Reminiscent of fifties doo-wop songs and southern cotillions, combo names are finding their way back to baby name lists after a decades-long absence.
Contemporary Combo Names
The top ranking combo names in the U.S. have something in common. These names have origins besides being a simple combination of two names. For example:
- Annabelle, which hit the top 100 in 2012, is Anna + Belle and a variation on Annabel.
- Another variation of Annabel is Annabella, Anna + Bella, which was just outside the top 300 last year.
- Rosemary, which ranked at #603 last year, is Rose + Mary, which equals an herb.
These names are all wonderful, but soon U.S. parents could embrace more inventive combo names or revive established examples that have become obscure in recent decades. There was a place for them on the U.S. top 1000 Social Security list not too long ago.
Combo Names: Looking Back
Combo names went through typical fashion cycles, but were never very common in the U.S. The highest ranking combo name for the late ninettenth century was Louella (or Lou–Ella*). Louella peaked at #238 in 1881.
The decade with the most combo names in the top 1000 was the 1920s. Here are 1920-30s-era compound names:
In the mid-twentieth century combo names saw a resurgence. The highest ranking combo name ever was Maryann at #135 in 1943. Here are mid-twentieth century era (1940s-50s-60s) combo names:
Combo Names: Looking Ahead
The next wave of combo names could be arriving in the near future
Combo names are a U.K. trend that could well migrate across the pond, as suggested by these combo names hitting the U.S. top 1000 for the first time in recent years:
- Annalee in 2012 at #920
- Emmalynn in 2012 at #910
(Emmalyn in 2010 at #746; by 2012 it rose to #505)
- Gracelynn in 2010 at #844; by 2012 it rose to #615
(Gracelyn in 2004 at #919; by 2012 it rose to #507)
Whenever combo names start coming back in fashion, the names are a little different from those of bygone eras. There are many names that could join Annalee, Emmalynn and Gracelynn in the next wave of combo names.
Fresh Combo Name Possibilities
Here are some combo name ideas that combine traditional, vintage, and modern names:
What About Combo Names for Boys?
If you are wondering how boy combo names fare in the U.S., historically, they have been far less popular than girl combo names.
For boy traditional combos beyond Johnpaul, there’s Jamesfrancis, Johnpeter and Johnphillip.
With contemporary names, some possibilities are: Aidanpaul, Aidansean, Evanscott, Henryowen, and Peterowen.
These names present some practical questions, such as: hyphen or no hyphen?
But they are also endearingly kitschy and might be a great way to honor both grandparents and still give your kid their own unique first name.
How many combo names can you create? Would you use an established one?
Angela Mastrodonato created http://upswingbabynames/to celebrate names on the upswing. She is a big-time name watcher, and has a growing list of names she watches by tracking their popularity each year. Sign up here to get your copy of this Watch List.