Hello, My Name Is, a weekly column, gets the story behind unique names on campus. Here is life not being named "Joe Schmoe."
Living in New Zealand and Australia, Fergus Inder has come across his fair share of unusual names. But unlike those who may resent having a unique title, Inder has always loved it. And despite the fact that he at first shared his name with only his grandfather's first cow, he plans to carry on the tradition of interesting names with his own children.
Name: Fergus Inder
Major: Theatre and Political Science major, ‘16
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
How did you get your name?
My full name is Fergus James Leslie Inder, and Leslie was passed down through my dad’s side, like in the men, for middle names, because I think it was like someone way back’s maiden name that they didn’t want to lose. It’s just kind of tradition. That’s always the one, people are like “Leslie?”, but I like that one too. Fergus, it sounds like there should be a story behind it, but they just kind of picked it out of a book. I was born in New Zealand, and moved to Melbourne, Australia when I was 6 and then to St. Louis when I was 11. So it was like, the New Zealand Book of Baby Names or something like that.
I think they liked Fergus because it was unique and kind of masculine…it’s Gaelic for “man of strength.” But then my grandpa came to the hospital and was like, “Wait, you named the kid Fergus?” And it was the name of his first cow. He was a dairy farmer, and his first cow was named Fergus. So it always kind of confused me because, wouldn’t dairy cows be women? But anyway, apparently it was named Fergus.
How do you feel about your name?
I love it. Just the reaction people have about they hear my name. It’s like an, “Oh, cool.” And most people don’t know any other Ferguses, so there’s no confusion. And it’s pretty easy to turn to nicknames, like Ferg, Fergie Ferg, Fergalicious. And actually, most people assume that my name is Ferguson. But it’s not, it’s just Fergus.
Did people react differently to your name in New Zealand and Australia than they do in the U.S.?
I think because there are more unique names—certainly in New Zealand just because of the Maori—people are kind of used to it. People are kind of just used to more nontraditional names. But I think most people just assume that I have like, Irish or Scottish heritage, and that that’s kind of where it comes from.
Have you ever had any interesting experiences because of your name?
So I’ve only met two other Ferguses in my life. One is a colleague of my mother’s, but the other was a kid in my class in Australia. His name was Fergus Brown, and everyone disliked him. And people didn’t want to confuse me with him, so all my friends started calling me Inder. But it got to the point where no one kind of knew my first name. Like, it became some casual that people would call my house and ask for Inder, much to the confusion of my parents.
Spelling-wise, I’m always surprised by how much people mess it up. Like, usually like “Furgus,” or even “Ferghus.” I mean, it’s weird. But it’s not like, hard [laughs].
Are you planning to name your son Fergus, if you have one?
I think it’s a good name for a boy to have, but I guess, ego-wise, I’d have trouble naming someone after myself. I’d be very pleased and honored if someone else decided to name their son after me.
But yeah, my kids are going to have weird names. Because I’ve loved it. I really like kind of being the only one that people know with that name, or it just looks cool when you write it out. I mean, not weird like in the sense of “Blue Ivy,” but I like Montgomery. I like that name.
And I mean, my dad’s name is unusual. It’s Warrick. But yeah, it’s just this line that’s gotten weird. And I hope it stays weird.