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Category: Classic Baby Names

abby--3-2-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Last month, two high profile birth announcements both featured Bodhi within days.  Not Mason, not Noah.  Bodhi.  Proof that choosing a different name is no guarantee that it will actually be different.

But here’s a strategy that might work – pick a name that qualifies as a twist on a classic.  It works for Swedish royals, Olympic gold medalists, and Hollywood types, too.

Need proof?  Try the Zato Novo baby name visualizerElizabeth consistently turns the map various shades of blue, showing a long and steady history of use.  But try Elsa or Bess or Elizaveta, and suddenly, she’s far more rare.

All too often, the names that strike us as outlandish are on their way to the top of the popularity charts.  Remember when Top 100 picks like Harper and Trinity were surprising? Now names like Haven, Skyla, and Aspen are on the rise, slowly transitioning from “what an unusual name” to “oh, my cousin/co-worker/neighbor’s sister named her baby that.”

Twists on classics elicit a very different response.  They usually can’t be dismissed as trendy or fleeting.  Of course, some – like Nora, Eliza, or Kaitlyn – can become very popular.  But many of them occupy a middle ground – pleasing names that show their history, while still standing out on the playground.

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Many of the world’s great lovers in myth, legend and history have highly romantic names—or so they have come to seem as the result of their provenance. From ancient Greek mythology to Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Persian and Italian lore, we find some intriguing names that– despite the often tragic fates of their bearers—continue to celebrate the power of love.

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posted by: mill1020 View all posts by this author
Little-House-On-The-Prairie

By Laura Miller Brennan

All pioneer names didn’t evoke subsistence, desolate winters, or dull prairie life–some of their baby names were as adventurous as the frontier folk themselves.  Here are some stunning examples that are straight from the pages of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s historical and largely-autobiographical Little House books.

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls (1867-1957) is the spirited protagonist who wrote a set of classic tales about her life at the request of her romantically-named daughter (and only surviving child) Rose Wilder Lane.  Her first full manuscript was written under the working title Pioneer Girl and was rejected; this evolved into the nine-book series beginning with Little House in the Big Woods on through The First Four Years.  Her lore didn’t stop there, though.  West From Home is a series of Laura’s letters to her husband during a visit to the 1915 World’s Fair.  On The Way Home and The Road Back are diaries of her major trips; the latter three volumes were published posthumously.

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1914alice

At the beginning of the year, we like to flip back the calendar a hundred years to see what the baby name landscape looked like a century ago. 1914 was a year in which World War I was in full swing, the year that President Wilson officially established Mother’s Day, Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth made their debuts, and saw the births of Dylan Thomas, Jonas Salk and Joe DiMaggio.But the babyname universe was relatively calm, as we can see by looking at the stable top dozen girls’ names. Here, they are, in order of their 1914 popularity, and what their status is today:

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The Most Popular Biblical Names for Boys

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Biblical names have always been popular for boys, and their influence has only risen in recent years.  The dozen boys’ names here all stand below the Top 20.   Eight derive from the Old Testament, three from the New, with one – Michael – figuring in both.  A half century ago, there were fewer biblical names on the boys’ Top 20 and more of those were from the New Testament.  What hasn’t changed is that all these names are well liked and have deep roots, and will serve any boy well.  The most popular biblical names for boys today, and the figures behind them, are:

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