Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's in a Name?

For the last few weeks people have come up to me and asked about the Common Core Curriculum. I am a substitute teacher, but that hardly makes me an expert on the subject, so why were they asking me? It turns out there's another Jan Collins in a nearby town who has been in the news because of her stand against the Common Core Curriculum.

And she's not the only Jan Collins in our area.

About two months ago I sent Facebook Friend requests to about a dozen other people named Jan Collins and they blocked me for spam. (When I stayed blocked I discovered someone had hacked into my Facebook account and, through there, my computer, but that's a different story.)

When I began writing professionally I had to go by Janet Ann Collins (even though nobody ever called me "Janet Ann" except my mother when she was mad at me) because there was another writer named Janet Collins. She was only one of many fairly well known people with that name, including a dead ballerina.

And I can't even imagine the number of people in the world with first names similar to mine. Janet is a feminine form of John, and, according to one of my baby name books, there are 125 variations of John. And that's only the masculine forms! Let's see, we girls have Jane, Jean, Juanita, Jeanette, Joanne, Shawna, and dozens more.

Why are so many people given similar names?

My mother named me Janet because she was proud of her Scottish heritage, and many babies are named after other people. But one reason there are so many of us with similar names is the meaning.  I understand the original Hebrew name means "gracious gift of God" or just "gift of God." Apparently lots of people in the world are grateful to have their babies.

Do you know what your name means?


Susan B James said...

Susan is Hebrew for Lily. James is a family name. My 3 great grandfather William James came here form Ireland.
Berger is French for shepherd.
I consider myself lucky cause my mother almost named me Lynne. Lynne Berger wouldn't have gone over well at school.
I know of way too many Susan J Berger's.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks for sharing, Susan.

penelope anne cole said...

Hi Jan, My name from the Greek (Homer's Odyssey), means "A Weaver, Worker of the Loom, Industrious." It can also mean "Loyal, Capable, Clever, Faithful," since Odysseus' wife Penelope was faithful, loyal, and true, refusing to re-marry until her weaving was done. Each night she unraveled it and started over, so it took her twenty years and Odysseus returned! It could also mean Bobbin, or duck after an infant abandoned and fed by a duck. I like the loyal, capable, faithful, clever, and industrious meanings. But I do like ducks, too.