Monday, June 10, 2013

Inspiration from Place Names


Last week, I listed the place names found in the Top 1000 for both 1912 and 2012. I have often wondered if parents used place names because of the place itself or for other reasons entirely. If you ever ask me for name advice, I usually send a questionnaire to get some information from you because I like to find names that could have special meaning to you. A few of the questions I ask pertain to locations: where were you engaged, where were you married, and where you honeymooned. In the six years I've used this questionnaire, the answers to these questions never inspired the parent enough to use them, but it has always been a fun thing to research.

You may not think so, but it can be a very challenging thing, naming a baby based on a place name of significance to you. I love a lot of names that happen to be place names: Jasper, Georgia, and Helena are just a few. But unless you honeymooned in Geneva, were proposed to on the Hudson River, or love the idea of naming your son Boston after the city you were born in, choosing a name for your child inspired by a place you've actually been to and that means a lot to you may not be easy. In an attempt to name five babies based on place names that mean something to me, I give you a little piece of me.

1. Berlin - The first foreign city I ever called home is now one of my favorite places in the world. My son was born there, and I have a ton of great memories from the German capital. The only question is, do I prefer it for a girl or boy? I think it could go either way.

2. Kensington - I LOVE England. London is definitely a huge part of that love, but I feel London would be TOO obvious a choice in a name for my child. One of my favorite places to visit in London is Kensington Gardens, and while I wouldn't be drawn to this name otherwise, the place lifts the name up to one I would consider for my child. This is another name that could be used for a boy or a girl, but I prefer it for a daughter. Seeing that Kensington is quite the full name, it would be natural to want a nickname... I'm sure people would most likely use Kenzie, but I would rather use Kenny or maybe even Kenna, just to be different.

3. Pearl - I lived on Oahu, Hawaii for four years when I was a kid. I was also blessed to make a return visit with my husband before we had children. Pearl Harbor has always been a sobering and memorable place and using Pearl for a daughter would be a great way to remember the harbor and the sacrifices made there.

4. Camden - Growing up, I remember hearing of a girl called Shea, who was named after the home stadium of her dad's favorite baseball team. Ever since then, I have loved the idea of using a stadium name as your child's name to honor your team. Unfortunately, most stadiums are named after corporate sponsors these days, and it would be hard to explain whether the name is after the stadium or the sponsor. Lucky for me, my team is the Baltimore Orioles, who play at The Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I don't like the celebrity status this name now has, but to commemorate baseball, I would use it in a heartbeat.

5. Cashel - One of my favorite countries visited over the past couple of years has to be Ireland, where we toured several places including the Rock of Cashel. It's a cool-sounding name and gives a spiffy nickname in Cash, which also happens to be a surname in my family.

What five names could you use based on inspiration from places that mean something to you?

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