Category: aristocratic baby names
When Guiliana and Bill Rancic recently named their son Edward Duke, the Edward was for family members on both sides, but they always intended to call him by his middle name, because, said Guiliana, Duke is such a strong name. And she’s not the first celebrity to think so. Diane Keaton bestowed it on her son in 2001, and Justine Bateman followed suit the following year.
In fact, several of these blue-blood titles have been a lot more popular than you might imagine.
Earl is the one name in this category that came to be accepted as a name apart from its noble heritage—but has anything but a lofty image—especially since My Name is Earl. But Earl didn’t fall off the list until 2006—before that it was a Top 50 name until 1939 and then stayed in the Top 100 through 1954, attached to such distinguished figures as Chief Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, banjo player Earl Scruggs and jazzman Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, as well as basketball star Vernon Monroe known as “Earl the Pearl.” Perry Mason-creator E. Stanley Gardner spelled his first name Erle. Is it possible that Earl could follow sister Pearl back into favor?
How would you describe your favorite name style?, asked a recent Nameberry Question of the Week. Do you prefer cool names? Classic? Stylish? Or what?
Which put me in mind of trying to characterize my own name style. You might think that we at Nameberry were born knowing our personal name styles, since we’ve made a life’s work of classifying names into styles and helping other people figure out what kinds of names they love.
But like the shoemaker’s child, I’d never really defined my own name style until Linda posted this question. I definitely like vintage names, I decided, along with names that are a bit unusual. Cool names, but not too cool. Classy, yet quirky.
And then the right term for it came to me: Eccentric Aristocrat. You know, the kind of names that might belong to madcap lords and exotic baronesses (baronessi?) dashing around the countryside in yellow roadsters, drinking champagne and weekending at castles.
Yes, it’s a little bit British, but it’s also kind of Eurotrash and pretty F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton sophisticated American too. Eccentric Aristocrat names hint at a Russian count as a grandfather, a Scottish pile as an inheritance, ancient relatives who have to be honored with highly unfashionable names – except now that you think about it, those names are actually kind of cool.
Regular readers of Nameberry will recognize the Eccentric Aristocrat in many of the names that, not coincidentally, are favorites on this site: Violet and Jasper, Flora and Felix. Those are the kinds of names that I’d choose for my own children. (The fact that I didn’t choose those kinds of names for my own children is another story, one that starts with my husband’s name style being more Solid Midwestern than Eccentric Aristocrat.)
A few rules on what makes a name an Eccentric Aristocrat:
2. It must have a distinct gender identification, but not a conventional one. The name Inigo is clearly male, while India plainly female. Yet Inigo might just as well design clothes as play football, and India seems as appropriate a name for an international financier as for a supermodel.