Baby Dyklan Bret was born in August in south west France, but his middle name only became public when civil servants in the area published a list of the ‘most unusual’ names registered in 2021.
Many people assumed that the name referred to Périgord’s reputation as the duck-farming capital of France, and the family were mocked on social media as “cas sociaux, alcooliques” (alcoholic social-work cases).
But in fact, the name has a very different origin, which the baby’s grandfather has shared with French TV channel BFM.
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“It’s a tribute to my mother, a war orphan,” he told BFM.
“In 1943, she was abandoned in front of the church in Châtellerault (Vienne) because she came from the traveller community. She was then taken in by social services, and then adopted seven months later by a man called Georges Canard, a French soldier who later worked on the railways and was involved in the resistance.
“For my son, it was a mark of respect towards his grandmother. We wanted this surname to live on through the new generations even though it is no longer our family name, as women often lose their surname when they marry.”
French courts have the power to block certain baby names if they are deemed harmful to the child – among those refused are Nutella, Deamon and Fraise (strawberry).
Until 1993, French parents had to choose from a list of acceptable names. This has now been scrapped and parents can make their own choices, within certain limits.
Local authorities in Périgord have raised no issues with Canard, which has parents say will not be used on a daily basis, as it is only a middle name.