Posts Tagged ‘ downton abbey ’

Downton Abbey Baby Names for Girls

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

On paper, Downton Abbey should be a must watch for me—so I don’t know why I’m coming so late to the game. British + Maggie Smith + drama + history = perfect show in my book. Plus, as a name nerd, there’s lots of names to love on the female side of the cast. (Alas, they stuck with some pretty standard and popular fare for the boys, like Thomas and Robert.)

Granted some names, like Violet and Rose, started on the road to popularity before the show aired. But there are still some names that are under the radar—and they’re names that could fit into the current passion for old-fashioned names. Try these on for size:

Cora is the mother of the three Crawley daughters, an American woman who married into British nobility. Her name means “maiden,” and was already launching a comeback before the show aired—it’s currently the 155th most popular baby name for girls.

Mary was the most popular name for girls for centuries, but in recent decades it’s been on the decline. Maybe Lady Mary Crawley, the eldest daughter in the wealthy family who lords over Downton Abbey, can help restore its luster.

Edith is probably my favorite of the sisters’ names—it means prosperous, and after a sharp decline over the past 50 years, it started climbing back up the charts as soon as the show started airing.

Sybil is the youngest and most modern Crawley daughter, who ends up marrying one of her family’s staff members. Her name means prophetess, and hasn’t been in the top 1000 in decades. Perhaps it’s ready for a comeback now?

Daisy and Ivy are a pair of servants, each with a lovely botanical name. They’re both currently top 200 names in the U.S., and top 100 in England.

Isobel is the Scottish variant spelling of the ever popular Isabella, which means pledged to God. And unlike the #3 name Isabella, Isobel hasn’t been in the top 1000 in nearly a century.

Anna has been a top 100 baby name for over a century—and it’s the name for one of the stalwarts of the Downton Abbey staff. It means grace—and is a perfect choice for the kind and honorable lady’s maid Anna.

What’s your favorite Downton Abbey name? Share it in the comments.

If you’re still looking for baby names, try our Baby Name Finder!

Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name
Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name
Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name

Image: Downton Abbey by Dutourdumonde Photography/



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No One’s Naming Their Daughters Mary—Should You?

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

It’s not entirely true that no one is naming their daughter Mary—in fact, my daughters share a best friend named Mary. But that’s the lament of sociologist Philip Cohen in a recent article in The Atlantic. The name Mary was the most popular girls’ name for decades, but it’s fallen to 112th place and is still on the decline.

He cites several reasons for Mary’s fall from baby-name grace. There’s the well-documented rise in interest in choosing unique “individualized” names for your children—and the fact that devout Christians are eschewing the name of Mary for more offbeat choices like Nevaeh (which is “heaven” spelled backwards, in case you didn’t know).

But Mary’s a name worth saving—even if its meaning, bitter, isn’t exactly all sunshine and rainbows. For those who don’t feel religious enough to want to name their daughters after the Biblical mother of Jesus, the name still has plenty of historical and pop culture gravitas: There’s a slew of Queen Marys, Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, and pop-culture wise, Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey, and the magical nanny Mary Poppins.

It’s sad to see any name fall so precipitously from popularity—my own name, Lisa, was tops on the charts in the 70s, but now has fallen to #703 and is still on the way down. But Mary, somehow, seems a little bit sadder, since it was such a powerhouse name for so many years, and has such a wonderful history. You can expect to see both Mary and Lisa—and fellow fallen-from-grace names like Linda, Barbara, Harold and Gerald—continue to fall for a while before being rediscovered by a later generation. Maybe my grandchildren will have a Lisa or a Mary in their class.

What do you think? What names do you think are on their way out of popularity? And do you think Mary or another of these names deserves a second look?

Don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook so you can keep up with the latest in baby names!

Photo: Stained glass window image of Mary by AJE /


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