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The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

I’ve often said that if our second child were a boy, he would have gone nameless.

Blame it on our preferences.  My husband and I planned to source family names for our children, without thinking about the imbalance.  We have tons of women in our family, with a rich list of interesting names.  The pool of masculine names is much smaller, and repeats, again and again, over the generations.  Naming a second – or third or fourth – son would have required a willingness to reinvent some antiques and reconsider a few imports.

Is Zbigniew wearable in the US?

But let’s say that we were open to finding a great name, not one with family ties necessarily.  Just a name that would serve our child well from infancy into adulthood.

Happily, there’s no shortage of those.

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This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel looks at the “quiet” classic baby names  and measures how they stand in the new popularity ratings. 

 There were dozens of stories in the baby name news last week, but they all shared a common theme: the Social Security Administration’s release of the 2012 baby name data

We talked about Titan and Briggs, Landry and Geraldine.  About how Jacob remained number one, but only if you didn’t tally up the many spellings of Aiden, Jackson, and Jayden.  Television’s influence was clear – Arya and Aria, Litzy, Major, and Jase.  Movies, sports, and music shaped our choices, too, as did faith.  Nevaeh’s little brother might just be called Messiah.

But what about the quiet classics, the names that rise and fall, but still appear in nearly every generation?  Hemlines change.  We graduated from the party line to the iPhone, the horse to the Prius.  And yet these names remain, worn by men and women, boys and girls of every age.

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Presidential Baby Names: Hail to the Chiefs


Just as other countries have their royal names, America has had a long tradition of honoring our  presidents, going back at least as far as John Quincy Adams naming one of his sons George Washington Adams.  Not to mention the presidential surnames that have become latter day fads—think Taylor and Tyler and Madison and Jackson.  Today we’re looking at the first, middle and last names of all the past Chief Executives, to arrive at our Nameberry Picks for best presidential baby names today.

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The time has rolled around again when I get to do one of my favorite things—browse through the Birth Announcement Forum and get to see a snapshot of the gorgeous names Berries have chosen over these past three months–the latest installment of Baby Names 2012.  Because each quarter they seem to be more and more impressive and inventive, and this one is no exception, with many great first and middle combos and interesting sibsets as well.

It’s just so gratifying to see the final results of all the Nameberry advice and discussion—ours and especially the wise, measured opinions of fellow Berries  —  a fantastic mix of the classic and the creative, from Elizabeth to Arrow for a girl, Jack and John to Calder and Cato for boys.  Not to mention a veritable botanical garden of flower and tree names—Primrose, Tulip, Rose, Iris, Violet, Lilac, Jacinda, Maple and Olive, as well as a Flora, a Blossom and a Bloom.

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Classic names are just as hot for boys as they are for girls right now—but there’s a difference. Most of the vintage boys’ names that are rising in popularity aren’t the  traditional classics like William and James, which have never been subject to the whims of fashion, or fusty Victorian vestiges like Clarence or Elmer, but are mainly names that date from further back in time.
The classic boys’ names that are hottest–and coolest–at this moment are either a) offbeat biblical choices rarely heard in modern times, or b) true classics dating from the Roman era.  Those listed below—some of which might surprise you—all feature on the official list of fastest-rising boys’ names in the past year.

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