Sibset of the Week

Sibset of the Week: The Cleggs



For this week’s edition of Sibset of the Week, we’re looking to the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democrats political party, Nick Clegg.

First elected as an MP in 2005, he went onto to ascend to leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 2007, and following the 2010 General Election joined his party with that of the Conservatives to create our current coalition government. His time in government hasn’t all been plain sailing however, and the likelihood of his party remaining in power after the 2014 General Election are but a slim chance at best – especially after he alienated a big section of his party’s voting demographic following the rise in tuition fees.

That said, we’re here to talk names, not politics. Nick married his Spanish wife Miriam González Durántez in 2000, and the pair have three sons:




It may seem odd to you that Nick Clegg’s sons would have distinctly Spanish names, but it’s worth noting that Nick Clegg speaks 5 languages – including Spanish – and had a Dutch mother himself.

The name Antonio is of uncertain meaning (rank #524), whilst Alberto means noble and bright (#1339). Miguel is the Spanish form of Michael, a name which means who is like God? and ranked at #508 in England&Wales in 2013.

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Sibset of the Week: The Baldwins



Holly Willoughby is another TV presenter that first crossed my path in the world of children’s TV. In the case of Holly, she co-presented the popular Saturday morning show Ministry of Mayhem that ran from 2004-2006 that my younger siblings all loved. She’s been a panelist on the show Celebrity Juice since 2008, which several of my friends watch – although I’ve yet to really understand it’s popularity with them.

Either way, I was planning on covering this family earlier on this year, but then Holly went and announced she was expecting her third child, meaning that this post had to be shelved until this week when she welcomed her third bundle of joy.

Holly married Dan Baldwin in 2007, and together they are now parents to three children:

Belle (b. 2009)

Harry William (b. 2011)

Chester James (b. 2014)

Bizarrely, Belle still trails behind Beau in the female England&Wales rankings – #321 to Beau’s #178 (with Beau ranking at #175 for boys). It’s always been an interesting fact to be, given that Bella is at #56, inside the Top 100 alongside many other -bel names (think: Isabella and friends).

It’s interesting to note that both Belle (#525 in 2009) and Chester (#581 in 2013) were in the 500s when Holly chose them, whilst Harry hit the #1 spot in the year her first son was born – 2011.

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Sibset of the Week: The Hares

Cressida Cowell, via

Cressida Cowell, via

Today we’re looking into the extended family of one of my favourite authors from my childhood: Cressida Cowell. From the moment I was gifted How To Train Your Dragon not long after it’s release, I was a big fan of her dragons series – and have previously covered her own children in this feature. Today we’re back to look at other members of her family.

We’re starting with that of her maternal grandfather, Major Hon. Alan Victor Hare and his wife Jill North, who had two children:

Marcia Persephone (b. 1946)

Alan Simon Mercury (b. 1948)

Both have wonderful Greek mythology middle names that I can’t not love. The name Mercury is that of the Greek god of trade (later given to the closest planet to the sun), and fittingly the name means to trade. The meaning of Persephone is uncertain, although many relate it to the Greek words pertho and phone, which means to destroy and murder, respectively. In Greek mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus, and was kidnapped by Hades. It’s said that her return to the surface for part of the year brings the change of seasons.

Cressida’s Uncle Alan went on to marry Hon. Alexandra Amery, and the pair have two daughters with charmingly alliterative:

Alice Alexandra (b. 1989)

Florence Freda (b. 1993)

Whilst Marcia married Michael John Hare, 2nd Viscount Blakeham, and the pair had three children, including Cressida herself:

Cressida (b. 1966)

Emily (b. 1967)

Caspar (b. 1972)

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Sibset of the Week: The Dahls

Roald Dahl, via

Roald Dahl, via

Some time in my primary school years, we went to watch a play adaptation of George’s Marvellous Medicine after reading it in class. I remember being enraptured by it and like many children before me, became a fan of author Roald Dahl. It makes sense, of course, for Roald Dahl to feature prominently in school libraries across Britain, given that he is considered by some to be one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century. It is, of course, by pure accident and happy fate that this is the third week in a row to feature a prominent wordsmith from Britain.

Dahl married American actress Patricia Neal in 1953, and in their 30 years of marriage welcomed 5 children:

Olivia Twenty

Chantal Sophia ‘Tessa’

Theo Matthew

Ophelia Magdalena

Lucy Neal

It’s a fairly interesting collection of names, part of me wonders the tale of how Tessa evolved as a nickname for Chantal. I also couldn’t help but note that for children born in the 1950s and 60s, the names could easily be transferred to a 2010s set of children. Theo has rocketed to #41 in the past 10 years, with Ophelia also rising to #306 in 2013. The name Olivia spent 3 years at #1 from 2008, and is currently at #2, whilst Lucy has been hanging in the Top 30 since 1996. The only name to buck this trend is Chantal, who experienced popularity in the 1990s, but fails to rank at all anymore.

This ahead of the curve naming was continued by Tessa Dahl, who named a daughter Clover in the mid-1980s, a name which has only consistently been ranking in England&Wales since 2004 (albeit only about 12 girls receive the name each year at the moment). Clover is sister the Sophie, Luke and Ned.

Sophie Dahl is these days a well known cookery writer who married jazz singer Jamie Cullum in 2010 and has two daughters: Lyra and Margot.

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Sibset of the Week: The Burnses



A few weeks ago I spent some time in Ayrshire during the Commonwealth Games, and this week’s family hails from that very part of the world and seemed a fitting way to end the unofficial ‘Scottish Week’ we’ve had going on.

Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns is one of the most noted poets to hail from Scotland, and indeed is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. As well as writing in English, he also wrote works in the Scots language, being one of the best known poets to do so. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV. His family therefore seemed an obvious choice to round off this week.

First, let’s take a look at Rabbie’s own family. He was the eldest son of William Burness and Agnes Brown:

Robert (1759-1796)

Gilbert (1760-1827)

Agnes (1762-1834)

Annabella (1764-1832) (I’ve also seen her name listed as Arabella, the Scottish form of Annabella)

William (1767-1790)

John (1769-1785)

Isabella (1771-1858)

All the names are pretty typical 18th century names, although the one that I took note of is Gilbert, since I’ve never covered the name on the blog. He’s a Germanic name that means bright pledge.

Then we have the children of Rabbie Burns who, unless noted, are also the child of Rabbie’s wife, Jean Armour.

Elizabeth ‘Bess’ (1785) by Elizabeth Paton

Robert (1786, twin of Jean)

Jean (1786, twin of Robert)

Unnamed twin daughter (1788)

Unnamed twin daughter (1788)

Robert (1788) by Janet Clow

Francis Wallace (1789)

William Nicol (1791)

Elizabeth ‘Betty’ (1791) by Ann Park

Elizabeth Riddell (1792)

James Glencairn (1794)

Maxwell (1796)

There are some pretty interesting middle names here: Nicol; Glencairn; and Riddell. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Nicol comes from a friend of Rabbie Burns’, so it could be logical to assume the same for the other two.

Maxwell is interesting to me, because he appears in several popular PC games: Scribblenauts as the primary playing character; Don’t Starve as the antagonist; and partially in the Max Payne games as the titular character. Maxwell also happens to be the codename of a Nvidia graphics processing unit (GPU).

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Sibset of the Week: The Paphides

Caitlin Moran is a favourite writer of mine after I received her book How To Be A Woman, as a gift. The book was published in 2012, it went on to win Galaxy Book of the Year.

Caitlin is also a keen tweeter, and rather controversially, in 2014 her twitter feed became part of the set texts for A-Level English. Despite this, she is considered one of the most influential British journalists on twitter.

She married husband Pete Paphide in 1999, and the couple have two daughters together:

Dora, 2001

Eavie, 2003

The name Dora has been up and down in terms of ranking for the last few years, although the number of births has been steadily rising (up from 14 in 1996 to 30 in 2013) and she now ranks at #1148.

The name Eavie fares less well, despite sister Evie’s successful years including a stint in the Top 10 in 2008-2010, having last ranked in 2011 at #4764.

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Sibset of the Week: The Lynchs

Shane Lynch, via

Shane Lynch, via

For this week’s edition of Sibset of the Week, we’re looking for inspiration from a man connected to two B bands: Boyzone and B*witched, hence his selection as the end note to Week B.

Shane Lynch is a member of Boyzone, whilst his sisters Edele and Keavy are members of B*witched.

Irish boy band Boyzone have enjoyed incredible success in the UK, with 21 singles in the Top 40 chart, including six number one singles. In Ireland, they boast 22 singles in the charts, which includes nine number one singles. That gives them the title of being one of the most successful bands in Ireland and the UK., in fact, according to figures published by the Official Charts Company in 2012, Boyzone are the second most successful boy band in Britain, right behind Take That.

He married Sheena White in 2007, and together the pair have two daughters:

Billie Rae (b. 2007)

Marley Mae (b. 2012)

The names share similarities for two reasons: both are fairly gender neutral and of course, the rhyming middle names.

The name Billie has been slowly slipping down the rankings since his/her 90s heyday, these days ranking at #460  for the girls and #3822 for the boys.

It’s interesting to note that Marley ranks higher for boys than girls: #185 compared to #492. For both genders the name peaked in 2009, most likely as a direct result of the film Marley & Me, which was released in December 2008.

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Sibset of the Week: The Dumbledores

As played by Richard Harris, via

As played by Richard Harris, via

It was originally my plan to resurrect this series of posts with today’s edition, but I got impatient last week and slipped in an extra post. However, I’m very much aware that the sibset series of posts were a favourite read of many, and it’s been on my agenda to properly resurrect it for long enough now, but until this week I’ve never seen a more apt opportunity as a finale to a week of A names.

The idea for this post came about whilst I was brainstorming Week A, as a certain family came to mind that I couldn’t not talk about as it features a trio of fabulous A names that I could’ve easily talked about. As you’ll have noted from the post’s title, we’re talking about the Dumbledores.

For those who don’t know, the Dumbledores hail from the fictional world of Harry Potter, where the eldest – Albus – is one of the central adult characters. He mentions his brother from time to time throughout the series (often alluding to his apparent lesser intellect), but it’s only in the final installment of the series that we also hear about a sister.

Their names ?

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian



Whilst all three names share a first letter, they all hail from different languages. The first, Albus, comes from Latin and means white/pure. Brother Aberforth instead hails from the Welsh language and means from the river, whilst sister Ariana comes from the Greek name Ariadne, thus means most holy.

Of the three names, only Ariana ranks in England&Wales: in 2013 she was given to 282 babes and attained the rank of #186. I’m calling it now that within the next five years Ariana could really be a contender for the Top 100, as she’s has a particularly meteoric rise in the past three years (#332 in 2011, #233 in 2012).

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Sibset of the Week: The Quins

Tegan (r) and Sara (l).

Tegan (r) and Sara (l).

Originally, I was planning on the first Sibset post being next weekend to tie in with Week A, but then I decided not to wait. As it so happens, we lost the electricity in our house just as I was finishing up this post, which meant despite my last minute change of heart, it seemed like this wouldn’t be posted. However, because of the cute way our electrics are apparently wired, the internet is still working, so all was saved.

This week we’re covering musical twin duo Tegan & Sara Quin. Now, I was certain that I’ve at least mentioned them in passing before, but apparently this is as much mention as they got. In fact, I’m really surprised I haven’t covered them in this feature before, as they figured into a major part of my life.

I first became a fan of the duo back when they were still touring with The Con in 2008. They were sort of inspirational to 14 year-old me because at the time I was struggling to come to terms with my sexuality and ‘lo and behold, I came across Tegan & Sara, who are both openly gay.


In 2013 the duo released Heartthrob, steering away from their indie rock roots and instead delving into pop. This divided fans, and continues to. Personally, the album really grew on me after a few listens. The pair are also about to embark on opening shows for Katy Perry’s Prismatic Tour.

As for their names, they both have pretty interesting middle names:

Tegan Rain

Sara Kiersten

Their shows are especially well known for the banter between the pair, which means they’ve talked about their names on stage before. Most notably here, where Tegan mentions how her mother hesitated before giving her the name Tegan, as  their mother thought of Tegan as a strong name, but when she was born Tegan was very little. However, clearly, their mother changed her mind in the end.

The name Tegan comes from an obscure Welsh saint – St. Tegan – whose gender remains uncertain. What’s certain is that the name’s meaning lies in Welsh: teg means fair/beautiful whilst an is a diminuative suffix, hence, little beauty. In modern Welsh, there exists a word tegan, which means toy. Strictly speaking, the name should be pronounced TEG-an, but these days tee-gan is more commonly heard.

On the other hand, Sara is an alternative spelling of Sarah. It’s interesting to note that in the UK, Sara and Sarah are said differently: Sara is pronounced SAR-ah (hard first ‘a’), not SAIR-ah (with a softer first ‘a’), whereas Sara Quin pronounces her name the second way. The pronunciation of her names was actually mentioned when the pair were interviewed many years ago by a BBC Radio 6 DJ.

As for the middle names, Rain is of course a nature/word name. Then we have Kiersten, which is a respelling of Kirsten, who belongs to the Christopher family of names, wherein Christopher means bearing Christ.

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Sibset of the Week: The Smiths

Edith Bowman, from

Edith Bowman, from

Edith Bowman hails from Scotland, and her day job is that of a Radio DJ. Once upon a time she hosted the Radio 1 saturday morning show until she left the post in 2012 to be replaced by Gemma Cairney.

It seems apt to be covering her family now, given that we are in the midst of the music festival season and Edith always seems to pop up at them in some kind of presenting capacity – or maybe that’s just me.

Either way, she’s married to Tom Smith and together they have two sons:

Rudy Brae (2008)

Spike (2013)

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