Sunday, March 31, 2013

In Print!

Matilda Magazine has just published its second issue and it's once again full of great name articles! As I have written before, Matilda is a publication dedicated to baby names. With this new issue, I am so honored to be included in the great company of those who have contributed to the magazine. In combining two of my loves - names and Jane Austen - I was able to write a really fun piece. I hope you will check it all out!

On another exciting note, my Facebook page is now 21 short of 200 followers! When I started the page in December 2009, it was a way for me to get out name information quickly and without writing a longer piece for my old blog. The numbers for my page have increased a lot since I started this blog in September 2012 and I love the additional comments to my postings. Thank you so much for your support!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Special: Flower Names

Easter Bouquet
Photo by webeyer via Flickr

Easter means different things to different people. To Christians, it is the anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To little ones, it is when the Easter Bunny hides treat-filled eggs. And to those in the northern hemisphere, it is the symbol of new life and spring. To honor the newness of the season and the beautiful Easter bouquets donning dinner tables this time of year, here are some flower names to brighten your weekend. Maybe there's one on the list that you haven't considered...

The Commonly Heard Ones

Lovely But Not Quite Common


Aster - This name seems so masculine to me, but recently it's only been given to girls.
Briar - Both boys and girls are given this name.
Edelweiss - I can see this shortened to Ed for boys, and Edie, Ada, or Adele for girls.
Gladiolus - The -us ending makes it a possibility for boys (think of Augustus).
Linden - Both boys and girls are given this name.
Lotus - Both boys and girls are given this name.
Lucerne - This could either be shortened to Luke or Lucy.
Rowan - Both boys and girls are given this name.
Sage - A relatively common name for both boys and girls.
Valerian - This really screams boy to me, but the similarity to Valerie makes it seem like a possibility for girls as well.

For the Boys

Do you disagree with any of my gender designations? What are your favorite flower names?


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Play Ball!: Baseball-Inspired Names

The 2013 Major League Baseball season starts on Sunday! Being a huge baseball fan, I cannot wait. I love the sounds, the smells, the excitement, and the game of strategy and statistics. Nothing can beat it. Since I'm getting excited about the occasion, I thought we could take a look at names inspired by America's Pastime. Even if the game doesn't thrill you, maybe the names will grab your interest.

There are several ways you can channel baseball when naming your child...

Player Names (this is just a small selection):

Babe - Probably the most recognizable name in baseball, Babe Ruth's real name was George Herman Ruth, Jr. Ruth is also a great name to use to honor the famous New York Yankee who made hitting a home run popular.

Berra - Yogi Berra is known for his quips as much as his play. He was one of the best catchers in major league history and was a member of the Yankees for most of his 19 year career. Yogi is also a name of unique consideration.

Chipper - Chipper Jones recently retired from a 19-year career with the Atlanta Braves. His real name is Larry, but was given the nickname Chipper at a young age because he was a "chip off the old block."

DiMaggio - Joe DiMaggio is best known for his 56-game hitting streak with the New York Yankees. He is also known for his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. He is iconic in Yankee history and therefore his name is a considerable one for baseball lovers.

Gehrig - Lou Gehrig played for the New York Yankees and had the most consecutive games played record until Cal Ripken broke it in 1995. He is also well known for his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or what is now called Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Griffey - Ken Griffey, Jr. is one of the most productive homerun hitters in baseball history. He played for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds for most of his career and he also was able to play professional ball with his father, Ken Griffey, Sr.

Jeter - Derek Jeter is the current shortstop for the New York Yankees. He is a very popular player, which has increased the use of his surname as a given name.

Lofton - Kenny Lofton played for many different teams during his 16 year career in the majors. The player may not have achieved the accomplishments of other players listed here, but the name could be a lofty choice for parents.

Mattingly - Don Mattingly is another player that spent his entire career with the New York Yankees. I think the nickname of Mattie makes it an attractive name for baby girls.

Mays - Willie Mays played most of his career with the San Francisco Giants and made 24 appearances in the All-Star Game (tying Stan Musial for the most). He is also known for "The Catch," an amazing fielding play made in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series.

Nolan - Nolan Ryan was a pitcher for 27 years in the majors with several different teams. He is the all-time leader of no-hitters with seven. He now owns the Texas Rangers.

Ripken - Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the record for the most consecutive games played with 2,632. He played shortstop and third base for the Baltimore Orioles for 21 years.

Robinson - There have been many Robinsons in baseball history: Frank, the only player to win MVP honors in both the National and American Leagues; Brooks, one of the best third basemen in baseball history; and Jackie, the first African-American to play in the majors and was Rookie of the Year in 1947.

Rogers - Rogers Hornsby played for 23 seasons retiring in 1937, has the second highest career batting average and is the only player to have hit 40 home runs and have a .400 batting average in the same season.

Satchel - Satchel Paige is the first player to have been inaugurated into the Baseball Hall of Fame based on his play in the Negro leagues. His given name was Leroy, but he was nicknamed Satchel at an early age due to his work with bags (or that he tried to steal one).

Ty - Ty (born Tyrus) Cobb played with the Detroit Tigers for 22 seasons and retired in 1928. He still holds the record for career batting average.

Williams - Ted Williams spent his entire 22-year career with the Boston Red Sox. He is the last player to have a batting average above .400 (.406 in 1941).

Stadium and/or Team Names:

Camden - Camden has been in the news a lot lately due to three celebrities giving the name to their sons. But for people in the Baltimore area, Camden will always refer to the Baltimore Orioles' home field: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, known to most as just Camden Yards.

Dodger - Dodger Stadium is home field for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fenway - Fenway Park is the oldest stadium in the major leagues and home to the Boston Red Sox.

Miller - Miller Park is home to the Milwaukee Brewers and is named after the stadium's sponsor, Miller Brewing Company.

Ranger - Rangers Ballpark at Arlington is home field for the Texas Rangers.

Shea - Shea Stadium was the home field for the New York Mets from 1964-2008.

Turner - Turner Field is home of the Atlanta Braves and named after the team's former owner, Ted Turner.

Wrigley - Wrigley Field is the second oldest stadium in the major leagues and home to the Chicago Cubs.

Baseball Terms, Positions or Related Items:

Ace - The best starting pitcher of a team is called the team's ace.

Annie - Annies are what baseball players call their groupies. In the baseball movie Bull Durham, Susan Sarandon's character was named Annie because of this reference.

Catcher - Arguably the most influential position on the field, the catcher not only catches the ball from the pitcher, he calls the game and protects home plate. Ewan McGregor played Catcher Block in the movie Down with Love.

Chopper - A chopper is a ball that bounces off the dirt in front of home plate after it's hit causing it to go very high in the air.

Crash - Bull Durham is one of the best baseball, and sports, movies ever made. Crash Davis, who was named after a former professional baseball player, is the main character in the movie played by Kevin Costner.

Cutter - Cutter is another name for a cut fastball, or a fastball pitch that cuts towards the pitcher's glove side as it approaches home plate. Recently engaged to actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Cutter Dykstra is the son of former ballplayer Lenny Dykstra.

Easton - Easton is a company that makes baseball equipment. Already a name on the rise, it could give a baseball loving parent a more common choice.

Fielder - Any defensive position is a fielder. This name could also refer to a couple of ballplayers: father and son, Cecil and Prince Fielder.

Homer - A homer is a nickname for a home run.

Jack - A jack can be either a home run or the act of hitting a home run. For example, "He really jacked that one out of the park."

Mitt - A mitt is another term for a baseball glove, or specifically the catcher's mitt or the first basemen's mitt since they are more like mittens and do not have individual fingers like gloves. Already made famous by presidential contender Mitt Romney, although he was not named after the glove.

Pearl - A pearl is a brand new white baseball.

Pepper - Pepper is an exercise done in practice or pre-game where a batter "peppers" the field with ground balls for fielders to field and then toss back to the batter, who then attempts to hit the ball back to them.

Slider - Another type of pitch, one that breaks in the opposite direction of the throwing arm as it approaches home plate. Slider was the call sign of one of the pilots in Top Gun.

Slugger - Often used as a term of endearment from father to son, a slugger is one who has power hitting the ball. There is a statistical analysis in baseball called the slugging percentage, which calculates the total bases divided by number of at bats.

Spalding - Spalding was the company that provided the official baseballs for the league for a century. It was succeeded by Rawlings in 1977.

Trot - When some players hit a home run, they may slow their run to a "trot" around the bases in celebration. There is also a baseball player named Trot Nixon, but his name came from his middle name of Trotman.

Can you think of any other baseball-inspired names? What is your favorite?

For more baseball-inspired names, click here.

Some of the above information was gathered from Wikipedia.


Monday, March 25, 2013

The Sisters 8

While at the bookstore yesterday, I came across the book The Sisters 8: Annie's Adventures, the first book in a series written by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. It is about octuplet sisters solving the mystery of their missing parents. Eight sisters! Name heaven! Here they are in age order (they are each a minute apart, and notice they are in alphabetical order)...


There are nine books in the series; one for each girl and then a final book. The books' titles are great too: Annie's Adventures, Durinda's Dangers, Georgia's Greatness, Jackie's Jokes, Marcia's Madness, Petal's Problems, Rebecca's Rashness, and Zinnia's Zaniness. Each girl has her own personality that is profiled in the books and there is even a quiz on the website that girls can take to see which sister they are most like. I have not read the books, so I cannot say how good they are, but the names definitely grabbed my attention.

Most of the names are commonly heard, or at least a common word (Petal), but Durinda and Zinnia stand out to me. According to Behind the Name, Zinnia is the name of a flower, which was named after German botanist Johann Zinn. Durinda was harder to find any information on. Maybe it's a variant of Dorinda, which is a Greek name meaning "bountiful gift" and a variant of Dora.

These are not eight names I would have put together as sisters, but their variety is part of the allure. I love Annie and Georgia together, and Petal is a sweet flower name that has only been given to more than 5 babies in a year once (2010 with 8 babies). Jackie, Marcia and Rebecca are all names that are not as popular now as they once were. It all makes me wonder how these names were chosen. At least one of the eight has been explained: the Houghton Mifflin webpage discloses that Jackie was named after the author's daughter.

Which Sisters 8 name do you like best? Can you name octuplets with the same initials... A, D, G, J, M, P, R and Z?


Friday, March 22, 2013

Scotland and US Similarities


I have previously posted on the differences between the Top 100 lists in Scotland (2012) and in the United States (2011). Now let's look at the names that are on both lists! The names below are listed according to their rank in Scotland and their rank in the US is in parentheses.

1 Jack (45)
4 James (17)
5 Logan (20)
6 Daniel (10)
7 Ethan (7)
9 Alexander (8)
10 Oliver (78)
11 Max (96)
12 Tyler (38)
13 Aaron (50)
15 Adam (81)
18 Mason (2)
19 Ryan (25)
20 Liam (15)
20 Lucas (29)
22 Thomas (63)
25 Cameron (53)
27 Dylan (33)
28 Matthew (12)
31 Noah (5)
32 Connor (54)
32 Joshua (14)
34 Nathan (28)
35 Jacob (1)
36 Aiden (9)
38 William (3)
40 Jayden (4)
40 Luke (39)
42 Andrew (16)
44 Cole (94)
44 David (18)
47 Joseph (22)
48 Michael (6)
49 Samuel (26)
51 Benjamin (19)
52 John (27)
55 Owen (44)
60 Robert (61)
62 Caleb (32)
73 Evan (40)
76 Christopher (21)
78 Cooper (82)
81 Alex (95)
88 Isaac (35)
90 Blake (73)
97 Sebastian (68)

1 Sophie (51)
2 Emily (6)
3 Olivia (4)
4 Ava (5)
5 Lucy (72)
7 Lily (15)
9 Amelia (30)
10 Mia (9)
12 Eva (83)
13 Ellie (97)
14 Chloe (10)
16 Sophia (1)
17 Grace (16)
18 Emma (3)
19 Hannah (25)
24 Leah (29)
25 Ella (12)
28 Charlotte (27)
29 Brooke (86)
30 Layla (33)
32 Kayla (59)
33 Anna (38)
44 Molly (78)
46 Isabella (2)
47 Zoe (31)
52 Abigail (7)
54 Sarah (39)
55 Lauren (62)
56 Julia (57)
60 Madison (8)
60 Sofia (19)
73 Elizabeth (11)
81 Taylor (44)
85 Faith (71)
87 Alexis (26)
90 Bella (60)
94 Alyssa (37)
96 Maria (92)
96 Scarlett (80)
99 Alexandra (76)

I love seeing the more popular names in the US further down the ranks in Scotland (Jacob is #1 in the US and #35 in Scotland; Isabella is #2 in the US and #46 in Scotland) and vice versa (Jack is #1 in Scotland and #45 in the US; Lucy is #5 in Scotland and #71 in the US). It is also really interesting that Sophie is #1 in Scotland while Sophia is #1 in the US. Sophie is the French form of Sophia, but could also be considered a nickname for it. If you look at it the latter way, it is not surprising that Sophie tops Sophia in Scotland, as Scotland's Top 100 is full of nickname-names.

The largest discrepancy on the boy side is Max. Max ranks #11 in Scotland, but #96 in the US. On the girl side, the largest discrepancy is Ellie. Ellie ranks #13 in Scotland, but #97 in the US. Again, I think this is a nickname thing. The Scots tend to go for the name they will call their children and skip the longer version. This could also be seen in the rankings of Elizabeth: #73 in Scotland, but #11 in the US.

Thanks for visiting Scotland with me! Do you have any other observations about the comparison between the two countries' most popular names?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tops for the Scots

My brother and his family are moving to Scotland today! In honor of their new adventure, I decided to compare Scotland's Top 100 in 2012 and the United States' Top 100 in 2011. Only 46 of the boy names and 40 of the girl names are on both lists. Here are the names that are unique to Scotland's Top 100, left in rank order:

Brodie (Brody is in the US Top 100, but not this spelling)
Euan (YOO-un)
Ruaridh (pronounced like Rory)

Eilidh (ay-lee)
Niamh (pronounced like Neve)

Notice all the nickname names!

I love so many names on this list. My favorites are Jamie, Callum, George, Calvin, Isla, Poppy, Summer, Niamh, Georgia, Paige, Alice, Rachel, Imogen, and Carly. Are there any names that are tops in Scotland that you would like to see more in the US?


Monday, March 18, 2013

NF's Top 10 Biblical Names - Girls

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's vision of Rachel and Leah

A little over a week ago, I shared my Top 10 Biblical boy names. Without further ado, here are my favorite Biblical girl names!

1. Rachel - When I was pregnant over seven years ago, I told my husband that Rachel was my favorite Biblical girl name. It still is. She was the "pretty sister" that Jacob favored in the Biblical story. It is a lovely Hebrew name that is commonly heard in the United States. It's a safe and sure bet.

2. Hope - Hope is my favorite virtue name. It also happens to be a pretty strong concept in the Bible. I love what it means and the feeling it gives.

3. Tamar - While her story in the Bible is not the most uplifting, I love this name. The sound is unique and the fact that the first syllable is pronounced "tay" helps to avoid the Tammy nickname moreso than Tamara.

4. Anna - Anna is simple and beautiful. Enough said.

5. Naomi - After Rachel was born, this was my next favorite Biblical girl name. I thought it went perfect with Rachel and really wanted to use it if we had another girl. Enter the hubby. He doesn't like it, so we nixed it. I, however, recommend(ed) it to almost everyone, including my brother and his wife, who used it for their daughter. I am so happy to have a Naomi in the family.

6. Mary - It's such a shame that Mary is falling in popularity. It has a rich history and a sweet sound. So many strong female Biblical characters had this name, from Jesus' mother to one of his most faithful followers.

7. Phoebe - I couldn't use Phoebe after Rachel because of the Friends connection, but it is a name I would definitely use and have recommended many times. Phoebe has a wonderful meaning as well: "radiant."

8. Eve - The name of the first woman on Earth needs more love than it gets. Often overlooked in favor of Ava or Eva, Eve is simple elegance.

9. Kezia - Kezia was Job's second daughter born after his hardships. Pronounced "keh-ZAI-uh", it's one you don't hear much of, but is similar enough to Kenzie or Mariah that it's not too weird. I love the sound of it as well as the look of the K and Z together.

10. Genesis - There are a lot of book titles from the Bible that are used as names, but most of those are named after people. Genesis is one that is used even though it's not named after a person, it's named after the beginning of everything, and is extremely wearable. If you are not a fan of Jennifer, this would be a great alternative and would give you the cute nicknames Gen or Nessie.

Honorable Mentions: Dinah, Elizabeth, Esther, Leah, Miriam, Susanna, Tirzah, Vashti, and Zipporah.

What are your favorite Biblical girl names?


Friday, March 15, 2013

R Names - 1950s vs 2000s

The Letter R
Photo by Lite Brite Neon via Flickr

A few weeks ago, I attended a Sock Hop with my daughter. It was loads of fun and inspired me to delve into the 1950s and, of course, its most popular names. As I looked at the Top 100 names of the decade, the thing that stuck out the most to me was the amount of names that began with R. Thirteen of the Top 100 boy names of the decade began with an R; nineteen of the Top 100 boy and girl names together began with an R. There were actually more J names in the Top 100 for both genders, but the amount of R boy names outnumbered the amount of J boy names. As a comparison, while J names are just as popular if not moreso nowadays, there were only three boy names that started with R in the Top 100 for the 2000s decade and six boy and girl names combined. What is it about R names that made them less popular? Let's take a look at the names themselves:

1950s Top 100 (Rank for the decade)
Ralph (66)
Randall (58)
Randy (33)
Raymond (38)
Richard (7)
Ricky (47)
Robert (3)
Rodney (71)
Roger (37)
Ronald (15)
Ronnie (78)
Roy (63)
Russell (60)
Rebecca (28)
Rhonda (74)
Rita (73)
Robin (53)
Rose (66)
Ruth (69)

2000s Top 100
Richard (90)
Robert (36)
Ryan (15)
Rachel (33)
Rebecca (71)
Riley (67)

Out of the entire group, Richard, Robert and Rebecca are the only names that stuck around the top after fifty years. While the R names may have fallen out of the top tier, none of the boys names have dropped out of the Top 1000. The girl names, however, have suffered a different fate: Rhonda fell out of the rankings after 1994, Rita after 2002, and Robin after 2004.

Another interesting observation: Look at the names that begin with Ro (or Rho). Whether the sound is "row" or "raw", it seemed to be the most popular beginning combination for R names in the 1950s but over time it has almost disappeared from the top. And the R names that are at the top in the 2000s but were not in the 1950s (Ryan, Rachel and Riley) have a completely different beginning sound than their older counterparts. So, is it a sound thing? Or have other names just overtaken the Rs?

What do you think? Are there any R names from the 1950s that you would like to see at the top again? Or do you think the R name is going to continue to fall?


Monday, March 11, 2013

World Baseball Classic 2013

Names. Photography. Baseball. These are my three passions and the things I spend most of my time on outside of family. The World Baseball Classic is currently being held all over the world with teams competing from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Spain, USA, and Venezuela. While going through the rosters, I found some great names to share!

Bruno (Brazil) - Bruno seems to be rising in popularity in Spain and was #37 in Brazil in 2011. It was ranked the highest in the US in the 1910s, reaching #260 in 1915, and reentered the Top 1000 in 2000 after being absent since the 1970s.

Cale (Canada) - Cale is said to be a short form of Caleb, but I can't hep but think of the vegetable kale. It is currently falling in popularity in the US, with Kale ranking higher.

Dushan (Australia) - DuĊĦan is a Slavic name, used in the Slavic Central European countries (Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, etc.), and means "sincere." The player Dushan's last name is Ruzic, also a Slavic name.

Efrain (PR) - Efrain is the Spanish form of Ephraim. There is also an Efren, a variant spelling, on the Mexican team. Both versions appear to be more popular in the US than Ephraim.

Eriel (Cuba) - I am guessing that this is pronounced like Ariel, which is found in the Bible and was initially used as a Hebrew boy name. Eriel could be a variant spelling.

Gio (USA) - The American ballplayer of Cuban descent, Gio is short for Giovany. Giovanni is the Italian form of John. While it could also be a nickname for Giorgio or even George, Gio is being used as a given name as well.

Hainley (Netherlands) - Hainley is a surname and could be attractive to parents who want something different but similar to Hailey for their son.

Hanley (DR) - Hanley has been given to both boys and girls but is slightly more common on boys. It is also a surname and a place name.

Heath (USA) - Heath reached its height in popularity in the 1970s, topping off at #181 in 1974, and has experienced quite a roller coaster ride since then. For me, the only drawback is the candy bar of the same name.

Henderson (Venezuela) - Henderson is a Scottish surname meaning "son of Henry." It was used more often in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the United States. I would love the story on how Venezuelan parents came to use this name.

Kalian (Netherlands) - According to Urban Dictionary, Kalian is the last name of the gods. It's also a Persian tobacco pipe, which is otherwise known as hookah. I've also seen it as a surname. It has not been given to at least five babies in any given year in the US.

Kelvin (DR) - Kelvin is a unit of measure for temperature, named after Lord Kelvin, but also the name of a Scottish river. It is falling in popularity since reaching the #207 in 1965, but has been ranked in the Top 1000 in the US since 1950.

Kenji (Japan) - Kenji means to be twice as wise or an intelligent second son. It is popular in Japan and was ranked in the US in 1978 and 1979.

Leandro (Cuba) - A "lion of a man," Leandro is the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian form of Leander, and could be an alternative to similar names Leo and Leonardo, which are growing in popularity. It has been ranked in the US since 2005.

Lorenzo (Italy) - The Italian and Spanish form of Laurence, Lorenzo has had a very consistent presence in the US's Top 1000. It is a Top 5 name in Italy and is fairly popular in France as well. Enzo is a fabulous nickname.

Murilo (Brazil) - Murilo is a Portuguese name that ranked #22 in Brazil in 2011. Five or six boys were given the name in the US in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Omar (Venezuela) - Omar is either an Arabic variant of Umar that means "flourishing" or a Hebrew name that means "speaker." It is in Spain's Top 100, but is falling in popularity in the US, ranking at #193 in 2011.

Rene (Canada) - Rene, the boy name, and Renee, the girl name, are French versions of Renatus, which is a Roman name meaning "born again." The girl version was always more popular in the States, but it did reach the #250s in the 1960s and 1970s. Rene has also charted in Slovenia.

Rhiner (Spain) - We do have boys named Reiner in the US, but no recorded information about a Rhiner. It is a surname, but the first thing I think of is the Rhine River.

Salomon (Spain) - This Spanish form of Solomon has an accent over the last "o" and that also explains how it is pronounced. In the past few decades, at least 30 boys were given the name in the United States.

Stefan (Australia) - A form of Stephen, Stefan is used in Germany, Poland, and Central European and Scandinavian countries. The first syllable is stressed when pronouncing it. It has been ranked in the US since 1949 with the height of its popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A player on the Italian team is named Stefano, the Italian form that is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable.

Tiago (Italy) - I have already been diverted by Thiago. Tiago is the original spelling and the Portuguese form of James, derived from Santiago. A player with yet another spelling of the name, Thyago, is on the Brazilian team.

Warwick (Australia) - Warwick is an English surname that is pronounced "war-ick." It's also a place name; Warwick, England is home of Warwick Castle and Warwick, Australia is in Queensland. There have been a handful of boys named Warwick in the US over the years.

Yasmany (Cuba) - Yasmany seems to be a pretty well-used name in Cuba, but I cannot find any information on its meaning or where it's from. Five boys were given the name in 2009 and 2010 in the US.

Do you have a favorite on this list?

References: Behind the Name, Nameberry, Nancy's Baby Names, Baby Name Wizard and Baby Name Facts.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Names Over Three Generations

If you follow me on Facebook, you have already seen this graphic. It's a captivating look at how popular names have changed over three generations in England and Wales. How would a similar graphic look using the 15 most popular names in the United States in 1944, 1974, and 2004? Unfortunately, I cannot make a cool graphic like the one above without taking a class, so instead I will just write it out.

Names that Cross All Three Generations (1944, 1974, and 2004)

Names that Cross 1944 and 1974

Names that Cross 1974 and 2004

Names Only in the Top 15 in 1944

Names Only in the Top 15 in 1974

Names Only in the Top 15 in 2004

Believe me, I know this would look a whole lot more impressive in a cool graphic, but alas.

In comparison to the Guardian study, top names in the US have slightly more staying power than top names in England and Wales. Only James was present in all three generations in England and Wales, while four names hold that honor in the US. All of them are boy names. Six more boy names cross over two generations, compared to two boy names in England and Wales. As for the girls, no girl name crosses all three generations in both England and Wales and the United States. Less drastically, but not by much, there are two girl names in the United States that cross generations. All other names are unique to their generation's Top 15.

It is fascinating to see how generations claim their own names. We can all wonder (or guess) what names will be in the Top 15 in 2034.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

NF's Top 10 Biblical Names - Boys

St. Simon the Zealot by Peter Paul Rubens

What, if anything, do your favorite names say about you? Do you like popular names, creatively-spelled names, classic names, or just whatever sounds good at the time? Your favorites may give an overall feel of what you like, but also show some surprises that make things interesting. It's no secret that I favor classic names, but there are a few I adore that are not expected. All that to say I'm going to bare all and disclose my inner-most name loves with you.

I have a lot of favorites and for organization's sake, they will be presented in categories. My children both have Biblical names, so I will start there. As the seasons change so do my specific preferences, but as of right now, here is my list of favorite Biblical boy names:

1. Simon - The obvious choice. It took me and my husband forever to agree on a name for our son, but I could not be happier that we finally decided on Simon. It fits him perfectly, I love all the stories of the different Simons in the Bible, and since it is more popular in Europe than in the States, it has an international twist to it (to me at least).

2. John - This is my new name crush and I am crushing on him hard. I'm a simple gal and this is a simple, but strong, name. Some call it boring or safe, but I feel its excessive use in the past made it a "bad" choice. No longer!

3. Asa - I fought for this name when naming my son. It was my favorite then, but my husband was concerned about pronunciation ("People will call him "Ass-uh"). Sigh. I still love it. By the way, it's pronounced "Ace-uh", and the nickname Ace is an added bonus.

4. James - Another favorite that I wanted to use, but my husband didn't like the fact that we already knew a James. I was so sad not to use it. My husband is also not fond of nicknames, and James definitely has a few of those. My favorite? Jamie. It's adorable.

5. Paul - This was also on my short list for my son. It's short and to the point, going along with my love of simplicity. With a spectacular middle name, like Sebastian, this name can do no wrong.

6. Abraham - With all the love for Lincoln out there, it's such a shame Abraham isn't used more. Who wouldn't love a little Abe?

7. Jesse - This name is so appealing to me. It's cute but also rugged. It works well on a boy as well as a man. It means "God's gift" and it fits.

8. Malachi - It's a not-overused but still commonly known name. I also love the nickname Mal (Firefly anyone?), but you could also call him Chi.

9. Gabriel - Since my last name started with a B, this was not an option for us even though I love it. I'm not fond of Gabe as a nickname, but I knew it would be used at one time or another and Gabe B---- does not flow well. The full name Gabriel is so distinguished and honorable.

10. Moses - Gwyneth Paltrow got some flack for naming her son this Old Testament powerhouse, but it delivers something formidable I can't resist. Mo or Moze are great nicknames.

Honorable Mentions: Ephraim, Jethro, Job, Josiah, Justus, Micah, Naaman, Seth, and Titus.

What are you favorite Biblical boy names?


Monday, March 4, 2013

Given Name or Nickname: Carly

Actress Sarah Brown via Wikipedia

I love the name Carly. Well-known Carlys include singer-songwriter Carly Simon, the character Carly Shay from the Nickelodeon show iCarly, and the singer who brought us "Call Me Maybe," Carly Rae Jepsen. Admittedly, the first time I remember hearing the name was watching General Hospital. The character of Carly Benson Quartermaine Alcazar Corinthos Jacks was a favorite of mine, but her name differs from the previously mentioned Carlys because hers was a nickname. Her real first name was Caroline.

{Side Note: The actress Sarah Brown played the first Carly on General Hospital. I stopped watching soaps several years ago but from my research, I discovered that she later played a character called Aggie on The Bold and the Beautiful. Aggie's real name was Agnes. Awesome. Not only the nickname, but the fact that a soap opera chose to use the name Agnes.}

Back to Carly. As the feminine form of Carl, Carly is a given name. As a nickname, it can be used as a shortened form for many longer names. Here is a list of possible full names for Carly, their 2011 ranks, and where they came from:

Carla - #747 - feminine form of Carlo, Carlos or Carl
Carlene - not ranked - feminine form of Carl
Carlissa - not ranked - probably a variant of Carla
Carlotta - not ranked - Italian form of Charlotte
Carmella - not ranked - Latin form of Carmel
Carol - not ranked - as a female name, a shortened form of Caroline
Carolina - #429 - Latin feminine form of Carolus
Caroline - #87 - French feminine form of Carolus
Carolyn - #741 - variant of Caroline
Charla - not ranked - feminine form of Charles
Charlene - not ranked - feminine form of Charles
Charlize - not ranked - feminine form of Charles
Charlotta - not ranked - Swedish form of Charlotte
Charlotte - #27 - feminine diminutive of Charles
Scarlett - #80 - a surname for a person who sold clothes made of scarlet

Carly was ranked #251 and has several possible spellings that also ranked: Carlie #849, Carley #891, Karlie #921 and Karly #988.

So... what do you prefer? Do you like Carly as a given name? Or if you like is as a nickname, which full name would you choose?

Thanks to Behind the Name for the above information.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Project Runway - Senior Models

Image from the show's official page

Last night's episode of Project Runway included a group of senior ladies who were the clients and models for the designers. While fashion is what the show is about, I couldn't help but be captivated by the models' names and knew it was a blog post waiting to happen.

My guess would be that the ladies were born in the 1930s/1940s/1950s. They were all fascinating women, some with great humor, some with a quieter disposition, and some with simple elegance. When I first heard their names, none of them surprised me. I asked myself, "Could their names work today?" Myself has her own opinions, but I also want to know what you think! Let's take a look at the names and their history. For purposes of comparison, I used the names' ranks in 1942 as the basis for their popularity at the time they were given.

Beatrice - #146 in 1942 and #707 in 2011 - Beatrice was ranked the highest in the 1910s and is currently rising slowly, as it should, after being off the charts just six years ago.

Bonnie - #34 in 1942 and not ranked in 2011 (fell off after 2003) - Bonnie was at its height in the 1940s and doesn't seem to be as favorable now. That makes me sad because I think it's lovely.

Deborah - #264 in 1942 and #808 in 2011 - Deborah rose quickly after 1942 and reached #2 in 1955. Upswing Baby Names recently posted on the name Deborah, and I think it's a great read.

Holly - #489 in 1942 and #426 in 2011 - Holly reached its highest ranks in the 1970s and 1980s. Since it was more popular in recent decades, it would probably be considered too dated to rise any higher now.

Iris - #245 in 1942 and #303 in 2011. Iris has been somewhat steady throughout the years... never falling off the Top 1000, but never going higher than #196. For some reason I feel as though this name should be more popular than it is, but instead I'll call it a gem.

Joan - #18 in 1942 and not ranked in 2011 - Joan was very popular in the 1930s and then gradually fell until it dropped off the Top 1000 after 1993. While June and Jane seem to be slow risers currently, Joan is on an opposite path.

Patricia - #3 in 1942 and #667 in 2011 - Patricia was in the Top 10 for the 1930s through the 1950s and into the 1960s, but now seems to be steadily falling. I don't see it rising again soon, but Trixie is a cute and current nickname if you want to use it to honor someone special.

Rosily - has never been ranked - Rosily may have never been ranked, but Rosalie (which is how Rosily is pronouned) was #158 in 1942 and #548 in 2011. Rosily is a great twist on the name Rose, which currently on the rise.

Sheryl - #399 in 1942 and not ranked in 2011 - Sheryl rose quickly from the time it entered the Top 1000 in 1936 until it reached its heights in the 1950s and 1960s and then fell out of the ranks after 1987. The name's sound does not make it a hip comeback contender.

Sue - #73 in 1942 and not ranked in 2011 - Sue is known as a nickname for Susan, but it reached the Top 100 as a given name in the 1940s and gradually fell out of the Top 1000 after 1984. And as a given name, I think it's close to disappearing.

Susan - #21 in 1942 and #781 in 2011 - Susan was very popular from the 1940s through the 1970s, and reached #2 in the late 1950s. I think it was popular for too long to make a rise any time soon.

Which of these names do you think is most wearable today?