Apostrophes in Names

I met a girl yesterday, and she introduced herself as something that sounded close to Desiree, but with a little bit of an accent at the end. I was intrigued, because it didn’t sound like the normal Desiree, and I was curious as to how she spelled it. (YES, I admit it: I am a baby name geek. 100 percent!)

So I got very clever, and asked her for her phone number, and then when I was putting the number in my phone, asked her how to spell her name. This was her answer: Desire’. Huh. In all my baby naming experience, this is the first time I’ve seen an apostrophe at the end of a name. I wanted to talk to her more about her name — who chose it, how, WHY oh why the apostrophe… but despite my name nerdiness I do generally employ a bit of tact.

It got me thinking  about apostrophes, though. In what context (if any) are they allowable in a name? I have another friend who uses an apostrophe, and it’s a bit more traditional (if any name with an apostrophe can be considered at all traditional): Mal’Asia. Pronounced just like the country. (Now if I were going to spell that name with an apostrophe I’d put it here: Ma’Lasia… but let’s stay on track Paula.)

What do you think? Are apostrophes ever ok in a baby name? Under what circumstances? Do Desire’ and Mal’Asia have totally flawed names?

Update: I’ve been thinking about this further and would actually put the apostrophe here: M’Lasia.

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