|Linnaeus the botanist, via WikiMedia Commons|
Sprout's Name Story
Linnaeus, as you might know, is an 18th century Swedish botanist, famous for developing the system we use to this day for plant & animal identification. However, we didn't start by saying, "Hey, we love this name, let's use it on our son!". I had a strong hunch I was carrying a girl when I was pregnant with Linnaeus, so I was more focussed on the list of girls' names. The 20 week ultrasound showed otherwise, so we set our girls' names list aside & started narrowing down the boys' list.
I vetoed Oli's suggestions of Falco & Haldor. The initials with the former would be somewhat disastrous, no matter what the middle name. Imagine if we'd called him Falco Ulysses Corriveau-Kuehn? Gah! Haldor, well, it might sound all Viking & stuff, but it's also a character from World of Warcraft. Just doesn't seem an appropriate place to be taking names from.
I had ideas like Orin, Stirling, Kiefer & sorta liked Joachim (pronounced the German way, yo-AH-khum). But none of them really seemed right. By the time Linnaeus was born, we still didn't really have a solid shortlist. The week he was born, we went back to the girls' list & took our favourite--Linnaea, which is a little flower that grows in Sweden & Canada--tracing it back to the botanist who named it. Karl Von Linne, or Carolus Linnaeus, since anybody important got latinized in those days. The name Linne actually has its origins in the word Linden, as in the tree, which pleases the crunchy-earth-muffin side of me.
Linnaeus' middle name was easier to pick--I think Bastien had been on my list--it also happened to be the first name of a soccer player on the German team at the World Cup that year. After some Googling to make sure he wasn't someone we wouldn't want our son's name associated with (no criminal convictions, no sex scandals, that sort of thing) we decided on it. I preferred the French spelling of Bastien, rather than Bastian, & that was it. The short form of Sebastian, which the Baby Name Wizard posits is likely a derivation of the Latin name Sebastianus, which is derived from the Greek word "sebastos" meaning "venerable" & closely related to the Latin "augustus"--the same meaning.
|Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, via WikiMedia Commons|
Bug's Name Story
When it came to Brontë's name, we didn't spend that much time thinking about what to call her. We kept procrastinating... & then she was born. I wasn't happy with my list of girls' names from my previous pregnancies. Things like Raven, Callisto, Cassiopeia, Ponderosa... I just didn't really like them anymore. Because we'd stolen our best girl's name for Linnaeus, we more or less had to start over.
I really wanted to give her a name that went well with her brother's name, something with a little weight to it. I favour surnames as first names--obviously--but I like ones that are pretty rare. Brontë as a first name is actually less rare than Linnaeus--it's not that unusual in Australia. Brontë was actually on my list from a while ago, but Oliver hadn't really been in favour of it, as he thought it was too 'anglo'. I mean, yes, how much more anglo can you get than using the surname of three of England's most famous writers?
There's another meaning to the name, which some of my friends & family have already figured out: Bronte means 'thunder' in Greek. I had the idea to name my daughter something that meant thunder in another language because of the thunderstorms when I was in labour & shortly after her birth. Thunderstorms are relatively rare here & I really love them. We almost settled on Aska, which means thunder in Swedish. However, I just couldn't commit to that name after thinking about it for a couple of weeks. The pronunciation is a bit foreign--it is supposed to sound a bit like Oscar, but without the R--so no one would ever say it right. I was also a bit wary of just picking a word out of Google Translate, in case there was some connotation that we weren't aware of, as neither of us speaks Swedish. The final strike against Aska was that her name would sound like a sentence: Ask a ___...
I realized that Brontë fit the bill for thunder, as well as being the solid kind of adult name that she could grow into. So my next step was to try to convince Oliver, who, to be honest, is still coming around to the name. I offered a compromise: if we used Brontë as her first name, he could choose her middle name. Oliver went for this & decided on naming her after his mother, Sonja. Though I felt that it's sort of uneven in a way to name one child for a family member & only one side of the family, I think the name works. Sonja doesn't get to see her grandchildren very much, living 400km away, & I know she'll appreciate the namesake.