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modern girls names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Is the way we name our daughters changing?

The way we name our sons in 2014 feels different.  For years we relied on Biblical favorites with a few hardy Germanic go-tos mixed in.  But since the 1990s, we’ve seen names like Tyler, Mason, and Jayden reach the US Top Ten.  Jackson is more popular than John, while former favorites like Richard and Steven are less and less common.

Girls’ names have always been more volatile.  And yet, our ideas about what makes an appropriately feminine name were once more set.  Sophia, Isabella and Charlotte might be today’s darlings, but they’re not so different from Amanda, Melissa, and Heather in the 1980s or Barbara, Cynthia, and Karen in the 1950s.

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Rolling-Stones

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Mick Jagger is a great-grandfather.

The frontman of the world’s greatest rock’n’roll band welcomed a new grandson and his first great-granddaughter a few months ago.  Their names were just revealed last week.  If you’re counting, that brings the Jagger progeny to seven children, five grandchildren, and a great-grandchild … all with rather interesting given names.

It wasn’t just the Jaggers sharing names at long last.  Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson filed a birth certificate for baby #4, just before her first birthday.  If you’re looking for vintage gems, the Rudolph-Andersons’ quartet is a great starting point.

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abby-dash

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

There are dozens of ways to slice and dice baby names.  Classic or hipster, modern or vintage.

But here’s a divide that cuts across style categories: is the name on the birth certificate the name intended for daily use?  Or is it more of a jumping off point, the source of a nickname that will actually be what you call your kiddo 99% of the time?

The first group are WYSIWYG baby names: What You See (on the birth certificate) is What You Get (in real life).  Jack is called Jack, Sadie is Sadie, and how could Ellie answer to anything else?

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Naming Baby Number Two

Love

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Let’s face it : the blank slate of naming your first child can be intimidating.

Will you stick with the classics?  Or would you be happier with a Cricket instead of a Charlotte, a Wylie rather than a William?  You’ve always liked your mother’s maiden name, Davis, and then there’s his fabulous Great Aunt Marguerite – but do you want to hand down family names, or is it better to start fresh?  Is Wyatt too trendy?  Is Cordelia too obscure?

It’s a riddle, but despite dire warnings of name regret, most parents seem to choose a perfectly suitable name for their firstborn.

Welcoming a second child means that you’ve got a crib and car seat already, but when it comes to names, you’re back at the beginning.

Or are you?  Because not only will you revisit many of the questions from the first round, you’ll also have to consider whether baby #2’s name matches, clashes – or matches too much – with the big brother or sister-to-be.

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abby--double

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Good things came in twos this week, as the baby name news was dominated by interesting sets of twins, and two new ends-with-R names for boys.

Let’s start with the letter R.

This past spring, the mainstream media picked up on a phenomenon we name nerds have long recognized: two-syllable, ends-with-N names for boys are big.  Whether we’re talking chart toppers like Aiden and Mason, or new inventions like Zennon and Dreyson, N has been the go-to letter for ending boys’ names in recent years.

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