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Category: Family Names

Names Your Mom Hates

monsterinlaw

A while back we did a blog called Not Your Mother’s Baby Names, about names that fail to bridge the gender gap. That post focused on newly-minted names that the older generations may not get, but those aren’t the only kinds of names that don’t translate across the generations.  

Mom may have liked perky cheerleader names — Kerry, Missy — while you prefer serious Biblical names — Abraham and Lydia.  Time-honored choices such as August and Imogen that sound classic and handsome to you may feel hopelessly dowdy to her.

The fact is, each generation tends to reinvent baby names anew, gravitating to new choices and new tastes in names. It’s how we make our name choices our own — but by definition, that may mean that Mom (and Dad and Grandma and Aunt Sue) fails to like or understand them.

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Did Your Family Pressure You Over Names?

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It’s one of the biggest problems parents-to-be complain about on the Nameberry forums: family pressure over the choice of a name.

Grandparents want the baby to be Leonard Roger III.  Great-Aunt Matilda always wanted a little girl named Matilda.

If not promoting their own or other relatives’ names, family members might just exercise what they see as their right to voice strong, uh, opinions about names.  Ugh, you can’t name your son Felix: That’s a cat’s name!

Every time you see them, they push their choices — Kaylee!  Kenneth! — and reject yours.

Have you gotten pressure from your family over baby names?  What kind?  How did you deal with it?  How did it make you feel?

Or was your family blessedly pressure-free on the topic of names?  Or maybe you even tried to talk about names with them, and they weren’t interested?

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Your Hero Name!

kennedy

Kennedy, Monroe, Landry, Truth — hero names are becoming increasingly popular, with parents naming their babies after their favorite heroes and heroines from history, Hollywood, sports, and beyond.

Surname names from Palin to Picasso are popular, but so are first names: think of Ava (Gardner), Amelia (Earhart), and Ashton (who else?).

Hero and heroine namesakes may be fictional rather than real: Atticus or Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, for example, or Jo from Little Women.

Then again, your hero or heroine may be from your own family and circle of friends and acquaintances: a favorite teacher, an acquaintance you’ve always admired.

Celebrities have recently been incorporating hero names into their choices for their children: Mariah Carey‘s daughter is named Monroe after Marilyn, for instance, while Jennifer Jason Leigh and Noah Baumbach named their son Rohmer, for French director Eric.  Several politicians in recent years have named their children Kennedy, for example, a conscious choice to identify with that powerful political family and legacy.

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Let’s hear it for Auntie Name!

auntyem

Today being National Aunts and Uncles Day (who knew, right?), here’s a shout-out to some of the most memorable aunts in both literature and pop culture– the sweet and the sour, the doting and the demanding, the over-indulgent and the overbearing—with, in literature at least, the unfortunate majority being the more domineering.

Especially in Victorian literature, with its plethora of poor orphans, aunts would often step in as surrogate moms.  Unfortunately, some of the more notable ones are known to us by their surnames only.

Here are some of the most memorable, from sources as varied as from novels to comics.

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We first talked with the lovely Natalie Hanson, whose husband is musical star Taylor Hanson, when she named her fourth child the amazing Viggo Moriah.  Not only is Natalie a celebrity mom, she’s a name nerd!  We’re delighted and honored to welcome Natalie to Nameberry as a guest blogger.  Here, she looks back on the names she and her husband chose for their four young children and what she’s thinking about for names for her fifth, due this fall.

This October I will celebrate ten years since I first took my adolescent name research and applied it to an actual human being.  This upcoming anniversary has inspired me to look back on the names my husband and I gave to our four children, the ways we chose them, and how they’ve worked out.   Have each of my choices lived up to my hopes? Was my perception of each name’s potential correct, or “ahead of its time”?  Our name stories:

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