with romantic legend, yet it feels very modern. Rising gently in the charts, it is now at its highest level of popularity, and fits in perfectly with contemporary name trends. It’s a softer-sounding boys’ name that is still very masculine, and even heroic, which might make it easy for parents to agree upon it. It is certainly a very easy name to own, and if you choose it, you will be owin’ nobody an explanation. Oh, when it’s time to pick a baby name, it’s Owen for the win!

(Picture shows the officers of the 3rd Battalion; Owen Howell-Price is second from the right in the second row from the front. Of these 26 men, 14 of them were killed in battle. Photo from the Australian War Memorial).

Celebrity Baby News: Madeleine West and Shannon Bennett


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Actress Madeleine West, and her partner Shannon Bennett, the head chef at Melbourne’s Vue Du Mond, welcomed twin girls on November 14, and have named their daughters Xalia and Margot. Xalia and Margot join big brother Hendrix, and sisters Phoenix, Xascha, and Xanthe. Xanthe’s birth was covered on the blog.

Back in July, blog reader Alison asked people to guess what Madeleine and Shannon’s twins might be called. They have absolutely foxed us, because not only did nobody guess the name Xalia, but nobody guessed that they would abandon their X-name theme for the second twin! A popular theory was they would use the X in the middle this time, with name choices such as Lexie and Roxy, but they didn’t do this either. The best guess was from The Mrs, who suggested Margaux for the couple – which would have been a great choice.

They have no doubt further fretted some readers by choosing the name Margot – a baby name that some have begun to worry is on its way to much higher popularity in the future. A celebrity baby named Margot will do nothing to allay their concerns.

(Photo of Madeleine and Shannon from the Herald Sun)

Strange Searches and Intriguing Inquries: The Weird Ways People Wind Up On My Blog


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It’s time for another silly season look at the odd, thought-provoking, and just plain barmy search terms used to get to the blog. Some are autocorrections gone wrong, others are typos or the vagaries of Google Translate, but there seem to be some genuinely confused people wandering around the Internet. I’ve tidied searches up with some basic punctuation for easier reading, and corrected spelling errors unless they provided some amusement.


Is Australia a country?
Yes. So glad that’s cleared up.

W.A. is the best f*** the rest Australia Australia map
If you put this into Google Maps (with the asterisks filled out in full), it suggests you see a therapist. At least it did for me.

Bongs Baby Search
Contest winners: Bud and Mary-Jane.

Jewish roots of Australian Aboriginal tribes
The lost tribes of Israel didn’t get that lost.

Australian Aborigines are the true Indians from India [searched for many times]
That’s going to make the land rights issue a whole lot more complicated.

Did Abel Tasman change his name to Tasman because he discovered Tasmania?
Yes, then Captain Cook changed his name to Cook after discovering the Cook Islands.

Did Abel Tasman have a daughter named Tasmania/Did Abel Tasman name Tasmania after his daughter? [searched for many times]
No, Tasmania Tasman sounds really awkward.

Why do Australians add the word “did” after a girl’s name, as in Katie-did?
We do what now?


Prince William’s baby should be called Prince Alfred Edmund William [several months after Prince George’s birth]
It’s probably time to let go. Maybe they’ll listen to you next time.

What is Hank Marvin’s home address?

How is Wendy Harmer married?
Um … legally?

Pictures of Liz Ellis and her son Evelyn Audrey
I can understand thinking Evelyn might be a boy – but Evelyn Audrey?

Was the actress Grace Kelly related to the bushranger Ned Kelly?
I would guess, not closely.

Was Banjo Paterson a Templar?
No, a solicitor and tax reformist, which sounds slightly less exciting.

My civil partner’s name is Rupert Grint and mine is Danny Driscoll – what surname do we use?
I’m more interested to discover the actor Rupert Grint is in a civil partnership with a fictional gangster from Only Fools and Horses. The mind is boggling.

Was Liberace gay?
Yes, and to anticipate your next question, bears go to the lavatory in the woods.


I regret naming my son Hamish, and call him James instead
I’m not kidding, somebody Googles a variant of this question about sixty times a week. Either there’s a whole bunch of Hamishes called James, or someone needs to get a new hobby.

Tomboy baby names like Rose, Lily, Daisy, Violet
Flipping heck, those are tomboy names?

Common names in rare use
That’s the Holy Grail of baby naming right there.

The truth about calling your son Ryder
The truth is, his name will be Ryder.

Do people look at your kid’s names funny?
No – but now we’re all interested to know what yours are called.

How to convince girls named Naomi to go out with you
I think it’s basically the same method as for girls with other names.

“Worst name ever” – Ian
Forget Hitler, Satan, or Laxative, Ian is the worst baby name in history!

Is Mary and Matilda the same name in Sweden?
No, and in no other country either.

Oliver cannot marry Olivia
Why ever not?


The origin of death
Someone died, and it caught on.

Medieval newspaper article of the battle of Hastings
They don’t seem to have produced one – just a tapestry. Slack!

What was the dress code for Arabs and Hebrews during the Biblical era?
Smart casual.

Why are English monarchs ugly?
Gosh, that’s jolly rude.


Children’s book with hippo eating more humans than sharks
Should be required bedtime reading for every four-year-old.

Romeo, Dan, Juliet
The little known Shakespearean love triangle.

Some good frictionless stories of Shakespeare
Because nobody wants stories that give you chafing.

Was Frankenstein’s wife’s name unisex?
Only if you consider Elizabeth a unisex name.

The poetry of Ben Jo Peterson
He just never had the fame of Banjo Paterson.


Blonde women love autumn
So brunetttes must love spring, redheads love winter, and bald people love summer.

600 year old dead body gave birth to baby, and the baby stayed alive about 72 hours
Eww. I’m pretty sure this didn’t happen.

Miserable heavenly body discovered
The science news we never hear about.

Budgies sound like they’re talking Welsh
Ours just make chirpy noises.

Cicadas are all homosexual
I think the cicada population would be a lot lower by now if that was true.


What are some signs the American occult have used musicians and football players?
Minimal, if any.

99% accurate psychic – free
Even ones that are 38% accurate aren’t free.

Mythical Christmas sweater for Catholic children made by their mother
My mother never made me one, probably because it was 110 in the shade at Christmas.

“The holy Christmas dwarf”
The Yuletide yarn we never hear about.

I sense souls who are licensed to answer
This sounds a bit like a movie I saw.

Can a baby be born with 2 souls?
That’s very deep, which is another way of saying I have no idea.


Baby Ruby, Adelaide. Cash only.
I hope you’ve been arrested by now.

Velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin getting it on
The art news we never hear about.

Where can I buy German animated Easter cards which are baby announcements?
There’s clearly a market for German-speakers who happen to have their baby at Easter, and want to announce that fact in animated greeting card form. Please consider developing this exciting business concept.

How to announce baby’s birth in Australia slang?
Strewth cobbers, we’ve dropped a sprog, so it’s my shout.

Need a Victorian style cursed wedding dress
Wanting to get your marriage off on the right foot, huh?

Groan grunt growl grumpy grumble exercises
Yep that’s how I sound when I exercise.

Old English movie in which a magical necklace converts heroin
What does the necklace convert the heroin into – tea and scones?

What is the movie name where the woman had a daughter and she got married and she died of cancer after giving birth to a little boy?
One of the classic chick flick plots. The other two are: Boy and girl fall in love then one dies of cancer, and Female friends discover cancer is a catalyst for bonding, empowerment.


Intercourse while waltzing
That never happened in any of my dance classes. I feel ripped off.

Lucy is a stripper at Players on the Gold Coast. What’s her real name?
If Lucy is her stripper name, I’m guessing her real name is Destinee Bunny-Starr.

How can I find strippers ‘n’ escorts in Emerald area, Qld?
Yellow Pages.

Australian girls named Lola – they have sexy hips, Facebook page?
I don’t think either can be guaranteed.


Any Madison eating girls? Far angry sex with boy.

Quick Siobhan, your knickers, your mother is coming

What means: Australian bond named Dingo?

Aboriginal name meaning “aupprice shock”

List agent Greek names that is not used in space, less than 16 characters

Yolanda Lionheart and Alexander Stephen Fox




Alayshia Zarli (Tasheeka, Shakayah)
Anastasia Elizabeth May (Charlotte)
Bianca June
Charlotte Rose Henrica (Monique, Liam)
Clea Neve (Meisha, Harper)
Emjay Torah Lee (Blake)
Eve Teresa
Freda Ruth
Grace Ellen Margaret
Harriet Violet Louise (Charlotte, Xavier, Eliza)
Isla Sky
Jewel Estelle Starr (Cooper, Jett, Maddox)
Lacey Jayne-Grace
Liliana Ruby (Claudia, Sofia)
Lucia Isabel
Margaret Anne “Maggie” (Lily)
Maria Adel (Ivy)
Matisse Indy (Mia, Willow)
Piper Lilly
Regan Zoe
Victoria Emily
Violet Joy
Willow Saige (Indiana, Isabella)
Yolanda Lionheart “Yoli” (Francesca)

Alexander Stephen Fox
Angus Hugo
Arthur John (Lucinda)
Aston Clarence (Anton)
Blake Stanley (Jai)
Bohdy Keith
Cruz Alexander (Cohen)
Henry Walter (Greta, Louis)
Hudson Noel
Kaylan (Clara)
Kenneth William
Jobe Daniel
Lachlan Rowan (Lily, Jasmine)
Lane Ian (Nevaeh)
Lewis Auster George (Marley)
Malik Gabriel (Azim, Mae, Elbe)
Maximo Aaron
Mick Carter (Stella)
Nicholas Forrest
Oliver Mackenzie (Lindsay, Cooper)
Quinnten Hunter James (Tayla, Amber, Braxton, Faith)
Percy Geoffrey
Sebastian Gregory
Xander Konrad (Christo, Brigitta, Dominik)
Yiannis (Konstandaena, Erini)

(Picture shows lions at Mogo Zoo, near Bateman’s Bay on the south coast of New South Wales; photo from the Canberra Times)

Celebrity Baby News: Jess Sinclair and Chantelle Delaney



Chantelle Delaney Ladies Luncheon Crown Palladium cJ7gg9UEEFll

Former AFL player Jess Sinclair, and singer Chantelle Delaney, welcomed their first child on November 17 and have named their son Mason Nate. Mason Sinclair was born at 10.23 am, weighing 2.97 kg (6lb 6 oz) and 47.5 cm long. Mason’s name is a nod to Chantelle’s grandmother, May.

Jess played for the Fremantle Dockers from 1997-2000, and for the North Melbourne Kangaroos from 2001-2008. After retiring from AFL, Jess played for Heidelberg in the Northern Football League, and retired from playing last year. This year he began coaching St Mary’s Salesian in the Victorian Amateur Football Association.

Chantelle has been performing since she was a child, and regularly makes international radio and television appearances. In 2008 she took part in the Great Walk to Beijing to raise cancer awareness, and sang a duet with organiser Olivia Newton-John. Recently Chantelle has entertained the troops in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and performed the national anthem at major sporting events. She is currently working on her debut album. Jess and Chantelle were married in 2009.

Famous Name: Caleb


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Duckbour Caleb James Shang, known as Caleb, or by his Chinese name Lee, or the nickname “Charlie”, was one of the more unlikely heroes of World War I. Quiet, soft-spoken and shy, the slightly-built Queenslander from far north Cairns was 170 cm tall and weighed 51 kg. Furthermore, as the son of a Chinese-born father and Australian-born mother, nobody expected him to even enlist, as only those of European ancestry were considered eligible for military service at this time, and it was unusual for people of Asian ancestry to join the armed forces.

Yet both Caleb and his brother Sidney enlisted in 1916, and in 1917 Caleb joined the 47th Battalion in time to join heavy fighting in Flanders on the Western Front. He later fought on the Somme during the heaviest attack ever faced by Australian soldiers, and after his battalion was disbanded due to severe casualties, he served in the 45th Battalion during the Battle of Amiens. Here he was wounded, and evacuated to England before being sent back to Australia when the war was over.

Caleb was a runner, signaller, and scout, tirelessly running messages and bringing supplies at all hours, signalling while exposed to the enemy, constantly volunteering for dangerous missions into enemy territory, and attacking snipers in broad daylight. The runner’s job was one of the most dangerous on the Western Front, and had a terrifying casualty rate, yet for most of his war service, Caleb got through these perilous situations without a scratch.

Caleb’s outstanding endurance, contempt for danger, gallantry, skilful resourcefulness, and devotion to duty inspired those around him, and earned him the admiration of both the officers and men. The first Australian soldier of Chinese descent to be decorated, the most highly decorated Chinese Australian soldier of World War I, and the most highly decorated Queensland soldier of his time, he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice, and was awarded the Military Medal.

When he returned home to Cairns in 1919, Private Caleb Shang received a hero’s welcome, with 3000 people turning out to jubilantly greet him on the wharf at dawn. The mayor was there, as were the Returned Soldiers League, and the Cairns Citizen Brass Band played See the Conquering Hero Comes. The Cairns Post raised a subscription fund to start him off in civilian life, and more than £45 was raised by the townspeople.

During World War II, Caleb served with the Volunteer Defence Force in Cairns; during his service he suffered several head injuries, which may explain why he later spent time in a psychiatric hospital. In the 1940s, there was heightened anti-Asian feeling due to the war against Japan, and Caleb was sometimes the target of racist slurs, as few people knew of his distinguished war record and volunteer service. In 1943, he attended his only Anzac Day parade, apparently in response to the racism he encountered during World War II.

According to Caleb’s sister Alma, he never talked about the war to his family. In 2002, Caleb’s daughter Delta, then in her 70s, described her father as reserved, modest, understanding, kind and gentle, speaking very little about his war service. She could not guess what motivated him to enlist, but knew that her father loved a challenge.

Caleb Shang’s story is not completely unlike that of Caleb in the Bible. According to the Old Testament, Caleb was one of twelve spies sent out by Moses into the land of Canaan. Each spy was the head of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and Caleb represented the tribe of Judah. Ten of the spies reported back that it would be impossible to conquer the land, but Joshua and Caleb brought back encouraging reports to Moses. Because of Caleb and Joshua’s courage and faith, they were the only two ancient Israelites allowed to reach the Promised Land, and Caleb was granted lands around Hebron, now in Palestine.

There is another Caleb mentioned in the Bible, the great-grandson of Judah. Jewish tradition says these two Calebs are the same person, which would explain why Caleb was the head of the tribe. However, biblical scholars find this unlikely – in fact, they are not even sure that Caleb the spy was an Israelite by birth, as the Bible indicates he was a Kenizzite, from a desert tribe. He might have been accepted into the tribe of Judah, and if so, becoming its head would have indicated someone of really superior ability. That’s more impressive than just inheriting the role from great-granddaddy.

Bible historians believe the story of Caleb represents the movement of a clan which invaded Palestine from the south, settled around Hebron, and became gradually absorbed into the tribe of Judah. According to Bible genealogies, the Calebites were descendants of Esau, twin brother to Jacob, so were closely related to the Israelites, and natural friends and allies. (Nabal, the grumpy first husband of the prophetess Abigail, was a Calebite). The Bible story is a way to explain how a non-Israelite desert people became part of the tribe of Judah.

The original Hebrew spelling of the name Caleb is identical with the Hebrew word kelev, meaning “dog”. Animal names are not unusual in the Old Testament, although nobody knows for sure why Caleb might have been called this. Considering his non-Israelite origins, it’s possible that his name was non-Hebrew, and just sounded like the Hebrew word for dog.

However, some scholars think it may have been given to indicate his original tribal totem as an ethnic signifier; if so, the totem would have referred to the Canaan dog. This is a breed of pariah dog which has existed since biblical times, and is one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world. The Old Testament makes several references to these dogs, both wild ones roaming in packs through the desert, and those which worked alongside humans. The Canaan dog is modern Israel’s national dog.

Canaan dogs are strong, athletic, agile and healthy, with a well-developed survival instinct. Highly intelligent and naturally defensive, they make excellent watch dogs, who bark readily as a warning. They are not aggressive towards humans, being cautious and even docile, and remain strongly attached and loyal to their owners. They are still used as sheep dogs by the Bedouins.

For a tribe to take the Canaan dog as their totem, they would have seen themselves as survivors in the harsh desert – not fighters ready to attack, but willing to defend their territory. Baby name books are generally reluctant to admit the meaning of “dog” to Caleb, and often gloss it as “faithful” or “devoted to God”. Although you can see the Caleb from the Bible story as having canine faithfulness, the original tribal totem seems much more likely to indicate a people tough enough to get through anything.

Caleb has a long history as a Christian name, because a 5th century king of Axum (around modern-day Ethiopia) was named Kaleb; he is considered a saint in the Orthodox tradition. Caleb has been used as an English name since at least the 16th century, and became much more common after the Protestant Reformation (Kaleb has been used almost as long by English-speakers, but not so widely).

A fictional namesake is the hero of William Godwin’s radical 18th century novel, Things as They Are, or The Adventures of Caleb Williams. A raging commercial success, the book was both condemned as dangerous anarchist propaganda, and glorified as an inspiring work of genius. Another is Caleb “Cal” Trask from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, portrayed on film by James Dean. There have been many other Calebs in fiction, right up to the present, with Pretty Little Liars, and Divergent.

Caleb has charted since the 1970s, when it debuted at #443. It rose steeply until joining the Top 100 in 1996 at #83, but has never been higher than #50. Currently it is #72 nationally, #71 in New South Wales, #95 in Victoria, #66 in Queensland, #61 in Tasmania, where it was one of the fastest-rising boy’s names of last year, and #78 in the Australian Capital Territory.

This is a handsome modern classic – one of the Old Testament biblical names for boys which sounded fresher and more exotic than the familiar Bible classics. Despite being popular for many years, it has remained relatively stable in the bottom half of the Top 100, making it a safe choice. Perhaps the meaning has dogged its footsteps, but I can’t really see any problem as dogs are our beloved companions, known for their beautiful, faithful natures. Cal, Cale or Cabe can be used as nicknames.

Royal Baby News: Lady Edwina Grosvenor and Dan Snow


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Lady Edwina Grosvenor, and her husband Dan Snow, welcomed their son Wolf Robert on September 9, a brother for Zia, aged 3.

Lady Edwina is a prison reformist and philanthropist. She is the daughter of the Duke of Westminster, the third richest man in Britain, who is significantly wealthier than the queen. Through her mother Natalia Phillips, Lady Edwina is a direct descendant of King George II, and thus has a right of succession to the British throne, although she is only distantly in line. A distant relation of both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, she is also a direct descendant of the Russian author Alexander Pushkin, and Nicholas I of Russia. Princess Diana was Lady Edwina’s godmother, and her mother Natalia is godmother to Prince William.

Dan Snow is a television presenter who has made numerous history programmes for the BBC. Some of the programmes he has presented include Battlefield Britain, Britain’s Lost World, Rome’s Lost Empire, and Battle Castles. In My Family at War, he explored the role of his great-grandfather Thomas Snow, who was a military commander on the Somme during World War I. A political advocate for several causes, he was prominent in the Let’s Stay Together campaign to keep Scotland part of the Union. He and Lady Edwina were married in 2010, in a small private ceremony.

Dan Snow made this statement about the choice of Wolf’s name: Our son was born today, 2005 years to the day since his ancestors erupted out of the Teutoburger Wald and annihilated the mighty legions of Varus. Like those wild Germans, he came screaming out of the dawn mist, under a full moon, and so we named him Wolf.

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (Teutoburger Wald) took place in September 9 AD, when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius, chieftain of the Cherusci tribe, ambushed and annihilated three Roman legions and auxiliaries led by the Roman general Publius Quinctilius Varus. The result of the battle was that Germania remained independent and never became part of the Roman Empire. The date is a matter of speculation, but a full moon in September that year would have been late in the month – September 9 was two days after the new moon. There would been attacks at dawn during the course of the battle, which raged for days.

Wolf and his father Dan share the same middle name, which also happens to be the name of two of Wolf’s great-grandfathers, on both sides of his family.

(Photo of Lady Edwina Grosvenor and Dan Snow on their wedding day from the Daily Mail)

The Gentle Art of Discussing Baby Names


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Being a life-long name-nerd, I spent a lot of my younger years dreaming up names for future children. In these daydreams, I was joined at the hip with someone who agreed enthusiastically with my name choices, or responded joyously : “But my darling! That has always been my favourite name, too!”. At the very worst, I hoped my future other half would be the type who said, “Honestly, I’m not very interested in baby names. Anything you pick you out will be fine, sweetie pie”.

These dreams did not eventuate. My husband turned out not to be the easygoing “whatever you say dear” sort of bloke, and it seemed as if every name I suggested was greeted with: No, Nope, Not that one, I don’t think so, and the occasional Absolutely not. I had a long list of names, and every single one got shot down without explanation. What was most frustrating was that he never suggested any names, so I had no idea what was wrong with all these names, or what names he would prefer.

After lots of arguments that never went anywhere, I came up with a new set of rules. He had to at least tell me what was wrong with the suggested name, or it stayed on the list. And just saying “I don’t like it” wasn’t good enough – he had to explain exactly why he didn’t like it. If his answer was something silly, like “I once worked with someone called that and I didn’t like them”, then the name stayed on the list.

There were a few false starts, as he feared as I would jump down his throat the minute he said anything. But I insisted I’d rather hear the truth, and told him I would hear him out without arguing. He started to elaborate on his Nos, and boy, did the flood gates open.

Sometimes it was hard to hear (some of these were names I loved after all), and sometimes I did break my promise and argued back, but as time went on it got easier and easier. The best part was that we were no longer deadlocked, and as he explained what was wrong with every single name I suggested, I started to get a feel for his tastes. That meant that rather than thrash out every name, I could automatically cross off those similar to ones he disliked.

Here are some of the highlights (?) of the process.


Him: Too posh. People will think he has a country estate and a trust fund, but instead he’ll have a swing set and a piggy bank.
Me: Perhaps that will teach people not to stereotype names.
Him: There’s breaking stereotypes, and then there’s committing fraud. This is more the second one.

Him (surprised): Oh … I like that one! What language is it from?
Me: It’s Old Norse.
Him: Awsome, I love Scandinavian names. What does it mean?
Me: Eagle.
Him (outraged): What kind of sick meaning is that? How could anyone be so twisted as to call their child evil?
Me: Not evileagle. Like the bird.
Him: Well, now all I can think of is evil when I hear it.
(This ended in a heated discussion about people who don’t listen versus people who don’t speak clearly enough).

Our surname starts with Wil-, so any name ending with an S sound will end up having SWILL in it. This one sounds like “Anger Swill”.
(I cross off all names ending in an S sound).

Sounds like bidet.

We’re not Italian!

Sounds like a dog’s name.

Me: I thought maybe with Teddy as the nickname, but is it too close to Eddie?
Him: It’s too close to Narnia, if you ask me.
Me: But you said yes to Lucy!
Him: Lucy sounds sweet – Edmund sounds like a little creep who will sell you out to the White Witch for a block of Turkish Delight.

It’s like someone throwing crockery down a flight of stairs. No weird Old Testament names – they’re ugly.

Too catty. And we can’t have any names ending in X, because it sounds the same as something ending in S.
(I cross off all names ending in X).

Too girly.

Him: I really hate Scottish names – they’re ugly and pretentious.
Me: But Scottish names are traditional in your family.
Him: Yeah well this is one tradition coming to an end now because I hate them!
(I cross off all Scottish names, gloomily knowing my parents-in-law will blame me).

It’s a cartoon villain name.

It will get twisted around into Gay Joe.

Him: That’s the most boring boy’s name in existence.
Me (enraged): It ismyfather’sname!
Him (aghast): What? No! Your dad’s name is Fred!
Me: His name is James – his nickname is Fred!
(This ended in a heated discussion about people who don’t bother to learn their own father-in-law’s name versus people who cause confusion because their nicknames are nothing like their actual name).

Him: Yuk, sounds evil.
Me: It doesn’t – Jasper is a saint who brought gifts to baby Jesus.
Him: No, Jasper is a crook who stole Dalmatian puppies so a demon hag could turn them into coats!

“Jar of swill” – don’t you remember the whole discussion we had about Angus?
(Oops, forgot to cross it off).

Hey Jude, na na na na – aargh that song is an earworm, now I’ll never get it out of my head.

Him: For a boy or a girl?
Me: It’s a boy’s name.
Him: Well it sounds like a mix of Leanne and Miranda.
Me: What if you think of it more as a mix of Leo and Alexander?
Him: I hate Leo and Alexander.
(I secretly cross Leo and Alexander off the list).

Monty Python.

Too grouchy.

Sounds as if he will always be owin’ money.

We’re not Spanish!


Him: What would we call her – Leggy? Where does it come from, anyway?
Me (evasively): Well, Lord Byron had a daughter named Allegra.
Him: What happened to her – did she end up famous, like that other daughter?
Me: Um, no … he took her from her mother and stuck her in a convent, and she died.
Him: That’s horrible! This name should be banned!

She drowned!

Him: Her senile father didn’t love her! Why are all these names after girls abused by their dads?
Me: Clementine wasn’t abused.
Him: No, her father committed suicide!

Him: Wasn’t she a prostitute?
Me: No.
Him: Well it reminds me of watercress anyway.

I only like pretty girls’ names.

Me: This was my favourite teacher’s name.
Him: Too chemical-y.

Him: Would she be named after the rag-doll, or the duck?
Me: Maybe after the beautiful daughter of Job in the Bible.
Him: So we’d be naming our daughter after a woman whose father was tortured for no reason? Can we not have any names from stories where the father has a terrible time, please?
(I cross off Keziah).

Sounds like liar.

Me: I’m not sure about this one, what do you think?
Him: Nothing that starts with the word mad.

Sounds like a snake hissing.

Him: No names starting with S, because look at the initial.
Me: You mean SW, south-west?
Him: No, S. Wil-, swill!
Me: Oh not this again.

Him: Don’t you realise the joke on Friends was that Phoebe had a nice name while her evil twin Ursula had an awful one?
Me: So you like the name Phoebe?
Him: Yes.
Me: Me too, let’s add it to the list.
(Partial success!)

It looks like virgin and sounds like vagina.

I hate names that start with Z.

As we worked through the process, it was apparent what names had to go – apart from anything Scottish, Old Testament, starting with Z, ending with X, or starting or ending with S. He didn’t like names that had negative meanings or associations, especially ones from childhood, and was exquisitely sensitive towards anything which sounded even vaguely negative or ridiculous.

Fussy and over-sensitive about names? Now that’s something a name nerd can understand. We weren’t so different after all.

(Cartoon from the Daily Mail)


What Would You Call Archer and Cleo’s Baby Sister?


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Lydia and Oliver have a son named Archer, and a daughter named Cleo – Lydia found the blog quite helpful when they were choosing Cleo’s name. They didn’t plan to have more children, but are expecting another girl next month. Now they feel at something of a loss when it comes to names.

The two front runners at the moment are Edie and Quinn. Lydia has been thinking about Edie and loving it ever since she found she was pregnant, while Quinn is a recent name love which seems cute and sassy, like Cleo. Lydia wonders if Quinn is feminine enough for a girl, although she has been tracking it in birth announcements on the blog, and believes that its use skews more towards the pink end of the spectrum.

Other names that have been considered are Amelie nn Millie (she worries that it would constantly get turned into Emily, just as Cleo is often mistakenly called Chloe), Milla nn Millie, and Lexie. Lydia loves the name Holly, but their one-syllable surname ends with an OW sound (eg Bough), and Oliver says Holly Bough sounds too much like “Holy Cow”. Lydia wonders whether it does really?

Oliver likes the names Alice, Zoe, Molly, and Elle/Ellie, but Lydia has vetoed all of them. She thinks that Cleo and Elle sound odd as sisters, as they are both titles of women’s magazines. Lydia likes the name Eve, but a friend has a daughter of this name, and she’d feel bad about forcing her to name-share, although that wouldn’t stop her if it was the clear favourite.

The middle name will probably be a family name, maybe Joy or Hannah, although they’re not sure yet. Lydia feels that once they have selected the name, the middle name will slot into place pretty naturally.

Lydia would ideally like a name that’s ahead of the curve that won’t be confused with other names, loves names that either start or end with a vowel, names that can be shortened to an -ee sound nickname (eg Quinnie), likes the letter X, and fancies a name starting with E, so the children’s initials would spell ACE, but these are just nice-to-haves rather than must-haves.

Lydia wonders what people think of Edie and Quinn, and if there are any other names that would suit a sister for Archer and Cleo?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I think Edie is a great choice which seems to tick pretty much all of your boxes. It’s fashionable and spunky like Cleo, and has a relaxed casual feel like Archer. It also seems a bit like Oliver’s choice of Ellie, and would sound great with the middle name Joy, if you end up using it.

The only drawback that occurs to me is that a mum who wrote in to the blog last year said that she had a daughter named Edie, and people often misread it or mispronounced it as Eddie – maybe they thought it was short for Edwina? I’m only mentioning that because you said you would prefer a name that didn’t get mistaken for other names, although it seems as if many shortish girls’ names get muddled (as an Anna who gets called Hannah or Emma, I think most get used to it).

Quinn is also a great choice – it’s sleek and modern, and in a similar style to Archer and Cleo. I think make sure that you feel comfortable saying and calling Cleo and Quinn together on a regular basis, because although they look very different, they start with the same sound.

The only data I have for the name Quinn is the 2012 complete data from Victoria, and that shows Quinn to be fairly evenly unisex – 24 girls named Quinn, and 30 boys. That tallies with my own observations, because I quite often see a girl named Quinn and a boy named Quinn in the same week of birth notices. (Girl Quinns have been selected for the Birth Announcements on the blog more often than boys, as they tend to have more stylish or interesting middle names). I think it seems suitable for either sex.

Holly -ow did not particularly sound like Holy Cow to me – it reminded me more of Holly Bough, which is why I selected Bough as your fill-in surname. The trouble is, no matter what anyone else says, if Oliver hears it as Holy Cow, he’s probably always going to hear it as Holy Cow, so I think it has to be crossed off as a possibility.

Here are some other names which might appeal:

I thought this might work with Edie as the nickname. It’s clean and modern like Quinn, unisex but more obviously feminine in usage, associated with Eve, and sounds nice with Joy as the middle name. It’s popular, but still at the bottom of the Top 100, and is on the upswing without rising rapidly. Is this too religious or too gardeny for you?

You seem really keen on Millie, but can’t quite find the right name to get there, while Oliver has Molly as one of his favourites. Millie is so spunky and stylish, and I think Archer, Cleo and Millie sound wonderful together. If you are considering Edie as a stand-alone name, why not Millie?

Millie + Quinnie = Minnie? This is an extremely cute name that’s super sassy – it’s so ready for a comeback, and is already doing well in the UK.

This is such a hip little name, and I think it makes a great match with Cleo. It has the same syllable sounds as Zoe, which Oliver likes.

If you like Lexie, how do you feel about Roxie? To me it has that same sassy feel as Cleo.

This short form of Harriet is in line with Holly, Molly, Ellie, and Millie, and like Cleo, is a vintage choice which seems fresh and contemporary. I’m wondering if Hallie -ow still sounds like another phrase to Oliver, though.

Reminds me of both Holly and Hannah. I hope Oliver doesn’t hear it as sounding too much like “hide a cow”, or “cowhide”.

Somehow this pretty name reminds me of both Holly and Zoe, and if you used Zellie as the nickname, might seem like Ellie without being too run of the mill. It seems like an interesting and unexpected match with Archer and Cleo, although like Quinn it doesn’t follow the pattern of beginning or ending with a vowel.

You love the sound of Quinnie, so how about Winnie? It’s ahead of the curve and just adorable.

It’s got an X, but it doesn’t have an X sound – is that a problem? I think it sounds lovely with Cleo.

It sounds as if you really love both Edie and Quinn, and either one of those names could very well be your perfect choice. Even if a name seems to have a few little niggles, it’s best to follow your heart rather than look for something which looks perfect on paper, but doesn’t feel right.

Readers, what do you think of Edie or Quinn as a sister to Archer and Cleo? And what other names could be suitable?

(Painting by Pino Daeni)


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