What's in a name?

How did the baby get her names? Here's part of the story.


An English variant of Juliana/Julia/Julius, and pronounced similarly. The Latin root means youthful and appears to be associated with downy hair. Karen's bookshelves contain a number of novels by Gillian Bradshaw.

It remains to be seen whether she will be commonly referred to as ``Gill''.


In the Koine Greek this is the word which translates as ``grace''. This word is found in most of the salutations in the letters of the apostle Paul, and the concept is a central one in the New Testament. There was no shortage of grace involved in the production of this child.


A geographic name derived from the lake, creek, and canyon in the northeast of Mariposa County, California.
TMS map of Tenaya Creek
This glacially-carved waterway starts in the high country across the ridge from Tuolumne Meadows near Cathedral Peak. It flows through Tenaya Lake and then cascades down steep granite between Clouds Rest and Mt. Watkins. The deeper reaches of the canyon are distinctly U-shaped due to repeated episodes of glacial flow. This glacial activity was responsible for shearing away the missing portion of Half Dome, and it has also exposed several other granite dome structures. After flowing through the meadow that Mirror Lake is now becoming, Tenaya Creek joins the Merced River near Yosemite Village.

Tenaya was the name of the chief of the Yosemite indians when European settlers first entered the valley. It is, however, the surpassing beauty of the geography that led to the choice for our daughter.


Clearly this choice is patronymic. This was easier to do than, say, adopting a new name for everyone in the family.
Despite the prevalence of modern medical imaging technologies, until the moment of birth we did not know that we would have a daughter. Karen had chosen the three names for a girl some time before birth, but we had not sorted through them to determine preferences. The decision to use all of them in the above order came during her first week of life.

There is no truth to the rumor that we chose the names so that her initials would match those of the amino acids in the base pairs of DNA.

Karen Hellgren <hellgren@alumni.caltech.edu>
Steve Allen <sla@ucolick.org>