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Interesting names of babies I spotted in the papers over the summer:

When the popular name lists came out, newspapers also liked to dwell on the less popular names (more coming on that score). One of the babies with an uncommon name was the splendidly Arthurian Lancelot Palmer, from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. Lancelot is named after his mother’s grandfather, who passed away a few years ago.

To publicise Australia Day events in Tasmania, The Examiner had a photo of an eight-month-old baby girl named Uma Paech, from Lauceston (pictured). It’s a celebrity name, because of Hollywood actress Uma Thurman, but also shows the growing popularity of names from Asia. Uma Thurman was raised in a Buddhist household, and her father was the first Westerner to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Her name is taken from the Tibetan phrase Dbuma Chenpo, meaning “Great Middle Way”; one of the guiding principles of Buddhist practice. (The Db is silent). Uma is also one of the titles of the Hindu goddess Parvati.

In early February, an official report on publicly funded home births was prepared by the Homebirth Advisory Group from the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales. The story interviewed Jade Trapp of Lismore, who gave birth to her son Django at home with a midwife two years ago. This is another name which comes from a famous person. It was the nickname of Belgian jazz guitarist Jean Baptiste Reinhardt, and it is Romani for “I awake”. Although Django died in the 1950s, his gypsy jazz is still hot, and he has been portrayed or alluded to in several films, including The Triplets of Belleville and Martin’s Scorscese’s Hugo. His music has been used for the soundtrack of movies such as The Matrix, Chocolat, Kate and Leopold and Stardust Memories. This is a hyper-hipster name oft suggested on Nameberry, and one with a cheery sound to it.

Meme and Soemyint Theloep are recent refugees from Burma who live in the Illawarra region surrounding the city of Wollongong in New South Wales. This month, they were caught in the floodwaters that flowed into their flat, and Soemyint had to carry his three-week-old daughter to safety in a baby sling. Although their English is still only basic, they knew enough to give their baby an English name – Blessing. What a beautiful tribute to their new home and refuge (despite the occasional flood). It’s a name that makes me smile and smile.

Monica Carduff Gonzalez, professionally known as DJ Monski Mouse, has been playing classic vinyl tracks at events such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for ten years now. She is now starting up an event called Baby Disco Dance Hall, which plays funky tunes suitable for the under-five crowd. Monica’s own daughter is named Monalisa (didn’t you just somehow guess her baby wouldn’t be named Emily or Mia?). Apart from the famous painting by da Vinci, Mona Lisa is also an award-winning Nat King Cole song, and it was playing while Monica and her husband, magician Tony Roberts, were choosing baby names; the new baby smiled, and they took that as her seal of approval. I love this cool name and the story attached to it (which I got off her website).

And an interesting name attached to an adult:

I read a short article on parenting about the myths of motherhood. It’s good advice telling us not to worry so much about being perfect. What interested me more was the author’s name, which was Benison O’Reilly. Her name is a vocabulary word which means “blessing, benediction”. According to her website, it’s a favourite name amongst the O’Reilly family. I think it’s a great name and obviously has a very positive meaning.

Names of babies encountered over the summer in real life:

Annabel: the original form looks crisp, classic and very English after so many Frenchified Annabelles.

Cael: I always thought this Irish name was said like the word keel, but Cael’s family say his name like the word kale.

Lacey: I feel as if the long-term popularity of Lucy is helping the rise of pretty Lacey.

Purity: this name reminded me of purity rings, but her name was chosen with the idea of purity in the sense of “pure and natural, uncontaminated by the artificial”. Purely herself!

Zeke: not short for Ezekiel, just plain Zeke. Very cowboy.

Names of new babies welcomed by people I know (family/friends/colleagues/neighbours etc) over the summer:

Bethany

Brock

Eleanor

Finn

Isla

Laila

Leilani

Stella

According to a new article Abby has at Appellation Mountain, the baby names chosen by the people around you will likely tend to be similar, and also not unlike the names you are apt to choose yourself (leading to much angst and accusations of name stealing and so forth – see Lou at Mer de Noms, as to whether to “call dibs” or not).

I think some of these names do “go together”, as in I can imagine Finn and Isla as siblings, and also Eleanor and Stella. There’s a strong L sound in all of them except Bethany, Brock and Finn, who thus also seem to be matched. Laila and Leilani are particularly similar.

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