Category: baby name
by Jeanette Soto
The name Jeanette was given to me by my young, hip parents during the infamous Chicago heat wave of 1987. The name had been out of fashion for over four decades and not coming back in style any time soon. The minute I learned how to spell it, I was frustrated by all the other people who couldn’t. One girl in grammar school insisted that it should be spelled with a ‘G’ because it sounded “too hard” to be spelled with a ‘J. Most often, people spell my name with one too many N’s or one to few T’s; misspellings include Jeannette, Janet, Jennet, Jenette, Jenet, Ginette and Ginet, but practically nobody gets it right.
Why did my parents give me a name that wasn’t just dated, but came with a slew of spellings? My mother’s excuse: Pregnancy amnesia, or brain fog caused by pregnancy hormones. It came over my mother at the time she was trying to remember the name she wanted to give me, so Colette Madeleine morphed into Jeanette Ashley.
What other names have Jeanette’s retro -ette ending and unusual style? Here, some choices:
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Last week was the birthday of Henrik Ibsen, the towering nineteenth century Norwegian playwright and poet who was one of the founders of Modernism in the theater. Known for his realistic exploration of controversial social issues, his plays A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler are considered feminist landmarks.
Ibsen‘s twenty-six frequently produced plays are populated by a wide range of characters. Those listed below offer an interesting selection of Norwegian names of that period (though a few are imports from other cultures), from the familiar (Ingrid, Nora, Finn) to those that are less known.
by Linda Rosenkrantz
Y is one of the loneliest letters in babyname land. I mean when’s the last time you heard someone say they were looking for a name starting with Y? Not that often, I bet! But if you extend the net across many cultures, you can pull together quite a respectable little group.
The rising star among them is surely Yvaine, a Scottish name meaning, appropriately, “evening star,” which came to the fore via Neil Gaiman’s book Stardust, made into a movie starring Claire Danes as the ‘fallen angel.’
Moving on, we’ll start with the two Y choices that have been used often enough in this country to reach the US Top 100:
Yvonne is one of the pair of Y names to make it to that inner circle, which she did through most of the 1930’s. She was on the list from 1892, and is still barely hanging on at Number 937. A dark and sultry name, kinda like the characters Yvonne De Carlo (born Peggy) played in lavish Technicolor epics—before she morphed into Lily Munster. Yvonne Craig portrayed Batgirl in the sixties Batman TV series
Yolanda is the second of two to rank in the Top 100, dropping in for four years in the sixties and seventies, though she’d been there lower on the Social Security list from 1905 to 2002. A name that appeared in several medieval romances, Yolanda was also borne by a Queen of Scotland and a sister-in-law of Henry VI of England. Yolanda is the Spanish language version of Violet, though it has an entirely different feel.
Royal babies have been on everyone’s mind lately, and we recently saw two babies born in the royal family within less than a month of each other.
Not only have been people been doing web searches for Prince George and Maud Windsor, they’ve been searching for royal baby names in general, uncommon royal names, and royal names that nobody else is using. So here is a list of queens and princesses connected to English royal houses by either birth or marriage, whose names aren’t popular or common.
Adeliza of Louvain married Henry I, and became queen of England. She didn’t produce any royal heirs; however, after Henry’s death she re-married, and had seven children and is an ancestor of many of the noble English families. William the Conqueror had a daughter called Adeliza, named after his sister – the name wasn’t uncommon amongst Norman-French aristocracy. Adeliza is a medieval English form of Adelais, a short form of the original old Germanic form of Adelaide. It’s pronounced ad-uh-LEE-za. Although it doesn’t have any connection to the name Elizabeth, it looks like a combination of Adele and Eliza, and might feel like a way to honour relatives who have variants of these names.
So….2,449 people named their baby girls Reese last year. Which means that upon meeting those 2,449 little girls, almost everyone for the rest of their lives is going to say, Reese? You mean R-E-E-S-E? As in Reese Witherspoon?
If you name your baby Reese and you’re NOT a Legally Blonde maniac, you’re going to have some ‘splaining to do. Because names like Reese — and Aaliyah and Ashton and Miley and Penn — are so closely tied to one celebrity that people can’t help but think that choosing the name amounts to major fandom.
And thousands of parents every year choose names that are inspired by celebrities.
In fact at this very moment, an untold number of new parents in Britain are waiting to hear the royal baby name so they can adopt it for their own already-born children.
So our question of the week is: Can you imagine you’d be one of them?