Category: Classic Baby Names
What better time than Thanksgiving to look back at the first names to arrive on our shores?
As you may remember from your third-grade history book, the first English-speaking settlement, called the Raleigh Colony, was established on the Atlantic coast in 1587, and although it didn’t survive for very long, some of its name records did. Not surprisingly, of the 99 men who settled there, 23 were named John, fifteen were Thomas, and ten were William, with a small sprinkling of Old Testament names in the mix as well.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
But lately there’s been a new twist on this phenomenon, especially seen in the celebrisphere. Several stars have resurrected some of the All-American Boy nicknames of the Depression Era, like Billy and Johnny and Tommy, and haven’t hesitated to plunk them right onto their babe’s birth certificate. In particular:
Let’s say you’re naming a son.
You’re a buttoned-up kind of family, and the classics seem like the right route.
The only problem?
Your nephew is James, your favorite cousin is expecting a Henry, and William is your BFF’s #1 choice. Charles was a frontrunner, except there’s already a little Charlie two doors down – and she’s a girl.
What’s a parent to do? Go further back, of course.
The trendiest girls’ names of recent years have been flowery and elaborate: Isabella and Sophia, Olivia and Arianna. They end in vowels….and often begin with them too. And if they’re not exotic confections, stylish girls’ names are often gender-and-tradition-confounding novelties such as Harper and Hadley and Neveah.
Well, fewer and fewer, in many cases, yet all the frippery in girls’ names is enough to make the old-fashioned buttoned-up standards feel downright refreshing.
A few of these buttoned-up names – Eleanor, most notably – are already making a comeback. But most are simply lovely standards that may feel buttoned-up, but come with fanciful nicknames for now that can be shed (or not) if and when the future demands more seriousness.
The buttoned-up names for girls we think deserve a closer look include:
It’s tempting to predict the future. Difficult, too.
Twenty years later, it’s all come true!
But it’s also become increasingly difficult to imagine what’s next for names, and the most recent high profile birth announcements illustrate why.
In our anything-goes age, possibilities abound. From Arabella to Zhang, the names parents are choosing make for an eclectic bunch.
And yet there are definite trends to spot and celebrate in this creative and daring age.