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bimper crop babies

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Berries, we are ending the year with a bang!

After a few weeks of relative quiet in the celebrity baby name sphere, birth announcements were everywhere last week.  The names ranged from vintage to modern, mythological to meaningful.  But none of them played it (too) safe.

A few of these are interesting enough to make me rethink my favorite baby names of 2014 … but let’s wait until December 31st to revise that post, since there could still be some great names in the next few weeks!

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new traditionals

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Lately when I hear a birth announcement, I’ll sometimes find myself thinking: “Oh, what a nice, normal name.”

This is madness, of course.  Because there’s no such thing as a normal name.

There are stalwart classics, like Elizabeth and James.  There are well-established mainstream choices, like Jacob and Ava.

Trends have been with us forever.  And there have always been kids with outlandish names, the Bunny and Princess, or Rebel, Rocket, and Rogue of their generations.

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Born on the Fourth of July

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Yes, July 4th is the birthday of America, but it’s also an occasion to salute some of the notable people who share that date—and of course featuring those with the more interesting names. It makes for quite a diverse little birthday party—from Nathaniel Hawthorne, born in 1804, to First Daughter Malia Obama, born in 1998. But we won’t be including three who erroneously claimed the date as their own—composer George M. ‘born on the Fourth of July’ Cohan, MGM’s Louis B. Mayer and Louis Armstrong, whose real date of birth was August 4th.

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familynames1

This week, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain finds lots of family ties in the names in the news.

The big trend in baby name news this week?  It has to be borrowing a name from your family tree.

Once upon a time, it might have been expected that your firstborn son was a junior, or maybe shared his name with grandpa.  In other places, family surnames were handed down along with the silver. 

These days, there’s less pressure than ever to choose heirloom names.  And yet we’re still inclined to honor our loved ones.

Other parents aren’t passing down family names, but they are coordinating their children’s names.  Sometimes it is a shared first initial; other times, the theme is more subtle.

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For the Nameberry 9 newsiest names of this week, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain  highlights some unisex baby names, interesting surname names and other novel choices.

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard about Blaer Bjarkardottir.

She’s just won the legal right to use her name.  Fifteen years ago, Blaer’s mom unknowingly gave her daughter a name that does not appear on the official list of 1,853 names permitted for baby girls in Iceland.  The mistake was discovered only after Blaer’s baptism.

A Nobel Prize-winning novelist had used the name for a female character.  Plus, Blaer’s mom knew another woman with the name – it’s where she got the idea in the first place.

It turns out that even in a country with official lists, things can be a little bit fuzzy.

There are no official lists in the U.S., but plenty of us might like to impose them.

Trouble is, even if there were rules at a given moment, they’re always subject to change.  What was true in 1960 – or 1860 – won’t hold in 2013.

This brings us to a great quote from Swistle: “Names, like colors and toys, are given to male/female babies according to fashion, not according to stone tablets.”

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