Should there be a government list of approved names

(80 Posts)
Viviennemary Tue 10-Jul-12 16:07:52

I believe some countries have such a list. A while ago I would have thought this was a very bad idea. Now I am beginning to wonder when I see some of the outlandish names some poor children are inflicted with. Or is it none of anybody's business.

AnnaNimitty Tue 10-Jul-12 16:15:45

There should be more restrictions placed on naming kids. I remember reading
a long time ago about a man in the UK who was banned from calling his
son Jeff, because it wasn't a proper name. He had to use Jeffrey or Geoffrey.

Boggler Tue 10-Jul-12 16:18:08

My bil is a teacher and has taught a 'blade' that should definitely not be allowed.

They have a list of approved names here in Sweden, we will probably give our baby my rare English sirname (unless my OH proposses before the birth... he doesn't know this) and we will have to apply to use my English name as its not on the list of approved names... it's a bit of a faff really!

VolAuVent Tue 10-Jul-12 16:24:52

No way! I prefer classic names but I love all aspects of quirky Britishness and creativity smile

It's like freedom of speech, isn't it? "I disapprove of what you say (name you use), but I will defend to the death your right to say (use) it."

UnSocialite Tue 10-Jul-12 16:28:35

I think it would be very hard to enforce. There are so many different cultures in this country that people could be banned from using a perfectly legit name that was unused in Britain but well known in their country of origin.

When my DM went to go and register my DBro's birth, the person at the registry office pulled such a face at the time that she changed his name!

EdithWeston Tue 10-Jul-12 16:34:13

New Zealand has a system under which certain characteristics can cause a name to be unregisterable. Seeing as it saved on poor child from being called Anal perhaps there's something in the idea.

squoosh Tue 10-Jul-12 16:41:48

I think it's a terrible idea.

In reality the amount of people who plump for names such as Cupcake or whatever is tiny. In Denmark there is a list of 7000 approved names. If you pick a name that isn't listed you have to go through a lenghty process of trying to get it approved. I think the church (even if you're not a member) is first stop.

The name Molli wasn't on the list because of its spelling. Should you really have to make a case for Molli? Even if you don't approve of creative spelling that's just ridiculous. Apparently 20% of names get rejected. Do you really want the government telling you what you can and can't call your child?

squoosh Tue 10-Jul-12 16:45:18

Apparently these are the steps:

Those wishing to deviate from the official list must seek permission at their local parish church, where all newborns' names are registered. A request for an unapproved name triggers a review at Copenhagen University's Names Investigation Department and at the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, which has the ultimate authority.

Denmark sounds like a country that loves lots of rules!

The rules in sweden are simalar to in denmark, the problem is that in sweden you need to get your baby's personal number as soon as possible because they have a free school system here (no private schools all schools are free on a first come first serve basis) so you need to put your childs name down for the schools you might want to choose (there is no limit you can be on the list for 20 schools if you want) as soon as they are born.. so if your child doesnt have their personal number quickly they may well miss out on going to the best schools or the school of your choice.

The part of society that it most discriminates against is immigrants who are more likely to choose a name not on the list.

squoosh Tue 10-Jul-12 17:16:54

So I presume you can't have a name approved ahead of the child arriving?

All that nonsense would make me angry and as you say it's obviously not a law that would make things easy for immigrants.

There are rules, there are some names which you definitely cannot name a child. Otherwise it is horses for courses.

i dont think you can... also you have to fight to have a double last name, they only let swedish people have 1 last name but immigrants can have 2 if they can proove cultural relevance, our baby will have 1 uk parent and 1 swedish parent and in that situation its hit and miss if you get to have 2 last names... but you can fight for it, not that anyone wants to be fighting over a name in the 1st few weeks of your baby's life!

that is what these countries are like... lots of control!

Purplelooby Tue 10-Jul-12 17:35:25

OOo dear no I don't like that idea one bit - I'm sure my name wouldn't be on the list and I love the fact that to this day I have never met anybody with my name.

squoosh Tue 10-Jul-12 17:36:46

In lots ways Scandinavian society gets it soooo right but then I hear of controlling laws like this. It would drive me up the wall.

I'd make a bad Scandinavian. I suppose this is all part of their Jante Law thingy, not wanting people to stand out or be different.

squoosh that is exactly right, I teach kids and I have met over 100 kids in the last 2 years, i have never met one with a name outside the top 100.

It's an amazing country to live in it really really is, the lack of class system and the equality is such a breath of fresh air, but because of this uniquness and standing out is not seen as a good thing because you should be no more special than the person next to you.

I make a rubbish scandinavian... I hope my baby takes after their pappa and makes a good Swede ;)

AgathaTrunchbull Tue 10-Jul-12 21:52:34

Much though some of the names suggested on here horrify me, I'd never support there being controls over what children can be called. It's simply too difficult to come up with a list of names that encompasses all cultures and backgrounds. Certainly wouldn't be happy with any sort of ecclesiastical involvement!! Kids can always change their name if they really hate it later on or permanently use their middle name. The top of a slippery slope into yet more government oppression!

Badgerina Wed 11-Jul-12 07:04:23

No fucking way.

sashh Wed 11-Jul-12 07:06:45

I think New Zealand have got it right in that they have rules for names but not a list of aproved names.

I'd support a few rules such as:

must have at least two letters
must not have any punctuation with the exception of ' in surnames
no obsenities

icepole Wed 11-Jul-12 07:11:10

Horrible idea. My children have names that come from their Father's culture, they would certainly not be on the list. Why would anyone want government to have this kind of control, how depressing and boring.

nizlopi Wed 11-Jul-12 08:43:07

Wtf? Of course not.

minouminou Wed 11-Jul-12 09:16:34

Deffo no, but like a pp, I think there should be rules in place to stop offensive or potentially damaging names.

twonker Sat 14-Jul-12 23:12:22
twonker Sat 14-Jul-12 23:18:23

It's interesting that the Portuguese list allows Aarao, but not Aaron, and agata, but not agatha. Many names that are not allowed, there is a version of them that can be allowed. I'm not agreeing that the anglisiced versions should not be allowed, but I suspect that the list conserves the traditional Portuguese names against the erosion that the anglicised spelling has.

twonker Wed 18-Jul-12 00:02:56

Just read that Ines is the Portuguese form of Agnes. Both lovely names.

no way!

I love the beauty of being able to name my dc as I want and arranging the family names in a way that feels right for my family.

And what about English people living in Portugal for some years, is it fair to force their children to have Portuguese names, for ex?

MammaTonic Wed 18-Jul-12 08:36:53

No, no, no. The government have enough sway and control already. Why would we want to select names only from a sanctioned list? There are too many variances that make me uncomfortable: who decides, how it's decided, etc.

Obviously, no-one should be naming their children obscenities or after vilified historical figures (I'm thinking 'Hitler Middlename Surname' with this).

But a list of 'approved' names? No.


OatyBeatie Wed 18-Jul-12 08:43:13

I love the sound of the Copenhagen Names Investigation Department. I think that should be the setting for the next bleak TV Scando-drama. Inspector Andersen of the NID faces the dark kernel of blankness in the depths of his soul when he in confronted with a baby called Chelsea-Shanice.

twonker Wed 18-Jul-12 10:11:55

dodo perhaps not fair, but I do know an English couple who had their child in Portugal, and had to use a name from the list. The list is pretty long, and you can find a version of most names on it. It prevents the over-anglicisation of names in the country.

twonker Wed 18-Jul-12 10:12:22

oaty pmsl

ClueLessFirstTime Wed 18-Jul-12 10:19:20

germany has a list as well. it is not quite as strict as some of the scandinavian lists. and if you want to name your child a name that's not on the list you can 'prove' it that it is a proper name at the registry office with old newspaper cuttings/copies from the family tree and such.

FreckledLeopard Wed 18-Jul-12 10:22:34

I'd love there to be an approved list in this country. Firstly, to prevent ridiculous names such as 'Aryan Hitler', 'Tallulah does the Hula in Hawaii', '1!Star' or something similarly ridiculous. Also, looking at the bitchiness on the baby names boards, with names having such strong class connotations, having an approved list might reduce this (though I accept that there may be names on an approved list that are used more commonly by various classes).

As to ex-pats living in other countries such as Portugal, surely you should just have to suck it up. You live there, you embrace the culture, surely?

MammaTonic Wed 18-Jul-12 10:37:28

Too add weight point, my DD1s name is not on the Portugese list. DD2s name is not approved.


MammaTonic Wed 18-Jul-12 10:40:12

FWIW, both daughters names are not outlandish and quite ordinary. DD1s name is of Italian origin and used world-wide; DD2s name is of Spanish origin.


squoosh Wed 18-Jul-12 10:48:22

People who are in favour of a list of approved names would probably also be in favour of government guidelines on how to wipe their backside.

Why should you have to give your child a Portugese name just because you're living in Portugal? How very boring and homogenous that sounds.

OatyBeatie I would love to see that programme! Lots of be-chiselled cheekboned beauties smoking in a darkened room scowling beautifully and striking their big fat sharpies through applications entitled 'I want to call my daughter Pie', 'Please let me call my son Buster'.

The names list doesnt prevent connotations being attached to names, in sweden for example boys names ending in "y" are considered un-posh and likely to lead to prison.. names like tommy, ronny, conny..

another thing to consider is that you can have your child called 2 different names in different countries, so if I want to I can call my baby heavenly blue banana in england and Astrid Lisbet in sweden.

squoosh Wed 18-Jul-12 10:54:48

Oh I didn't realise you could register different names in different countries.

Even though I am anti Approved Names List I must say that if one of those bee-yoo-tiful Danish men offered me the fruit of their loins and their beautiful mid century modern homes to share I would happily name my sons Lars, Lars and Lars (possibly).

what about lars-a for a girl? ;) the lovely danish man would ofcourse be called lars larsson!

squoosh Wed 18-Jul-12 11:02:40

Oh yes! I can picture it now . . . . my husband Lars Larsson, my sons Lars Larsson, Lars Larsson and Lars Larsson and my lovely daughter Larsa Larssen.

Same names as the all the neighbours kids but hey ho, it's worth it for those cheekbones!

i wonder if cheakbones can get you over any name you are "blessed" with...

I work as an Englsih teacher and in the last 2 years I have probably met around 200 kids, I have never met a child who's name isn't in the top 100 list!

OatyBeatie Wed 18-Jul-12 11:14:44

Political subplot for the Danish Names Investigation Dept drama: Lars Larsen, minister for stylish furniture, is found hanged. Murdered by the secretive paramilitary wing of the Names Dept following his attempt to oust the prime minister by revealing his lovechild Nike Pearblossom.

gringrin oaty

squoosh Wed 18-Jul-12 11:34:26

Nike Pearlblossom has had to masquerade as Sara Larssen all her life so as not to invoke the wrath of the Copenhagen Names Investigation Department. She belongs to a deadly and secretive group called the Brotherhood Of Disgruntled Danes Who Can Only Use Their Fancy Names In Private. High ranking members include Tallulhah Baboombah and Striker Magico who by day appear as ordinary Danes and go by the names of Sara Petersen and Lars Larssen

By night however the make blood sacrifices of real life Sara Petersons and Lars Larssens over a Verner Panton chair (stylish and plastic, very apt for blood spillage).

Only 48 hours to find the next victim amongst 5 million Sara Petersens and Lars Larssens in the Danish phone book.

OatyBeatie Wed 18-Jul-12 11:55:37

Despite his own private baby-name shame (or probably in some tortured way because of it), Nike Pearblossom's father the prime minister is a names-hardliner whom the Names Police are sworn to protect at all cost. Minister Lars Larssen was their natural target because he wanted a modest liberalisation of the names regime (he wanted to add "Kenneth" to the approved list so that fans of the English Wallander prog could honour their hero).

FreckledLeopard Wed 18-Jul-12 11:56:27

littlemissbroody26 - if you're an English teacher, shouldn't you know the difference between who's and whose? grin

shimmy0 Wed 18-Jul-12 12:01:29

Yes I think there should be a way of regulating names. I go on sites all the time and I see see girls saying I want to name my kid some wacky name and in my head I just want to scream at her seriously!

I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but there's now a kid called Facebook and as for these celebrity names what were they taking when they thought "Oh I know, let's name it Apple!"

Freckledleopard I only teach spoken english as I teach the little ones here and they don't start school till they are 7, my career pre living in sweden was as a photographer but they dont have the same style of family photography as in the uk and australia where i worked pre sweden. I'm dyslexic so my written english is pants, id never dream of teaching it! but i have a lovely bbc accent so thats what helped me find work smile

I feel sad that I have never actually met a person called lars.... i might put it on my baby name list!

squoosh Wed 18-Jul-12 12:27:29

Shocked to learn she has sprung from such hardline loins Nike Pearlblossom decides to do some digging in the state archives. People had always been suspicious the PM’s non existent cheekbones and his love of chintz but here was proof. Nike discovered that her father, Prime Minister Lars Petersen had been adopted as a baby. He was born in England and his true name was Trevor Hargreaves. Cigarettes were lit across Denmark in shock as this discovery. The Name Police turned their eyes on the PM . . . . .

OatyBeatie Wed 18-Jul-12 12:32:05


I'm hooked. Somebody phone BBC Four and get it commissioned asap.

OatyBeatie Wed 18-Jul-12 12:39:07

Thanks to a combination of racism and political intrigue, the murder of the PM by the Names Police is blamed on an Islamic group dedicated to the permissibility of Mohammed as a Danish name, which in fact has only two members, both of whom favour a peaceful route to naming reform.

lack of cheeknones scandal! oh goodness I hope my baby gets my OH's cheekbones!

squoosh Wed 18-Jul-12 13:07:48

Well littlemiss you and baby Lars will need to hightail it back to England if the cheeekbones are a-missing!

I know baby lars would be an outcast!

mummytime Wed 18-Jul-12 14:14:59

My kids names are all approved of in Portugal (although one middle names has to be spelt differently), with a few accents.

Nope! I like our UK free for all, and if you watch Horrible Histories you will realise it isn't a new thing.

But I do want to see that new Scandanvian drama made.

twonker Wed 18-Jul-12 17:05:00

mama tonic I am surprised if there is no version of your children's names on the Portuguese list. My name is not mentioned either, and it's a top 10 name in the uk, but there are several Portuguese versions with the same meaning and origin.

nailak Wed 18-Jul-12 17:14:12

The New Zeland article says no religious references? How is that possible? then is Mary banned? Mohammed? Noah?

twonker Wed 18-Jul-12 17:17:43

Eg: nathan= natao
Michael = Miguel
Isobel= isabela.

Sometimes it is just as well, as Nathan would not be easily pronounced in Portugal.

Leafmould Sun 09-Dec-12 21:12:35


uptheamp Sun 09-Dec-12 21:23:03

iran has a government hairstyle list

as did communist china i think

AlwaysHoldingOnToStarbug Sun 09-Dec-12 21:29:16

Interesting what someone on the first page said about Jeff/Geoff. It is my DH's name - Geoffrey and MIL hates it but said she had to use it as you weren't allowed shortened names. Which considering her real name is a shortened version I don't understand.

So does anyone know if this was ever true?

Anyway, I don't think there should be a list of names. No way.

manicinsomniac Sun 09-Dec-12 22:09:15

Oh, I really want to have another daughter now and name her Heavenly Blue Banana. What an awesome name! grin

But no, I don't think there should be a list of allowed names.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 09-Dec-12 22:24:07

I don't think it's an awful idea. France has a list as well doesn't it?

FryOneFatChristmasTurkey Sun 09-Dec-12 22:41:54

Oddly, my name, which is rare here, is on the Portugal list (with one letter dropped), but niether of my DCs names are. Although I have seen a possible translated version of DD's.

My surname is double barrelled so would not pass muster in Sweden.

I agree some rules for names, such as no obscenities, no punctuation, etc would be good, but otherwise, a list of approved names is too much state control for my liking.

SomeTiggyPudding Mon 10-Dec-12 19:46:36


There should also be a board that you can go to if you want a name not on the list.

Some names are cruel to children. eg. Tu Morrow, Diva Thin Muffin, Audio Science, Pilot Inspektor, etc.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Mon 10-Dec-12 20:45:07

Strangely on the Portuguese list dd2 and I with the most unusual names, along with ds whose name is top 10 escape unscathed, but dh and dd1 both with v mainstream names don't feature.

When we named dd1; DM sent card with wrong name on, imagine Katherine instead of Kate, because she 'didn't know' that you could now actually name a child legally with a nickname and assumed that though we told her the name was x it must obviously be y. This is the woman who has only ever been known by the derivative of her middle name! Dd1's name (her actual name not the name that DM imagined we must have named her) is in the top 50 girls names, so hardly controversial.

I don't think that there should be a list, but possibly rules in the way that NZ has some. Save the vicar having to break it to the parents (friend of a friend) that he wasn't willing to christen their child 'Satan'.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Mon 10-Dec-12 20:50:44

when we registered Sebastian in the uk, the registrar asked TWICE if we were sure that is how we wanted to spell it. whaaaat?

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Mon 10-Dec-12 20:52:56

How else could you spell it Ohhelp ?

1944girl Mon 10-Dec-12 21:01:39

My DS is dyslexic. I went with him when he registered his daughter as his wife was still in hospital-EMCS and premature baby.He went into the Registrars office while I waited outside.He came out with DGD 's name written on a piece of paper by registrar and asked me if that was the correct spelling.Underneath was DS's spelling, spelt completly wrong.I had to affirm the registrars spelling as correct choice of name as DS's way of spelling it was not allowed even though it sounded correct.
This was 1996.In recent years I have seen DGD's name officially spelt in DS's version.

Lilka Mon 10-Dec-12 21:04:51

Perhaps we should have the opposite.

Instead of a list of permissable names, we could have a list of words that are banned as names becuase they are emotionally abusive to the child? Maybe that should be our name benchmark - not that a name is a bit silly, but that it is likely to be harmful?

So on the banned list - Poohead, Adolf-Hitler, Sexy, Useless, and so on

And a registrar can temporarily refuse naming a certain name and make an urgent request to see whether the name should be entered on the banned list or not

Probably unworkable, but hey ho

NorksAreTinselly Mon 10-Dec-12 21:16:55

leafmould what made you resurrect this thread?
Iam glad you did because I am loving the Scandi-drama

Norktitia Tinsel-Doreen x

Leafmould Mon 10-Dec-12 21:20:27

Norks, it was for the lady who started the thread about double barreled surnames in Sweden. I thought she might be interested in some of the Swedish insights.

Leafmould Mon 10-Dec-12 21:28:49

Fry one and 3 bunnies, the Portuguese list is there to preserve the 'native' forms of the names, so not so much about the popularity/ unusual issue, but more about preventing the anglicisation/ or foreignification of names.

I think.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Tue 11-Dec-12 20:59:01

Neither my name or dd2's names are in any way Portuguese though, one is Jewish, the other one Latin(I know Portuguese derives from Latin though) but neither very popular, dh's name is v popular and v traditional boys name, and dd1's is French. It is just interesting that some names seem to make it onto the list and others don't. I have never met a Portuguese person with my name or dd2's name. I guess with dh and dd1's names there were Portuguese equivalents, whereas for dd2 and I there aren't many/any variations on our names so if you want to call your child by our names it is either there or not.

SchroSawMummyRidingSantaClaus Tue 11-Dec-12 22:07:03

I know DS's name wouldn't be on the approved list if this was to happen. sad

GinSoakedMu1berryLush Tue 11-Dec-12 22:15:54

Maybe but not as strict as Sweden's list! I mean, Brian wouldn't be to my taste but there was a lady who lives in Sweden saying recently she needed permission to name a baby after her Father Brian. That seems a bit too strict!!

Britain is so multicultural, how would it work? They'd need to emply people to check the name was not simply ludicrous or offensive in another language.

SchroSawMummyRidingSantaClaus Tue 11-Dec-12 22:32:16

It would be fine in Sweden. grin

meddie Tue 11-Dec-12 22:47:01

from a personal liberty point of view I would say no. but after meeting children who have been called Lucifer and Gansta I wish they would have a banned list.

Leafmould Tue 11-Dec-12 23:16:07

We 3 bunnies, yes I think you are right, where there is not many variants, then the name seems to be there, like Ruth.

SomeTiggyPudding Tue 11-Dec-12 23:19:03

This is actually a thread where you can ask "Won't somebody think of the children?!"
You GIVE children a name. It's then theirs. It doesn't belong to the parents. It's the name that a human being will get called throughout their childhood. Parents need to give names that the child will want rather than trying to say something about themselves via their child's name.

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