Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story – “Nao-ma”

Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story Challenge :

Choose a person.  Then do any or all of the following:

  • Make a list of the top ten stories about this person, a word or phrase will do.
  • Choose one story and tell a compelling, short version that will interest your family members in one minute or less.
  • Tell a more detailed version of that story including photos if you have them.

Note:  You can read about my inspiration behind this challenge here.  I’ve decided to reverse the order in my post.  If you are reading this, you like stories so I’ll start with the full story, then the bite-sized story to hook my family members, then the list of ten stories.

Naomi Skeen Peterson
Naomi Skeen, my great grandmother

My great grandmother’s name is Naomi.  Nay-oh-muh.  Usually when we see the name Naomi we think Nay-oh-mee, not so for my great grandmother.  I’ve heard a few family members of my father’s generation and my generation pronounce the name more traditionally.  I’ve even heard a few people say that they aren’t sure family tradition on her name is correct.

My grandfather, her oldest son was very plain in stating that her name is pronounced Nay-oh-muh.  Naomi’s living children refer to her as Nay-oh-muh.  Naomi’s youngest brother Evan was also very clear in saying Nay-oh-muh.  There is one record that exists to back this up.

1920 US Federal Census

Naomi is listed in the middle of her family on the 1920 Census.  We know that a census taker stood at the door and asked questions and recorded answers.  This census taker spelled her name “Naoma”.  Census takers wrote what they heard.  He heard “Naoma”.

You may be wondering about the other census records for her life.  They all spell her name Naomi.  But here in Utah where Naomi lived her entire life, Nay-oh-muh is a very common pronunciation of Naomi.  So the fact that only one census spells it Naoma doesn’t mean it’s the anomaly.  What it probably means is that only one of the many census takers that visited Naomi over the decades was unfamiliar with that pronunciation.  That one census taker did not know that in Utah Nay-oh-muh is spelled Naomi.  Bless that census taker.


One Minute Story

My great grandmother’s name is Naomi – Nay-oh-muh.


Top Ten Stories List for Naomi (well, in her case eight):

  • Picking Cherries
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Divinity and the Great Depression
  • Zucchini Bread
  • Letter to Grandpa
  • Selling Eggs
  • “You have my mother’s eyes.”
  • Nao-ma


If you have been reading my posts about Uncle Darrell, this is his mother.  I hope I didn’t just rock your world.  You’ve probably been saying Nay-oh-mee in your head.  Sorry.  😉


8 thoughts on “Tell Me a Story – “Nao-ma””

  1. And most people I know with the name Naomi pronounce it yet a third way, NI-YO-MEE, with a long I sound in the first syllable, not a long A. That may be either the Eastern or the Hebrew pronunciation; I am not sure. But I rarely here it as NAY O ME and never as NAY O MUH!

  2. I like that pronunciation, makes her unique in my eyes. I had a relative named Naomi, and we all pronounced it NAY O ME. Odd, isn’t it, how various parts of the country, or various families say it differently.

    1. I grew up in Washington state. All female names with Laur at the beginning – like Laura, Laurie, Laurel – were all pronounced Lore. I moved to Utah and they are all pronounce Lahr. It was a tough mental transition for me. Then a girl moved into my neighborhood who grew up elsewhere. Her name is Laura but it’s pronounced Lore-uh like what I was used to growing up. AHHHH!!! I have to think about it EVERY TIME I say her name. Regional pronunciations are a real thing.

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