Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Favorite Posts of 2013


Happy New Year! 2013 has been a very exciting year for NameFreak! and I expect that 2014 will be even better. Posts have not been as plentiful over the past several months due to the holidays, travels, visitors, and a project I am working on, the last of which I hope to share that with you next year. But for now, a little recap in the form of a list: my seven favorite posts from 2013...

7. Inspiration from Place Names - I love finding names from inspiration. And since I also love to travel, this was a fun post to write. What inspiration can you find from places you've been?

6. Names Over Three Generations - It's still lacking the cool graphic, but the information from this analysis is quite compelling.

5. Where Are They Now? - A Final Look at 1911's Top 100 - The last look at a series I worked on at the end of last year, this post sums it all up and makes some interesting observations about the names from 100 years ago to today.

4. G Names: Then and Now - My favorite of all the "Then and Now" posts due to the pretty visual the research creates. Do you prefer the hard G or the soft G?

3. From Feminine to Unisex - One of the things I discovered in the research I've been doing on the history of popular names is the change of preference from feminizing masculine names to actually using masculine names. It was a fascinating discovery and makes me wonder if the trend will ever reverse?

2. Little Women - A Sibling Study - It was really enjoyable to see the similarities between the fiction and the non-fiction in Louisa May Alcott's masterpiece and to contemplate her motivations in naming the characters.

1. Play Ball!: Baseball-Inspired Names - It's probably no surprise that this is my favorite post of the year, and probably of the entire blog so far. It is also one of the posts that has received the most hits. I love baseball and I love names... this post puts the two together.

Thank you for continuing this adventure with me! Wishing you a wonderful 2014!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Frozen and Hans Christian Andersen

Image via imdb.com

I seriously loved Frozen. I will not go into why I loved it in case you haven't seen it yet, but just know it's... unique.

Did you know that Frozen is based off of The Snow Queen, written by Hans Christian Andersen? Did you realize that a few of the names from Frozen are from HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN?

Hans - love interest for Anna
Kristoff - helps Anna get to her sister
Anna - sister of the Snow Queen

As for the other characters of Frozen, we cannot get any better:

Sven - the reindeer
Olaf - the snowman
Kai - servant in the royal house, but also one of the original character names in HCA's The Snow Queen
Gerda - servant in the royal house, but also one of the original character names in HCA's The Snow Queen
Oaken - runs a trading post
Sitron - Hans' horse; while his name is never mentioned in the film, the director announced his name on her Twitter account; Sitron is Norwegian for "lemon"

And last, but certainly not least, is the Snow Queen herself, Elsa... in my humble opinion, the most fascinating character in Frozen (and possibly the entire Disney library). The name Elsa is a short form of Elisabeth, and has usage in German, Swedish, Finnish, and Italian. All of the names in the movie have Norwegian usage, and Elsa is very popular in the next country over, Sweden. Currently ranked #551, it is on the rise in the United States along with Elsie (currently #397), and I wonder if its popularity will jump significantly in the United States in 2014.

Do you think the movie will inspire parents to use these names? Which is your favorite?

And for fun, what other names can we get from HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN? Use the letters or just use the names as inspiration. Get creative! Here are just a few I thought of...

Tiana (chrisTIAN Andersen)


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The -ette's

Image via Wikipedia

I recently returned from a fabulous vacation where I was surrounded by people from other countries. I heard several names of course, but one that stuck out to me was Lambette. Lambette was a young French woman, probably in her 20s, who didn't speak English or else I probably would have asked her about her name. I cannot find much use of the name online, and while there were five boys named Lamb in the United States in 1924, there have been no recorded uses of Lambette. Interesting.

This inspired me to look up names ending in the lovely -ette. Just as Lambette was French, the -ette suffix has a very French feel, probably because most of the names are French diminutives. Words ending with -ette are also diminutives, such as kitchenette, which is a small kitchen and novelette, which is a brief novel or long short story. While some may see this as an inferiority or insignificance, I personally love these names, and I am astounded to find that they do not seem to be used as much currently. I mean, they provide for the great nicknames of Etta and Ettie!

I've compiled a list of -ette names from the 2012 list. Some are alternative spelling of other names, some are oldies but goodies, and some are just unique...

Amorette 8
Annette 213
Antoinette 82
Arlette 142
Bernadette 82
Bette 5
Bridgette 189
Chrisette 48
Claudette 11
Colette 424
Cosette 85
Danette 7
Evalette 12
Everette 12
Georgette 23
Jeanette 105
Jette 15
Josette 51
Juliette 1025
Lisette 65
Lizette 104
Lovette 10
Lynette 100
Nanette 13
Nicolette 158
Odette 40
Paulette 85
Scarlette 264
Suzette 38
Violette 104
Yvette 152

In 2012, the only exclusively male name ending in -ette is Lafayette, which was given to 15 boys. Lafayette is popular in the United States due to the French general who aided the US during the Revolutionary War. So, while the name may not be a French diminutive, it is French.

Historically, there were more -ette names in the Top 1000 than there are now. In 2012, the only -ette names ranked are Juliette #310, Collette #659, and Scarlette #956. One hundred years ago, there were 17:

Jeanette #159
Antoinette #181
Jeannette #192
Annette #241
Bernadette #359
Harriette #408
Juliette #493
Margarette #586
Everette #601 (boy)
Antonette #659
Violette #666
Bette #712
Janette #727
Lafayette #729 (boy)
Yvette #747
Laurette #876
Burdette #952

Fifty years ago, there were 27:

Annette #71
Jeanette #158
Yvette #170
Lynette #251
Antoinette #280
Bernadette #285
Paulette #321
Jeannette #333
Nanette #347
Suzette #388
Janette #414
Lynnette #437
Colette #438
Bridgette #453
Danette #462
Nannette #540
Claudette #586
Ivette #668
Georgette #717
Everette #723 (boy)
Antionette #799
Collette #857
Lanette #881
Evette #887
Brigette #895
Juliette #901
Babette #939

The number of -ette names in use has definitely decreased of late. Another interesting thing to note is the change in which -ette name was/is the most popular...

Jeanette/Jeannette 1880-1945
Paulette 1946
Jeanette 1947
Paulette 1948-1949
Jeanette 1950-1955
Annette 1956-1978
Jeanette 1979-1992
Nicolette 1993-1998
Lizette 1999-2000
Juliette 2001-2012

What do you think of -ette names? Are they "old" or dated? What is your favorite -ette name?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Name Madness 2013 Winners!

Image via Wikipedia

Five weeks ago, we started with 64 European names and now we have our winners! After the 97 votes were counted, the results were not as close as I would have guessed...

Anastasia 37%
Matilda 63%

Callum 57%
Ronan 43%

Congratulations to Matilda and Callum!

Matilda had to get past Milena, Natalia, Linnéa, Thea, and finally, Anastasia to claim the title for the girls. She met her fiercest competition in the fourth round against Thea.

Callum passed Bram, Bendt, Aleksi, Enzo, and finally, Ronan to claim the title for the boys. He met his fiercest competition in the first round against Bram.

Western European names came up with the victory for both boys and girls. What do you think? Is this the final outcome you predicted?

Thanks again for making this a fabulous tournament with both your name suggestions and votes! I'm already looking forward to deciding next year's theme and candidates!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Heisman Trophy Winners

Image via Wikipedia

The list of nominees for this year's Heisman Trophy was announced the other day, and I don't know about you, but the most interesting nominee isn't AJ, Tre, Johnny, Jordan, or Andre. It's Jameis. Where did that come from? I cannot find anything on it, and if you don't know anything about me yet, you should know that when my curiosity is piqued, a post usually happens. What other great names can we find among Heisman Trophy winners?

One more thing about the current nominees... AJ's given name is Raymond Anthony McCarron, Jr. I love surprises.

On to the list. Here are the names of past Heisman Trophy winners. Maybe you college-football-loving parents out there can find a gem that works for you...

1935 - John Jacob "Jay" Berwanger (Chicago)
1936 - Lawrence Morgan "Larry" Kelley (Yale)
1937 - Clinton E. "Clint" Frank (Yale)
1938 - Robert David "Davey" O'Brien (Texas Christian University)
1939 - Nile Clarke Kinnick, Jr. (Iowa)
1940 - Thomas Dudley "Tom" Harmon (Michigan)
1941 - Bruce P. Smith (Minnesota)
1942 - Frank Francis Sinkwich, Sr. (Georgia)
1943 - Angelo Bortolo Bertelli (Notre Dame)
1944 - Leslie "Les" Horvath (Ohio State)
1945 - Felix Anthony "Doc" Blanchard (Army)
1946 - Glenn Woodward Davis (Army)
1947 - John Christopher "Johnny" Lujack, Jr. (Notre Dame)
1948 - Ewell Doak "Doak" Walker, Jr. (Southern Methodist University)
1949 - Leon Joseph Hart (Notre Dame)
1950 - Victor Felix "Vic" Janowicz (Ohio State)
1951 - Richard William "Dick" Kazmaier, Jr. (Princeton)
1952 - Billy Vessels (Oklahoma)
1953 - John Joseph "Johnny" Lattner (Notre Dame)
1954 - Lino Dante "Alan" Ameche (Wisconsin)
1955 - Howard Albert Cassady (Ohio State)
1956 - Paul Vernon Hornung (Notre Dame)
1957 - John David Crow (Texas A&M)
1958 - Peter Miller "Pete" Dawkins (Army)
1959 - William Abb "Billy" Cannon (Louisiana State University)
1960 - Joseph Michael "Joe" Bellino (Navy)
1961 - Ernest "Ernie" Davis (Syracuse)
1962 - Terry Wayne Baker (Oregon State)
1963 - Roger Thomas Staubach (Navy)
1964 - John Gregory Huarte (Notre Dame)
1965 - Michael Lockett Garrett (University of Southern California)
1966 - Stephen Orr "Steve" Spurrier (Florida)
1967 - Gary Joseph Beban (University of California Los Angeles)
1968 - Orenthal James "O.J." Simpson (University of Southern California)
1969 - Loren Everett "Steve" Owens (Oklahoma)
1970 - James William "Jim" Plunkett (Stanford)
1971 - Patrick Joseph "Pat" Sullivan (Auburn)
1972 - Johnny Steven Rodgers (Nebraska)
1973 - John Cappelletti (Penn State)
1974 & 1975 - Archie Mason Griffin (Ohio State)
1976 - Anthony Drew "Tony" Dorsett (Pittsburgh)
1977 - Earl Christian Campbell (Texas)
1978 - Billy Ray Sims (Oklahoma)
1979 - Charles Raymond White (University of Southern California)
1980 - George Washington Rogers (South Carolina)
1981 - Marcus LeMarr Allen (University of Southern California)
1982 - Herschel Junior Walker (Georgia)
1983 - Michael T. "Mike" Rozier (Nebraska)
1984 - Douglas Richard "Doug" Flutie (Boston College)
1985 - Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson (Auburn)
1986 - Vincent Frank "Vinny" Testaverde (Miami)
1987 - Timothy Donell "Tim" Brown (Notre Dame)
1988 - Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State)
1989 - Andre Ware (Houston)
1990 - Ty Hubert Detmer (Brigham Young University)
1991 - Desmond Kevin Howard (Michigan)
1992 - Gino Louis Torretta (Miami)
1993 - Charlie Ward, Jr. (Florida State)
1994 - Rashaan Iman Salaam (Colorado)
1995 - Edward Nathan "Eddie" George, Jr. (Ohio State)
1996 - Daniel Carl "Danny" Wuerffel (Florida)
1997 - Charles Woodson (Michigan)
1998 - Errick Lynne "Ricky" Williams, Jr. (Texas)
1999 - Ronald "Ron" Dayne (Wisconsin)
2000 - Christopher Jon "Chris" Weinke (Florida State)
2001 - Eric Eugene Crouch (Nebraska)
2002 - Carson Hilton Palmer (University of Southern California)
2003 - Jason White (Oklahoma)
2004 - Matthew Stephen "Matt" Leinart (University of Southern California)
2005 - Reginald Alfred "Reggie" Bush, Jr. (University of Southern California) *vacated
2006 - Troy James Smith (Ohio State)
2007 - Timothy Richard "Tim" Tebow (Florida)
2008 - Samuel Jacob "Sam" Bradford (Oklahoma)
2009 - Mark Ingram, Jr. (Alabama)
2010 - Cameron Jerrell "Cam" Newton (Auburn)
2011 - Robert Lee Griffin III (Baylor)
2012 - Jonathan Paul "Johnny" Manziel (Texas A&M)

It's probably no surprise that the most popular Heisman Trophy winner name is John/Jonathon/Johnny.

What name catches your eye on this list? I couldn't help but be diverted by Nile.

Information from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Name Madness 2013 - FINAL ROUND

Bingo Number 64

Image by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

We started with 64 names... 32 girl names and 32 boy names... from all over Europe. And now we are finally down to the final!

Wow. The contests between the girl names in Round 4 were TIGHT. In the end, there were 85 responses and there were hardly more than three or four votes between the names in both match-ups throughout the week. Match-up #1 ended with a one vote difference. The contests between the boy names were not as close, but I think the results leave a very interesting final! Here are the results to Round 4:

Anastasia 51%
Imogen 49%

Matilda 52%
Thea 48%

Callum 71%
Enzo 29%

Luka 39%
Ronan 61%

Did you think Anastasia would come out ahead of the popular-with-baby-name-lovers Imogen? And how about Matilda coming out ahead of short-but-sweet Thea? Meanwhile, Callum put a beating on the Italian/French Enzo, and Ronan quietly ends up in the final after taking out the immensely-popular-in-Europe Luka. Are you surprised with the results? Shocked? Disappointed? Thrilled?

SO... here's the FINAL:

Anastasia vs. Matilda. A name more popular in the eastern part of Europe vs. a name more popular in the western part of Europe.

Callum vs. Ronan. A name almost strictly used in the UK and Ireland (but is slowly rising in the US) vs. a name almost strictly used in Ireland.

Do you know what you are going to vote for???? Your response may be automatic or it may take some thought, but in any case, it's time to vote!

You have until Sunday, December 15 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Name Madness 2013 should be published on Monday, December 16. Have fun!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Name Madness 2013 - Round 4

Number 4
Image by David Wilkinson via Flickr

Thank you to the 93 people who voted in Round 3! There were a lot of tight contests and no runaway winners. It just keeps getting better and better! Here are the results...

Anastasia 53%
Eleni 47%

Élodie 43%
Imogen 57%

Linnéa 47%
Matilda 53%

Saoirse 40%
Thea 60%

Aleksi 39%
Callum 61%

Enzo 60%
Gustav 40%

Luka 57%
Otto 43%

Raphael 40%
Ronan 60%

All I have to say is... *sniff* Otto. :(

We are down to the Elite Eight! There is still a wide variety of names left in the contest... did you think these would be the final eight?

You have until Sunday, December 8 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Round 4 and the ballot for the FINAL should be published on Monday, December 9. Have fun!


Friday, November 29, 2013

Names from Christmas Song Titles

1967.  Christmas Music
Image by Diana Susselman via Flickr

It's the day after Thanksgiving... time to start the Christmas music! I love listening to Christmas music from morning until night, every day until Christmas is over. There are tons of names inspired by Christmas and, more specifically, it's music. To begin this holiday season, I have gathered names taken from Christmas song titles. Of course, a lot of these are names from the general Christmas season, but it's fun to seek inspiration from the titles alone!

Angel - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Bell - Jingle Bell Rock

Blue - Blue Christmas

Carol - Carol of the Bells

Christmas - White Christmas

Darling - Merry Christmas, Darling

Drummer - The Little Drummer Boy

Emmanuel - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Eve - Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)

Faith - Faith of our Fathers

Frost - Frosty the Snowman

Holiday - Happy Holiday

Holly - A Holly Jolly Christmas

Ivy - The Holly and the Ivy

Joseph - Joseph and Mary's Boy

Joy - Joy to the World

Maria - Ave Maria

Mary - Mary, Did You Know?

Merry - We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Midnight - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Nicholas - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Nick - Little Saint Nick

Noel - The First Noel

River - River

Rudolph - Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Shepherd - While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night

Silver - Silver Bells

Snow - Let It Snow

Wenceslas - Good King Wenceslas

Winter - Winter Wonderland

It's kind of a stretch, but what about Mele Kalikimaka? The Hawaiian way to say Merry Christmas could be a cute name if shortened... Kali, Kiki? I guess the same could also be said for Feliz Navidad... Navi?

Have I missed any? What is your favorite name inspired by a Christmas song title?


Monday, November 25, 2013

Name Madness 2013 - Round 3

Number 3
Image by delitefulimage via Flickr

There were 95 responses for Round 2... THANK YOU for voting! Several of the match-ups were close the entire week, which means the competition will just get more and more fierce. Here are the results for Round 2:

Anastasia 55%
Ariadne 45%

Blanca 21%
Eleni 79%

Élodie 55%
Francesca 45%

Imogen 52%
Isla 48%

Leonie 46%
Linnéa 54%

Matilda 62%
Natalia 38%

Pia 32%
Saoirse 68%

Thea 60%
Zoe 40%

Aleksi 52%
Andreas 48%

Bendt 17%
Callum 83%

Cillian 47%
Enzo 53%

Gustav 64%
Kacper 36%

León 33%
Luka 67%

Milan 37%
Otto 63%

Petros 21%
Raphael 79%

Ronan 75%
Viggo 25%

Are you surprised by any of the results? It's fun to try to guess whether or not you all voted a certain way because you love the name you chose or because you really dislike the name you didn't choose. Any thoughts or do you care to share your reasons for voting a certain way?

Time for Round 3!

You have until Sunday, December 1 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Round 2 and the ballot for Round 3 should be published on Monday, December 2. Have fun!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Hidden Gems of 1963

Today is the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. It was a tragic and life-altering incident in American history, the September 11th of a previous generation. I have written how the name Fitzgerald became more popular after this event (ranked #1062 with 52 births in 1963 and #691 with 125 births in 1964), and now I wonder what other names ranked between #1000 and #1500 in 1963 can and should be considered currently. Isn't it crazy how an event or even an anniversary of an event can spark inspiration for a name post?

I picked some names that were ranked between #1000 and #1500 in 1963 and listed them below with the number of babies given the name in that year. Interestingly enough, these names are not so different in terms of use today...

GIRLS (Name #of births in 1963... #of births in 2012)
Petra 112... 118
May 110... 106
Millicent 110... 71
Gilda 109... 8
Fern 108... 45
Octavia 103... 79
Opal 97... 105
Effie 89... 37
Winona 79... 32
Elma 76... 33
Theodora 75... 67
Phaedra 70... 37
Linnea 69... 146
Lisette 69... 65
Coral 68... 160
Pandora 68... 56
Selma 66... 72
Bronwyn 63... 51
Inga 59... 20
Wilhelmina 59... 63

It's also fun to note that Ashley, Sophie, Mia, Sofia, Zoe, Ellie, Meghan, Samantha, and Gabriela were all between #1000 and #1500 in 1963.

Not as many of the boy names jumped out at me, but it's still interesting to see the comparison between their usage in 1963 versus 50 years later.

Leander 57... 57
Octavio 53... 158
Fitzgerald 52... 12
Lucius 51... 117
Oren 48... 127
Hardy 46... 26
Noble 41... 115
Olin 41... 80
Gray 38... 120
Ford 30... 170

Caleb, Logan, and Liam were also between #1000 and #1500 in 1963.

Are you like me in wanting to hear more of these names in 2013? Which one is your favorite?


Monday, November 18, 2013

Name Madness 2013 - Round 2

number 2
Image by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

Thank you for the tremendous turnout in Round 1! There were 83 votes tabulated, more than double the most votes we had in last year's Name Madness. Much appreciation to those who linked to it, including Appellation Mountain and Name News! I hope the trend continues with the next round!

Now down to the results. As I periodically checked the way the votes were going, I saw several leads change hands as well as a couple of match-ups go down to the wire. Here they are (winners in bold)...

Anastasia 53%
Anya 47%

Aoife 40%
Ariadne 60%

Blanca 54%
Edyta 46%

Eleni 72%
Eliška 28%

Élodie 71%
Fleur 29%

Francesca 71%
Giulia 29%

Ilse 34%
Imogen 66%

Isla 88%
Jadwiga 12%

Lena 48%
Leonie 52%

Linnéa 57%
Lucía 43%

Matilda 76%
Milena 24%

Natalia 72%
Oona 28%

Pia 83%
Pinja 17%

Saoirse 70%
Selma 30%

Thea 72%
Valeria 28%

Zoe 58%
Zora 42%

Aleksi 81%
Alvaro 19%

Andreas 84%
Attila 16%

Bendt 62%
Bogdan 38%

Bram 45%
Callum 55%

Cillian 57%
Emil 43%

Enzo 73%
Florian 27%

Guillermo 35%
Gustav 65%

Iker 46%
Kacper 54%

León 71%
Livio 29%

Lorcán 48%
Luka 52%

Maxime 45%
Milan 55%

Moritz 25%
Otto 75%

Panagiotis 6%
Petros 94%

Raphael 76%
Rasmus 24%

Ronan 89%
Sergei 11%

Tiago 46%
Viggo 54%

The Tiago/Viggo fight went back and forth the entire time... I had no idea who was going to come out on top in the end. Same with Lorcán/Luka. I'm a bit bummed Rasmus lost, as I had grown fond of it in my research for this tournament. On the girl side, I am thrilled Saoirse won, as it is a name that came to my attention when I was pregnant with my daughter and has always caught my eye since. I'm glad Leonie pulled through (picked from my memories of living in Germany), and a bit disappointed both Jadwiga and Milena didn't win (picked from my memories of living in Poland). But the names that beat them are fabulous as well, so the disappointment didn't last long!

What do you think of the results? Any huge surprises or disappointments for you? Is there any name you are ecstatic it's still around?

Now on to Round 2!

You have until Sunday, November 24 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Round 2 and the ballot for Round 3 should be published on Monday, November 25. Have fun!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Ender's Game

The movie Ender's Game is based on a book of the same title. My husband wanted to see it and I tagged along, not knowing I would be entering another small treasure trove of names. Like... did you know the main character's name is Ender?

Ender - His real name is Andrew, but he is called Ender due to his sister's mispronunciation of his given name. While it is more of a nickname in the book/movie, the name Ender in Turkish means "very rare", which is actually very appropriate for this story.

Petra - Petra is a friend of Ender's, and her name is the feminine form of Peter found in many Scandinavian and Central European countries. Petra has also been ranked in the U.S., mostly in the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s.

Mazer - Mazer is a hero figure in the movie, and it has been said that the author based his name off of the first president of BYU, Karl Maeser. It sounds like razor and could also be seen as a word (a large drinking bowl or goblet), but it is also a surname.

Valentine - Ender's sister is the most important person in his life, and she has a name that is considered both masculine and feminine.

Bonzo - Born Bonito, Bonzo is a member of the Battle School with Ender. According to the book, it is pronounced "bone-so", which takes away from a Gonzo-sounding name.

Alai - Pronounced "ah-lie", the character Alai is a Muslim member of the Battle School, although in my research I have found Alai as a Gaelic name.

Dink - A lot of us may see this as slang for "dual income, no kids", but in the book he is a Dutch member of the Battle School. The name Dink was ranked in the U.S. in 1883 and 1892.

Bernard - Another member of the Battle School, the movie character of Bernard is one who was a jerk at first and then grows to be an ally to Ender. Bernard was a popular name in the early 1900s, but has fallen away as time passed.

I would also like to mention some of the names of the actors who portrayed the characters in the movie: Asa, Harrison, Viola, Aramis, Suraj, Moises, and Khylin are all pretty fantastic in their own right.

What do you think of Ender and his counterparts? Would you use any of them?

Thank you to Wikipedia for the above information, since I didn't read the book.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Name Madness 2013 - Round 1

Number One
Image by John Ayo via Flickr

How did I pick the names for Name Madness 2013, you may wonder? Well, narrowing down all the possible European names out there to 64 was not easy, but I selected names from your suggestions, lists of recent top names in European countries, and my personal favorites. These names have European roots and/or are European versions of other names. Most of them have been used or have a form from all around the continent. Before I present the ballot, I would like to give a bit of a description of each name in the tournament (thank you to Behind the Name, Baby Name Wizard, and Baby Name Facts for the information).

Anastasia - Feminine form of the Greek Anastasios. Usage in Greek, Russian, English and Spanish. Recently popular in Russia and Ukraine.
Anya - Russian diminutive of Anna. Usage in Russian.
Aoife - Pronounced EE-fa. Means "beauty" in Gaelic. Usage in Irish. Recently popular in Ireland.
Ariadne - Means "most holy" and from Greek Mythology. Usage in Greek Mythology.
Blanca - Means "white" and a Spanish form of Blanche. Usage in Spanish. Recently popular in Spain, Hungary, and Poland (also spelled Blanka).
Edyta - Polish form of Edith. Usage in Polish.
Eleni - Variant of Elene or Helene. Usage in Greek. Recently popular in Greece.
Eliška - Czech and Slovak diminutive of Elizabeth. Usage in Czech and Slovak. Recently popular in Czech Republic.
Élodie - French form of Alodia. Usage in French.
Fleur - Means "flower" in French. Usage in French, Dutch and English. Recently popular in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Francesca - Italian feminine form of Francis. Usage in Italian and Catalan. Recently popular in England and Italy.
Giulia - Pronounced JOOL-yah. Italian feminine form of Julius. Usage in Italian. Recently popular in Italy, Hungary, Finland, Liechtenstein, and Spain (also spelled Julia).
Ilse - German and Dutch diminutive form of Elizabeth. Usage in German and Dutch. Recently popular in Spain and Finland (also spelled Elsa).
Imogen - Pronounced IM-ə-jən. From Shakespeare. Usage in English. Recently popular in England and Scotland.
Isla - Pronounced IE-lə. Variant of Islay. Usage in Scottish. Recently popular in England, Scotland, Ireland and Finland.
Jadwiga - Pronounced yahd-VEE-gah. Polish form of Hedwig. Usage in Polish.
Lena - Scandinavian, German and Polish diminutive of Helena and Russian diminutive of Yelena. Usage in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, Russian, English, Italian, and Portuguese. Recently popular in Ireland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Germany, and Serbia.
Leonie - Pronounced LE-o-nee. German feminine form of Leonius. Usage in German. Recently popular in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Liechtenstein.
Linnéa - Pronounced lin-NE-ah. From the name of a flower. Usage in Swedish. Recently popular in Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
Lucía - Pronounced loo-THEE-ah (Spanish) or loo-SEE-ah (Latin American Spanish). Spanish feminine form of Lucius. Usage in Spanish. Recently popular in Spain.
Matilda - From the German name Mahthildis. Usage in English, Swedish, Finnish and Slovak. Recently popular in England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, and France.
Milena - Feminine form of Milan. Usage in Czech, Russian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Polish, and Italian. Recently popular in Poland and Armenia.
Natalia - Polish, Italian, Spanish and Romanian form of Natalie. Usage in Polish, Italian, Spanish, and Romanian. Recently popular in Spain, Poland and Slovakia.
Oona - Irish variant and Finnish form of Úna. Usage in Irish and Finnish. Recently popular in Finland and Belgium.
Pia - Feminine form of Pius. Usage in Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Polish, and Slovene. Recently popular in Austria and Germany.
Pinja - Means "stone pine" in Finnish. Usage in Finnish. Recently popular in Finland.
Saoirse - Pronounced SEER-sha. Means "freedom" in Irish Gaelic. Usage in Irish. Recently popular in Ireland.
Selma - Possibly a diminutive of Anselma. Usage in English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish. Recently popular in Sweden and Norway.
Thea - Diminutive of Dorothea or Theodora. Usage in German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and English. Recently popular in Sweden and Norway.
Valeria - Feminine form of Valerius. Usage in Italian, Spanish, Romanian, and German. Recently popular in Russia.
Zoe - Means "life" in Greek. Usage in English, Greek, and Italian. Recently popular in England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, France and Liechtenstein.
Zora - Means "dawn, aurora" in Slavic. Usage in Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Bulgarian, and Macedonian.

Aleksi - Finnish form of Alexis. Usage in Finnish. Recently popular in Finland.
Álvaro - Spanish form of Alvar. Usage in Spanish or Portuguese. Recently popular in Spain.
Andreas - Ancient Greek and Latin form of Andrew. Usage in German, Greek, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, and Welsh. Recently popular in Denmark, Norway and Austria.
Attila - Means "little father" from the Gothic "atta." Usage in Hungarian. Recently popular in Hungary.
Bendt - Danish form of Benedict. Usage in Danish.
Bogdan - Means "given by God" in Slavic. Usage in Polish, Russian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Romanian. Recently popular in Romania.
Bram - Diminutive of Abraham. Usage in English and Dutch. Recently popular in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Callum - Scottish form of Columbia. Usage in Scottish. Recently popular in England, Scotland and Ireland.
Cillian - Means "church" in Gaelic. Usage in Irish. Recently popular in Ireland.
Emil - Means "rival" in Latin. Usage in German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Czech, Polish, Slovene, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and English. Recently popular in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Austria, and Bulgaria.
Enzo - Diminutive of Lorenzo. Usage in Italian and French. Recently popular in France, Belgium and Switzerland.
Florian - A derivative of Florus. Usage in German, Polish and French. Recently popular in Austria, Belgium and Switzerland.
Guillermo - Spanish form of William. Usage in Spanish. Recently popular in Spain.
Gustav - Derived from the Slavic name Gostislav. Usage in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and German. Recently popular in Denmark and Sweden.
Iker - Means "visitation" in Basque. Usage in Basque. Recently popular in Spain.
Kacper - Polish form of Jasper. Usage in Polish. Recently popular in Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland and Hungary (also spelled Casper and Kasper).
Leon - Means "lion" in Greek. Usage in English, German, Polish, Slovene, and Croatian. Recently popular in England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Poland, Croatia, Liechtenstein and Slovenia.
Livio - Italian form of Livius. Usage in Italian.
Lorcán - Means "little fierce one" in Gaelic. Usage in Irish. Recently popular in Ireland.
Luka - Form of Luke. Usage in Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Macedonian, and Georgian. Recently popular in England, Scotland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Croatia, Finland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Serbia and Slovenia (also spelled Luca).
Maxime - French form of Maximus. Usage in French. Recently popular in Belgium, France, Switzerland and Ukraine.
Milan - From the Slavic element meaning "gracious, dear." Usage in Czech, Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Dutch. Recently popular in Belgium, Hungary and the Netherlands.
Moritz - German form of Maurice. Usage in German. Recently popular in Austria and Germany.
Otto - From the Germanic element meaning "wealth, fortune." Usage in German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, English, and Finnish. Recently popular in Sweden and Finland.
Panagiotis - Means "all holy" in Greek. Usage in Greek. Recently popular in Greece.
Petros - Greek and Armenian form of Peter. Usage in Greek and Armenian.
Raphael - From the Hebrew. Usage in German, French, and English. Recently popular in France, Spain, Austria, Armenia, and Liechtenstein.
Rasmus - Scandinavian form of Erasmus. Usage in Swedish, Norwegian, and Dutch. Recently popular in Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Ronan - Means "little seal" in Irish. Usage in Irish. Recently popular in Ireland.
Sergei - Russian and Bulgarian form of Sergius. Usage in Russian and Bulgerian.
Tiago - Portuguese form of James. Usage in Portuguese. Recently popular in Switzerland.
Viggo - From the Old Norse element meaning "war." Usage in Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish. Recently popular in Sweden.

What do you think? Are you as excited about this as I am?

Without further ado, here is the ballot for Round 1! You have until Sunday, November 17 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Round 1 and the ballot for Round 2 should be published on Monday, November 18. Have fun!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

*ber* Names

Last year, my November post was about names beginning with Nov. One of the best things about that post is the mention of Ember as a cute nickname for November. Are there any other names containing *ber* that I would like? Hmmm....

I grabbed some of the *ber* names from the 2012 list. Separated by gender, I listed the most popular spelling of each name and put any unisex name in the gender group in which it is more popular.



Lots of good ones on the list! It had previously escaped me that one of my favorite place names contains *ber* (Berlin), and now I see that people have also used other place names (Aberdeen, Abernathy, and Alberta). All of the *ber* months are included, as is the very patriotic Liberty. There are also those names that use the pronunciation "bear" instead of "burr", including Berry, Beryl, Colbert and Huckleberry, not to mention the alternative pronunciations of such names as Alberto and Roberto. While Bertha is widely considered too "old" of a name (28 girls were given the name in 2012), what about Berenice (129 girls in 2012)? And on the boy side, there are several "bert" names to consider, but I think my favorite one on the list is Oberon (although I do have a soft spot for Tiberius thanks to Captain Kirk).

What is your favorite *ber* name?


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Name Madness 2013: Theme!

And the theme winner is... European Names!

The theme for Name Madness 2013 has been decided by you! Thank you to those who voted. Now it's up to you to share some of your favorite European names... boy and girl names that root in European countries or are the European version of names. Examples could include Esmé, Cillian, Catalina or Florian. Remember... I need 64 total names (32 boys and 32 girls), so please comment!

Name Madness 2013 will start in November so be on the lookout for the bracket in the next few weeks!


Monday, October 7, 2013

On Vacation... But Make Sure to Vote!

NameFreak is going on vacation! I may post on my Facebook page every now and then, but I don't think there will be a new blog post until November (save for what is mentioned next). In the meantime, think about what names you want to contribute to this year's Name Madness!!!

That's right! Name Madness 2013 is coming in November! Last year's Name Madness was a lot of fun with the theme of character names from TV, movies and books, and after several weeks of voting, the declared winners were Claire and Henry. What names will win this year? First we need to come up with a new theme! While I have some ideas - sports names, musician names, Hollywood names, celebrity baby names, European names - I cannot decide which one to do. So, over the next couple of weeks, I will be taking votes. Please take a second and vote in the poll to the right. I will try to announce the new theme around October 21, and then begin taking name suggestions for the tournament. I love something to look forward to!

See you in November!

P.S. Check out Nameberry today, where my post on The Fitzes is on the Berry Juice blog! You should also take a look at the new book, The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys. It's a fabulous collection of all names blue!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We the People

Image of Constitutional Congress via Wikipedia

As the United States' government is now shut down, I cannot help but think of the law of the land. The US Constitution was the first of its kind and has been an influence on several other constitutions around the world. Think what you will about the people running the government, the law itself is pretty impressive. So, let's take a look at the names of the men who signed the law that allows something like a shutdown to happen but also still holds the country together. On September 17, 1787, 40 men signed the Constitution, and their names are:

George Washington
George Read
Gunning Bedford, Jr.
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jacob Broom
James McHenry
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer
Daniel Carroll
John Blair, Jr.
James Madison, Jr.
William Blount
Richard Dobbs Spaight
Hugh Williamson
John Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth (C.C.) Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler
William Few, Jr.
Abraham Baldwin
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman
Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
William Samuel Johnson
Roger Sherman
Alexander Hamilton
William Livingston
David Brearley
William Paterson
Jonathan Dayton
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robert Morris, Jr.
George Clymer
Thomas Fitzsimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouverneur Morris
William Jackson

There are definitely a number of traditional names in the bunch, such as George, William, James, Thomas, Daniel and John. But there are also some great standouts, like Gunning, Hugh, Pierce, Abraham, Rufus, and Gouverneur! The surnames are also wonderful to consider; my favorites are Blair, Rutledge, Langdon, Shermon, Livingston, Dayton, Morris and Fitzsimons.

If you had to use one of the signers' names, which would you choose?


Friday, September 27, 2013

O Names: Then and Now

Not including U, O is the least likely vowel to be used at the beginning of names. In fact, there have been zero U names in the Top 100 since 1880. I have already looked at I names, and putting together posts on A names and E names are a daunting task at this point, so, without further ado, the O names!

In 1880, there were three O boy names in the Top 100: Oliver, Oscar and Otto. While Otto fell out after 1898 and Oliver became sporadic from 1897 until it fell out after 1903, Oscar stayed on top through 1925. Otis also made some appearances in 1899, 1905 and 1909, but from 1926 through 2001 there were no O boy names in the Top 100. In 2002, Owen appeared and remains so currently. Oliver returned to the Top 100 in 2009 and also remains.

As for the girls, in 1880 there was only one O name in the Top 100: Olive. Ollie showed up in 1885, 1887 and 1888, but did not stick around longer than that. Olive fell out in 1904, to be replaced by Opal in the same year. Opal lasted until 1920, and from 1920 until 1990 there were no girl O names in the Top 100. Olivia then jumped in and is now, still, the only O girl name on top.

So, from 1926 until 1990... for 64 years... there were no O names in the Top 100 at all!

If we analyze the beginning sounds of the O names, there is an obvious change in preference from the "ah" pronunciation to the "oh" pronunciation. The early names were Oliver, Oscar, Otto, Olive and Ollie. Otis made some brief appearances and then Opal showed up in 1904 when only Oscar was still up there for the boys. Currently, not including Oliver's reappearance, the top O names are Owen and Olivia. I know the preference is not exclusive, but the tide is still interesting to note.

Other O names currently in the Top 1000: Oscar, Omar, Olive, Orion, Orlando, Odin, Omari, Osvaldo, Otto, and Oakley (all boys except Olive).

What is your favorite O name? Can you see Oscar, Otto, Otis, Olive, Ollie and Opal returning to the Top 100 like Oliver did?


Monday, September 23, 2013

The Fitzes

I am currently catching up on the show Scandal, which takes place in the US Capital and involves the highest political figures of the land. The fictitious president has one of the best character names I've ever heard: Fitzgerald Thomas Grant. He is called Fitz by those close to him, and I can't help but be drawn to it, especially since there are so many names that could lead to the nickname. Let's take a look at the Fitzes!

Image is the coat of arms of the Fitzgeralds of Kildare via Wikipedia

Fitz is the Anglo-Norman version of -son and means "son of." It eventually was used by the British family as a surname of the illegitimate children of kings and princes. Fitz is also a standalone surname of German origin.

There are a few Fitz names that are or have been used in the United States. In 2012, only Fitzgerald (12) and Fitzpatrick (7) were given to boys. Since 1880, the only other Fitz names given to 5 or more boys in any given year in the United States were Fitzhugh and Fitzroy. Fitz itself also has a history of use.

Fitzgerald first showed up on the SSA database in 1919, but was only used sporadically in the years after. It's popularity jumped in 1961 (from 5 boys in 1955 to a sudden 24 boys in 1961) and a steady stream of boys have been given the name each year ever since, never going below 7. We can definitely credit this respectful consideration to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who took over the US presidency in 1961. Fitzgerald as a given name reached its peak in 1964, the year after Kennedy was assassinated. 125 boys were given the name in that year, after 52 were given the name in 1963 and before 58 were given the name in 1965. Thanks to JFK, whose middle name was his mother's maiden name, Fitzgerald is definitely the most popular Fitz name ever given in the United States.

Fitzhugh is next popular historically, with a peak year of 1898 when 28 boys were given the name. It also had a pretty steady time of use (given to 10 or more boys) from 1917 to 1932. After being given to 7 boys in 1967, it has no recorded use until 2002 when it was given to 5 boys and hasn't been recorded since.

Fitzroy was first recorded in 1964 with 5 boys given the name in that year. It peaked in 1989 with 15.

Fitzpatrick has only been given to around 31 boys all together since it's first recorded use in 1970.

And Fitz on its own has been given to 5 or more boys in a year only occasionally from 1914 through 2011, reaching its peak in 1923 when 8 boys were given the name.

Unlike its -son cousins, there have been no Fitz names given to girls. It is decidedly masculine.

The name I am shocked has not been recorded in the SSA database is Fitzwilliam. Every Jane Austen fan knows and loves the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy, but I guess parents are more apt to honor the character by using Darcy or shortening the first name to William. I wonder about its popularity in the UK though.

Other Fitzes I have come across in my research:

Do you have a favorite Fitz name? Would you consider using any of them, or just Fitz?

Thanks to Nancy's Baby Names for numbers help.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Emmy Nominations - BEST NAME RESULTS

A big Thank You to those who participated in the Emmy Nomination name survey! There were 45 responses and we ended up with great results! Some winners won convincingly, while other races were very close. Take a look...

Hugh 29 64%
Bryan 0 0%
Jeff 1 2%
Jon 5 11%
Damian 6 13%
Kevin 4 9%
Connie 2 4%
Claire 17 38%
Michelle 1 2%
Vera 9 20%
Elisabeth 13 29%
Kerry 0 0%
Robin 3 7%
Jason 7 16%
Louis 10 22%
Don 0 0%
Matt 5 11%
Jim 2 4%
Alec 21 47%
Lena 13 29%
Laura 2 4%
Tina 0 0%
Amy 6 13%
Julia 14 31%
Edie 10 22%
Bobby 1 2%
Jonathan 16 36%
Aaron 8 18%
Jim 3 7%
Peter 15 33%
Mandy 2 4%
Anna 12 27%
Maggie 12 27%
Emilia 14 31%
Christine 1 2%
Morena 4 9%
Christina 2 4%
Adam 23 51%
Jesse 12 27%
Ed 4 9%
Ty 6 13%
Bill 0 0%
Tony 0 0%
Mayim 7 16%
Jane (2x) 9 20%
Sofia 8 18%
Julie 0 0%
Merritt 8 18%
Anna 13 29%
Michael 6 13%
Matt 6 13%
Toby 10 22%
Benedict 21 47%
Al 2 4%
Jessica 4 9%
Laura 3 7%
Helen 14 31%
Sigourney 8 18%
Elisabeth 16 36%
Ryan 8 18%
Betty 7 16%
Tom 2 4%
Heidi 17 38%
Cat 7 16%
Anthony 4 9%
Margo 18 40%
Diana 4 9%
Carrie 4 9%
Linda 1 2%
Jane 16 36%
Joan 2 4%
Nathan 12 27%
Michael 4 9%
Rupert 15 33%
Robert 5 11%
Harry 5 11%
Dan 4 9%
Bob 0 0%
Nathan 7 16%
Bobby 1 2%
Louis 13 29%
Justin 7 16%
Will 17 38%
Molly 25 56%
Dot-Marie 2 4%
Melissa (2x) 3 7%
Kristen 6 13%
Elaine 9 20%
James 16 36%
Zachary 17 38%
Scott 2 4%
John 4 9%
Peter 6 13%
Sarah 8 18%
Imelda 9 20%
Charlotte 28 62%
Alfre 0 0%

Did your favorites win? It will be interesting to see if the actors/actresses with the winning names actually win an Emmy!