Berry Juice is a collection of the best blogs on baby names, pregnancy, and parenting from around the web, including everything from personal naming stories to the academic study of names, pregnancy information to tips on decorating the nursery.
By Laura Booher
For me, there’s always been something fascinating about family history. Maybe it’s because my own family tells so many stories about relatives and times long past. And maybe it’s also because I love travel, and I like to imagine where my ancestors came from and what they were like. In any event, I’ve explored my genealogy on and off over the years and one thing that I found most interesting is the variety of names I discovered there.
Unfortunately, most of the first names that appear in my family tree are either repeated a thousand times, or are so unusual that I’d hesitate to give them to my child. I found it was the surnames that provided the better source of names that I would consider as a future first or middle name. So, without further ado, here are my top five family surnames that are candidates for a future child.
This past September, we paid our respects to some of Hollywood’s greatest stars and marveled at a visionary’s dreams of the stars. Let’s have a look back at some of the big names in the news – and a look into what the origins of their names can illuminate about them.
Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a Catholic saint this month. St. Teresa was born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxihu. Anjezë is the Albanian form of Agnes, anticipated her spiritual calling: It’s Greek for “holy” or “pure.” St. Teresa chose her religious name after the 19th-century French nun Thérèse de Lisieux.
Some think Teresa comes from the Greek for “harvest” or “huntress.” Others think it is from the Greek Thera, the name of some volcanic islands in the Mediterranean. The story goes that the wife of St. Paulinus of Nola (354-431 AD) was born on one of those islands and so took her name from them. The origin is unclear, but Teresa is a well-traveled name – fitting for St. Teresa, who made her impact far and wide.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has made headlines by protesting the pre-game National Anthem over racial inequality. Many athletes have followed suit, which some consider a victory for Colin’s cause. Victory indeed: Colin is a French pet name for Nicholas, a Greek name that literally means “victory-people.” The Greek word for – and goddess of – “victory” is nike, which lives on in the athletic brand.
Acting legend Gene Wilder sadly passed away this month. Born Jerome Silberman, Wilder took Gene, a short for Eugene, after Eugene Gant, a character in a Thomas Wolfe novel, and Wilder after writer Thornton Wilder. Eugene is from the Greek Eugenios, “well-born” or “noble.” Jerome, meanwhile, is from the Greek Hieornymos, “holy name.” Gene Wilder came from a humble background, but as many remembrances made clear, he was a class-act as an artist and person. And his name will surely be long “worshiped” by his many fans.
There are certain baby board books that you will either buy or be gifted that are basically required reading for the under-one set (and books make GREAT baby shower gifts). Goodnight Moon, I Am Bunny, Pat the Bunny (basically anything with a bunny on it) are found in nurseries across the land. But how about if you want to get or give a title that isn’t one of the standard-issue picks? Thankfully, there are oodles of awesome (and inspired) options out there. Here are 10 super cool board books that should have a proud place right between Baby Beluga and Guess How Much I Love You.
There’s no record of a single newborn named Dick in the United States last year.
In fact, there hasn’t been a baby Dick recorded in the U.S. during the past decade. (It last popped up in the Social Security Administration databanks in 2005.)
This is no shock. The name Dick was a casualty of modern slang and its association with a disgraced president. But Dick‘s disappearance is part of a broader trend: Americans have shifted away from many once-common nicknames.
By Sophie Kihm
Some big celebrity broods are about to get bigger–Kelsey Grammer is going to be a dad to seven kids, and Mel Gibson‘s girlfriend is expecting his ninth! Predicting names for such huge families is a daunting task. People’s naming styles tend to change over time, especially when they’ve been naming children for over a generation. That being said, sometimes name preference doesn’t change! There are some large celebrity sibsets that go together really well–the Gibson family is a great example.
Besides the Gibsons and Grammers, there are plenty more exciting celebrity baby name predictions this month. Natalie Portman, Marion Cotillard, and Pharrell Williams are all going to be parents of two. I’ve made my predictions for them (and more!) below.