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abby--pearl2

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Some weeks, the baby names in the news are aggressively modern.  Rocket and Rebel, Ryder and Stryker.  Girls can be James.  While boys can’t be Sue, there’s no guessing if Kayden, Peyton, and Riley are boys or girls.

Factor in names borrowed from nature, colors, virtues, meanings, and the map, and it can feel like every parent-to-be is considering names that would be right at home in The Hunger Games.  Welcome to the world, Ocean, Indigo, and Haven.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

All of that novelty can make classic, even conservative names seem refreshing.

Little ladies and gentlemen dominated this week’s headlines.  They’re names with history and roots, vintage revivals that are back in 2014, or will be back by 2024.  Or 2054.  And they’ll always come back – eventually – because they’re just that enduring.

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Saint-Cecilia-picture

By Linda Rosenkrantz

In the pantheon of Catholic patron saints, we find protectors of counties and cities, of living things ranging from caterpillars to wolves, not to mention those who guard against conditions from compulsive gambling to gout. What I’ve always found especially interesting are those associated with various occupations—in particular the ones relating to the creative arts–and the stories behind those patronages. Like how did a thirteenth century nun get to be the patron saint of TV?

So, if you’re a poet or a potter or a photographer, you just might find some naming inspiration here.

GIRLS

Barbara According to Catholic beliefs, the martyred Saint Barbara offers special protection for architects and stone masons because her troubled life included imprisonment in a tower.

CatherineCatherine of Bologna is considered the principle patron saint of artists. An Italian cloistered nun, she was a painter herself, in fact one of her surviving works, a 1456 depiction of St. Ursula, now hands in the Galleria Academia in Venice. Catherine of Alexandria protects potters and spinners.

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merrych

As a holiday season extra, we’re serving up a second helping of one of our favorite past Christmas slideshows.

Looking for Christmas names for your holiday-season babe? Well, you can forget about those old chestnut choices likeNoel/NoelleHollyNatalieEveMerryCarol and Claus. A much more original idea might be to look at some of the classic and current Christmas movies for interesting character names that would do the job more subtly. But don’t worry– we’re not suggesting Ebenezer or Clarence.

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Alonzo

Alonzo was the name of both the father and the brother (both called by nickname Lon) in the Smith family in this “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” flick, "Meet Me in St. Louis," starring Judy Garland. This dashing Latinate name, which has always ranked in the Top 1000, is ready for wider use. Don’t like Lon? You can call me Al.

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Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Names like Katniss and Rainbow grab headlines.  Will anyone really name their daughter after the Hunger Games heroine?  Will Holly Madison’s little girl grow up loving her colorful name, or will she legally change it to Rachel when she turns eighteen?

Their opposites are the proven classics.  Dependable names, rich with history, like Katherine and Elizabeth, William and James.

Most of us choose something in between.  It’s the baby naming sweet spot: not as unconventional as Pilot or North, but not as limited as, say, Will and Kate’s shortlist for naming a future king.

This week’s baby name news was all about sweet spot names.  They can’t be dismissed as trendy.  The names would have been familiar one hundred years ago.  Odds are strong that they’ll still be in use in another century or two.

And even though they feature in high profile birth announcements or pop culture references, there’s no reason these names wouldn’t wear perfectly well on a child.

This week’s baby names in the news are:

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Artemis, Italy and Eve: Vowel Names

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The Nameberry Nine by Abby Sandel

Let’s talk about vowels.

The letter A is wildly popular, #1 for girls and #2 for boys according to the most recent analysis at Nancy’s Baby Names. As I looked through this week’s birth announcements and baby name news, it seemed like the letter A is everywhere.

E trails a few places behind A, fifth overall for girls and eighth for boys.

It wasn’t always like this. Look at the data for the 1920s or 1950s. None of the Top Ten names for either gender start with a vowel. But in recent years, names like Andrew, Ethan, Emma, Olivia, Abigail, and Isabella have dominated the lists of most common names.

A has a strong lead, with Alexander, Ava, and Aiden in the current Top Ten. Our affection isn’t limited to the first letter of the alphabet.Owen, Eli, Isaiah, and Easton are all rapidly rising favorites for our sons.  For daughters, there’s Eva and Ella, plus lots of names with the Ev- and El- sound, and up-and-comers like Isla and Olive.

The vowel-centric names in the baby name news last week included:

Italy – Parents continue to search the map for meaningful, attractive place names for their children. Italy is an intriguing option. She’s part-Avery, part-Isabelle, and very much a destination with a positive vibe. For Real Baby Names spotted a birth announcement for Italy Margie Anne, but I think this is a gender neutral possibility.

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