Category: International Baby Names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There are many Scottish boys’ names that have become so familiar that we don’t even recognize their roots—names like Malcolm and Cameron and Gavin and Gordon and Keith and Kyle. But there are others that have never reached our shores and that might be worth considering, and here are some prime examples.
Bear in mind, that most of these names are not currently popular in Scotland; only one of them, Struan, appears in the current Top 100 (at Number 99)—a list headed by Jack, James and Lewis, with just a smattering of old Gaelic names like Euan, Arran, and Ruaridh.
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.
There’s a lot to be said for having a name that is familiar in many countries. It makes travel and working overseas just that little bit easier, and if you have a particular cultural background, it’s nice to know that relatives in your country of origin will easily be able to spell and pronounce your child’s name. Even if your child never leaves their native shores, we live in a global village, and they will most likely meet, study, and work with people from other countries.
To me, a name with high international recognition needed to be popular in as many regions as possible, so that as a mimimum, it needed to be Top 100 in the English-speaking countries of Australia, New Zealand, England/Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Canada, and the USA. It also needed to be popular in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia.
In times when some parents are attracted to bold, energetic names like Dash and Blaze; or weaponry associated names like Colt and Cannon, it makes sense that others would be drawn to names with peaceful, spiritual meanings and connections.
Such names can create a great first impression – they can set others at ease, making their wearer seem friendly, relaxed and approachable. Less overt than traditional virtue names, they still hint at an attitude that the wearer can aspire to.
What names are quintessentially ‘British’?
I see this question a lot but it’s a hard one to pin down. Do we mean solely British in origin, or only British in use? When Prince George was born our media heralded it as a “quintessentially British” name — and why not? We’ve had numerous kings bear the name, and it’s even the name of the patron saint of England. But George was originally a Greek name, brought late into our Royalty by German Hanovarians. Ask many Americans and the first George they think of is Washington or Bush.
For me, the quintessentially British names are those which are very familiar to us as a nation, that have been or are currently popular, but are little used in America, Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries. Names such as Nicola – our darling of the 70s – Darcy, Imogen, Poppy, Freya, Alfie, Jenson, Gareth, Alistair and Finlay.