Category: classic baby names
By Sarahbeth Caplin
First day of fourth grade: the teacher takes attendance with strict efficiency. Since my last name begins with C, I am the fifth student called. “Sarah Caplin?” I raise my hand. By the time she gets to the end of the list, it is apparent that Sarah is the female name of choice: there are four Sarahs in our class of a dozen students, which Mrs. F thinks is hilarious. She places us all at the same table: Sarah K, Sarah M, Sarah W, and myself. It was not the first time I had to be differentiated by my last initial, and it wouldn’t be the last.
And dammit, I was already tired of it.
My parents told me, “We just liked the name; we had no idea it was so popular.” It never occurred to them that giving me a name from the Bible with timeless appeal (why else do so many women have it?) and no pronunciation problems in the English-speaking world would be such a burden to me. As an adult introvert, I’m okay blending in, but Childhood Me was the opposite. How could I stand out with a classic baby name shared by so many?
Mary long reigned as the Number One girls’ name throughout the English-speaking world. Some were Mary Ann or Mary Ellen, but others got far more creative in their quest to stand out from the crowd. So they traded in the ubiquitous Mary for names more glamorous, creative, cooler, or at least more distinctive. You may not even realize that many of these women started out life answering to the regal, saintly classic girl name. By Abby Sandel
We have a great source for classic names you probably haven’t considered – at least if you’re American. The birth announcements in the London Telegraph include dozens of baby names that are classic and stylish and also rarely heard outside of Britain.
We pulled 60 unusual classic baby names – 30 for girls and 30 for boys – from a recent crop of birth announcements to feature here. Might one of these be perfect for your non-British baby?
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There’s a new biblical boy on this year’s Top 10 list and his name is Benjamin—actually the only new boy to enter that hot spot. An Old Testament name that has had a continuous presence on the list through time, but had never before reached this level of popularity, now joins Noah and Jacob.
In 2015, more than 13,000 parents chose Benjamin for their sons. And why? First, for its combination of heritage and history—the bible story of Jacob’s youngest son, who became a symbol of a son adored by his father. Then there’s its appealing sound, with the jaunty j in the midde, plus its accessible nicknames from gentle Ben to cute Benji to retro Benny
So let’s salute some of the many notable Benjamins across time.
By Antonia Malchik
I was sitting at the lunch table in fifth grade when I decided that if I ever had a daughter I’d name her something normal.
I grew up mainly in two different towns in Montana. In the first, all my friends had names I coveted: Katie, Stacy, Tiffany, Angie. Their names were pretty, and, importantly for an early 1980s childhood, normal. My name was not. I was named “Antonia” for Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia, “Louise” after my maternal grandmother, and “Evgenia” after my father’s cousin who still lived in the Soviet Union where my father had grown up. All of which got shortened to the decidedly unmusical and definitely not normal “Nia.”