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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rejected Names

The whaling wives of New England would be amazed

List of rejected babies' names released in New Zealand

There are some very odd names around these days, but no odder than they were back in the nineteenth century in whaling New England.  Undoubtedly because of the stern Old Testament background of many of the prominent families, names like Elijah, Uriah, Obed and Gideon abounded, while girls called Asenath and Azubah were common (though Mary was hugely popular, as was Sarah).

Well, those whaling mothers would have blinked at the list of names that were not allowed to be used in New Zealand, rejected because (a) the name is considered "undesiarable in the public interest" (b) it may cause offence (c) is too long -- meaning more than 100 characters (d) is an official title.

The most popular rejected name was Justice (or any spelling of the word)

Next came "Royal" and "Prince."

Well, good heavens above -- those names also feature heavily in lists of whaling crews and captains, a prominent fellow being Captain Prince Sherman, who was popular in all the ports where he landed.  A relative of his, another Prince Sherman, did not have quite such a wonderful reputation.  In fact, he jumped ship, and settled in New Zealand.

Then there was Royal Sherman.  And that comes from looking at just one family.  (There was a Zoeth Sherman, too.)

And how about all the babies who named after the ship!  The first "Chelsea," in fact, was little Chelsea Smith, born on board the New London sealer/whaler Chelsea, in appalling weather in appalling seas in the sub-Antarctic south.

And guess where Helen Herschel Sherman was born.  No, it's not a ship; it's a place.

Top ten rejected names:


Well, I can think of quite a few little boys who could very aptly be called Lucifer ....

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