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Category: Baby Names

Sibling Names: The latest from London

British sibling names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

We love combing the birth announcements in the London Telegraph for baby name trends and ideas.

Each time we issue a report, we look for a different focus — unusual names, fascinating middle name combinations — and today it’s sibling names.

While we hate to exclude singletons with such wonderful names as Aurelia Liliana Rosabel and Tiago Rafferty Redfern, the sibling names were even juicier.

Some observations: The newest vintage names being unpacked from mothballs in England are Martha and Herbert.  Some of the most charming combinations mix ethnicities (Emiko and Freddie) or match first letters (Orlando and Ophelia).  Out-of-the-box middle names include word names, place-names, and surnames such as Spark, Houston, and Allgood.

Oh, and, as usual, these British parents manage to find baby names that are distinctive and adventurous and gorgeous without resorting to (almost ever) strange inventions or kree8tiv spellings.

Our picks from the latest announcements:

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posted by: Prooffreader View all posts by this author
mythological baby names

By David Taylor, prooffreader.com

There is no doubt that mythological names from a variety of ancient cultures have become increasingly popular with baby namers. The graphics below will make this visually—and eminently—clear.

mytholgirls

mytholboys

 

As you can see, mythological boys’ names were pretty negligible until the mid-1990s, after which they’ve had quite an explosion, with boys named Phoenix, Odin and Ares leading the pack.

Girls were more often named after mythological figures in the past, but their use has increased as well, and the actual names have changed. In 1940, Minerva and Vesta were the most popular (a virgin Greek warrior goddess and a virgin Roman goddess of the hearth … I’ll let you draw any patterns from this). Now it’s Isis (certain to decrease in light of the news from Iraq these days), Thalia (which had quite a momentary spike in 1993) and Persephone. Also on the list is Eris, an unusual choice as she’s the Greek goddess of strife, who was pretty much responsible for the Trojan War.

Analyzing name categories like this is a unique challenge; the starting material is a simple list of names, with no indication as to what parents were thinking. Many names happen to be mythological, but exist as common names from other traditions (for example, Ora was a common girls’ name a century ago, and only coincidentally happens to be a Balto-Slavic goddess as well). To eliminate these cases, I limited the list to Greek, Roman, Norse and Egyptian names, since they were by far the most heavily represented in this American baby names database. (It’s too bad I had to eliminate the Celtic, but so many of those names are both mythological and common names, like Brigid and Dylan.)

The object of the exercise was to come up with a list of names that, all things being equal, prospective parents would probably have known were mythological, and that people their children meet might reasonably be expected to know are mythological. Therefore, names like Amon had to go; he’s an Egyptian god, but he’s also a Hebrew name. I made use of nameberry.com’s name origins database (with some confirmation rom others) to make judgment calls when a name’s mythological nature was unclear.

Of course, in a process like this, you can’t have an overall count, because the names are manually curated and the result would be extremely curator-dependent. Therefore, I charted the Top 10 names that were left after the culling, which of course is also curator-dependent, but far less so.

 

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heroic baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Poor Princess Kate.

Not only is she suffering from serious morning sickness with Baby #2, everyone from late night talk show hosts to gossip columnists worldwide is busy speculating on her due date, whether #2 will be a princess or a prince, and, of course, what they’ll name the newest royal.

Naming any boy – whether he’s coming home to a castle or a condo – can become a battle between tradition and fresh starts.

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posted by: Nook of Names View all posts by this author
royal names

With speculation already swirling around the possible name(s) of the next royal child and with Victoria surfacing once again as a possibility, we were inspired to take a look at what K. M Sheard of Nook of Names had to say about it the first time around.

It is a little ironic that Victoria would now be considered a very traditional and conventional choice for a royal baby.

That wasn’t true when Victoria was named; Victoria — Latin for “victory” — was a rare name in Britain at the time, although it had been in use since the sixteenth century, one of the names plucked from Classical Antiquity. For to the Romans, Victoria was the personification of victory, and worshipped as a Goddess.

Why did Victoria receive such a name? Because that’s what her mother was called. She was Marie Louise Viktoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield.

It wasn’t actually Queen Victoria’s first name, either. That was Alexandrina, after Tsar Alexander I of Russia.

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gender-benders

Can celebrities have an impact on the gender ID of their names?  You betcha.  First there were some earlier actresses with predominantly male names like Glenn Close, Sean Young, Michael Learned and Darryl Hannah, and then, more recently, Bryce Dallas Howard, Elisha Cuthbert, Tierney Sutton, Jules Asner and Mischa Barton, who have opened the door to the gender-bending of their names.

Here are some who have had a perceivable influence in making their lad names more acceptable for ladies.

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