That traditional favorite, Jack

Jan 27th 2009

Every January you see a raft of news stories chronicling the year in baby names.  This year, the favorite theme is parents "returning to traditional old favorites" like Jack, Ava and Olivia.  I've written before about the questionable antique status of Ava and Olivia (part 1, part 2), but it's hard to question Jack.  It's an old and storied English name.

But you do realize it's an old and storied nickname, right? Surprisingly, many people today have no idea that Jack was originally a pet form of John. In the lands where Jack now reigns supreme (#1 in England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, etc.), you'd be hard-pressed to call Jack a traditional given name at all.

The English Census from 150 years ago lists 363 entries under Jack. Chances are that many of those were actually christened John, but let's take the number at face value: 363 solid, traditional Jacks. And the number of Johns in that census? 1,257,079.  That's 3,463 given-name Johns per Jack. For perspective, in America today there are only 101 Jacobs born per...Elmer.

Modern British parents flock to given names like Alfie and Tilly, but in generations past the idea of using those names at christening time would have seemed downright inappropriate.  You can catch a glimpse of that perspective in a human-interest piece that appeared in the New York Times in 1876.  The article, entitled "Curious Christenings," was a collection of bizarre and humorous stories of christenings gone awry.  At least, they were bizarre and humorous by 1876 standards. (The tale of the white minister who named the black slave boy "Jane" doesn't exactly tickle us today.)  Here's the relevant excerpt:

As an example of the way in which parents will insist on curious names, a gentleman says that he was visiting a clergyman of the Church of England, and one evening as they sat together after dinner a summons came to the rector to go and christen the child of a gypsy couple that were encamped with their tribe in the parish. The gentlemen went with the clergyman to the camp, when, ascending a short flight of steps, they found themselves in the four-wheeled covered wagon that served the gypsies as a house. The babe, four or five days old, was presented, and the mother, already recovered from her confinement, stood up as one of the godparents.  The clergyman asked by what name he should call the child and she answered Jacky. "John?" said he, somewhat surprised. "No, Sir, Jacky," she replied. "But you surely don't want him christened Jacky. You mean John, do you not," said he. But the mother insisted on the name she had chosen, and the child was christened Jacky.

Jacky!  Oh, those wacky, wacky gypsies.

So "tradition" does't seem to support writing Jack on a birth certificate. Just as with Ava and Olivia, though, we're not wrong to call Jack a traditional, old-fashioned name.  It's certainly an old and familiar name, not a newly invented one.  More importantly, it's traditional in theme and intent, sounding like a link to generations past.  If those generations past would have insisted on a different name at the christening time, well, that's their problem.


By Aybee (not verified)
February 2, 2009 9:14 PM

Knee Coal Peay-

I hadn't weighed in on the merits of the name "Jemima," but I agree with you that its use would be inappropriate, at least in the states.

I understand the arguments of those who like its sound, but a name cannot be divorced from such a well-known, and troublesome, image.

By Eo (not verified)
February 2, 2009 9:16 PM

Hi Knee Coal Peay-- I also have a passing acquaintanceship with history, yet quite disagree with your reaction to the name Jemima, and I believe you are impugning others' motives needlessly.

It would be better to allow for the fact that not everyone sees things quite the way you do. Nevertheless, I of course think you have every right to do so yourself.

Personally, I neither identify as "white bread" (loathe the term-- I'd be far better described as crusty, slightly stale brown multi-grain), nor "overtly Caucasion". I also have not been "carried away" by the name "Jemima". I simply presented, for those who like the name, a plausible reason for use, if desired.

Without belaboring my previous comments, I DO believe it is possible to reclaim names that SOME in history may have given to slaves. As I point out, there are a number of Hebrew and Roman names that slave owners bestowed, mainly to show their so-called "erudition", to others. Many slaves and free people, have borne those names honorably.

The name "Jemima" also made me think of a similarly sounding name of the writer, "Jamaica Kincaid". A place name with a beautiful, rollicking sound.

Yup, Valerie I believe it to be Ke-TOUR-a.

By Amy3
February 2, 2009 9:43 PM

Knee Coal Peay -- I'd like to jump back in briefly as someone who is a Jemima fan. To clarify, I'm a fan of the *name*, not the association the name unfortunately has in the US. Those are two very different things, which I believe it's possible to hold simultaneously.

I, too, would not characterize myself as "white bread" or "overtly Caucasian," and while I like the *name* Jemima, the chances I would ever use it on an American girl are approaching zero.

That said, I do agree with the assessments of the two baby name authors and Eo ^^ in thinking if the name were in wider use in the US, the racist stereotype associated with it would lessen (or so I would hope).

But finally, in the same way that I would never be the urban homesteader and revive a failing neighborhood, I will be just as big a hypocrite on trying to redeem Jemima and will leave it to braver souls.

By Aybee (not verified)
February 2, 2009 10:44 PM

So well said Amy3. Exactly the kind of thoughtful commentary that makes this board so different from many others.

February 2, 2009 10:48 PM

zoerhenne: are we in an age of lengthening names?

Knee Coal Peay: I think it's really important that people know the history of the name and that it could be hurtful. I think what you said really needed to be said. However, to piggyback on Nicole S's comment that we sometimes focus on the names themselves rather than how they will be taken in the world, I also think that Jemima will be associated in the US primarily as a name of syrup, not with the strong racist association in mind (even if the two are tied).

re: Nathan and Nathaniel: Just going on surface impression, I feel like these are two different names and I think I might be a little confused by Nathan as a nn for Nathaniel. Is Nathan not formal enough?

By J&H's mom (not verified)
February 2, 2009 11:14 PM

One has to remember that a new mommy may well have been born in the mid to late eighties.
Schools are not great at teaching the less than glorious parts of our history, and I think it's entirely plausible that one could meet otherwise educated, thoughtful people who would have no association whatsoever with Jemima. You'll note what the pp mentioned was that many folks had a negative reaction because of the syrup-not the stereotype associated with the character.

I Googled "Baby Name Jemima," and went to the first three hits. There was mention of the pancake issue, but none mentioned the racial stereotyping. There was also prominent mention of the Biblical Jemima and her reputation as the most beautiful of women.

So, I guess the question is how deeply should a new parent be expected to dig into the history of a given name?
If one has no negative association with a name, must one take on the baggage of others?

Please understand I fully appreciate Knee Coal's thoughts and the passion behind them. It's not a name I would use myself.

However, I do understand the appeal of its sound and style, and I also understand that there are many folks (maybe even the majority?!) who don't go much beyond that when choosing names.

Hope I didn't succeed at offending all sides!

By Eo (not verified)
February 3, 2009 9:22 AM

No, you didn't at all, J&H's Mom. The one thing I disagree with in several of the comments is that somehow someone giving the name may well be historically ignorant and therefore callous in giving the name.

I will make the point again, that it is possible to consciously give this name in defiance of possible stereotypes, indeed, whether one is black or white or whatever ethnicity.

Because slavery is a great evil, it does not follow that slaves were somehow "tainted". They were people who found themselves in the worst of circumstances through no fault of their own. Many were brave and unsung heroes who endured barbarity and survived, and passed on a priceless legacy.

A slave named "Jemima", unlike the tyrants of history, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot, perpetrated no great evil herself-- neither did other slaves named Crispus, Julia, Pompey, Ebenezer or Hannibal. (Although H. Lector has kind of taken that one off the table.)

These people responded to their names and many bore them their entire lives. They can well be honored with namesakes, should one be so inclined. Not to mention that they can be given purely for the totality of their associations, Biblical and otherwise.

Modern name gurus Laura Wattenberg, and Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz have addressed the "Jemima" question:

While acknowledging the sometimes difficult history, Wattenberg says that naming a child Jemima "could be well worth taking the plunge"--- "The Baby Name Wizard", page 69.

Satran and Rosenkrantz essentially agree, adding that "It's time to liberate this excellent name, with its peaceful meaning".--- "The Baby Name Bible", page 141

Reasonable people can disagree about this, but I do think attributing racism and ignorance to this baby name choice goes beyond the pale.

By Eo (not verified)
February 3, 2009 9:37 AM

Gosh, Patricia, I somehow missed your interesting post in which you consult the baby name authors as well! What a dolt. Must read more thoroughly in future!

By Anne with an E (not verified)
February 3, 2009 10:35 AM

I am really enjoying the 'Jemima debate', and I liked what J&H's mom and Patricia and Eo had to say. I think it relates back to a recent discussion about the name Leni, and whether or not that was now an acceptable name or if it still conjures up Leni Riefenstahl for people.

I was born in the early 80s...and all the people that I questioned about Jemima over the weekend are my age or a few years older, and almost unanimously everyone agreed that they didn't like it because of the syrup connotation. Only one person out of about 20 mentioned the 'mammy' connection.

I think Jemima falls into the category of 'beautiful name that has been distorted by one very famous namesake and is probably now unusable' for me. (Along with Barney, and Paris.) As Amy3 said, if I were braver I might attempt to bring about a Jemima or Barney revival, but since my husband would never go for it anyway, I think I'll stick to slightly safer names!

By Anne with an E (not verified)
February 3, 2009 11:03 AM

Actually on further reflection, several people did mention that they thought of Jemima as a "very southern" name, which may have been their indirect referencing of the 'mammy' stereotype. Either way, if it was in terms of mammies or syrup, I was HUGELY in the minority as a liker of the name (ok, the only one, out of 20 people at a superbowl party!) :)

and @RobynT, actually all of the Nathans I know are really Nathaniels or Nathanaels. In my brother's specific instance, my parents named him after the Biblical Nathan, and always intended to call him Nathan, but since his middle and last name both have an 'n' sound at the end, they thought that Nathan ---n ----n didn't flow very well, and added the -iel to make things flow better.

Plus, he then had the added benefit of acquiring another namesake since he now has almost the exact same name as a very famous Revolutionary War general.

By Flyinghorse (not verified)
February 3, 2009 11:05 AM

Thanks for the opinions on Nathaniel/Nathan. My daugheter's name is K@therine and we call her by her full name. My Dad pointed out we could have a "Nate" and "Kate" situation, although at 2.5 years she has always been K@therine and not Kate or Katie, etc. (although I guess that could change if she wants it to when she is older). I tend to like traditional names like Nathaniel, Andrew, and William but feel (and I know this is a double standard) they can sound a bit "pretentious" on a boy. I was hoping if we called him Nathan as the nn it might cut down on the chance of being automatically "Nat" or "Nate" although I realize people will do what they want anyways!

February 3, 2009 11:30 AM

What a great discussion! I really like the sound of the name Jemima (I love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!). Though as an 80's baby I am quite familiar with the racial associations. I'm a history major though so I'm not sure I'm a good litmus test of school systems when it comes to history. That said I feel like I personally could get over the bad connotation quickly if I thought the motives were good (which I would assume on meeting people) and I definitely see this name as ready for rehab, but unfortunately you can't proclaim that's your intention automatically (Jemima Name Rehabilitation LN doesn't flow particularly well;). So anyway I won't use it, however if I ever met a little Jemima in the US, especially after this conversation, I'd certainly be more thoughtful in my response.
This conversation also makes me think of our discussions of which names grow up well. I feel like Jemima on a little girl could be kind of cute, especially if you know the movie CCBB. However, how would I feel if I met an adult Jemima? I'd probably feel a lot more negative about it. Judge Jemima? NSM... Anyone else feel that way?

February 3, 2009 11:37 AM

Flyinghorse, I think your Dad is right that with Katherine and Nathaniel/Nathan you very well could end up with a Kate and a Nate, so maybe another name for your son might be a better choice. As I've mentioned before, my husband and I have been blessed with a bounty of young grandsons, several of whom are called by their full classic names -- and I don't find that at all "pretentious":
James, age 5
Andrew, 5
Christopher, 4
David, 3
Alexander 2,
Jonathan, 10 months
Nicholas, newborn
Of our other four grandsons, two have names with no usual nicknames -- Aidan, 7, and Ethan, 5 -- and two others are called by shorter versions of their names -- Joey (Joseph), 7, and Will (William), 3.

Since you're calling your daughter by her full name, it seems to me more 'in balance' to call your son by his full name as well. I think both Andrew and William would go well with Katherine, and if either of your children decides as a teen or adult to use a nn, there'd be no concern about ending up with rhyming nicknames.

By Heather RC (not verified)
February 3, 2009 11:59 AM

I just finished reading the new Newbery medal-winning book The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. In it, the villain is called Jack, but not only that: there are three other bad men called Jack. A name like Jack, however, can withstand four villains, but I still feel a little sorry for all the little Jacks who pick up this book some day and find all the Jacks are bad guys!

February 3, 2009 12:19 PM

RobynT-Patricia and flyinghorse are illustrating my comment about lengthening names. I probably should've said it better though. I think what I meant was "more formal" names. We've been discussing the nn vs. formal name thing so thats where I was headed. I have just noted that many young boys are being called by "their whole name" rather than a shortened version such as William not Will, Alexander not Alex, Johnathan not John, etc. However, Benjamin is OFTEN shortened to Ben or Benny. Just curious as to why?

February 3, 2009 12:48 PM

With a son John and a grandson Jonathan, I must set the record straight regarding one of Zoerhenne's examples of boys' names that aren't being shortened: "Johnathan not John". Johnathan is a creative spelling/misspelling of Jonathan, usually in an effort to have a longer form of John or to honor someone named John. The classic, biblical, formal names are Jonathan (Old Testament) or John (New Testament). They aren't forms of the same name, although Jon, a nn for Jonathan, sounds exactly like John.

February 3, 2009 1:52 PM

Knee Coal Peay- thanks for the link to the Jim Crow Museum. I grew up in England in a mainly Caucasian area and a lot of this info was new to me. Would you believe one of my favorite story records growing up was "Little Black Sambo"? The info from the museum is that the Sambo story had been mostly abandoned by the 60's. Guess no one told my mother!
I had heard about the US connotations surrounding Jemima on previous threads, but was fascinated by the info on the "Mammy" stereotype. There's some powerful and moving material on that site. Thanks again.

By Cathie (not verified)
February 3, 2009 1:30 PM

Well, even NEs can get things wrong... Jonathan and Sean aren't the same name, because Jonathan is a form of Nathan (not John).

J&H's mom, Jack is very popular around here. My guess is that if all the Johns called Jack could somehow be added to the standings in the US, it would be getting close to top 10 status. It is hands-down the most popular name in my son's K grade. Of 80 kids, there are 5 named Jack. Two are "just Jacks" and three are "John always called Jack".

I think Laura's right, these are perfect blue state names -- we don't know many folks with them in our generation or in our parent's generation BUT at the same time they don't sound made-up in the (for lack of a better way to put it) red state kind of way.

As for judges with nickname names, I think we're showing our collective age -- no way is anyone going to find a Judge Jack unusual 20 years from now! Oh, and wouldn't you know that my Ivy-trained lawyer neighbor's name is Charlie...

By Amy3
February 3, 2009 1:37 PM

Interesting nn sighting ... I work for a woman whose given name is M4ria, but she goes by M4rty. I also see all the new hires in my organization and today there was a woman named Co11een who goes by Ch4rlie. It's interesting to me that two women in an admittedly very large organization both opted for non-traditional nns for their given names (and traditionally male names at that, although I know I'm in dangerous territory there as both names have been used by women as nns).

February 3, 2009 1:46 PM

Cathie: "Well, even NEs can get things wrong... "

Of course, and that's why this blog is so interesting and informative. I really appreciate everyone's input and just wanted to clarify that one point. (I meant no offense, Zoerhenne, and always enjoy your posts.)

By Eo (not verified)
February 3, 2009 2:50 PM

Speaking of "Jonathan"-- spotted in yesterday's newspaper, a young sibling group of four boys:

"Jonathon" (I'm pretty sure it was this alternate spelling with the "o"),




The oldest, Jonathon, appeared to be about 8 or 9, and the youngest, Memphis, was an infant. Jonathon does appear to belong to a different naming style entirely. However, if you consider it as something of a "new classic" (as one name authority put it, I think) then maybe that makes it slightly more congruent with the other, more contemporary names? But I'm not convinced...

But "Memphis"! In addition to being a very unusual place-name, it has a hipnik vibe to me-- isn't there a chic Italian design or architecture firm or something called Memphis...

February 3, 2009 3:24 PM

Laura, I'm ready for a new post! Please?!

What Jemima needs is a hit rock song featuring the name. Hey, it worked for Delilah!

Local birth anouncement: Evangeline Faith. Very religous sounding to me!

February 3, 2009 4:25 PM

Sibset: very cute 18-month-old twins in SoCal (parents from NorCal):
Row@n (b)
M3riden (g)

February 3, 2009 5:54 PM

Anne with an E: Wow, okay, maybe it is just one of my illogical rules.

Valerie: I grew up with a Little Black Sambo book (in the '80s/'90s) too. I think it was a gift... maybe something someone had remembered from childhood... or picked up on a trip? Also, the twins you mention, is it M3riden or M3ridian? Just curious having never heard M3riden before.

By Amy3
February 3, 2009 6:03 PM

Baby name alert: Isabe11a Nicole. Sibs are Luc4s, E1iza, and Vinc3nt.

By Amy3
February 3, 2009 6:04 PM

Baby name alert: Isabe11a Nicole. Sibs are Luc4s, E1iza, and Vinc3nt. Apparently the baby's name was chosen by her older sister (approx 12 yrs old).

By Amy3
February 3, 2009 6:05 PM

Sorry about the double post. I thought the first didn't go through.

By Amy3
February 3, 2009 6:05 PM

Sorry about the double post. I thought the first didn't go through.

By Caruso Confer (not verified)
February 3, 2009 6:41 PM

Meriden is a town in Connecticut. Not really a special place I'd consider naming a kid after, but maybe they had a good experience there.

February 3, 2009 6:56 PM

Yes, it's M3riden (am using a number because the name is so unusual). I was also wondering whether it would be confused with the word meridian, and whether the use of the town's name had any special significance. I don't know them personally, so haven't been able to ask thus far. I also think it could be heard as Meredith. But it has a nice ring to it, I think, although nms.

February 3, 2009 6:58 PM

All this Jemima talk reminds me of a kid I met whose name is "Race." I kept thinking that the parents should name their next kid "Gender." :)

February 3, 2009 7:50 PM

This is the url for a new interactive service at Timesonline (UK) for births, deaths, engagements, marriages, etc.

From recent listings since we are talking about Jemima:

twins Amelie Jemima and Ottilie Rose

also Daisy Jemima, sisters Sophie and Georgia

You have to click on the listing to get the full name, plus the names of the parents and siblings (if any).

By Amy3
February 3, 2009 7:58 PM

Laura -- Just a question about the ability to edit posts. Is it possible for authors to delete their posts? I'm not sure if erasing all the text would do it or would that just lead to an empty post?

It would be great to be able to delete misfires (such as my twice double-posting above). Sorry, all, first time posting via the BlackBerry.


February 3, 2009 8:23 PM

Miriam, thanks for the link for Times Online birth announcements. Does anyone know the 'sociology' of parents who post in the Times compared to parents who post in the Telegraph?

By J&H's mom (not verified)
February 3, 2009 10:01 PM

Thanks for those, Miriam.
I do love Georgia, so!

Cathie-That's interesting.
I'm not at all surprised at so many Jacks, but I'm a bit surprised there would be so many Johns called Jack.
I was prepared for ours to be one of several, but so far he's the only one.
The only repeater in his class is Hailey/Hailee.

Oh, and believe it or not....
My husband's full name is Jonathan, but he is called by it so infrequently that after our wedding he had a little moment looking at the license where he wondered if it was spelled correctly at the end and called his mother to ask!
It was, indeed, an!
He's often said that he would have liked to use Jonathan, but it didn't feel like an option to him, as even though it was his legal name he was simply never, ever called by it.
An interesting wrinkle, no?

Anne-I'm laughing at you discussing baby names at a Super Bowl party.
I trust it wasn't during the last quarter!

February 4, 2009 1:29 AM

Valerie-I too thought maybe it was intended to be M3ridian. But M3riden is nice too as a name. I'm from CT originally and the city is not necessarily something I'd name a kid after.

Tirzah-Race + Gender now that's a hoot!

Miriam-The UK and US sure do have a different set of names they are choosing from. Daisy and Ottillie are really nms. But to each their own.

February 4, 2009 3:37 AM

Parents in the Times very similar to parents in the Telegraph - maybe slightly more 'professional' than aristo, lawyers tend to read the Times. One of the private hospitals gives parents a free announcement in the Times when their baby is born there, so I think you get a lot of expat babies in the Times - very international. Amelie and Ottilie were also announced in the telegraph.

By Eo (not verified)
February 4, 2009 8:42 AM

There's a British model whose name has come up here before-- "Liberty Ross". I like HER name, but came across her children's which do not appeal-- little girl named "Skyla" and little boy named "Tennessee".

In this case, I wonder if Skyla is some kind of rendering of "Schuyler"? Or did her mother, in a fit of Scotiaphilia, amalgamate "Skye" and "Isla"?

As far as "Tennessee", it could be a place name, or a literary tribute I suppose... I liked it on Tennessee Williams (real name Thomas Lanier Williams), but he was so one of a kind, I don't know, seems presumptious or something. For some reason, I don't like extremely obvious literary references in names.

By Eo (not verified)
February 4, 2009 8:52 AM


I got curious and googled around. It's "Tennyson", not "Tennessee"! Makes slightly more sense. But the same principle about literary derivations applies...

And Skyla is "Skyla Lily Lake"

By Cathie (not verified)
February 4, 2009 1:21 PM

J&H mom, I love the name Jack (and if I were to use it I'd do just Jack too). My sister in law has a just-Jack (named to honor a g'dad John) and he is an adorable child, the name suits him! His brother is Nathan.

J&H mom, what does your husband go by? Our Jonathan seems to be acquiring the nickname Jonno (pronounced John-o) which I haven't decided whether I should try to discourage or not...

Patricia, I was actually referring to something way back on the first page of posts where someone was surprised at a sib set Sean and Jonathan, saying they were the same name. I guess it caught my eye because we used Jonathan to honor a John, but knowing (not caring) that it was a variation of Nathan. Nathan was my husbands top choice but his sister took it first ;)

By Guest (not verified)
February 4, 2009 2:11 PM

Delurking to say I'm disappointed. Eo, I think your attacks on Knee Coal et. al. are out of line. The truth is, upon rereading the comments, you in fact recommended Jemima because of a Beatrix Potter character, Jemima Puddleduck. Frankly, that was a little silly. I can now see why Knee Coal felt the need to be alarmist.

FWIW, the self-described 'white bread' commenter was Jessica, not you. But yet you're the one getting so defensive - why?? It just seems like you're desperately quoting name experts and insisting that anyone who may have disagreed with you is "beyond the pale"?? Very interesting choice of words!

You've been given some helpful feedback - it's a gift. No need to be defensive.

By Eo (not verified)
February 4, 2009 3:31 PM

Guest, I'm honestly perplexed. No defensiveness here. Nor did I "attack" Knee Coal Peay. Simply responded with my own opinions to her freely expressed opinions, and even supported her right to do so whether I agree or not.

Thanks for gift, but I'd appreciate it even more if your post was accompanied by a name, not a pseudonym!

Let's have honest and civil exchanges of ideas. I'll be happy to find out more about why you feel the way you do, and it goes without saying, I can always improve!

By Guest (not verified)
February 4, 2009 5:14 PM

Eo, my chosen name is Guest, thank you. I've been reading here for ages but never comment. I'm picking on you now because I feel your comments are usually so intelligent, persuasive, and spot on. I was disappointed to read intellectual dishonesty from you, and what seems to be your lack of any self-awareness of it.

You wrote: "The one thing I disagree with in several of the comments is that somehow someone giving the name may well be historically ignorant and therefore callous in giving the name. I will make the point again, that it is possible to consciously give this name in defiance of possible stereotypes, indeed, whether one is black or white or whatever ethnicity."

Coming from you, this is all a day late and a dollar short. Overcoming the legacy of slavery wasn't any part of the angle of your original post on the matter. You were talking about Jemima Puddleduck the other day, and how everyone should get those cute prints for their kids' rooms - with no mention of your current deep concern about making Jemima a reclamatory project. That's intellectual dishonesty.

I also disagree with your belief that just anyone regardless of race can reclaim this name. The n-word is one example. Some liberal whites in Hollywood have tried to co-opt it and have failed. There is a reason this name has gone nowhere for the last 100+ years.

By Eo (not verified)
February 4, 2009 6:27 PM

Guest-- Again, this is mystifying. In the #232 post, I discussed BOTH my belief in reclaiming names, from slavery, AND the other associations of the particular name "Jemima", i.e. from Beatrix Potter. There is no intellectual dishonesty that I can discern.

As far as that horrible n-word epithet, I completely agree with you. People who try to use it, or any other hateful slur, are always wrong.

I genuinely hope we can be friends-- I certainly don't want to hurt your feelings, but these are my true opinions, expressed over a long, evolving discussion. Thanks for taking the time to fill me in on how you feel.

By Anne with an E (not verified)
February 6, 2009 3:14 PM

My favorite LM Montgomery name is Rilla. One pairing that I thought was a bit odd was from Pat of Silver Bush, where Pat and Hilary are best friends, but Pat is the girl and Hilary is the boy. Hmm...maybe all the LM Montgomery I read growing up contributed to my name obsessions! I'm trying to think if I liked the names in any other kids books?

I liked some of Louisa May Alcott's....Jo, Jill, Rose, but I don't think she had the same naming panache as LMM.

Oh and I forget who said she knows a Kilmeny irl, but does she go by any nicknames? Or just Kilmeny?

By Anne with an E (not verified)
February 6, 2009 3:17 PM

Whoops, totally meant to post #295 on another thread.

February 10, 2009 5:23 PM

My name is Molly and my sister's is Mary --- my name is the pet name of my sister's. We also both have Elizabeth for a middle name.

By Vfrn
March 7, 2009 4:57 PM

I have a brother named John and when he was, like, six we had a baby sitter who thought that John was short for Jonathan kept calling him Jonathan if he was mad at him and my brother didn't even realize that he was getting yelled at.


By Jackie87 (not verified)
April 25, 2009 5:14 PM

My grandfather, born in 1908 in NYC was Jack on his birth certificate. The story is that his mother wanted him named 'John', but told the nurse 'Jack', assuming she'd know what she meant. Well, the nurse took her literally, and he was officially Jack. I was named after him: Jackie. Not a nickname for Jacqueline, either.

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