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Category: Baby Names

vintage nicknames

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Nickname-names still appear on birth certificates.  In the U.S., such names as Ellie, Abby, and Charlie for girls; Jake, Jack, and Johnny for boys all rank high.  In the U.K., nickname-names are even more fashionable, with Evie, Maisie, Millie, and Ellie in the Top 35 for girls, and Jack, Charlie, and Alfie in the boys’ Top 10.

But there are generations of nickname-names that have fallen off the Top 1000, yet sound cute and baby-ready today.  The list here is drawn from names that were on the Social Security roster on their own in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but fell off by the early 1970s (the date of their last listing follows the name) and haven’t yet reappeared.

Whether you choose to use Bea or Mamie, Clem or Zeb as full names or as diminutives for Beatrice or Marietta, Clement or Zebediah, any of these nickname-names would make charming choices.

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abby-khaleesix

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Take a few minutes and try to list all the girls you know named Sophia – or Sophie or Sofia.  How about Isabella?  Zoe, Ava, Madison?

Now list the names that are one of one.

I only know a single girl called Ida, and just one named Arcadia.  My son built sand castles with a little Maxine on a long-ago beach vacation, and I’ve never forgotten her name.  Cordelia and Monica, Zinnia and Murielle, Helen and Claudia – they all stand out, associated with just a single child.

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Banned Baby Names: No Toms in Tomar

bannedbear

If you were Anderson Cooper and you had been born in Germany, you wouldn’t be Anderson Cooper, because Germany is just one of a surprising number of countries with strict baby-naming rules and regulations. In some instances, as in Italy and Sweden, the motivation is humane—trying to spare the child embarrassment, ridicule and bullying in the increasingly wild and wooly international baby-name environment. In fact, some of these are not long-standing strictures, but relatively recent ones.

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Jewish Baby Names: Happy Passover!

passover

By Nephele

As Passover approaches, a look at some of the names found in Jewish culture.

Yiddish names have a rich history, rooted in an older generation of Jewish people belonging to the Ashkenazic (from Germany and Eastern Europe) community. The Yiddish language evolved during medieval times from High German (influenced by Hebrew and some eastern European languages), and the word “Yiddish” itself literally means “Jewish.” Genealogists familiar with old U.S. Federal Census records will have noticed many a census record where the census taker recorded an immigrant’s language as being “Jewish” when it more properly should have been recorded as “Yiddish.”

While many fondly associate Yiddish names with their beloved grandparents and great-grandparents, Yiddish is nonetheless making a comeback. California‘s San Francisco Bay area is home to Der Bay, a widely circulated Anglo-Yiddish newsletter of events, and such movies as Fiddler on the Roof and the animated An American Tail (both featuring Yiddish-named characters) are fondly familiar to mainstream America.

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don-draper-sunglass-1

By Pamela Redmond Satran

We like to think the names we choose will help determine the people our children grow up to be.  Serious, classic names create serious, classic (and classy) people; gorgeous names breed future stunners; and cool names will make your kid cool.

And sure, it works out like that sometimes.  From Beyonce to Leonardo Di Caprio, there are lots of examples of cool people with cool names.

But sometimes people transcend the image of their names, like the 25 folks here who are undeniably cool yet have names that are pretty much not.

  1. Allen Ginsberg
  2. Armie Hammer
  3. Bruce Springsteen

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