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February birth announcements

By Linda Rosenkrantz

February—a short month, so not as quite as many great babyberry announcements as usual, but what they lack in number they make up for in their full share of originality and charm, including first names, first and middle combos and sibsets.

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top 10 girls

By Linda Rosenkrantz

When you hear the phrase ‘Top 10 girls’ name,’ you might tend to think of classics like Mary and Elizabeth, or later long-running favorites Jennifer and Jessica, or the current Sophia.  But it certainly wouldn’t be Bertha—which in fact was in that golden group for twelve years– or Mildred, up there for close to a quarter of a century.

I became curious about what became of these once mega-popular appellations, whose top positions lasted from 37 years to being one-time-wonders (bearing in mind that they well might have been top-ranked for years before the SSA started keeping figures in 1880), particularly those that were once in the Top 10 but now reside outside the Top 500, thus eliminating evergreens like, yes, Mary and Elizabeth that have retained their popularity. You might find a few surprises here–unless you’ve known a lot of Tammys and Tracys in your life.

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blues baby names

In honor of Black History Month, we salute some fabulous singers who contributed to the birth of the blues and the beginnings of jazz. Most are not as well known now as the Billie Holidays and Ella Fitzgeralds, but they all made significant contributions to this most American of art forms—and their vintage names are right on trend for babies today!

Adelaide

Jazz singer Adelaide Hall had a career that spanned 70 years, was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, pioneered the improvisational vocal techniques known as “scat” singing, and had great success in England. The place name Adelaide, used by Aussie actress Rachel Griffiths for her daughter, is a big Nameberry fave, now at Number 13; Number 321 nationally.

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Bloomsbury baby names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

There’s a new novel out that’s attracting quite a bit of attention titled Vanessa and Her Sister, the story of the Stephen sisters, Vanessa and Virginia—the latter far better known by her married name, Virginia Woolf. The two of them were key members of the influential literary circle known as The Bloomsbury Group.

Looking at the names of both the main members and the more ancillary ones in this creative coterie sometimes called the “Bloomsberries,” we find some appropriately distinctive, sometimes arcane, appellations. Beyond Vanessa and Virginia (who was born Adeline Virginia), here are the most interesting.

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nursery rhyme names

With their lilting rhythms and catchy rhymes, nursery rhymes have delighted successive generations of children since the first publication of Mother Goose in the 1700s—though the original meanings, some of them political, have been lost. (Who knew that ‘Ring Around a Rosy’ referred to the Great Plague of 1665?) The names used very much reflected the small stockpot of those in current use —so a preponderance of Marys, Sallys, Bettys, Jacks, Georgies, Peters, Toms and Tommys, Billys and Willies–but there were a few more original names, and here are a dozen of the best.

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