What’s in a name? – Explaining Corban

Last week we were thrilled to welcome Corban Yaroslav Thurman to our family. Here’s an explanation of his names:


Corban comes from The Bible, in Mark 7:11, where it denotes a gift or offering consecrated to God.

It took us a long time to come up with a name that we both liked. Marcia even went through a whole book of baby names, crossing out the ones that didn’t excite her. When she was done, there were 27 left (Corban was not on that list, by the way).

In our family, we read a chapter of scripture every night. We decided years ago that we were going to read all of the scriptures of our church, one at a time, in a random order. That’s 1581 chapters (yes, that’s a long project). Marcia wrote the names of each chapter (“Genesis 1,” “Alma 32,” etc…) on little slips of paper, and put them in a jar. Each night we selected a random one and read that chapter.

On February 28, 2016, we were down to the final chapter of the project: Mark 7. After we read verse 11, Marcia asked “What do you think of the name “Corban?” And thus he was named.

A note on pronunciation: We’re aware that the Sephardi Hebrew pronunciation often used by Christian scholars when reading Hebrew words in The Bible puts the accent on the last syllable: kawrbahn. This is not fully agreed upon, however. Ashkanizi Hebrew favored by some Jewish practices, and common English usage as well, put the accent on the first syllable: kawrbahn. We like the sound of the first syllable accent better, so that’s how we pronounce his name.


Jacob spent about 2 years in Russia as a missionary. He lived and did missionary work in the Russian and Belarussian cities of Khimki, Moscow, Minsk, and finally, Yaroslavl.

Yaroslavl was founded in 1010 by a Russian prince named “Yaroslav the Wise.” Legend has it that Yaroslav killed a bear with a spear on the shore of the Volga river, and founded the city on that site.

Marcia was exploring some of her family history a few months ago, and discovered that the same “Yaroslav the Wise” is one of her ancestors. In fact, he’s TWO of her ancestors. On her mother’s side, Yaroslav the Wise is her 49th great grandfather. On her father’s side, Yaroslav the Wise is her 28th great grandfather (yes, that makes her parents 28th cousins 21 times removed).

Yaroslav was actually chosen as Corban’s middle name a long time before his first name was chosen. We like that it’s a family name for Marcia, and a personal connection for Jacob.


Thurman is an English name derived from an old Norse name composed of “Thor” (Norse God of Thunder) and “Mundr” (Protection). We did not choose this name for Corban, he just got lucky.

4 thoughts on “What’s in a name? – Explaining Corban”

  1. I figured there was a Russian connection with the middle name because of your mission but didn’t know their was a family connection twice. My parents are 2nd cousins twice. Great name choices.

  2. I loved reading about the “name”. We used family names as middle names, which our kids appreciated. You’ve got a very sweet little family and we wish we could see you all in person. Love and miss you.

  3. Beautiful decision. I love the origins behind names and was very interested in how you come by this one. Thanks for sharing. And I would agree, you have a great little family. Loves! (There was a place for a website to be left, so I thought Marcia would like to see our latest creations. We have been busy sewing this past year, although took a huge break from the dolls to get mom moved. Thanks.)

  4. Very cool. I showed Corban’s picture to some of the kids on the bus ride home on Friday. They were many oohs and ahhs!

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