Owning your name.

There have been three other Virginia Ingrams in my family in my lifetime. One is a third cousin. One is my aunt. One is my grandmother.

As I’ve grown my name has changed to those around me and to me. If you met me before 1998 you called me Ginni. When I started my first professional job, in a new city, my boss went with the name on my resume when setting up my email address (Virginia) and started a big change.

Going by Virginia was a lot easier so I started using it more often. Today 50% of the people I know call me Ginni; 50% call me Virginia. I don’t have a preference.

My aunt, Virginia S Ingram, is an artist. She signed her name as VIngram or shorten it to VI - a common Roman numeral - when signing her pieces. Her studio was called Studio VI (pronounced six) and a few people called her “Six.”

As a kid I would try signing my name like my aunt, who we called Ginny. Her V and I effortlessly blended together to form a Roman numeral. My versions always looked forced, awkward and upright. The awkwardness of my handwriting settled it; Ginny could use VI as a part of her name, I could not.

While speaking with a friend today she remarked on my use of the “VI” in a graphic I created and asked me why I didn’t identify with the number six. I had no answer for her. I usually abbreviate my name as VA and had forgotten about the appearance of six, or 96 (VCI), in my name.

Her suggestion is a good one, so I'm trying it out to see if it sticks.

For my inaugural list, here are six Virginia Ingram facts.



Virginia is a pretty common name (545th in 2007).



There are two states with the name Virginia.



Ingram is also a pretty averagely common last name. You may not know several unrelated people with the last name, but you’re likely to know one or two. You’ve at least heard it before if you’re on this website. This chart shows the popularity of the last name Ingram, by state.   



The white pages says there are 169 people with the name Virginia Ingram in the US.



I frequently get Google Alert notifications of recently deceased, mostly elderly, women with a name containing Virginia Ingram; Virginia Louise Ingram or Mary Virginia Ingram or Virginia Ingram Clark or some other variation.



When I was a kid Virginia was an old lady name. Because the spelling of my nickname, Ginni, was unique I was constantly disappointed with the lack of tchotchkes with my name on it. And for a bonus insult, I grew up in the south when Jennifer was at it’s peak in popularity. If there was anything similar to my name on a tchotchke, it was Jenny or Jennifer. Since the name Virginia is back in fashion I don’t think the kids of today will ever understand my plight.


Read more about Ginny.