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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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NAMING OF CHILDREN

IN MOST GREEK FAMILIES, THE FIRST BORN CHILD IS NAMED
AFTER THE FATHER'S PARENTS, DEPENDING ON IF IT IS A
BOY OR A GIRL. CHILDREN BORN AFTER THE FIRST CHILD
WILL BE NAMED AFTER ITS REMAINING GRANDPARENTS. IF THE
PARENTS HAVE MORE THAN FOUR CHILDREN, THEN THEY WILL BE
NAMED AFTER UNCLES AND AUNTS.

Submitter comment: THIS IS A TRADITION THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON IN GREEK
FAMILIES FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. IT HAS BEEN PASSED
ON FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION, AND IT WILL
CONTINUE IN THE YEARS TO COME.
THIS IS A GREEK-AMERICAN CUSTOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Sterling Heights

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite

Date learned: CA00001962

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WELLERISM

BY GEORGE, SAID PAUL, WHILE SITTING ON THE JOHN. WHERE DID MY
RING GO?

Submitter comment: THIS IS A WELLERISM-LIKE DEVICE SINCE THERE IS NO HUMOROUS
QUOTATION FOLLOWING. IT IS ALSO SIMILAR TO A TOM SWIFTIE, BUT
THERE IS NO ADVERBIAL PUN. THIS SAYING CONTAINS ALL FOUR OF THE
BEATLES' NAMES - GEORGE, PAUL, JOHN, RINGO - INCORPORATED IN ONE
SENTENCE. JOHN IS USED AS A SLANG FOR TOILET. GEORGE IS USED AS
A SIGN OF EXCLAMATION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): NAME (GEORGE) IN EXCLAMATION ; SLANG: JOHN FOR TOILET

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
PROVERB -- Wellerism Quotation

Date learned: 10-00-1980

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GEORGIA WEDDING SUPERSTITION

"YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY THE NAME OF AN OLD BOYFRIEND
ON YOUR WEDDING DAY, BECAUSE IT WOULD BRING BAD LUCK
TO THE FIRST YEAR OF YOUR MARRIAGE".

Where learned: OHIO ; FLORIDA ; ALLIANCE ; EUSTIS

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 11-13-1980 ; 00001920S

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TROLLS

THE PEOPLE FROM THE UPPER PENINSULA,
WHERE I COME FROM CALL THE PEOPLE
IN THE LOWER PENINSULA TROLLS BECAUSE YOU ARE BELOW THE BRIDGE.

Submitter comment: AS MARK SAID THAT, HE MADE A HAND GESTURE ON THE "BELOW" BY PUTTING HIS HAND BY HIS KNEE, PALM UP AND
SHAKING HIS HAND HORIZONTALLY TO
SHOW THAT BY BELOW HE DOESN'T MEAN UNDER. HE WAS ALSO LAUGHING

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MARQUETTE

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
Favorites
SPEECH -- Gesture
PROVERB -- Blason Populaire

Date learned: 11-00-1980

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IT'S A TRADITION IN THIS FAMILY THAT THE FIRST BORN SON TAKES
HIS FATHER'S MIDDLE NAME AND HIS MIDDLE NAME IS HIS FATHER'S FIRST
NAME. THESE RESPECTIVE NAMES ARE ALEXANDER AND STEPHEN, SO
THAT ALTERNATE GENERATIONS HAVE THE SAME NAMES AND THE IN-BETWEEN
GENERATIONS HAVE THE SAME NAMES REVERSED.

Where learned: MISSOURI ; KANSAS CITY

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.

Date learned: 00-00-1975

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NICKNAMES

BOOTS
DODDLES
CURLY
BIRDLEGS
HOOD
DIMPLES
LIVERLIPS
THE CREEP
CROCK
FLAT TOP
CRISCO
TOOT-TOOT
PORKEY
MOUSEY
ICKY
DUCK
TEA BONES
CAT

Submitter comment: THIS LIST OF STUDENTS' NICKNAMES WAS PRINTED IN THE SALINA
JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL NINTH-GRADE YEARBOOK IN 1955. THE REAL NAMES
OF THE STUDENTS WERE LISTED NEXT TO THEIR NICKNAMES.
SALINA IS IN DEARBORN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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IT IS CUSTOMARY TO NAME THE FIRST BORN AFTER THE FATHER
IF ONLY GIRLS WERE BORN, THEN ONE WOULD HAVE THE FEMALE
EQUIVALENT OF THE FATHER'S NAME

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT GREW UP WITH GIRLS NAMED JOHNNYMAE, FRANKIE,
FRANKIEMAE, AND FREDDY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 03-00-1983

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IN THE INFORMANT'S FAMILY NO GRANDMOTHER WAS CALLED BY THAT
TITLE. HER GRANDCHILDREN CALL HER MOMMA, AND THEY
CALL THEIR GREAT GRANDMOTHER BOOBA.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT SAYS THAT THE TITLE GRANDMOTHER MADE
THE WOMEN FEEL OLD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 03-00-1983

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"LIGHTER THAN ME" WAS A PEJORATIVE NICKNAME GIVEN TO
BLACKS OF LIGHT COMPLEXIONS.

Submitter comment: THIS NICKNAME ORIGINATED AMONG THE SOUTHERN BLACKS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 04-00-1983

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A BIG BABY

YOUR GRANDPA PHILIPPART WHO EVENTUALLY PLAYED FOOTBALL FOR
THE UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT WAS A BIG BABY TO SAY THE LEAST.
THEY BELIEVED THAT THE MOTHER WAS EATING FOR TWO IN THOSE
DAYS AND SO THE MOTHERS ATE A LOT. YOUR GRANDPA WAS BORN ON
CHRISTMAS DAY AND HE WEIGHED SIXTEEN POUNDS. THEY HUNG HIM
ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE BY HIS DIAPERS AND TOLD MY MOTHER THAT
HE WAS THE BIGGEST PRESENT THAT SHE WOULD EVER RECEIVE. THEY
WERE AFRAID THAT HE WOULD BREAK THE LIMB OFF. AT THREE MONTHS
HE WEIGHED TWENTY EIGHT POUNDS. HIS MIDDLE NAME WAS NOEL
BECAUSE HE WAS BORN ON CHRISTMAS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Abnormal in size
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

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YOU SHOULD NEVER MENTION A DEAD PERSON'S NAME IN VAIN
BECAUSE THEY WILL COME AND PUNISH YOU FOR IT BY HAUNTING
YOUR HOUSE OR BY PLAYING MEAN TRICKS ON YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): NAME TABU

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 04-00-1983

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NAMES OF MY RELATIVES

IN MY FAMILY ALL OF MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS HAVE THEIR NAMES
BEGIN WITH THE LETTER J.
JALAL, JALILA, JAMAL, JOHN, JENNIFER, JULIA, JANETTE, JANE, JACK,
JOSEPH, AND JAMES OR JEFFERSON.
IN MY BROTHER JALAL'S FAMILY HIS KIDS' NAMES BEGIN WITH THE K
SOUND. CARMEN, CONNIE, KIMBERLY, CAROLINE, AND DENNY. HOW DID
THAT GUY GET IN THERE? IT'S THEIR ONLY BROTHER.
IN MY SISTER JALILA'S FAMILY, HER KIDS' NAMES BEGIN WITH THE
LETTER R, RITA, RONNIE, AND ROBERT.
IN MY AUNT SALEEMA'S FAMILY, HER KIDS' NAMES ALL BEGIN WITH
THE LETTER L, LEATH, LINDA, LAHEEB, AND LANA.

Submitter comment: I CAN'T EXPLAIN THE REASON WHY THE PARENTS DID THIS, MAYBE TO
CALL ONE OF THE KIDS AND MANY WOULD ANSWER BECAUSE OF THE SAME
BEGINNING SOUND. I REMEMBER MY MOM WOULD RATTLE OFF FOUR OR
FIVE OF OUR NAMES BEFORE SHE GOT WHO SHE WANTED RIGHT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FRANKLIN VILLAGE

James Callow Keyword(s): ALLITERATION

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
Favorites

Date learned: 00001960S

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MY MOTHER HAD AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT PREGNANCY WITH MY
SISTER. SHE PROMISED ST. JUDE THAT SHE WOULD NAME THE
BABY AFTER HIM (THE PATRON SAINT OF HOPELESS CASES) IF
THE BABY WAS BORN HEALTHY. MY SISTER'S NAME IS JUDITH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 00-00-1947

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MY HUSBAND'S GRANDMOTHER WAS NICKNAMED BUFFATUNA, REFERRING
TO CLOWN IN ITALIAN, BECAUSE SHE WAS ALWAYS LAUGHING
AND JOKING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 00-00-1920

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IN THE GREEK TRADITION, EVERY CHILD MALE OR FEMALE CARRIES
THE FATHER'S FIRST NAME AS A MIDDLE NAME. MY NAME IS
ANNA NIC FOR NICHOLAS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 00-00-1950

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NAMES OF TWINS

IN NIGERIA, TWINS HAVE SPECIAL NAMES. THE FIRST CHILD THAT COMES OUT
DURING BIRTH BETWEEN THE TWINS IS CALLED TAIWO. THE LAST TO COME
OUT IS CALLED KEHINDE. IF AFTER SOMETIMES THE MOTHER IS PREGNANT AND
HAS ANOTHER CHILD AFTER THE TWINS HE/SHE WILL BE CALLED IDOWU. IF SHE
HAS ANOTHER CHILD AGAIN HE/SHE WILL BE CALLED ALABA.

Where learned: NIGERIA ; LAGOS

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

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IF YOU BURY TWO FISH HEADS IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS AND
PUT YOUR NAME ON ONE AND HIS NAME ON THE OTHER FISH HEAD
YOU WILL FIGHT ALL THE TIME.

Where learned: LOUISIANA

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: 01161984CA

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IF YOU WRITE YOUR NAME ON A RAILROAD TRACK ALL YOU WILL DO
IS HOP TRAINS FROM CITY TO CITY.

Where learned: LOUISANA

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: 01161984CA

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THE FIRST BORN SON TAKES THE FATHER'S NAME AS HIS MIDDLE NAME.

Submitter comment: THIS TRADITION DATES BACK TO THE EARLY 1700'S

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GRAND RAPIDS

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.

Date learned: 01-00-1968

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Custom

In a Sicilian family, it is customary to name the first
son after the paternal grandfather. The second son is
named after the maternal grandfather.

Where learned: ITALY ; SICILY

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 00001977CA

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