10 Names You Can’t Legally Give Your Child


Some governments have strong restrictions when it comes to giving a baby the name that will identify them for the rest of their life. Sometimes it comes across as a violation of the parents’ rights, but then there are the times when you suspect some parents simply shouldn’t be trusted. Judge the following cases for yourselves.

10. Gesher (Bridge)


In 1994, Norwegian Krisi Larsen gave birth to her 13th child and decided to name him based off a word that came to her in a dream — “bridge.” She then translated bridge to Hebrew, giving the baby the name Gesher. The government rejected the name, and in February 1995 she was told to give the 10 month old a name from the official list of acceptable Norwegian names, like Odd or Roar. If she didn’t change the name, she was looking at a $420 fine or two days in jail. Larsen went to prison rather than admit wrong doing, and said that even though she lost the fight in court and would choose a name from the list, the family would still call him Gesher.

9. Nutella


Up until 1993, France had a list of official names that new parents had to pick from. After 1993, they were allowed to pick almost anything they wanted. While there haven’t been too many outrageous names, one that caught the attention of the courts was a daughter being bestowed with Nutella. The court ruled that the name would lead to the child being teased and wasn’t in the best interest of the girl. When the parents failed to appear in court, possibly because it was a morning appointment and they were too busy enjoying their breakfast spread, the judge ruled that the girl’s name be changed to Ella.

8. Venerdi (Friday)


Who doesn’t love Fridays? The Italians, apparently, at least when it comes to naming babies. When a couple named their son Venerdi,  they were drawing inspiration from a character in Robinson Crusoe. But Friday is a somewhat stereotypical native servant, and the court ruled that the name is associated with “subservience and inferiority.”

The parents said they were going to keep calling their son Venerdi, and would double down by naming their daughter Mercoledi (Wednesday). Hopefully the Italian courts don’t have a problem with The Addams Family.

7. Staalman (Superman)


Sara Leisten of Gothenburg, Sweden said her son was born with one arm raised above his head, so he looked like Superman and obviously had to be named after him. A judge ruled that the name was too much like a surname, and that was against the rules in Sweden. The ruling caused a bit of an uproar, because while Staalman wasn’t permitted, names like Tarzan and Batman are allowed. The inconsistency prompted some Members of Parliament to ask for new legislation on naming rules.

6. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii


Born in 1999 in New Zealand, Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was understandably embarrassed by her name. In fact, she never told her friends what her real name was, telling them instead that it was “K.” When she was nine, her parents separated and she went to court as part of the process. The judge found out she hated the name, and made her a ward of the state so she could change it. The judge chastised the parents for being so irresponsible, and the new name wasn’t made public to protect her identity. And that’s not the only time New Zealanders have had a problem with naming children…

5. New Zealand’s Other Banned Names


In 2013, New Zealand released a report with all the names they’ve had to ban. Some of the worst came from people that apparently forgot they were naming their child and not coming up with a YouTube username. One couple tried to name their child Mafia No Fear. When another couple saw the sonogram of their baby for the first time and realized it was “for real,” they named him 4Real. Finally, for unknown reasons, someone tried to name their child Anal.

Even stranger are the names that were allowed. Twins were named Benson and Hedges after the cigarette brand. Then there was Violence, Number 16 Bus Shelter and poor Talula.

4. Sonora, Mexico’s Banned Names


In the Mexican state of Sonora, government officials pulled 61 names from the baby registry that they deemed inappropriate. Highlights included Rambo and Robocop. Other unfortunate names included a child named Facebook, girls named Lady Di and Marciana (Martian), and boys named Juan Calzon (Juan Panties) and Circuncision (Circumcision). The children with these names will be able to keep them (lucky them!), but they’ll be banned for any future children.

3. Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

Less than a year after the September 11 attacks, a Turkish couple living in Cologne, Germany tried to name their son Osama bin Laden. The name was banned because the German government has two very strict rules when it comes to names — it has to clearly identify the person as male or female, and it can’t be offensive. You get one guess as to which of the two rules Osama bin Laden violates. German officials also pointed out that they could have banned it on the grounds of the name being equally illegal in the couple’s home country of Turkey, so they really had no hope of naming their child after one of the most hated men on the planet.

2. Saddam Hussein


There are some people who just like to provoke others and create controversy. It’s one thing for adults to do that on their own, but it’s a whole different matter when they bring their newborn children into it. Which brings us to a father in Brazil, Osvaldo Oliveira Soares, who tried to name his son Saddam Hussein in 2001. Luckily, citing the welfare of the child, the courts intervened and told Soares to get a less dictatorial name. If that wasn’t bad enough, nine years later he tried to name another son Osama bin Laden, and again the courts intervened. Presumably if he has any future children he’s going to go for broke and attempt to name them Super Hitler. Speaking of which…

1. Nazi Names


If parent jail became a thing, Heath Campbell of New Jersey would be its first inmate. Campbell and his former wife Deborah, who are avowed Nazis, had three children together. They named their son Antonio Adolf Hitler Campbell, but later dropped the first name, because otherwise it just sounded ridiculous. Their daughter was bestowed with JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, and their third child, again a daughter, was given the name Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, in honor of Heinrich Himmler. The couple and their children came to the national spotlight in 2009 when a supermarket refused to write the name Adolf Hitler on a birthday cake. Shortly after that incident, the state took the children away, and Heath and Deborah separated.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop Heath from having more children with another woman. He had a son named Hons Heinrich, also named in honor of Himmler, and a daughter named Eva Braun. Both of those children were taken away by the State hours after being born.

Heath, who is illiterate and has been unemployed for most of his adult life, has gone to court a few times to fight for his children. Each time he went to court in full Nazi regalia, including a Hitler mustache and a large swastika neck tattoo. In total, Heath is believed to have nine children, and doesn’t have custody or visitation rights for any of them. We guess that’s the closest thing to a happy ending a story like this can have.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian crime-fiction writer. You can follow him on Facebook, on Twitter, or visit his website.


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