George Washington Rockwell IV, 83, of New Bern, N.C., isn't related to the nation's first president, but according to family history, his great-great-great-grandfather served under Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War and named his first son George Washington Rockwell in his commander's honor.
The family tradition began in 1826and continues. Rockwell IV named his own son George Washington Rockwell V, and his 26-year-old grandson is George Washington Rockwell VI.
"We've already spoken to my grandson about carrying on the tradition when he becomes a father," Rockwell IV says. "I'm very proud of the whole thing. My license plate reads GWRIV."
Rockwell IV was among hundreds of readers who responded when American Profile asked for examples of unusual or unique names and the stories behind them.
For instance, April May March, of Lebanon, Tenn., was born May 12, 1992, but her name has nothing to do with the month she was born. March was named after her aunt.
"I like it," says March of her springtime name. "But sometimes all the questions can be aggravating. A lot of people don't believe me, and they ask me for my I.D., or if I have brothers and sisters named July and August."
Beau Hunter Collins' name is right on target. "He shot the first wild hog found in our area last fall and he also is an excellent archer," says his grandmother Sherry Collins of Galena, Kan. "His father, Darren Collins, a former ESPN Great Outdoor Games' archery champ, had a big say in his name, but his mother, Diana, insisted on Beau instead of Bow!"
Name that child
Parents give children unique names to denote their birthplace, ethnic heritage or simply to set them apart. Children are named after cities, states and countries; movie stars and sports heroes; biblical and book characters; flowers and football teams; American Indian tribes and Greek gods; virtues, emotions and weather conditions; days, months and even numbers.
"My story is: I was born on the ninth day of the ninth month in 1949 at 9 p.m. and I weighed 9 pounds," wrote Nina Kray, 60, of Monticello, Iowa.
Unique names can be a blessing or a curse for children and adults.
Cleathel Randall Rand, 79, has been teased about his first name his entire life. "I asked my mother where she got my name and she said, 'Out of a book'. I said, 'It must have been an animal book, but come to think of it, I never heard of an animal named Cleathel.' She didn't think that was funny and got upset when people laughed at my name."
"I'm going to have my full name put on my tombstone, as it will be the only one in the cemetery," adds Rand, a retired businessman in Groesbeck, Texas.
Original names can be endearing, too. Just ask Heaven Leigh Friend, 16, of Kansas City, Mo.; Shyne Golden Bright, 16, of Hughes Springs, Texas; or Arayah Sunshine Westmoreland, 7, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Sunshine Greer, 83, of Bryan, Texas, has a name as bright as her demeanor. "Her father named her before she was born," says her husband, Roy Greer. "It must have been an inspiration from above because she has been a ray of sunshine to everyone who has had the privilege of knowing her."
Distinct names can be memorable. Who could forget Blue Hothouse, 68, of Stilwell, Okla.; Comfort Cover, 76, of Arivaca, Ariz.; Country Musick, 30, of Davenport, Iowa; Manley Mann, 61, of Raleigh, N.C.; Ben Gay III, 67, of Placerville, Calif.; or 10-month-old Morning Desire Temples of Gilmer, Texas?
Confusion is routine when people ask Constantine Constantine his name. His wife, Margie, gets a kick out of the questions that befuddled clerks ask when filling out forms on the couple's behalf. "What's your husband's nameI mean his first nameand his last name is what?" says Constantine, 62, of Houston, Pa. "It invariably turns into Abbott and Costello's 'Who's on first?' routine."
"As if the long double name wasn't enough, my mother saddled me with 'Connie' as a nickname," he adds.
Some people have one-of-a-kind names that are created for a specific reason-occasionally by mistake.
Wathon Bailey, 74, of Whigham, Ga., got his name from a slip of the tongue. "His aunt Ina Dee, who had a terrible speech impediment, named him. She meant to name him Nathan, but it sounded like Wathon, so that's what the midwife wrote down," says his wife, Joyce.
Richard and Ann Warren, of Roseburg, Ore., have a 3-year-old son named Mipherson, because he was their first-born son. Richard says the couple doesn't plan to have any more children, so they won't have to name subsequent sons Miseconson or Mithirson.
Occasionally, parents anticipating a boy create names with masculine rootssuch as Fredolyn, Harryl or Jonicafor their daughters, or name their daughters after a male relative, resulting in curious names such as Charleigh-Ann Nelson, 10, of Prescott Valley, Ariz.; Barney Ruth Ferrier, 89, of Emporia, Kan.; Michael Reneé Fluharty, 8, of Easton, Md.; or Buckley Kane Booher, 14, of Georgetown, Ky.
"When my mom was pregnant with me, my dad was sure I was a girl, and if so I was to be named George Mercedes. This was the bane of my mother's existence. She suggested every other name she could think of," says Jeorge Mercedes Sanchez, 31, of Albuquerque, N.M. "After nine months of constant assault, she wavered and named me Jeorge, thinking if she changed the spelling it would be a girl's name."
Outlaws and in-laws
Marriage can lead to some amusing stories and name combinations.
"Our last name is Outlaw and I get many comments about it," says Ethel Outlaw, 81, of Kingsland, Ga., who married James Outlaw, 87, in 1943. "When someone is filling out papers for me and they ask my name, I say 'Outlaw' and they look at me as if they heard me wrong. I say, 'Yes, Outlaw,' just like it is spelled. Then they ask for my address, which is 402 Outlaw St., and this gets a laugh every time."
Spirits were high when Glory Ann Champagne married William O. Beer in Willimantic, Conn., on Oct. 22, 1966, though family differences became apparent at the wedding reception. "His family were basically teetotalers, and my family could consume in an almost nonstop fashion," recalls Glory Ann Beer, 64, a retired registered nurse in Chaplin, Conn. "My parents thought it was a comedown from their estimation; I was the epitome of Champagne on a Beer budget."
The marriage of Gloyd and Glodyne Cowley, of Wickenburg, Ariz., who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year, was a perfect pairing of names, as was the union of David and Davidine Johnson, of Van Horne, Iowa, who've been together since 1989.
"When meeting someone new, their mouths fall open when we introduce ourselves," says Shirley Jaminet, 74, of Remsen, Iowa, who married LaVerne Jaminet, 77, two decades before the popular TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley debuted in 1976. "We've had a lot of fun with it over the years."
Some names are simply humorous. Just ask Bobbie Hogg, 76, of Hawkinsville, Ga. "I was a Horne and I married a Hogg," she says. "The best one though is my sister-in-law. Her maiden name was Virginia Hamm. You know the famous Virginia ham? She married a Hogg, making her name Virginia Hamm Hogg."
By the way, Bobbie noted that her son's best friend is Holly Frost, and a doctor in Hawkinsville was a Bush who married a Berry.
So, what's your name?
Could You Spell That, Please?
Parents give children unique names, from Aaryck to Zermariequa. Here are some other uncommon names gleaned from hundreds of readers' submissions.
Adrenia, Adua, Aeris, Agesino, Alix, Almond Joy, Amaryllis, America, Amyre, Anjali, Anzo, Apache Ann, Arbit, Arick, Arla, Archangel, Arn, Ash'kelon, Asta, Aunorea, Avalon, Avia, Azia, Bae Ruth, Ballard, Bass, Beckett, Beecher, Bekgah, Belender, Belvora, Bige, Biryl, Bronwyn, Burndean, Canary, Carawana, Cardella, Carreen, Cash, Champion, Chayliana, Cherokee Kitty, Cherry, Chiquita, Claretta, Clarwanda, Clastie, Clear, Codean, Coila, Countess, Cyla, Cyren'e, Daleen, Dante, Dare, Dayanne, De Ett, DeLoyce, Denys, Derith, Django, Disney, Dorsis, Dudee, Earlina, Eda, Edla, Effie, Elflora, Elline, Elvis, Elyjahta, Elzie, Eris, Ertha, Estene, Esty, Eureta, Fairey, Falynn, Fayne, Flaim, Fonda, Fonner, Galena, Gator, Glenise, Gracelyn, Gwili, Gypsy Rose, Halsey, Helle, Hosier, Hyacinth, Hylea, Hype, Icel, Iyvonne, Jabet, Janon, Jazmine, Jersey, Jobe, Joyfa, Juanema, Jurn, Juventina, Kaidia, Kaprincia, Keota, Kezia, Kimela, Koula, LaCalif, LaMoyne, Le-a, Liovigilda, Liscomb, Livier, Louvae, Lovie, Lucetta, Lurane, Luzenia, Lyrad, Magnolia, Mahonna, Maliexkey, Mar'chel, Markie, Marlisa, Martille, Meradelle, Miland, Minnie Ville, Modesty, Narsonia, Nayo, Nevada, Nevaeh, Nevonda, Nialene, Nola, Noma, November, Nublinda, Nyda, Osyth, Otie Joe, Palmer, Panda, Pasquala, Payne, Pernie, Persephone, Phala, Phylander, Phyliss, Poni Sue, Psalm, Queena, Quixote, Radley, Raenette, RaMarie, Ravel, Renda, Ridge, River, Rixen, Rohamah, Romance, Romanza, Romer, Romi, Royal, Sabine, Sal'eata, Sankey, Sandsabar, Saraya, Senta, Serenity, Seven, Shaleigh, Sharman, Shasta, Shenna, Sheranda, Steeler, Strad, Suddarth, Sundown, Sunse'array, Surrilda, Taleen, Tallas, Talu, Tamatha, Taraden, Taszden, Teed, Teeman, Teemi, Temperence, Tennessee, Terenda, Tesia, Thais, Thalisha, Thayle, Thoral, Thorwald, Tincie, Tinker, Tivis Cairl, Torchy, Trajan, Tranixa, Treesa, Trigger, Trois, Twanette, Tyocia, Urilla, Ursula, Vehig, Veneriece, Vesta De, Violine, Vodis, Vollie, Vyra, Wacile, Wanna, Watseka, Wayness, Welcome, Wildas, Wilna, Wyveda, Xyldia, Yainthze, Yugo Sava, Zeannaleaha, Zellma.