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Category: baby name Cora

Pop Culture Names: Cora, Aurora and Devora

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The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

It happens all the time.

You’re expecting your first – or second, or third – and the perfect name eludes you.  There are lots of possibilities and maybes, but none of them are The Name.

And then along comes a movie, a television show, a celebrity, a song, and that’s it.  That’s the name.

The numbers tell us that pop culture is a major influence in baby naming.  And yet we resist the idea.  A name from a Jane Austen novel?  Classic, sophisticated.  From a soap opera or a Disney Channel series?  Sometimes we’re a little dismissive of those choices.

But here’s the thing about names: we can’t consider them until we are aware that they exist.

This week’s names all come from movies and television, books and blogs.  You may have heard them before, but seeing them on the screen could make the names feel fresh, interesting, and just right for a daughter.

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abby--oscars

As the race towards the Oscars heats up, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain offers her annual analysis of possible award-winning baby names–the most interesting names attached to nominees and the characters they play.

Award season is in full swing, with the Golden Globes last month and the Oscars coming up soon.

A glance at any kindergarten roster demonstrates Hollywood’s impact on baby names.  Audrey, Ava, Olivia, and Natalie all belonged to screen legends long before they were among the most popular choices for our daughters.  Surname choices like Harlow, Monroe, Gable, and even Chaplin have been heard.

But those are Golden Age names.  How about the nominees for 2013?  There are some fascinating choices, rich with potential for a son or a daughter.

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TV Names: Upstairs, Downstairs & Downton

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At last, at last, the third season of Downton Abbey has finally launched, a further opportunity for those of us who love vintage British names to spend time with the Crawley clan et al.  We’re now lucky enough to have had two recent TV period imports with great examples of character names, both for the aristos upstairs and the servants below.  The time frame of both Downton Abbey and the recently updated Upstairs, Downstairs is the early decades of the twentieth century: Downton now picks up in 1920; the second series of Upstairs in 1936, six years after the initial one ended.

And if there seems to be a preponderance of girls’ names, it’s because so many of the male characters, both upstairs and down, have such common names as Thomas, Robert, Matthew, William, Joseph and John.

Here are some of the most interesting names in both series; and it’s worthy of note that the British TV names that are being revived today come equally from both social strata, as in, for example, Isobel and Ivy, Edith and Elsie.

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Time again for one of my absolute favorite activities—rounding up the names that Berries have chosen over the past three-month period.  These are the winning picks after all the options were weighed– so often the result of enlightened discussions with and suggestions from fellowberries.

Today’s Quarterly Report includes an even more than usual range of fabulous choices, for both singletons and multiples–and we often get to see the sibsets these newbies fit into.

We also have some multiples of our own: three Spring babyberries each named Ivy and Miles, and two each called Charlotte, Cora, Eloise, Jasper, Leo, Oliver and Samuel.  Plus the similar but differently spelled Alice and Alys, Eleanor and Elinore, Mathilde and Matilda, Vivien and Vivienne, and Edmond and Edmund.

Some of the more intriguingly unusual choices: girls named Bennett , Connelly and Greyson, boys named Hawthorne and Jones, and distinctive middle names Sherlock, Capri, Dover, Huckleberry, and Adventure.

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floradora

There’s been a lot of berry-buzz lately around the names Cora, Flora and Dora, a nostalgic bevy of beauties we might call the Floradora girls.

If you’re wondering about the origins of the term, it dates back to Florodora, one of the first big Broadway musical hits of the twentieth century—it opened in 1900– and the term came to symbolize a kind of saucy, high-kicking, wasp-waisted show gal who might well have been named Flora or Dora—or Cora or Nora—all names then near the height of their popularity.

In 1900, Flora was Number 106 on the list, Dora, 79, Cora 55, and Nora 83, but their rankings would experience somewhat disparate trajectories.  While all four peaked in the 1880s, it was only Nora, with her more classic feel, that would maintain respectable numbers throughout the succeeding decades–Flora was the first to vanish completely, in 1972.

But while these names appear to share such a strong family resemblance, they actually have quite different résumés.

CORA. Though Cora‘s roots go back to the ancient Greek — the word kore, meaning ‘girl, maiden’–and it was a title given to Persephone, goddess of springtime, the modern introduction of Cora to the English-speaking world is credited to James Fenimore Cooper and his creation of Cora Munro, the spirited heroine of his 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans. Today, Cora is most visibly tied to the American-born Right Hono(u)rable Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey.  And the sweet, old-fashioned Cora is now at Number 276, the highest it’s been since 1949, with the expanded Coralie getting some love as well.

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