World Wars and naming patterns

23 September 2016

Those of you who are regular readers (thank you!) will know that, at FWL, we have a penchant for naming and particularly, ‘stand out’ names. We will often spend some considerable time (embarrassingly) locating people with certain words in their names but this week, someone highlighted a new search to us – thanks John D. Reid for sharing your finds. We have taken them and gone, as you might expect of us, a little bit mad.

John mentioned that there were a few people who featured on FreeBMD with the forenames of Hitler and Stalin. We were surprised, to be honest….! Two people, married in the 1960s (hence, more than likely born after Hitler ‘made his mark’): Hitler L. Grant (1966, Hackney) and Hitler J. Lewis (1968, Ealing). Seems a little strange to us, but each to their own….

Stalin BMDs are more prevalent and feature in the records as early as 1933, with the birth of Stalin K. K. Senior. Even with our limited knowledge of Soviet history, we know (thank you, Wikipedia) that Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s. In 1944, the Watts family even managed to create the feminine form – Stalina Roberta Watts! She married in 1965 in Stroud Registration District (the same district she was born) to John C. Pratt…. one wonders whether she has had any difficulties during her life a propos of her first name! [It would appear that she may still be alive today, as many Stalin’s are!]

Lenin (not a name John mentioned!) also seems to be a first name which is infinitely more common than one might think. 117 BMDs on FreeBMD, again with the feminine version of Lenina featuring in the list. 89 references appear for those with Churchill as a forename and 165 with Chamberlain…. however, both of these names appear in the records long before the two World Wars.

It really is intriguing how/why people select their children’s names. Hmm….

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