In Øksnes municipality in Vesterålen, English first names are over twice as common as in the rest of Norway.
– I often thought what in God’s name were my parents thinking naming me Max. In my youth, I was a bit angry with them, says Max Hugo Olsen to NRK.no.
He grew up in Myre in Øksnes with his brother Barry Martin and sisters Kate and Lena. In the period between 1960 and 1998, twenty percent of the men in the municipality got English names, against seven percent nationwide.
Myre Name Generator
Since 1900, only 141 Norwegians are named Barry, three of them live in Myre. Professor Gulbrand Alhaug at the University of Tromsø is the first to study why there are so many English names in that area.
– Islands along the coast has many English names, probably influenced by shipping. I think it is widely applicable that Northern Norway, especially along the coast, has been more open to foreign influence than in southern Norway. It leads to greater creativity, says Professor Gulbrand Alhaug to NRK.no.
Compared with other municipalities in Northern Norway, Øksnes has the third largest proportion of English names, only beaten by island communities Værøy and Røst.
Myre names are known in Vesterålen, which has led to the “Myre Name Generator” where Cliff Kenneth, Kim Teddy, or Kitt Ani are some of the name suggestions.
The 1970s was the strongest period in Myre where almost every fourth male (23%) got an English name, against seven percent nationwide. English female names however are less common. Names ending with y (example Ronny and Freddy) are most common.
Northern Norway also stands out with far more double names than the rest of Norway. Thirty-eight percent born between 1998 and 2007 got double names in the northernmost part, against the national average of twenty-five percent.
The Professor can confirm that the arrival of television in the 1960s had a major influence on the parents.
– Many of the names comes from films, television and books. The increasing popularity relates to that Britons and Americans were seen as liberators after the Second World War. Later general Anglo-American cultural influence such as film and pop music have dominated.
With the years, brothers Barry Martin and Max Hugo have grown fond of their names.
– It is okay to have a name that no one else has. Other people remember me, and I am proud of my name, says Max Hugo.
Popular English male names through the 20th century:
Early 1900s: Alfred, Arthur, Edvard, Edvin
1920-1960: Henry, Willy, Harry,
1960-1985: Frank, Glenn, Johnny, Kenneth, Raymond, Richard, Robert, Ronny, Roy, Tom, Tommy
2000s: Oliver, William
Random names from Myre in Vesterålen:
Glenn Greger, Just Hjalmar, Emma Kaspara, Kent Tommy, Remi Arne, Reimar Eivind, Sean Thore, Trond Steve, Ruth Sonja, Ally Oline, Olof Lennart, Peter Jan, Edny Jennie, Fredmund Gunnar Odvin, Eilif Henry, Jan Hugo, Rolf Arthur, Sverre Ingvald Nikolai, Marina Ruth, Einar Arnold, Hennie Alise, Bergiton, Nansy Johanne, Ted Robin, Kai Freddy, Kenth Hugo, Ron-Steve, Valter Agnar, Rayner Johan.
Text modified by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews