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girl 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
Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Were the 1970s long enough ago that the top names of the era deserve another look? Top girls’ names like Jennifer and Lisa may be a little too overdone to make a comeback now—and top boys’ names like Michael and Christopher never exactly go out of vogue. But the age of disco does have a few names in the top 100 that might be worth a second glance.
Kevin didn’t exactly drop too far from its pinnacle in the 1970s. It was #13 back then, but #67 now. The Irish name means handsome—and is a nice break from the Celtic Aidens and Dylans.
Jeremy, on the other hand, has fallen mightily from its peak in the 1970s—it was often a top 20 name, but now, this name that means “appointed by God,” is well below the top 100.
Gregory means vigilant—this #29 name in the 1970s has fallen to the top 300. I kind of like it in lieu of the equally classic Gabriel. Gregory’s a saint’s name and the name of legendary actor Gregory Peck.
Craig was the #56 baby name in the 1970s. But this name, which means “from the rocks,” has had a rocky time since then—it’s been on a precipitous fall from grace since the early 1990s. I like it in place of Caleb or Carter.
Shane is a real “cowboy” name, thanks to the film. It’s on a long, slow slide currently, after being the #60 name in the 1970s. Perhaps the fact that it’s been in a number of modern hits, including The Walking Dead, may give it a new lease on life.
Angela was red hot in the 1970s—a top 10 baby name all the way. I’m seeing it as an alternative to the uberpopular Amelia. What do you think?
I’m a little sad to see the name Tracy (the 1970s 24th most popular name) fall so far—my sister was given the variant spelling Tracey back in the 1970s. My mom seemed to know how to pick names at their pinnacle of popularity! Tracy’s now fallen completely out of the top 1000, though it could make a lovely name for a boy, too—think Tracy Morgan.
Dawn was the perfect popular name for the post-hippie 1970s—and it’s no wonder it was the 26th most popular name. It fell out of the top 1000 at the dawn of the century, but might make a sweet middle name, if nothing else.
Monica was the perfect name for the Friends character who seemed to run the whole group—it means advisor. It was in the top 45 back in the 1970s, but these days, it’s hanging around in the top 500.
Melanie means dark, and it’s held pretty steady in the bottom of the top 100 ever since it hit #56 in the 1970s. It’s most famous as the name of Scarlett O’Hara’s best friend/rival from the classic Gone With the Wind.
What do you think? Any of these 70 names worth a comeback? If you still haven’t found a baby name you love, email your question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out our Baby Name Finder for more help!
Image: Disco chick by Nemanya/Shutterstock.com
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In Name Only, 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
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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