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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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rebel

Watch out, Berries–today’s guest blogger, Claire Shefchik, has plenty of bones to pick!

Since the age of six, I’ve loved names.  Back then, whenever I renamed myself, I was Crystal (spelled Christal) and later, Jordan.  These days, I prefer Presley to Penelope, Jayden to Jasper.  In the novel I’m writing, two of the main characters are Dempsey and Vaughanfemale characters. Eek!  That’s right, I am a name heretic.

When, a few years ago, I came across the Nameberry-led community of Internet naming enthusiasts, I thought I’d found heaven (sorry, “nevaeh”).  But I found myself, more often than not, at odds with my fellow “name nerds.”  Many claim to be open-minded and liberal, but are much more rigid in their approach to naming than you’d think, especially when it comes to names popular with, as one poster put it, “the Wal-Mart set.”  Another poster declared her goal was to encourage “classically-named babies,” which let’s face it, is just a euphemism for “babies with names of which I, as the self-appointed arbiter of taste, approve.”

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yes-no

A few weeks ago we asked the Nameberry moms and dads to tell us their best baby names rules.  What followed were hundreds of suggestions, from the idiosyncratically individual (All middle names must be Celtic and begin with R) to rules so universal they might apply to everyone.

Rule Number 1, according to one berry?  No dumb names.  We’re down with that, along with these 21 other smart, sensible rules that every modern baby namer should follow:

1.     No yooneek spellings.  Name your son (or daughter) Peyton or even Payton.  But not Peighton, Patyn, or Paitynne.

2.     No made-up names.  Translating a meaningful place or word into a name is all right, but don’t manufacture a name from whole cloth.  Jaunel and Calton, we’re looking at you.

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Baby Name Rules: What are YOURS?

The_Golden_Rule_book

We were intrigued by this thread on baby name rules over on the Nameberry forums, where visitors detail their personal and family rules for choosing names.

It made us want to write down our own baby name rules; I mean, our personal rules as well as Nameberry’s rules.

As a mom, I’d say my rules for my kids’ names were that they:

Sound distinct from each other. My husband’s family has a Tom and a Tim, a Jane and a John, and I wanted to avoid that kind of matchy-matchy thing.  So one of my first rules was that my kids’ names sound very different from each other. I didn’t anticipate that Rory, Joseph, and Owen would end up being called Ro, Joe, and O.

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baby name rules

Today’s guest blogger, writer Jon Finkel, has come up with his own idiosyncratic set of baby-naming rules—see if you agree.

With the average life expectancy in the United States pushing 80 years, picking the wrong name for your kid could turn out to be an eight-decade mistake. Think about that. In eighty years you’ll be dead; the house you lived in, the cars you drove, the clothes you wore, will probably all be recycled, rebuilt or destroyed; but your son, who is now living in an old-age facility in 2091, has to go by the name Mason S., because Mason A., Mason G., Mason L. and Mason P. live on the same floor in his retirement home, were all born in 2011 and also had parents who went the unoriginal route and simply picked the trendiest name available.

So though Mason is a solid name, when it comes to your child in 2011, unless you have always loved Mason, or you are named Mason (or work as a mason) and your son is going to be a Mason Junior or a mason, the name is just too popular. This thought led me to compose what I’ll call “The Not Another Mason and Other Rules for Baby Naming” list.

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