Archive for the ‘ Baby Name Stories ’ Category

‘Mad Men’ Baby Names: What’s in Vogue, What’s Not?

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Mad Men‘s final season started last night. But even if the show brought ’60s cocktails and fashions back into vogue, it hasn’t exactly done the same for baby names. (When’s the last time you met a new baby named Don?) Here’s the scoop on what hit (and what didn’t) from the show:

Don Don Draper rises from a dark and troubled past to become a partner in his own advertising agency, but left behind a broken marriage, three kids and lots of other trouble in his wake. (FYI—the current Don actually took his name from a Korean War buddy who died near him. His real name was Richard.) Donald is a Scottish name that means chief, and has been on a slow decline in popularity since the 1950s.

Betty This short form of Elizabeth was ubercommon in this era—and was given to Don Draper’s first wife and mother of his children. While Betty itself is rarely heard on the playground, Elizabeth is still a top 20 favorite. You may want to consider a more stylish nickname, like Eliza, Lizzy, or Beth.

Peggy Copywriter Peggy Olson also rose through the ranks from the secretarial pool—and engaged in some Don Draperesque behavior in her personal life. Her name is a vintage nickname for the classic Margaret. Peggy hasn’t yet made a comeback, but there’s a slew of nicknames for Margaret that are popular, including Maggie, Maisie, May, Greta, and Daisy.

Pete Pete Campbell probably has one of the most timeless names on the show, thanks to its association with the popular saint. Peter means “rock,” and is currently hovering near the top 200.

Joan Joan started out in the secretarial pool, before being elevated to partner at Don Draper’s new agency. Joan is a female variant on John and shares its meaning (“God is gracious”) but not its popularity—it dropped out of the top 1000 in the early 1990s.

Sally Don and Betty’s daughter scores this nickname for Sarah that shares its meaning, princess. Sally fell out of the top 1000 in the 1990s, after a long reign near the top.

Roger Roger Sterling was head of Sterling Cooper and the later agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. His name, currently in the top 600, means warrior.

Megan This Welsh variant of Margaret shares its meaning, pearl. It’s the name of Don’s second wife, a former junior copywriter at the firm and aspiring actress. Megan was actually up and coming during the 1950s and 1960s, and hit its peak in the 1990s. It’s currently still in the top 200.

Tell us: Which of these baby names do you think have a shot of coming back into style? And would you name your baby any of them?

If you’re looking for the perfect baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder, or email me at for advice. (You could find your question answered here!) And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names!

Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret

Image via AMC/Facebook

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The Bachelor’s Fave Couple: How Ashley & J.P. Chose a Baby Name

Friday, February 13th, 2015

The Bachelor's Ashley and J.P.

Parents had a blast talking with new parents Ashley and J.P. Rosenbaum. They’ve partnered with Puffs to keep moms and dads everywhere happy and healthy, but it’s their joy in each other that is contagious. For those of you part of Bachelor Nation, you probably already know about the unique name the reality stars chose for their little bundle. But what was behind their choice of Fordham Rhys? We’ve got the deets for you!

P: Tell me about your baby’s name.

A: We went through a million names. We were driving through Manhattan one day and we would consider every name we saw on a sign. We passed by Fordham University and I was like I LOVE that. We can call him Ford, it’s a strong name, it’s a power name. Fordham, it’s different. I think it’s cute for a baby and great for an adult. It’s just setting him up for success.

J.P.: It’s hard to name a human being. It’s gotta work through every phase of life. He’s got a be a cute kid with a name, he can’t get made fun of in junior high and high school, and then he’s got to be taken seriously as an adult.

A: Can we tell her what you wanted to name the baby?

J.P.: Nooooo.

A: We’ll never use it.

J.P.: It wasn’t the number-one choice!

A: It was your number-one choice.

J.P.: I liked it. I wasn’t sold on it.

A: Okay, share it.

J.P.: I liked Gage. I thought it was cool. It’s not over.

A: It took me 9 months to convince him to go with Fordham. We call him Fordy and Fordy Cent. It’s just cute.

J.P.: It is cute.

P: Is his middle name, Rhys, a family name?

J.P.: The R is. My mother’s mother, who is deceased, we took the first initial of her name and her Hebrew name and used it in his middle name.

A: We liked the name Rhys though. It was another name we were considering. We liked those two names so we just put them together.

P: This parenting job is forever and whether you have 1 or you have 5, how will you keep your relationship fresh, engaged—

J.P.: GAGE. It’s a sign!

A: NO! No Gage. It’s not happening.

Plus: Read more about Ashley and J.P.’s experience as new parents. And find your perfect name with the Parents Baby Name app!

Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she’s practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is our resident theater aficionado and can be found constantly running around New York City to find the best new show, the most awesome dance party, or the hottest Bikram yoga studio. Follow her on on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.

Jewish Baby Names
Jewish Baby Names
Jewish Baby Names

Photograph: J.P., Ashley, and Fordham Rosenbaum / Courtesy of The Rosenbaums

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Art, Otis and 13 Other Hot Grandpa Names for Boys

Monday, February 9th, 2015

boy and elderly manNames generally skip a generation or two before they come back into vogue—so when it comes to up-and-coming baby name options, try your local retirement community! Grandpa names have become especially popular for boys lately, as celebrities have picked “old man” names for their baby boys. Several recent celeb babies have scored the name Gus; Bridesmaids actor Chris O’Dowd chose Art (likely short for Arthur) for his new son; and Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis picked Otis for their son.

Interested in following this trend? Here are a few other grandpa names that seem ready for resurrection for the new generation of boys—and in some cases, even girls. (We’ve seen a few girls sporting Winston, Walter, and Lionel!)

Hugo There was the kids’ movie a few years back—and of course, Ron and Hermione picked it for their son in the Harry Potter series. Plus it has a great meaning: “intellect.”

Leopold You get the cool “Leo” nickname from this old-school name that means “brave people.” Leopold hasn’t seen the top 1000 since the 1920s, making it a truly vintage name.

Nelson Pay homage to South African civil rights fighter (and former president) Nelson Mandela with this name pick, which is currently trending just outside the top 600 names.

Winston This is a winning name, associated with Britain’s famed WWII era prime minister, Winston Churchill. There’s been a sharp and sudden increase in popularity in this one over the past few years. (Maybe it’s because of its definition: wine’s town!)

Quincy Skip the overpopular (and increasingly girly) Quinn and go for this old-school version, made popular by a 1970s TV show, Quincy, M.E., and of course, an early U.S. President. It literally means “fifth son,” but you don’t have to save it for that particular person.

Wallace Animated characters Wallace and Gromit, and cool Veronica Mars BFF Wallace Fennel haven’t helped this name rejoin the top 1000 yet, but give it time. I like “Ace” as an offbeat nickname from this one.

Walter Walter is starting to see a small uptick in popularity, after being on a slow and steady decline since the 1930s. It means ruler.

Lionel You’ll find another path to Leo through this old-school name, which actually means young lion. Singer Lionel Richie and legendary actor Lionel Barrymore are the most noted bearers of the name.

Wilfred I’m loving this old-school name as a way to pay homage to a William AND a Fred in your past. (And because it was given to one of my favorite Doctor’s companions on Doctor Who.) Plus, you have a choice of cute nicknames: Will or Freddie.

Alfred This close companion to Wilfred is the more commonly used name. It’s been on a steady downtick here, but it’s experiencing a bit of a renaissance in England, where kids are even getting the nickname “Alfie” as their official name. It’s the name of a legendary English king, the founder of the Nobel prize, and famed movie director Hitchcock.

Oscar This top 200 favorite is often associated with the Grouchy green Sesame Street character, but it has a wonderful meaning: champion.

Harry England’s wild about Harry, a top 10 favorite across the pond, thanks to their Prince and the boy wizard. Here, it still dwells near the bottom of the top 1000.

Vernon Vince Vaughn picked this poetic name, which means “place of alders,” for his son—I can see it catching on for non-celeb parents, too.

Tell us: What grandpa names are you loving these days? What other ones would you like to see make a comeback—and are there some that you think won’t ever make it back into vogue (we’re looking at you, Wilbur!)

If you’re looking for the perfect baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder for get options. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names!

Image: Shutterstock

Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?

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Under the Radar Boys’ Names: Beyond the Top 1000 Baby Names

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

The top 1000 baby names is always intriguing. But what’s even more interesting is seeing what’s below that level—the names that only 5 or 25 people picked for their kids. While there’s always an array of creative spellings, possible mistakes (did 6 people really name their boys Adeline?) and assorted other oddball picks that probably won’t suit most guys out there, you can find a few gems hidden among the more…ahem…unique choices.

You can check out my girls’ name picks from last week, or see what I’ve picked for the boys here.

Rigby This proper British surname name means farm along the ridge, and is perfect for a baby of Beatles fans (think Eleanor Rigby). It’s a nice alternative to other surname names like Reilly and Sullivan.

Hero This old-school name was traditionally for the girls (think of the character Hero in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing). But this is one girls’ name that could easily cross the aisle for the boys.

Bruin I’m guessing most of the baby boy Bruins live in the Boston area, and the name was picked to honor the hockey team. But Bruin makes another offbeat color name (it means brown or bear).

Indy I’m assuming this was picked as a casual nickname for Indiana (a la Indiana Jones), but could also be considered short for independent. I’m not sure I totally love it, but it’s intriguing to me.

Sylvan This name evokes the woods and forest, perfect for a nature-loving family. (And you can either go with Syl or Van for short.)

Aristotle Someone’s parents were philosophy majors (or Greek). The name of the great Greek philosopher could be considered one of those cool and clunky old-school names, especially when you start talking nicknames, like Ari.

Wilfred You get two great nicknames—Will and the adorable Freddie—with this old English name, that means “desires peace.” Actor David Tennant chose it for his son, and it was also the name of a character on his show, Doctor Who. For the more literary minded, it was a hero in Sir Walter Scott’s classic Ivanhoe.

Sven Scandinavian names were already starting their climb in popularity before Frozen hit the big time, and now Elsa, Kristoff and Anna stand to become seriously red hot. Sven was the brave reindeer sidekick, and it means “youth.”

Tell us: What off-the-beaten path names do you like for your son? If you’re looking for something unique, try our Baby Name Finder, or email me at for some baby name advice. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest baby name news.

Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?

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Cool Name of the Week: Augustus

Monday, June 9th, 2014

As expected, YA-novel-turned-movie The Fault in Our Stars ruled the box office over the weekend. And since we analyzed heroine Hazel’s name last week, I thought it was only fair to take a look at the other name from this pair of star-crossed lovers—Augustus.

Augustus was pretty popular for guys back in the 19th century, then began a slow and steady decline to the bottom of the top 1000. (You might think that the popular 1971 version of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory put it on a downslope, given that the character Augustus Gloop was portrayed as a fat and gluttonous kid. But it actually started rising right after the movie came out.) Even before John Green’s book topped the best seller lists last year, the name was on a sharp incline back into popularity, thanks to its now trendy “us” ending. (It’s currently in the top 700 names in the U.S.) The name means great or magnificent, and comes with two cute nicknames: Auggie and Gus.

No word on what John Green thought Augustus’ middle name would be. I’d pair it with something short and traditional. John would be good, or try Thomas, Lee, James or Jackson.

What do you think of the name Augustus? Too stodgy, or something freshly worthy of consideration?

If you’re still looking for a perfect baby name, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder. And be sure to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.

Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?

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