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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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posted by: omnimom View all posts by this author
omnix

By Lauren Apfel, aka omnimom

In 1642, Oliver Cromwell led a contingent of parliamentarians against King Charles I, defeating him in what became known as the English Civil War and giving rise to the only occasion in modern British history where the monarchy has not held power. Three and a half centuries later, he became my husband’s hero for it, my husband who is a constitutional lawyer and a committed republican (small ‘r’).  In the years before the arrival of our first child, we lived in Oxford, both of us affiliated with the University there. Amidst its hallowed halls and Gothic spires, people would talk in hushed tones about their ‘periods’ of expertise. My husband’s period was the seventeenth century. Cromwell was his guy.

Unsurprisingly, Oliver was always his first choice for a boy’s name.  It became mine too. We said we weren’t having children, though, so we bestowed instead the name Cromwell upon our future dog, a brown and white beagle. Things changed and we didn’t get the dog.  But we did welcome a son who was, of course, called Oliver.  My husband wanted it because it was traditional and historically grounded. I wanted it because it was sparky and unconventional. It is both of those things, depending on where you come from: this is what has made the Venn diagram effect of our name selection so successful.  The year Oliver was born it was the fifth most popular baby name in the UK. In the US, it hadn’t even broken the top 100.

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quarterly3-13

Here they are–the newest berrybaby names from January, February and March–and they’re better than ever!

Every three months, when we prepare these quarterly reports, we’re knocked out by the endlessly creative variety of choices made (and I’m sure there are lots more that didn’t make it into the Birth Announcement Forum), the felicitous first and middle name combos and the great twin and other sibsets.

This time around there are reports of ten sets of twins:

Girl/Girl

Aria Violet and Harper Daisy

Lucille Violet and Coraline Hazel

Grace Vivian and Juliet Mae

Imogen Esteri and Phoebe Justine

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Baby girl wearing pettiskirt tutu and pearls

For her The Nameberry 9 this week, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain sees more adventurous names for boys, some recent revivals for girls, and one surprising gender switch.

Last week’s baby name news demonstrated two things: first, there’s no such thing as a name too fusty to make a comeback. Girls’ names change constantly. Now that Emma, Charlotte, and Evelyn are appearing on kindergarten rosters all over America, choices like Alice, Josephine and June feel fresh.

Does this mean that Joan and Geraldine could be the hot names of 2032? Never say never.

Second, parents truly are becoming quite daring when naming their sons. For years we took risks with our daughters’ names, using frilly feminissa appellations like Arabella as well as tailored ones like Ingrid or Sawyer. The name pool for boys remained relatively shallow.

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aviateblog

It’s just in the nick of time, but we couldn’t let Women’s History Month go by without a salute to some of the adventurous women who have blazed trails, in this case literally reaching new heights.  Kudos to the the early lady pilots known then as aviatrixes, many of whom have been hidden too long in the shadow of Amelia Earhart. And of course, Nameberry being Nameberry, our choices were based as much on their interesting names as on their accomplishments.

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