Category: baby name Dixie
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?
Often an inspiration for artwork and music, classic Americana is an untapped resource for baby names rich in history and culture.
These names have American roots. These names have an American image, but (with some exceptions) most aren’t even popular in America. But they have styles appealing to many American parents.
America – Admittedly this is not a surprising pick. What is surprising is how long America has been around as a given name. America first came into use as a given name in America in the 19th century. The name first made the Social Security top 1000 list back in 1880, the earliest year for name rankings.
Hear the words ‘detective’ or ‘private eye,’ and you probably picture a tough guy like Mickey Spillane or a cooler customer like Sam Spade. But it turns out that mystery fiction also features a lot more female sleuths than you might think, dating back to Loveday Brooke in the 1890s and coming right up to today.
It’s interesting to note how many of these earlier crime-solvers were given “ladylike” professions as covers—either as antique dealers or esoteric academics –or the more modern wedding planners or pet sitters. It wasn’t—for the most part—till the TV era, that they would become career private or police investigators.
One thing that they do have in common though is some pretty fantastic first names, and here are some of the best.
Do you ever imagine an alternate life? Specifically, what you might have been named, or what you might have named your children if your life was just slightly different?
My husband’s taste in given names is buckets more conservative than mine. From the color of their eyes to the shape of their toes, I cannot imagine our children even a scintilla changed. And yet imagine just one twist in life’s journey, and all of a sudden they’re Dexter and Domino instead of Alex and Clio.
The given name that I so actively disliked as a child was chosen, in large part, because of a clumsy surname, poorly exported into English without harmonizing the improbable consonant clusters. What if my parents had decided to overlook the glaring limitations of a let-me-spell-it-for-you last name? Or what if my ancestors had blanded out their surname to something that accommodated any number of appellations?