Family's Problem: Daughter Harriet's Name 'Illegal'

But Hjörný, Haddý, Hekla, Hrafnhildur are just fine in Iceland
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2014 12:44 PM CDT
The Cardews, from K?pavogur (pictured), are in a name dispute with Iceland.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – You might see why a government would be reluctant to hand Adolf Hitler a passport, but what's so bad about Harriet? A couple living in Iceland say the government has refused to issue their 10-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son new passports because their names, Harriet and Duncan, aren't on an approved list and are thus "illegal," the Week reports. "The whole situation is really rather silly," dad Tristan Cardew tells the Guardian. Officials say "no official document will be issued to people who do not bear an approved Icelandic name." On the list of 3,565 approved names: Ásfríður, Eybjört, Sigurfljóð, and Úranía.

The children's previous passports were simply labeled Stúlka and Drengur Cardew, or Girl and Boy Cardew. "But this time, the authorities have decided to apply the letter of the law," Cardew says. Naming kids in Iceland is a serious business. Though Tristan is British, his wife is Icelandic, and unless both parents are foreign-born, a child's name much be selected from the approved list—it's a bid to preserve the language. The only other option is to ask the Icelandic Naming Committee for the green light, which it grants about 50% of the time. The issue with Harriet: "It can't be conjugated in Icelandic," says dad. The Telegraph notes the Cardews have launched an appeal but in the meantime, they've applied to the British embassy for emergency passports. (Last year, 15-year-old "Blaer" won approval for her name.)

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