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What’s the meaning of your name?

Have you ever wondered where some people get their first or middle names from?

     My first name in Hebrew means palm tree. Hi, my name is Palm Tree Brewer.

     Tammie or Tammy was really popular back in the 1960s when I came along, most likely because of the “Tammy” movies with Debbie Reynolds and Sandra Dee.

     Back when I was a grade-schooler there were very few girls named Tammy that I found locally, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found a whole lot more Tammys. Most of them are a few years younger than I am. I guess the name got more popular in the later ’60s.

     I received a news release the other day about the most popular children’s names. Today’s most popular girls’ name is Sophia, which in Greek means wisdom. I like wisdom much better than palm tree. Hi, my name is Wisdom Brewer. Has a lofty ring to it.

     The most popular girls’ name in 1963 was Lisa, which in Hebrew means God’s promise. Tammy was number 12 on that list. Again, God’s promise sounds much better than palm tree.

     Some names are popular just for a season. Names like Ariel were very popular in the 1980s because of the movie “Footloose.” It rose in popularity again in 1989 when the cartoon movie “The Little Mermaid” came out.

     The top five most popular girls’ names from 1912 to 2011 include Mary, Patricia, Elizabeth, Jennifer and Linda. The top five boys’ names are James, John, Robert, Michael and William.

     Somehow I thought for boys, a few other names from the Bible would have been somewhere in the all-time top 10 … Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter, Paul, etc. Even for girls, I would have thought Rachel and Rebecca would have rated pretty high on the list. They were 29 and 48, respectively, on the all-time favorites list.

     As for the name Rachel, it is very popular on my side of the family and on my husband’s side.

     My grandmother is named Rachel and my sister’s daughter is Rachel. We call her Little Rachel.

     On Dennis’ side of the family, his mother was named Rachel and his sister has a daughter named Rachel. We call the younger Rachel, Rachel Lynn.

     When I was naming my children I wanted to name them something that was somewhat different, but not difficult. I also wanted to name my children actual names that couldn’t be shortened or changed into nicknames, such as Eddie or Ed or Richard or Rick.

     My son’s name is Steven Jeremy. We call him Jeremy. His kindergarten friends called him “Germy.” I really didn’t see that one coming.

     How was I to know that little kids would have a hard time pronouncing the name Jeremy?

     My daughter on the other hand was named after her paternal grandmother and me. My middle name is Leigh and her grandmother’s name was Anna. So I named her Liana, pronounced “Lee-Anna.” Again, I thought the spelling L-I-A-N-A was a bit different, but shouldn’t be a problem for most folks. Most people start out calling her Lee Ann, and once they get to know her, they gradually make it to Liana.

     Names are permanent in most cases. So if you’re thinking of names for your newborn, choose wisely. They’ll be stuck with it the rest of their lives. And choose something that your child will be able to pronounce and spell. For the first two and half years of Liana’s life, she pronounced her first name as Yiana (Yee-Anna) because she had a problem with pronouncing the letter L.

     At least in Hebrew Liana means “God has answered” and Jeremy means “God will raise up; God will set free.” It’s a lot better than palm tree or Leigh, which translates to “clearing or meadow.”

     I guess I should be happy I’m not Hebrew, otherwise I’d be Palm Tree Meadow Brewer.

     And how was your week?

     Lifestyles Editor Tammie Brewer can be reached at The DAILY LEADER at (601) 833-6961 ext. 134, by e-mail at tbrewer@dailyleader.com or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602.