Okay, okay, I know there are people with the surnames Drake and Deacon, Gunner and Ryder, but I don’t think that’s why those names are popular. It’s more that they aren’t conventional first names that’s important, I think, than that they fit any other kind of mold.
In terms of names that convey the new masculine image, the huge surnameish trend is interesting because it makes boys’ names in some ways more formal and traditional than they were before. What sounds more imposing, after all: Jefferson or Jeff? Jacoby or plain old Jake?
It may be the move away from family names – when’s the last time someone you know named their baby a junior? – as well as from religious and ethnic strictures is what makes these new names for boys so appealing to parents. Names like Fletcher and Hayden convey the aura of family lineage and power without any of the nasty obligations: no endless Thanksgiving dinners or visiting Uncle Theodore in the nursing home to make sure you sew up your inheritance.
Rather, you can wear these faux family names as lightly as a Ralph Lauren sweater. And on a similarly shallow note, the surname trend is partly inspired by celebrities and their characters who are often called by their last names: Beckham (a big winner in the 2008 popularity poll), Chandler, and Donovan, for instance.
While these names are all prominent on the 2008 popularity list for boys, many are of course used for girls too. In the past, once a name crossed to the girls’ side, many parents abandoned it for boys, but that’s not happening as much today — a positive development, we think. For a closer look on surname names and gender identity, see our blog on unisex names.
Reid or Reed
Caden, Kaden and bros
Colton and Colten
Reese or Reece (or the Welsh Rhys)
Trip or Tripp
Zayden et al
Tomorrow, new boys’ names imported from around the world.