What's in a Name? Celine Dion's Twins, Nelson and Eddy

Celebrity Moms Oct. 29, 2010 AT 2:55PM
What's in a Name? Celine Dion's Twins, Nelson and Eddy Credit: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com

Nameberry.com editors Pamela Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz -- who penned the books Baby Name Bible and Beyond Ava & Aiden -- are blogging for UsMagazine.com about why celebs choose the names they do, and what they mean.

Celine Dion and Rene Angelil's twin sons were born on Oct. 23, but it took five days to settle on their names: Eddy and Nelson.

BLOG: Read more "What's in a Name?" columns

Dion claimed that she had looked at 15,000 possibilities, both French (which her mother was pushing for) and English (suggestions of 9-year-old son René-Charles), before she hit on two that struck the perfect chord, as belonging to two men who were highly inspirational to her.

The first was Eddy Marnay, producer of the singer's first several albums, who was her musical mentor. The second was Nelson Mandela, the first elected South African president, long imprisoned for his anti-apartheid activities, whom Dion had met in 2008 while on tour in South Africa.

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The name Nelson was originally popularized by another hero, the British Admiral Horatio Nelson, the victor of the Battle of Trafalgar. Some other well-known namesakes are New York governor and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, and novelist Nelson Algren, as well as a number of star athletes.

Nelson has been used steadily in the US since records have been kept in 1880, when it was among the Top 150 names in the country. It was most popular in the 1930s and 40s; at present it stands No. 522. (It ranks much higher as a surname -- it's the 40th most common.)

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Eddy is, of course, a pet form of Edward, one of the classics of English nomenclature, used since medieval times and borne by eight kings of England, and even now is the name of the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth.

Along with Eddie and Teddy, Eddy is a common form sometimes used on its own, peaking in 1947. Its most well-known bearer is country singer Eddy Arnold.

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Aficionados of classic movies may chuckle as they recall the somewhat stiff partner of Jeannette MacDonald in 1930s cinematic operettas, Nelson Eddy.

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