? Name

I have read that Nome, Alaska might have been named from a misinterpretation from some scribbling on a map.

Is this still the best idea for the source, or has a more plausible source been discovered?

I swear Cecil took this one on, but I can’t find it in the archives.

Yer pal,

You couldn’t find it in the archives because it was hidden in the exchange on “kangeroo.” The link: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_236.html

Here’s what Cecil had to say:

<< The origin of Nome, Alaska, is also in doubt. According to the 1943 Guide to Alaska prepared by the Federal Writers’ Project, the word is the result of a draftsman’s error. “When the manuscript chart of the region was being prepared on board the British vessel Herald, attention was drawn to the fact that [a certain] point had no name, and a mark (? name) was penciled against it. The chart was hurriedly inked in, the draftsman reading ? name as C. Nome, and Cape Nome and Nome they have been ever since. This story is disputed by other authorities, who say it is a local native name.”

I am doubly inclined to disbelieve this story because of a suspicious yarn told by Mary Lee Davis in Uncle Sam’s Attic (1930). Quoth Davis: “The very name of Nome is an answer to the query, “Whence came the first American?” Ka-no-me,' said the Eskimos, when white men asked what place this was: I do not know.’ And so the place was called: Ka-no-me, Nome, `I do not know.’”

Having now had the “I don’t know” yarn turn up in three different parts of the globe, I can draw one of two conclusions: either explorers are incredible saps, or somebody’s been pulling our leg. >>

The one with bells on it, Cece?

I always thought the story behind Chicken, Alaska was more interesting :slight_smile:

or Dildo, Newfoundland.

¡No me diga!