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Wide-Ranging Baby Names: Fisher, Fletcher & Amalia

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In this week’s Nameberry 9, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s choices run from the royal Amalia to the unique Catchen, showing the anything-goes spirit of baby naming today.

The only rule of baby naming in 2013?

Anything goes.

From reliable classics to nouveau inventions to family heirlooms, the range of possibilities is truly infinite.

So it is no surprise that the baby name news ran the gamut this week.  On the one side are Dutch royals and a supermodel’s three sons with regal names.  On the other?  We have a few nouveau inventions and discoveries that could work nicely for a twenty-first century child.

All of this leads to my favorite piece of baby naming advice from the blogosphere this week: don’t whittle down your short list, discarding names for one reason or another.  Narrow your list UP, until you find the one that you truly adore.

The baby names that made headlines this week weren’t all given to newborns, but don’t be surprised to spot them on a birth announcement sometime soon.

Willem Willem-Alexander is the new King of the Netherlands.  Most men to rule the tiny kingdom have answered to William, ever since William of Orange helped establish the nation’s independence in the sixteenth century.  Willem is the Dutch form, one that’s familiar in the US thanks to actor Willem Dafoe.  (Dafoe was born in Wisconsin as just plain William.  He picked up the European version as a nickname.)  Could parents embrace Willem as a slightly different spin on the classic name? 

Edward – Supermodel Eva Herzigová and boyfriend Gregorio Marsiaj have welcomed a third son.  Baby Edward joins George and Philipe.  The trio sounds as regal as any royal sibset.

Fletcher Archer is stylish.  I’ve heard Beau and Bo and even Arrow over the past year or two.  How about this one?  It’s an occupational surname for an arrowsmith, from the Old French word for arrow – fleche.  Hunter, Cooper, Tyler, Fletcher.  I think it flies.

Fisher – He’s another occupational choice, but this one has a subtle appeal for Christian parents.  It’s a reference to the New Testament phrase from the Gospel of Matthew: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Fifty years ago, parents would have just used Matthew, but in our age of Nevaeh and Messiah, Fisher seems like a restrained option.

CurtisDesperate Housewives alum Tuc Watkins is a new dad!  He recently brought home twins.  Tuc’s full name is Charles Curtis III, so his son Curtis continues the family tradition.  Curtis peaked in the 1960s, but I’m a big believer in passing down family heirlooms and honor names even if they’re slightly off-trend.

Catchen – While Tuc’s son inherited a well-worn name, his daughter received a one-of-a-kind creation.  The actor says that it came up in a name brainstorming session with his sister, Courtney.  She suggested Catch, and it well, caught on.  Catchen is a surprise for a girl, but fits right in with nouveau names for boys, like Chasen, Corden, and Caston.  I wouldn’t be surprised to meet some boys called Catchen in the future.

Carice – Speaking of inventions that might appeal, I’m intrigued by Carice van Houten, the Dutch actress appearing in Game of Thrones as Melisandre.  Carice comes from a smoosh of Caroline and Alice.  If that’s not story enough, the original Carice was the daughter of British composer Edward Elgar – Mrs. Elgar was named Caroline Alice.  It all makes for an elegant possibility, fresher than Clarice.

Laurentien – Another smoosh name comes from the Netherlands, this time the name of Princess Laurentien, wife of Prince Constantijn and sister-in-law of the new king.  In Dutch, Laurentien rhymes with queen.  In English, I’d be tempted to rhyme it with line.  The unusual appellation comes from Laurentien’s parents – Laurens and Jantien.  It’s been passed down as an extra middle to several members of the next generation, too.

Amalia – We started with the new Dutch king.  Let’s end with the new Dutch heir apparent, Willem-Alexander’s firstborn daughter with wife Maxima (shown in the illustration).  Her full name is Catharina-Amalia, but she’s known as Amalia.  With Amelia so in vogue in the US, and variations like Emelia and Amelie in use, no wonder Amalia has been steadily climbing in use, too.

Have you heard any great names lately?  Do you like smoosh names and other inventions, or do you prefer the classics?

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