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modern girls names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Is the way we name our daughters changing?

The way we name our sons in 2014 feels different.  For years we relied on Biblical favorites with a few hardy Germanic go-tos mixed in.  But since the 1990s, we’ve seen names like Tyler, Mason, and Jayden reach the US Top Ten.  Jackson is more popular than John, while former favorites like Richard and Steven are less and less common.

Girls’ names have always been more volatile.  And yet, our ideas about what makes an appropriately feminine name were once more set.  Sophia, Isabella and Charlotte might be today’s darlings, but they’re not so different from Amanda, Melissa, and Heather in the 1980s or Barbara, Cynthia, and Karen in the 1950s.

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blueivy

By Linda Rosenkrantz

There are some names that we’ve become so accustomed to seeing on the covers of People et al, attached to the babes of Tinseltown, that we assume that their popularity has instantly spread beyond the confines of Malibu and Calabasas.  But it ain’t necessarily so.  There are several appellations worn by more than one starbaby that have yet to hit the current Top 1000 list—though this could change with the new rankings coming next month! Some of these names did have some nineteenth or twentieth century success, others have never entered the list at all.

GIRLS

Alabama—Used by Drea de Matteo and Shooter Jennings and by Travis Barker for their daughters, this Southern state name—unlike neighboring Georgia and Carolina—appeared only once on the Social Security list, and that was in 1881.

BlueBeyonce and Jay Z made quite the colorful splash when they named their daughter Blue Ivy; several years earlier Dave Evans dubbed his girl Blue Angel.  Many others have picked Blue as the middle name for their kids–both girls and boys–including Maria Bello, Soleil Moon Frye and Veronica Webb, but the name has not yet entered the popularity list.

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abby--2-03014

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Let’s talk about middle names.

Family names, filler names, fallback names – there are so many approaches to choosing your child’s middle that it can make landing on the perfect first feel almost easy.

Factor in a growing number of children who receive not one, but two middles, and it can become quite the puzzle.

I still regret choosing our son’s second name too quickly, and I remain ridiculously pleased with our daughter’s bonus middle.  (It’s Wren, a nod to my sister’s nickname, Bird.)

There’s nothing wrong with using Elizabeth or JamesPlenty of us have loved ones we wish to honor with a traditional choice.  And a more conventional middle can anchor an out-there given name.

But the opposite is true, too.  Jeremy Renner’s Ava Berlin is far more interesting than say, Ava Grace.

Middles that are meaningful and interesting and maybe downright original have their place, and I’m an unapologetic fan of big, stand-out middles.

This week’s daring middle names in the news are:

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Poet Names: Chaucer, Cullen & Kipling

poetblog

It’s National Poetry Month, the perfect moment to celebrate the bards and bardesses of the past and present, a surprising number of whom just happened to born with birth-certificate-ready surnames. In addition to those below, there are other great choices like Auden, Eliot and Emerson, Lowell, Millay, Nash, Owen, Poe, Reese and Schuyler, but we’ve picked what we think are the best poet names for now.

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