Several countries have rules that place limitations on what a parent can name their child. The restrictions vary from one country to another. Iceland requires parents to consult the Íslendingabók when choosing a name for their child. The selection now includes the name Angelina (and a few other additions).
The Íslendingabók is an online genealogical database that contains records of more than 720,000 Icelanders going back 1,200 years. It uses records such as church documents, census information, and so on. Many Icelanders are descended from the Norse and Celtic settlers that first arrived there sometime in the 700s and 800s.
The country uses a naming system that is neither patronymic or matronymic. Surnames are determined in a way that is different from how it is done in other countries. As an example, let’s say a man named Sigurdur has a son. The son will have the surname Sigurdsson. If the man named Sigurdur has a daughter, she will have the surname Sigurdarottir.
Iceland is a small country. People cannot easily determine if they are closely related to one another based on surnames. This can be problematic when a person is ready to start dating someone. An app called ÍslendingaApp can determine if two people who are considering dating are related to each other. The couple can bump their phones together and an alarm will sound if they are too closely related.
Parents must follow rules when selecting a first name for their child. The parents must choose a name that is on the Personal Names Register. They cannot give their child a name that is prohibited.
The official Names Committee sometimes adds some names to that list. The role of the Committee is to look out for the best interest of the child and to ensure that the names are compatible with Icelandic traditions and language.
In September of 2016, the Names Committee added eleven new names to the Personal Names Register. Some of those names include Luna, Hofdis, and Eillif for girls, and Eyjar and Kiran for boys. The name Angelina was also added. From this point on, a man named Sigurdur can give his daughter the first name Angelina. Her name would become Angelina Sigurdarottir.
Some younger Icelanders feel that the rules that determine what name a parent can give a child are archaic. In June of 2016, the Icelandic government presented a bill that would eliminate the need for the Names Committee. Doing so would give Icelandic parents more freedom about the names they can give their children. The presented bill would need to be voted on before it could take effect.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
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