PANDORA

Name: Pandora Grace

What name you go by: Pandora, or even sometimes Dora.

Ethnic background: Australian, English

Place of birth: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

Year of birth: 1989

Popularity of name: Pandora has never ranked in the top 1000

Meaning/origins of name: In Greek mythology Pandora was the first woman, and disobeyed the command of the Gods by opening a container. That “Pandora’s box” released all the evils of mankind into the world.

Why did your parents choose this name for you? They were big fans of Greek mythology, and they thought that the name would be more usable than Aphrodite!

Does your family have any naming traditions? No

What names have people called you based on your name? Well, obviously people have insulted me for ‘opening the box’ I have also had a few Dora the explorer insults. By mistake people have called me Penny, Penelope, Flora, Nora and even Doreen

Do you like your name? Yes! I love the story behind my name. I have known millions of Susans and Jessica’s in my lifetime and the only person I know with Pandora as a name.

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? Yes, I have always been surrounded with people who have either really common or just stuck up names such as Georgiania and Priscilla. So having Pandora makes me stick out.

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? Not really as the story is quite popular in modern culture. I have been called ‘Panadora’ before.

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? I might add another name after Grace, which would probably be Anneliese.

Any stories about your name? In classical Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on Earth. Zeus ordered Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship, to create her, so he did—using water and Earth. The gods endowed her with many gifts: Athena clothed her, Aphrodite gave her beauty, and Hermes gave her speech. Blah blah.

CLAUDIA

Name: Claudia Aisling

What name you go by: Claudia, but I’ve always wished for a nickname.

Ethnic background: Irish/German/Russian (very mixed family!)

Place of birth: America

Year of birth: 1997

Popularity of name that year: Ranked 168th

Meaning/origins of name: Derived from the Latin Claudius, an old Roman family name, which is from claudus (lame).

Why did your parents choose this name for you? They found Claudia from a name book and Aisling was an Irish word that means dream.

Does your family have any naming traditions? Myself and all my siblings have Irish middle names, all spelled the Irish way (Aisling, Rion, and Connor).

What names have people called you based on your name? Cloudia (mainly Latin teachers and actresses)
Claude (i do not like this one at ALL!)
Cea-Cea (LOOOOOOOVVVVEEE it)
Catie (My Grandmum)
Claudie (my parents like it)
Dia (a nickname I wanted when I was 9 (it lasted about 2 months))

Do you like your name? I do, even though it’s not very well known and is misspelled sometimes (especially with my handwriting :). Also, people always know I’m Irish because of my very Irish middle name and very Irish last name.

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? When I was 5-10ish.

What happened for you to have a change of opinion? I realized I did like my name because it was my heritage and picked by my parents.

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? People sometimes say CLOUD-ia instead of clau-DIA

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? I used to want to be a flower name (Azalea, Rose, Violet) or something like Cassidy, Elizabeth, Della, Madeliene, or Aurora.

Any stories about your name? There has only been one time I ran into another Claudia. She and I were in the same kindergarten class.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? I love my name!

MICHELLE

Name: Michelle Lynn

What name you go by: Michelle or Mickey. My grandmother nicknamed me Mickey after Mickey Mouse. They had the same birthday.

Ethnic background: White

Place of birth: Columbus, Ohio

Year of birth: 1977

Popularity of name that year: Ranked 7th

Meaning/origins of name: Feminine form of the French Michel, a cognate of Michael (Who is like God?).

Do you like your name? Never really thought about it.

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? no

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? Yes. I used to have male teachers call me Micheal.

Any stories about your name? The mommas and the papas… There is a Michelle Phillips in it. I also have heard people sing the ‘Michelle my bell” song to me. But using my Mickey nickname, people would sing to me, “Hey Mickey” or the mickey mouse theme song. All in fun!!

Have you ever changed your name? no

KAITLYN

Name: Kaitlyn Mae

What name you go by: I go by Katie, Or Kaitlyn.

Ethnic background: Native American, White.

Place of birth: Paris,TN

Year of birth: 1999

Popularity of name that year: Ranked 33rd (with that spelling)

Meaning/origins of name: Borrowed from the Irish, Caitlin is a variant of CaitrÍona, the Gaelic form of Catherine (pure, unsullied).

Why did your parents choose this name for you? My parents chose it because she wanted to name me Olivia, but my dad wouldn’t to agree.

Does your family have any naming traditions? No.

What names have people called you based on your name? Katie, Kate-Bird, Judie, Harry Styles wife.

Do you like your name? Kinda. It’s just not unique, and there are WAY to many people with the name.

What is it like to go through life disliking your name? It’s tough i guess.

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? When people tell me it’s pretty are the only times i like it.

What happened for you to have a change of opinion? The compliment i guess.

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? Spelling it definitely!

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? Peytin.

Any stories about your name? No.

BREANNA (BREE)

Name: Breanna Gethsemany

What name you go by: I go by several: Bree, Bee, Breebee, Breezie. I prefer Bree for every day, Bee by my best friends, Breebee by my sister, and Breezie by my other friends.

Ethnic background: German, Dutch, English, Native, Norweigan

Place of birth: Salem, OR

Year of birth: 1993

Popularity of name that year: Ranked 83rd

Meaning/origins of name: Feminine form of Brian, which is believed to be of Celtic origin and of the meaning “strength.”

Why did your parents choose this name for you? I’m not sure, but the day I was born my mom just told the nurse without telling my father.

Does your family have any naming traditions? There are quite a few Catherines, Elizabeths, and on my paternal grandmother’s side all the men named James have a C middle name and go by the middle name.

What names have people called you based on your name? Banana, rhymes with Breanna. Nana, messing with the last part since I hate the ‘anna’. Breaunna, hate that name. People have mistakenly called me Reanna, with a hard a because they don’t hear the ‘b’. BB, for my double letters of my first and last names. Professor, it’s a childhood thing, short for Professor Lead-Bottom because I was a stalky child. Breezie/Breeze after the Cover Girl commercials when I was little.

Do you like your name? No, because I don’t identify with it. It’s not me. I’ve never liked it, I don’t even answer to it unless I hear the ‘Bree’ part first, otherwise I look around and ask who they’re talking to.

What is it like to go through life disliking your name? It’s irritating, I want to go by something different, but everyone around me thinks I go with my name, that I can’t be another name.

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? No.

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? Yeah. They pronounce it Reanna, Breaunna, etc. And spell it Brianna.

Any stories about your name? The first girl I met with my name was in Sunday School as a little kid, and because of our shared names, she decided to make my time there as horrible as possible because she was there first. Then in 9th grade I met a girl with an ‘i’ instead of the ‘e’, it happened that we both had the same nickname so whenever anyone said any of the nicknames, we both turned around.

SHAUNA

Name: Shauna Lee

What name you go by: Shauna

Ethnic background: Irish and French Canadian

Place of birth: Connecticut, USA

Year of birth: 1985

Popularity of name that year: Ranked 294th

Meaning/origins of name: Feminine form of the Irish Shaun, a variant of Sean which is an Irish cognate of John (God is gracious).

Why did your parents choose this name for you? My mother was pregnant with me, her first child, while working at a bank. She hadn’t thought of any girls names yet that she liked, but one day a woman came in with a little girl named “Shauna” and she loved it. As far as Lee, she just liked the way it sounded.

Does your family have any naming traditions? No, but my dad likes to tell my uncle Shawn I was named after him. I do have quite a few aunts and uncles as well as cousins named for other people in the family. My sister Briana’s middle name is Cecile, after my great-grandmother.

What names have people called you based on your name? People call me Shannon a lot , and recently “Shandra”.

Nicknames: Sha-naynay- Sha-nah-nah-nah, Shaunacakes, Shaunhilda, Shauna Banauna, Shaunalini, and my baby sister calls me “Shaunie”, which I find terribly adorable.

Do you like your name? I really like my first name – The pronunciation is pretty obvious and it is common enough to be a familiar name, but uncommon enough that I haven’t met too many other people with the same name, and rarely with the same spelling. I like spelling, as well.. to me it has a more Irish look than Shawna

My middle name is okay – just boring.

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? I used to want a more exotic name when I was in elementary school.

What happened for you to have a change of opinion? Nothing , really. I guess I just grew up and realized that exotic names can be tough.

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? Many people want to spell my name wrong – popular misspellings include Shawna, Shana, and Shanna

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? At this point, Shauna suits me, but when I was 9 I desperately wanted to be named “Amica”

Any stories about your name? Well, there is that one scene with Jennifer Grey in Ferris Bueller’s Day off where she says her name is Jean but most guys call her Shauna – and that little musical snippet plays… In High school this one guy always used to sing that to me, LOL.

Have you ever changed your name? Nope.

KATUSHA

Name: Katusha Louise

What name you go by: Katusha

Ethnic background: White

Place of birth: Cape Town, South Africa

Year of birth: 1980

Why did your parents choose this name for you? I was named after my maternal grandmother. Family lore holds that my great-grandparents went to see a play in which a character was named Katusha, and they liked the name so much that they gave it to their first child and eldest daughter.

Does your family have any naming traditions? Yes; my siblings and I are all named after our grandparents.

What names have people called you based on your name? My family calls me either Katoosh, Katushie, or Tusha. I have been called Katrina, Patricia, Katushka, and Babushka.

Do you like your name? I love my name. It makes me feel connected to my grandmother, which is so special since we live continents apart. Also, apart from her, I’ve never met another Katusha.

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? When I was younger, I didn’t like having a name that was SO different but that passed quite quickly. I’ve never gone through a period where I fantasized about having a different name, although for a brief spell in college I tried to go by “Kat” but that never caught on – probably because I kept forgetting that I’d asked people to call me that.

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? YES. All the time. People constantly want to add in another letter or embellish it a little.

Any stories about your name? I share my name with a professional Russian cycling team as well as a Soviet missile launcher, so that’s pretty nifty.

MARALEE

Name: Maralee

What name you go by: Maralee

Ethnic background: German, Welsh, Scottish

Place of birth: Michigan

Year of birth: 1967

Popularity of name that year: Maralee has never ranked in the top 1000.

Meaning/origins of name: The meaning for Mara is: Derived from the Hebrew marah (bitterness). The name is borne in the Bible by Naomi after the deaths of her husband and sons. And the meaning for Lee is: Transferred use of the surname derived from the Old English lēah (wood, clearing, meadow), lee has the meaning “dweller by the wood or clearing.” In Middle English, the spelling lēah evolved to leigh, legh.

Why did your parents choose this name for you? Both of my grandmothers first names were Mary and my paternal grandmothers maiden name was Lee. So they put the two together and made one name Maralee (I wasn’t given a middle name).

Does your family have any naming traditions? Not really. Three of the four children, including myself were named after family and friends and the 4th and last child (Scott), my mother just really liked the name.

What names have people called you based on your name? All kinds of mistaken names: Marilyn, Marianne, Marabel, MaryLee; common mispellings: Marilee, Merrilee, Merrily, Merry Leigh, etc… In college my nick name was Lee and Lee Merryweather- don’t ask! People often sing to me “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream”! and the theme song from Sara Lee Cakes, “no body does it like Maralee” (Sara Lee).

Do you like your name? Yes, I do. I’m proud to be named after my grandmothers!

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? When I was younger it was difficult to like it because of my last name. Teachers always butchered my first and last name and sometimes I wondered why my parents didn’t give me a name like Karen or Jennifer.

What happened for you to have a change of opinion? Matured! Liked to be different, realized my self worth!

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? Oh yes, most common mispronunciation is Maura Lee and Mary Lee. I pronounce it as Mare a lee. Spelling has always been an issue. After 45 years I’m used to it!

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Any stories about your name? I have met so many Maralees in my life time. I always thought it was such a unique name. In high school I had a friend that spelled it, Merilee (coincident that she also married a guy name Gregg, just like me). I have another friend I met as a teen at girls camp and she spells it Merrily. My brothers mother-in-law’s name is MaryLee and there is a woman at my church that spells it Merri Lea. I’ve never met anyone personally that spells it exactly the same way I do. So, I still feel unique!

Have you ever changed your name? No.

My 100th post!

Caitlin was my 100th name story that I’ve posted! Thanks for being as interested in these stories as I am. I apologize for being very inconsistent in my posting. I have a lot more stories to come. Stay tuned…

CAITLIN

Name: Caitlin Elizabeth

What name you go by: Caitlin, Cait, but mostly a nickname inspired by my last name (I prefer this last one)

Ethnic background: Caucasian

Place of birth: Baltimore, MD

Year of birth: 1988

Popularity of name that year: Ranked 44th

Meaning/origins of name: Borrowed from the Irish, Caitlin is a variant of CaitrÍona, the Gaelic form of Catherine (pure, unsullied).

Why did your parents choose this name for you? My Mom knew of one Caitlin in college and she thought it was unusual and pretty. She was shocked after I was born when a friend told her I was the “11th baby Caitlin and 3rd Caitlin Elizabeth” they had met that year! I think my Mom was disappointed but not as much as I’d have been. I cut her some slack because they didn’t have the internet back then!

Does your family have any naming traditions? Middle names are usually used to honor relatives. I do love my middle name partially for this reason. I think I’d like my first name more if it had more significance.

What names have people called you based on your name? Caitlin is pretty hard to make fun of, so I guess this is one good thing about the name!

Do you like your name? I like the way it looks when you write it out and I am very partial to the way it is spelled. My name spelled with a K or a Y has a totally different feeling, I think. I am a huge name nerd so the fact that my name was so trendy makes it hard for me to love.

What is it like to go through life disliking your name? I am grateful that my last name is so unique because no one else has my entire name. It also is a huge reason I’m determined to give my children lovable and unusual names.

Did you have times in your life where you felt differently about your name? I don’t remember disliking it as a very little child. I think around Middle School is when people start to wish their names were different.

What happened for you to have a change of opinion? I started meeting more Caitlins…. and Kaitlins and Katelyns and Caitlynnes…etc.

Have you had difficulty with others understanding your name? My biggest pet peeve about Caitlin is the spelling variations. In the last few years I’ve noticed a switch – now people assume my name starts with a K and I’ve had to start spelling my name out for people. I hate to admit it but I wish people knew that Caitlin was the original spelling… why I care so much about that I don’t know but I guess I would hate people to think that ‘Caitlin’ was a ‘yooneek’ way of spelling Kaitlin or Katelynn. As a name nerd, I have a strong feeling about ‘yooneek’ spellings of names. I know this might sound trivial or snobby to some people… maybe they are right.

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? When I was little it would have been Lizzie or Lexie… now I like Campbell, Clementine, Millie, Felicity, April…. I could go on. I don’t think I’d actually change my name as an adult though, I think it’d hurt my mom’s feelings!

Any stories about your name? In high school, there were 5 Caitlins in my tiny class of 60 girls. Three of us were Caitlin H. and we were all in the same small group of friends! We went by our last names to avoid confusion.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? I’m wondering if I had a more unusual name, maybe I wouldn’t have become so interested in names. It’s one of my favorite hobbies/interests so maybe I owe Caitlin more credit for making me so curious about names. :)