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celtic14

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Like most people, I love Celtic names, which makes it a lot of fun to check out the Irish and Scottish birth announcements in their local newspapers every so often, with their mix of revived Irish Gaelic names and familiar English appellations, and often surprising—to us—first and middle combos. All the babes listed below made their debuts in 2014, and they include such beauts as Libby Letitia and Bobby-Charles Jack.

Pronunciation of Irish names can be a minefield for non-Gaelic speakers, as words/names are not pronounced phonetically and there are many variations in dialect. If you need pronunciation help, you can get audio assistance at this site: http://www.babynamesofireland.com/.

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starbabies 2014

By Linda Rosenkrantz

2014 was another amazing year for starbaby names, with some of the most varied, at times contradictory trends, ranging from classics like Rosemary, Frances, Evelyn and Eric to gender-benders,  oddball spellings, and words refigured as names.

Among the strongest trends of the year: more boys’ names borrowed by girls than ever– celebrity daughters included Wyatt, Asa, Bowie, River and Mars; a torrent of lofty aspirational names out to rule the world, generic nature names like Vale and Delta, sweet, soft vintage choices such as Hazel and Jane and Rose, and lots and lots of nickname names, including Drew Barrymore’s cute Frankie.

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ancient baby names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

The Roman Empire reigned for more than five hundred years, led by 140 different emperors. In modern times, though, with a couple of exceptions, the names of these august figures were considered far too august and imposing for a twentieth/twenty-first century kid. But the times they are a-changin’ and lately several of these appellations have ridden into the realm of possibility.

AugustusAugustus, Julius Caesar’s adopted son, who was born Octavian and given the name Augustus by the senate in honor of his great achievements, was the first of the Roman emperors. Augustus is a perfect example of a name that was well used in the 19th century, then deemed too fusty for decades, and now is back at Number 688 and a high 123 on Nameberry, recently modernized by the character nicknamed Gus in The Fault in Our Stars.

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November babyberries

By Linda Rosenkrantz

There was a wide variety in the babyberry choices of the past month, from classics like Arthur and Alfred and Louisa to the adventurous Sequoia, Arrow and Jubilee. And there were some especially captivating name stories, such as those behind Scout (another shout-out to To Kill a Mockingbird),  Arthur Genki, and Fawn, as well as the many cool first and middle combos and sibsets we’ve come to expect.

The one repeated name this month is the lovely Cornish appellation Elowen—as in Elowen Claire and Elowen Pearl.

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Billy and Bob are Back in the Playground

vintage nicknames

By Linda Rosenkrantz

The nickname-name trend is nothing new. Who among us hasn’t known a baby Max or Maggie or Sam or Ellie? Or even one of those with a whiff of vintage nostalgia, like Millie or Josie?

But lately there’s been a new twist on this phenomenon, especially seen in the celebrisphere. Several stars have resurrected some of the All-American Boy nicknames of the Depression Era, like Billy and Johnny and Tommy, and haven’t hesitated to plunk them right onto their babe’s birth certificate. In particular:

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