Category: Classic Baby Names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Before you fire up the barbie or pack up the picnic basket, why not take a minute to think about what Memorial Day memorializes.
The holidayâ€”originally called Decoration Dayâ€”was first commemorated on May 30, 1868, not long after the Civil War had ended, and was given that name because it was when flowers were placed on the graves of the Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In the course of this brutal war Â that tore the country apart, over a thousand soldiers reached the rank of general, several of whom went on to reach high offices in government, including six presidents– Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harris, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.
Â There were dozens of stories in the baby name news last week, but they all shared a common theme: the Social Security Administrationâ€™s release of the 2012 baby name data
We talked about Titan and Briggs, Landry and Geraldine.Â About how Jacob remained number one, but only if you didnâ€™t tally up the many spellings of Aiden, Jackson, and Jayden.Â Televisionâ€™s influence was clear â€“ Arya and Aria, Litzy, Major, and Jase.Â Movies, sports, and music shaped our choices, too, as did faith.Â Nevaehâ€™s little brother might just be called Messiah.
But what about the quiet classics, the names that rise and fall, but still appear in nearly every generation?Â Hemlines change.Â We graduated from the party line to the iPhone, the horse to the Prius.Â And yet these names remain, worn by men and women, boys and girls of every age.
I love an unexpected nickname, and it is a delight when parents choose classic baby names with spark.Â This weekâ€™s name news was filled with great examples.
The Bush family is big on passing down heirlooms, from father to son, but also across generations.Â Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager wears her maternal grandmotherâ€™s name, and upheld that tradition with her new arrival.Â
But Jenna went one step further: she figured out a clever way to use both grandmothersâ€™ names while adding an on-trend nickname that gives the new baby an identity all her own.
It seems that just about every few decades since the 1940â€™s, one Old Testament patriarch name has entered the popularity listâ€™s Top 5, some lingering longer than others.Â From the forties through the early eighties it was David, Â joined by Joshua in 1983, Daniel for the single year 1985, Jacob ten years later– and holding first place for the past thirteen years– and Ethan (a more minor biblical figure) in 2002.
And now we have Noah, which entered the golden circle last year at Number 5.
Noah fits right into this groupâ€”like the earlier Joseph, and David, Jacob and Ethan, itâ€™s a simple, modern-sounding Â two-syllable name with a strong first syllable and softer second.Â And like Joseph, David, Daniel, Joshua and Jacob, Noah comes with a dramatic narrative thatâ€™s well known to most children.
As every Sunday school alumnus knows, Noah was deemed the only righteous man of his time, singled out by God to survive the great flood sent to punish an evil world, and instructed to build an ark to save his family and all species of animals from the flood.
If you donâ€™t have a beloved Gran of your own to name your baby after, how about looking for some outside inspiration from a pop culture Nana?Â Hereâ€™s a list of TV grandmothers, from the maternal to the monstrous (looking at you, Livia Soprano), the chic to the crotchety, whose names were seen as elderly at the time of their showsâ€™ creationâ€”from the 1950′s to the presentâ€”but which have become totally baby friendly today.
Here, the Nameberry picks of the 20 best Grandma TV baby names:
Thanks in large part to the single-named British singer, Adele popped into the Top 1000 last year at Number 627 and we expect to see it ranking considerably higher on the new list to be released next month.Â Molly Ringwald used it for her daughter in 2009.