Illegal Baby Names

Believe it or not, there are places in this world where the naming of a child is strictly prescribed by the government. In America we can call our kids most anything, but in some places it would be illegal to name your children One Million, Two Million, and so forth, as the Million family is said to have done in early Skagit County, Washington. It’s said that Ten Million was quite successful, so maybe the name can make a man after all…

The following examples are excerpted and heavily abbreviated in hopes that you’ll go My granddaughter, Tabitha Virginia Meitzler. For the first several weeks, I had to do a mental exercise in which I remembered the name, Samantha; before I could think of the name Tabitha - harking back to the era of Bewitched on television. The photo was taken 6-29-2010 with my Sprint Evo phone.check out the details at the CNN Living website:

1. Sweden
… “First names shall not be approved if they can cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name.”
Rejected names: “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb111163 (pronounced Albin, naturally) was submitted by a child’s parents in protest of the Naming law. It was rejected. The parents later submitted “A” (also pronounced Albin) as the child’s name. It, too, was rejected…

2. Germany
In Germany, you must be able to tell the gender of the child by the first name, and the name chosen must not be negatively affect the well being of the child. Also, you can not use last names or the names of objects or products as first names.
Rejected names: Matti was rejected for a boy because it didn’t indicate gender.

3. New Zealand
New Zealand’s Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act of 1995 doesn’t allow people to name their children anything that “might cause offence to a reasonable person;…
Rejected names: Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips…
Approved names: Benson and Hedges (for a set of twins)…

4. Japan
In Japan, one given name and one surname are chosen for babies, except for the imperial family, who only receive given names… The Japanese also restrict names that might be deemed inappropriate…
Rejected names: Akuma, meaning “devil.”

5. Denmark
Denmark’s very strict Law on Personal Names is in place to protect children from having odd names that suit their parents’ fancy. To do this, parents can choose from a list of 7,000 pre-approved names, some for girls, some for boys…
Rejected names: … Pluto and Monkey…

Check out the full article at the CNN Living website.

Thanks to my friend, Ernie Thode, for putting me onto the piece at the CNN website.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (www.FamilyRootsPublishing.com), writes daily at GenealogyBlog.com, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

35 thoughts on “Illegal Baby Names”

  1. Well, it’s a shame that the US doesn’t care about their children enough to protect them from nut job parents who give their children ridiculous names, many of which I find offensive.

    Reading the above, Germany has got it right with their policies of what should be allowed.

  2. Well, it’s the parents’ prerogative to name their kid anything they want. SO, I fully intend on naming my kids mary jane, doobie nug, and quickbeam lightfoot.

  3. I agree. I think Germany has it right. I also think that we could stand to have a few more restrictions here in America. The Freedom to name children Shantileema could stand to become a bit more refined now that we are an established country that requires a higher standard of education and order, to operate at peak performance.

  4. My son is a 3rd grade teacher and in his class this year alone he has 3 children with strange names…
    La-sha (pronounced LaDasha),
    Jailintheend (pronounced Gel-in-the-end -guess predicting this boy’s future since he had 9 people in his family serving jail sentence at the time of his birth) and a Magnum (means great, or a size of bottle of alcohol, but no, the mother said it refers to a name of a condom).

    I think to have restrictions on names would be a good thing, in light of some of the names we see today.

  5. Last I checked America was a free country and I think that people can name their kids anything they want. I myself love weird names but would not name them something after a condom or drugs. I don’t see anything wrong with unique names. It would make the child their own individual person. Are we supposed to name all the kids Elizabeth and Mathew. Names that people already have? I know I named my kids names I hadn’t really ever heard before. My oldest sons name is Malachi, I got it from children of the corn….my middle sons name is Korbyn, its not really a unique name but I spelled it different for it to be unique….and my youngests name is Braxton, got it from the braxton hicks I had all through the pregnancy.

  6. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t think about the consequences of choosing a unique/oddball name for their child.
    I think I have to agree with Germany on this one.
    Yes, this is a free country and you’re free to have as many kids as you want, even if you can’t afford to support them. Hmm. I’m kind of thinking we should make everyone take an IQ test before they are allowed to have kids. Some of these people are too stupid to take care of them.

  7. And to think I was ashamed of my name as a child, I thought I was the only one, til I was 18 years old. I am over 50 now, and still reluctant to tell anyone. When Ronnie was elected president, that was a small consolation. Folks should give a little thought to how and where a child grows up. Although my name is not that bad, it was in the time and place where I grew up.

  8. Who cares who likes or dislikes a name as long as its not your name or your child’s name its just not your business.Where is the freedom in America if our names are government business.

  9. Today some of these names might seem odd and weird. But I ask you would you name your child after the meaning “he will enlarge” or “desires a helmet” or “bitter”………sure you would. Because what could be so wrong with Joseph, William and Mary.

  10. If the govt needs to save a child from parents that give “remarkable” names, then the child will need saving from a lot worse. I have a friend named Ocean, which I really like, and she’s really pretty so it fits her, but I don’t think it would have passed Germany’s censures.

  11. I think there should be laws so stop people from naming there kids things like ‘lunch box’ or ‘suit case.’ No one really thinks about the child and whats going to happen when they wanna meet people

    ‘oh hi my names lunch box’
    they are going to laugh in there face

  12. It’s not the government’s job to approve or disapprove of names. Who are they to say what you can name your child? If you favor such laws, you do not favor a free society. We should not impose a monopoly of name giving with the force of government behind it. Society has managed itself on this issue for all of human history, we don’t need the threat of legal violence (which is the government) to impose naming restrictions. Parents who bestow ridiculous are already given scorn by their fellow man and are already disincentivized. As evidenced by the 99.9% of people with “normal” names. Don’t resort to fascist tendencies so readily people!

  13. People need to think if they would like to be named the name they’re giving their kid. People just don’t care and it’s a shame. I’m only 15 but I understand that it’s not right to name a kid something crazy like Magnum or Jailintheend.

  14. I was given the name Bryan when I was born. I didn’t like it. Thought it made me sound like I should be an accountant. I changed it when I was in my teens and I’m glad I did. I truly believe that a child should be allowed to change their name at least once in their life. Have a little input into what they’ll be called for the rest of their life.

  15. You probably assume I am a guy, wrong! Until the 1940’s females were usually spelled ‘Gene’ and males ‘Jean’ (French for John) then it changed. So according to German law I could not have my name nor could a man have the French spelling.
    I also do genealogy and would not like the name Mehitible, Thankful, Eurana or several names that have meanings with different conotations today.
    Glad I live in the USA and am free to pick any name I want or change it if I don’t

  16. To those who think we shouldnt give our children unique names. I say your crazy me and my best friends grew up with very common names, its extremely irritating to have 4 or 5 other children in your class, grade, or school with the exact same name. I now work with children and embrace the fact that sevral of them have unique names such as taia (pronounced tay-uh) because its also quiet frustrating when your the adult and confusing the children because there all named jessica, cody, and brittany.

  17. well my name is Zoey, does that make me a freak?
    Especially to you Lynn Morton. Shame on you.
    Yeah you may not like the odd names and sometimes the just ‘down-right’ ridiculous names, but that is not your call nor the governments.
    And with Germany… “because it doesn’t specify a gender.” WOW! That is sexist and discriminatory,but the Germans have a way with that as we have seen from history.
    What a boring world it would be if we were all the same. As far as other kids teasing; they will always find something to tease other kids about. That can be solved with raising your children to have open diverse minds. Time to catch up world, it is after all 2012.

  18. I think that people can be named any way that they want.
    Names like Brittany, Emily, Anna, anyone that thinks that names can be any thing except for cuss words put thumbs up!! Thanx!! Go names!!!

  19. Personally, my name drives me crazy because I know so many people with that name and at the same time I love it because its a family name. I have 5 yr old daughter named Kara Grace, which is kind of a popular name. But I almost named her Ada. Personally I feel like if its not a cuss word like “shithead” (sha-thed) or “magnum” then name your child as you see fit. Putting laws on what you name your child is the craziest and most stupid thing I have ever heard in my life and its sad that we still have that many narrow minded people left in this world to not be open to a unique name.

  20. I like “unsual” names for the simple fact that my first name is Jennifer. It was really aggravating to hear someone call the name “Jennifer” and 15 people look or when I was in school the teacher would call the name and 3 different girls would answer . That’s Why I go by my middle name, which outside my family. I have only heard once so I am all for naming your kids what you want.

  21. My husband was born and raised in the US and was given the name Jose Cruz with no middle name or initial…do you realize how easily it is to steal his identity? Especially with the same number of people with that name and similar social security number…really..because of simple data entering errors in the state of New York(we don’t even live in NY) he is constantly having someone else’s child support being deducted from his pay check…always have to send in photo identification proving his indentity every time. Give your child a unique name:) but don’t go over board!

  22. There are actually people suggesting we should have “laws” as to what we can name our kids? Who determines what is okay and what is not? Who determines what is a “normal” name? Here is a suggestion – mind your own business. It’s these idiotic people that make me want to name my kid “@” or “1”.

  23. I don’t mind when people give their children unique names. It’s creative! But, I think that there should be some laws in Canada and the United States that prevent couples from giving their children names such as “Apple” or “Toenail” or something silly like that.

  24. I love different names. My name is very common and annoying i no like 20 other crystals. i have 3 kids. Lana pronounced (lahn-na), Zack no its not short for anything just Zack, and Skyla which i love and havent heard in my life. i do agree people shouldnt be able to name there children just anything like f*ck or born-dumb but anything that wont harm the child any more then any other name is fair game. i think apple is a fine name. i no i was call crystal the pistal when i was young, so any name gets made fun of.

  25. I think as part of my and our freedom in America we should be able to name our children without government rule! Having said that, I do not agree with some of the names. Our government is in our lives more than they should be as it is!

  26. I think as part of my and our freedom in America we should be able to name our children without government rule! Having said that, I do not agree with some of the names. Our government is in our lifes more than they should be as it is!!!!

  27. It’s a sad fact that, here in Canada, a person needs to have a license to carry a gun, get married, or even to drive a car, and yet, ANYONE ( This includes: the “stupid people” who seem to unfortunately manage to creep out of their genetic mud bog; those people who, had they been born in the wild, would’ve been eaten at birth; politicians; etc) can breed without any condition! Freedom can be a good thing at times, however, excessive freedom in the wrong hands… not so much!

  28. Germany I believe does in fact not have it right because unisex names from Tyler to Taylor to Rilley to Leslie all are rejected.

  29. Lucifer is a beautiful name. It simply means “light-bearer”. Why should this be banned? Because fundamentalist christians have falsely conflated Lucifer as synonymous with Satan or the devil/diabolus/mephistopheles? I am a Luciferian[of a neo-gnostic persasion} I for one am a Panen-Deist and revere the divine mind/all one/God/whatver you want to call it. Many Luciferians are very empathic and wish to help others, like Lucifer{who is an archetype best represented in the ptoto-type Prometheus, Prometheus was very empathic and charitable, he stole the fire of enlightement, self-awareness and creativity from Zeus/Yahveh because he did’nt like seeing them being unjustly enslaved and mistreated, he cared}. Nor is Lucifer anti-Jesus/Christ{in fact in some gnostic Luciferian paths, the two are seen as brothers or perhaps even two aspects of tghe same being/energy/idea; again both are “morning star”} FYI: Lucifer is NOT Satan to most Luciferians{to some, yes}. Lucifer and Satan have different historical, cultural, mythical, and etymological origins, meanings, and implicatations. Lucifer is the english of the latin words “Lux” and ‘ferrer”[meaning “light-bearer”} and is Prometheus{Greek}, Enki{sumerian}, Quetzequatl[Aztec}, Phanes{Orphic greek} amongst others. Satan is hebrew for ‘adverary/opposer” and in the Jewish bible{Old Testament} was no fallen angel either, but a angle that worked for Yahveh the heavanly judge as a sort of heavanly court prosecuter, and was any angel Yahveh sent to ‘oppose” human works on his behalf. However Satan has been inextricably linked to being something else. And the word “Satan” in hebrew, there is an etymological hypothesis that the Hebrews/Jews committed a cultural inversion of two words taken from Vedantic/sanscrit culture- SAT{pure existance/BEING} and TAN{Unfolding or emenating from/BECOMING; or ‘eternal truth”}- many Satanists are influence dby this as wella s the hebrew for their paths. Satan is arhetypcally Ahriman/Angra Mainyu, Set, amongst others. Anyways, Lucifer is not synoymous with Satan, except that they both possess a mutual link through Prometheus{who also is a Christ proto-type and a cretaor god proto-type as well}. Anyways, there is no Lucifer in Judeo-christian scriptures to demonize or equate with satan or the devil/diabolus AT ALL! Except as a mistranslation of a passage from the book of Isaiah that originally/actually did not say lucifer{lux ferrer/light bearer} but “Morning star, some of the dawn”, the fundamentalist christians made a rhetorical leap in equating this with Lucifer. The passage actually is referring to a very human babylonian kings fall, not an angels. Lucifer is born from greek myth and sumerian with latin etymology. He/it is NOT Satan or the devil/demon[malevolence}. Thus the not allowing people to name their kids Lucifer is completely wrong. People have got Lucifer and Luciferianism and Luciferians all wrong, misjudging. Also, any name can be sued in a positive sense, even Satan, as I mentioned above. The govt has no right telling people what names they can and cannot have or what names they can and cannot give their children! This is undemocratic, unjust, sick, bigoted, and just plain stupid! I mean I can see banning names like annus ir any obviously sick and messed up names like this, but names like Lucifer or Messiah or Jesus/Christ, why ban these?

  30. I know a guy who named his son Satan{In Canada}. Satan as in ‘adversary”{in a good sense, adversary of injustice, oppresssion, ignorance,etc} and SAT{pure existance/being}TAN{emanaing or unfolding from/becoming} or “eternal truth”-, SaTan.
    Who’s to say OBJECTIVELY that this is wrong and should not be allowed?

  31. My name is Brando. I’m female.
    – it’s a last name.
    – it’s a masculine name.
    – and my middle name is a surname.

    My name wouldn’t pass in almost all of these countries & I’d probably be called boring old Emily Jane. If people are concerned about children being teased for their names, maybe they shouldn’t publicly judge peoples names & belittle them. Be more open minded. I’m doing fine, great even.
    Glad to be born in Australia.

  32. Depending on your country, at a certain age you can get a name change if you choose, and a lot of people with common/ordinary names seek changing them to something they like (per say the nicknames they went by). And do you stop people from using nicknames, do you want the government telling you that and petnames you can call your loved one. I’m for not naming people after long sentences, songs, books or such if its past an amount of characters that would fry a computer to input or is offense like a dictator’s name, but really, solve world issues not home issues government. Name control, why not manipulate the genetic structure of the fetus to make it the master of genes.

  33. I named my children rather controversial names, not to be controversial but because my wife and I love the sound and the meanings. We feel that our children were meant to carry their names and bring honor to them. My daughter Lilith is super smart and beautiful. People just fall in love with her instantly. My son Lucifer is very much the same. He is always smiling and laughing and is so full of joy. He very much is a bringer of light to us. If our government tried to forbid the names, well I guess we would have altered the birth certificate, but we would still have called them what we wanted. Lucifer was the angel of free will, and by God, I will practice that free will!

  34. To Will and Wesley,
    I come from a RC upbringing, and have always loved the name Lucifer. You can imagine the brow raising I got from admitting to that. “Some one said, sure because you’re his spawn” I was an evil child.

    and still would love to change me name,to that. But at this point, maybe would be easier to name my next dog, Lucifer, and can just call him, “L” Luci, or Lucif, out in public.
    I agree with most, that names are a very individual thing, but why on earth some parents chose such mispellings, to make a name more unique does bother me. I do admit, who am I to judge a misspelling, or a choice of name. But some ar ejust stupid. Cool, but stupid. I like the name Skye, for boy or girl, and name of a season for both as well. Why should Summer only be a girls name. Winter is a good name. and of course, Bambi- as some girl may be named was a BOY deer in Disney’s film.
    Go for it, next time a boy is born, name him Bambi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *