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Baby Name Help ’ Category
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Today we’re heading back in time to the 1880s, the earliest time when we have actual statistics on the top baby names. Back then, we stuck with the basics—John and Mary dominated the charts. As we found with the 1890s, nickname-names were surprisingly popular for girls, including Minnie, Nellie, Mamie, and Sadie—all names that might make sense with the trend toward nickname names like Millie and Maisy. But there were some unique names that might be worth mining for your baby. What do you think of these?
Effie peaked at #62 back in the 1880s, when people gave their daughters this shortened form of Euphemia as their whole name. With The Hunger Games‘ Effie Trinket bringing the name back out into the limelight, perhaps this name will make a comeback? (There were only 37 girls who were given the name last year!)
Lula was another sweet nickname name that topped the charts back in the 1880s—it was often used as a nickname for Tallulah or Lucy. It hasn’t hit the top 1000 since the 1960s, but makes a nice alternative to Lily and Lilah.
Martha topped the charts for nearly 70 years, finally starting to fall out of favor in the 1950s. But this name, which means lady, is just starting to make its comeback.
Della is a short and sweet name that was a favored variant of Adela. It peaked in the 1880s, at the 68th most popular name, and hasn’t been seen in the top 1000 since 1977. It might be a nice choice if you like names like Adele, Ella, or Isabella—and don’t want to use any of those uberpopular choices.
Harriet (#90 back in the 1880s) seems to be a name that name nerds like me absolutely love—but no one’s really using it. (Only 9 girls were given the name last year.) It has a regal meaning—ruler—and some great resonance, with historical figures like abolitionist Harriet Tubman and author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and pop culture references like children’s book character Harriet the Spy. But it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1970. Is it finally ready for a revival?
Elmer was #38 back in the 1880s, and made a slow and steady decline to obscurity right after the 21st century. But it has a great name meaning—noble—even if it is associated with the bumbling Elmer Fudd from the Looney Tunes cartoons.
Milton followed a similar path—it was the 100th most popular name in the 1880s, and just fell off the radar after 2000. But it’s shown up in some new ways lately—including a character on The Walking Dead, so it might be worth revitalizing.
Grover peaked back in the 1880s, thanks to President Grover Cleveland. But it lost its top 1000 ranking back in the 1970s, around the time the Muppet appeared on Sesame Street. It’s a charming name, though, with a pastoral theme—it means living near a grove of trees.
Clyde is a name of a river in Scotland—and an infamous outlaw. It was a top 60 name back in the 1880s, and fell out of favor back in 1990. But I think it could be worth resurrecting for this century.
Emil was just outside the top 100 back in the 1880s, and only went downhill from there. It means rival, but makes a fun and funky alternative to some of the “e” names, like Evan and Ethan.
What do you think of these vintage names? Any ones worth adding to your short list? Don’t forget to try out our Baby Name Finder to find the perfect name for your son or daughter, and like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names.
Image: 1800s woman by Donna Beeler / Shutterstock.com
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1880s baby names, 19th century baby names, baby names, boys' baby names, classic baby names, girls baby names, popular baby names, throwback thursday, unique baby names, vintage baby names | Categories:
Baby Name Help, In Name Only, Must Read
Sunday, November 17th, 2013
You just need to say the words “Bat Kid” to me this week to bring me to tears. Just trying to explain it to my husband left me bawling, and I managed to even get him to tear up just by showing him some awesome images of 5-year-old Miles Scott, AKA “Batkid.” If you didn’t get a chance to see this amazing story, Miles spent a day last week saving San Francisco (AKA Gotham City) from the Penguin and the Riddler, as part of his Make a Wish event after battling leukemia. And he drew not only a crowd of thousands throughout San Francisco, but celebrities and even the President, who all celebrated his big day with him.
Miles really seems apropos for a young boy who has had such a challenging journey so far in his life—and it kind of sounds like a superhero name, doesn’t it? (Think Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Clark Kent, Miles Scott). But the name Miles actually has a different meaning than you might imagine—it means generous and giving. It’s the 111th most popular name in the U.S., currently at the highest point in popularity over the past 130 years. In addition to Batkid, there are other famous Miles out there—like jazz great Miles Davis and Myles Standish, a leader of the Plymouth Colony.
Miles pairs beautifully with longer middle names. I like Miles with Theodore, Felix, and Everett.
What do you think of Miles as a baby name—and what did you think of Batkid’s story? If you’re still looking for a name worthy of your future superhero or super heroine, check out our Baby Name Finder.
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Baby Name Help, Celebrity Baby Names, Must Read, Top Baby Names
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
The 1930s didn’t go down in history as a stellar decade—what with the Great Depression and Hitler bringing everybody down. But can some cool names be salvaged from this decade? The chart toppers of the 1930s were Robert and Mary—not exactly out-there names even today. But could there be some overlooked gems on the list?
Franklin took a sharp rise after FDR was sworn into office—it peaked at #33 in 1933. It’s dropped below the top 500 now, but still makes a worthy choice. Consider it in lieu of the “den” names like Brayden or Jayden.
While Robert topped the charts in the 1930s, the nickname Bobby wasn’t far behind at #27. Nickname names might not be super popular right now, but could Bobby be charming enough to make a comeback?
Edward may be the “Ed” name of choice, thanks to Twilight, but back in the 1930s, Edwin was topping the charts, too. The name means “wealthy friend”—and isn’t that the best kind to have? I love the idea of Win as a nickname.
I love Clifford, the #86 name of the 1930s—even if this name has become synonymous with the Big Red Dog. But I’d skip Cliff as a nickname in favor of Ford.
Alfred means wise counselor—like the sharp-as-a-tack bearer of the name, Alfred Hitchcock—and it was a top 50 name of the 1930s. If you like the nicknames Freddie or UK fave Alfie, this is the name for you!
Doris peaked at number 13 back in the 1930s—and maybe that’s why it was so unlucky to fall out of fashion. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the 1990s, even though it has a cool meaning—gift of the ocean—and a sweet Dorrie nickname.
Strangely enough, the popularity of blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe didn’t extend to her name—it peaked at #16 back in the 1930s. The name is a combo of Mary and Lynn—so it’s a nice way to honor two people in your past.
Sweet Irene has a lovely meaning—peace—and still hasn’t come back after a slow and steady decline from its #49 spot in the 1930s. I think it’s a nice alternative to the many vowel-heavy names, like Emma and Olivia, that still top the charts.
Could Bernice be the next Beatrice? This #87 name in the 1930s fell out of favor in the 1980s, and comes with a cute “Bunny” nickname.
Joan topped the charts back in the 1930s, ranking 7th—and it has the cool Joan of Arc namesake with it. It hasn’t been a top 1000 contender since the 1990s, but maybe it’s ready to come back as an offbeat middle name choice?
What do you think? Could Alfred or Bernice be at a playground near you? If you aren’t a big fan of these 1930s names, try looking for a more modern one with our Baby Name Finder. And if you’ve already found your name, check out this video to make sure you’ve picked a winner.
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Image: 1930s woman, from Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name Help, In Name Only, Must Read
Sunday, October 27th, 2013
Anyone else watching this season of American Horror Story? I’m loving the witchy New Orleans crew, and I’m intrigued by the fact that they actually based one of the characters on a real-life person. Delphine Lalaurie, played by Kathy Bates, was an actual woman who lived in 19th century New Orleans, and severely abused her slaves (though it’s unlikely she turned any into a minotaur, as is alleged in American Horror Story).
She may not be anything close to a role model, but perhaps Madame Lalaurie, as she was known, will help bring the name Delphine back into the spotlight. Delphine is a French name, and it’s associated with either the flower delphinium or with dolphins, depending on who you ask. It’s pretty popular with authors, and has been used by characters in several novels. It peaked as a top 400 baby name back in the 1930s, and hasn’t been in the top 1000 names since the 1960s. But it’s a beautiful name, and it’s a nice alternative to some chart toppers, including Chloe, Josephine and Lillian.
Delphine can be matched up with lovely middle names—I’d pair it with Rose, Juliet, Eleanor, or Victoria.
What do you think of Delphine? Do you think it makes a fresher addition to the “ine” names currently on the rise? Or is it too fancy-French for your taste? If you’re still looking for a great baby name, don’t forget to check out our baby naming tool to help you find the perfect name.
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Monday, October 21st, 2013
I’m dedicating this column to a lovely family I know, who is mourning the loss of their beautiful Pierre. I was never fortunate enough to know Pierre in real life, but I saw him grow up on Facebook. He had a soft, gentle smile that really lit up his whole face—and from the stories his mother Mary regaled us with, it was clear he was thriving thanks to the loving care of his family, after spending his first years in a Haitian orphanage. And it was also clear, from the numerous posts on Mary’s Facebook page, that Pierre’s life has touched the hearts of hundreds of people from around the world. I know my words won’t mean much in the face of their grief, but his name was in my heart today.
Pierre is the Frenchified version of Peter, and it means rock—a nice, solid classic for a boy. While Peter has largely stayed in the top 200 baby names for the past century, Pierre has zig-zagged all over the map, and has even moved out of the top 1000 altogether. But I think it’s a lovely way to pay homage to a Peter, but with a little French twist.
I’m not sure what middle name Mary and Doug chose for their son—or if they kept the name he was given in the orphanage. Pierre pairs beautifully with other French names like Blaise, Julian, Noel or Warren. Or try something like Valentin, Hudson, Sebastian, James or Leo. They’re all lovely names—just like Pierre.
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