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Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
The 1990s may feel like yesterday—but it is already 20 years ago! As with most recent top 10 girls’ names, the 1990s chart topper, Jessica, has had a sharp decline since its heyday—it’s currently at number 138 and dropping. Michael, the top boys’ name of the decade (and really, for several decades when the current crop of dads were born), fared a little better than poor Jessie—Michael’s still in the top 10!
Many of the recent hot names started their climb to the top during the 1990s, but there are still some gems that may deserve a second look.
GIRLS’ BABY NAMES
The place name trend started at the turn of the century, when names like Cheyenne and Alexandria were hot. Cheyenne was #100 back in the 1990s—it’s a Sioux name that means “people of a different language,” and is also the capital of Wyoming. Alexandria is another take on Alexandra, but one that has more international flair—think the city in Egypt.
Sabrina was the 91st most popular name back in the 1990s. It’s the name of a Celtic goddess—and the title of the classic film, starring Audrey Hepburn.
Pretty Paige reached its pinnacle, #66, in the decade of flannel and grunge. Its most famous bearer was one of the sisters on Charmed.
The #33 name back in the 1990s was Kelsey, an English name that means “island.” Kelsey was a relatively new name, first breaking into the top 1000 in the 1970s—but since its peak in the 1990s, it’s back down to the top 300. Still, it’s a fun alternative to Lindsay or Kelly.
Spencer, a name that means “steward,” was the 98th most popular name for boys in the 1990s. It’s tapered off into the top 205 since then, but thanks to its association with silver screen icon Spencer Tracy, it still has glamour.
Mitchell is a British version of perennial favorite Michael, and reached its pinnacle of popularity in the 1990s, when it was 91st most popular name. Consider it as a way to pay homage to Michael, without choosing that top 10 name.
An early Irish favorite was Garrett, which reached its peak at 85 20 years ago. It means strong, and has had a slight decline into top 250.
Blake, which means fair-haired, was the #84 name in the 1990s, and has stabilized in the top 100 ever sense. Thanks to country star Blake Shelton, this is likely destined to remain a hot name for the foreseeable future.
What’s your favorite 1990s name? If you’re still searching for the perfect name, check out our Baby Name Finder.
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Image: Guryanov Andrey
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Baby Name Stories, 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
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
This week, we’re taking Throwback Thursday way, way back in time, to the 1890s. We may no longer wear our hair up and our hemlines way down, but our current fashionable names bear a striking resemblance to the hot names of the 1890s. The girls’ top 25 lists boasts currently chic names like Clara, Emma, Alice and Lillian; the boys’ list features perennial favorites like Henry, William, and James. But the top names of the 189s, Mary and John, aren’t quite as in vogue right now. Mary dropped out of the top 100 after decades of reigning supreme, while John is less unscathed, but currently resides at #28.
One intriguing trend I’m noting from the last century: Even if the fashion was all buttoned up, the names definitely weren’t so stiff. Many of the top 100 names are shortened nickname names—names like Willie (for girls or boys), Mattie (also for either), Effie, Nettie and Nellie.
So what intriguing names haven’t yet made their resurgence? Here are my picks from the 1890s for your consideration.
Ida was the 21st most popular name back in the 1890s, and it means industrious. It was in its heyday in the 1800s, and dropped out of the top 1000 entirely in 1980. Perhaps, as our friends at Nameberry noted, it’s about time for a comeback, on the heels of red-hot names like Ava?
It took a little longer for Louise to drop out of the top 1000—after reigning in the top 50 names from 1880-1930 (it was the 36th most popular baby name back in the 1890s), it dropped out in the 1990s. It’s a French name that means renowned warrior, and is a nice way to pay homage to a Louis in your family tree.
Esther reached its peak back in the 1890s, but it’s never really gone away. This Persian name that means star is currently #242 here in the U.S.
Lena started a slow but steady decline after the 1890s, when it was in the top 50 baby names. This short form of Helena is the name of legendary singer Lena Horne and now known for Girls actor/creator Lena Dunham. It’s starting an uptick now—but it’s currently in the top 400 names, so it’s still pretty unlikely your daughter would end up with another Lena in her class.
Alma is a Latin name that means soulful. It was most popular back in the 1890s, when it was the 54th most popular girls’ name. It’s a chic alternative to Emma, and one that’s appeared in pop culture, including characters on Desperate Housewives and The Hunger Games.
The 17th most popular name back in 1890 was Clarence—you’ll probably remember it as either the name of George Bailey’s guardian angel in It’s a Wonderful Life, or as the legendary saxophonist Clarence Clemons from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. It’s a lovely name that means bright and clear, and could make a cool comeback name.
Roy seems like it should be a short name that means royal, but it actually means red-headed. It was the 19th most popular name back in the 1890s, and it’s currently in the top 600 names.
Archie, a nickname for Archibald, means brave. This casual name was #89 in the 1890s, and fell out of the top 1000 back in the 1980s. It’s more commonly associated with the comic character or the grumpy Archie Bunker from All in the Family, but maybe it’s time for Archie to have a reboot—especially since it’s becoming more popular over in the UK?
Ernest peaked in the 19th century—perhaps the 21st century is ready for it? It’s a name that means serious, and it’s barely charting in the top 1000 these days. Legendary author Hemingway is the most famous bearer of the name, followed by Ernie of Sesame Street.
I think the silly Simpson dad is keeping Homer—which was #72 back in the 1890s—from staging a comeback. This name has a cool vibe and a cool history, as the author of the Odyssey.
What do you think of these 1890s choices? Anything on there you might consider? If you’re still searching for a baby name, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder for some great suggestions!
Image: 19th century woman by Dolgin Alexander Klimentyevich/Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name Stories, In Name Only, Top Baby Names
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
This really must be the season of the witch—there’s two great witchy new shows, The Witches of East End and American Horror Story: Coven—and now there’s even talk of a Charmed reboot. The cool thing is that many of these witchy characters come with enchanting names that might be worth considering for your daughter.
• Fiona is an Scottish name currently worn by the Witch Supreme in American Horror Story: Coven (and played by the ever-amazing Jessica Lange). It means white or fair—though the current Fiona is hardly a white witch. The name’s been on a slow but steady rise since the early 1990s, and currently is nearing the 200th spot in popularity for girls.
• Willow’s one of the coolest witchy characters, courtesy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s Buffy’s adorably nerdy best pal who dabbles in witchery, until a tragic death makes her go to the dark side. Willow’s an up-and-coming nature name, currently at #171 for girls.
• If you love Harry Potter, odds are good you love one of two witches featured in the story—Hermione, his brilliant BFF, or Luna, the offbeat pal who joins the crew to help defeat Voldemort. Hermione, which means messenger, still hasn’t broken into the top 1000, but not long after J.K. Rowling introduced Luna to the world, the name took off—it went from #890 to #223 in less than a decade.
• Truth be told, I haven’t had a chance to catch Witches of East End yet, but I’m loving the name Freya. It’s a Scandinavian name that means noble, and was also used for Merlin’s love interest on the BBC’s show.
• Wicked turned Glinda the good witch into Galinda, which I like a bit better. No word on the meaning, but I’m guessing it’s something like beautiful, given the “Linda” at the end.
• Phoebe was Alyssa Milano’s witchy Halliwell sister on Charmed. It means “shining one,” and it’s currently #303 in popularity here in the U.S.
• Sabrina was a Celtic goddess long before she was the teenage witch of 1990s sitcom fame. The name is currently #275 here in the U.S.
• Some might call Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks one of rock’s most bewitching singers, but her song Rhiannon was about a truly bewitching character from Welsh legend. The name means “divine queen,” and it was red hot after the song came out—but it dropped out of the top 1000 names back in 2008.
• Anne Rice may be known for her vampire novels, but she also wrote a witch series with a clever heroine, Rowan Mayfair. Rowan is a Scottish name that means red-head, and it’s just about to crack the top 300 in the U.S.
What cool witchy names did I miss? Share your favorites in the comments. And if you want to find out more about a baby name you like, check out our Baby Name Finder!
P.S. Don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names!
Image: Witch baby by Hannamariah/Shutterstock.com
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In Name Only, Must Read, Top Baby Names
Thursday, October 24th, 2013
It’s time to take the baby name time machine back to the era of poodle skirts and young Elvis. And while the baby name Elvis reached its peak back in 1957 (it was #312 then), the most popular names were kind of what you’d expect—as they’re likely the names of your parents or grandparents. James and Mary topped the list, with Michael and Linda in second. James and Michael are still in the tops for boys, but Mary and Linda have fallen off considerably from their peaks.
Some of the names are probably too freshly popular to expect a comeback—names like Gary and Cheryl. But there might be a few gems worth resurrecting. Here are my picks from the top 100 1950s names:
I’ve been trying to resurrect the name Kenneth for a while now. It was #16 back in the 1950s, and has a really cool meaning—who wouldn’t want to call their kid handsome? It’s now in the top 200, but falling slowly.
Bruce, which means from the brushwood thicket, reached its pinnacle of popularity in the 1950s—#32 on the charts back then. With legends like Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Lee and Bruce Willis sporting the name, is it any wonder that it’s back on the map? (It’s risen over 100 places in the last two years alone!)
Dale was the 50th most popular name back in the 1950s, and it officially fell of the map for boys back in 2009. It means valley, and I like it in place of names like Cale and Caleb.
Leonard means brave lion, and it was the 88th most popular name back in the 1950s—today it’s just outside the top 700. It’s a nice way to get that trendy “Leo” nickname, but give your kid a classic name to go with it.
Kathleen is a variant of Caitlin and Katherine, and it has the same meaning—pure. It was #15 back in the 1950s, but today it’s fallen down to #667. It might be a fresh alternative to the now overplayed Caitlin.
Valerie ranked 84th back in the 1950s. It means strong, and it’s leveled off in the top 200 baby names for a while now. Maybe it’s time for a resurgence?
Pamela peaked in the 1950s, at #13—but it dropped out of the top 1000 last year. It’s a name that means “honey,” and maybe deserves another chance? I’m not loving Pam as a nickname, but could a case be made for the fresher “Millie” nickname from it?
Nancy peaked in the 1950s, but has been been taking a nosedive of late. It has a lovely meaning—grace—and that can-do detective Nancy Drew to recommend her. (Plus that spunky Fancy Nancy character is super cute!)
What do you think? Do any of the names suit you, or is there another retro classic you’re considering? If you’re still looking for baby names, try our Baby Name Finder, or keep up with the latest in baby names by liking In Name Only on Facebook!
Plus: See what’s written in the stars for you and Baby with our Mom and Baby Horoscope Finder. Also, be sure to check these must-dos off your Pregnancy To-Do List.
Image: 1950s woman by Yarygin/Shutterstock.com
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baby name, baby name help, baby name ideas, baby name inspiration, boys' names, girl baby names, popular baby names, throwback thursday, top baby names, vintage baby names | Categories:
In Name Only, Must Read, Top Baby Names