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Category: Classic Baby Names

A Thanksgiving Menu of Pilgrim Names

pilgrims1

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.

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Billy and Bob are Back in the Playground

vintage nicknames

By Linda Rosenkrantz

The nickname-name trend is nothing new. Who among us hasn’t known a baby Max or Maggie or Sam or Ellie? Or even one of those with a whiff of vintage nostalgia, like Millie or Josie?

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:

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baby boy names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

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.

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Buttoned-up Girls’ Names

classic girls' names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

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.

You can almost hear your granny asking: What ever happened to a nice name like AnneAren’t any babies named Mary these days?

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.

Supreme Court Justice names, anyone?

The buttoned-up names for girls we think deserve a closer look include:

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eclectic baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

It’s tempting to predict the future.  Difficult, too.

Last week, I stumbled across this 1994 article in the L.A. Times.  Nameberry’s Pam predicted the stylish names of the future would be Felix and Frances, Charlotte and Claire, Hazel and Dexter.

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.

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