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Category: overlooked names

How About Harvey? What About Walter?

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The Nameberry Question of the Week: Would you name your baby boy Harvey or Stanley or any of the other up-and-coming oldies appearing on the recently released British pop list?

Is this another case where the Yanks will follow the Brits in baby-naming trends and revive such previously verboten Grandpa names as Harvey, Arthur, Leon, Walter and Stanley– all once considered distinguished in their day?  Or similar in style name like  Gilbert, Murray, Ralph, Howard or Ernest?

Which, if any, of the names of this genre would you consider?

Would you choose it only to honor a relative with that name?  And/or only as a middle name?

If you did use one, would you consider it cutting-edge or pleasingly retro or perenially stylish?

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Girl Names: Unusual, Stylish Choices

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Recently we looked at girls’ names that we were surprised were below the Top 1000, but that were given to at least 100 babies last year.

Today we survey the tier below that: fashionable yet unusual girls’ names used for fewer than 100 babies….but at least 50.  That may seem to be cutting things kind of narrowly, and the truth is we intended to look at the pool below 100 but more than 25.  However, there were just too many names in the 50-100 group alone to go further, so we’ll consider the 25-50 slice another time.

And don’t worry, the boys in this group are coming up in the next few days.

For the parent in search of a wonderful name that is extremely unusual, there are lots of amazing choices in this group.  The first list includes very fashionable names that we’re astonished aren’t more popular.  Of course, a name like Seraphina, chosen by Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, is bound to be used far more widely next year.  And Florence is much more popular in the UK than in this US count.

The number reflects how many babies received the name in 2009, according to the SSA figures, reproduced in nameberry’s master list ofgirls’ names.

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Classic baby names: Peter, Paul or Mary?

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Of course they’re still around, with a few like William and Daniel still in the Top Ten, but most of the standard classics are far from being the power names they once were–Peter, Paul and George, for example, have hit all-time lows.

And yes, Edward has that Twilight touch, and Jack is back with a vengeance, and we are suddenly hearing people say they think Mary is due for a comeback.  But will Robert or Richard ever be cool again?

Thus and therefore, the question of the week:

Which classic name do you think is most due for a comeback?  Would you use it for your child?  And if so, is it because it has ties to your family history?

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The question of the week is:

Is there a name that to you seems to have everything going for it and yet hasn’t caught on?  Do you have a theory as to why it’s been neglected?  Maybe it’s a Nameberry fave that outsiders haven’t discovered or maybe it’s your own personal pleasure (guilty or not).

Is it part of a whole category of names that you consider underrated?

Or is it a name that you think has been misjudged–for all the wrong reasons–and that you’re willing to make a case for here and now?

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The nameberry contributor known to us as “Auburn” ruminates here on that most powerful and mysterious initial: X.

We all know this naming business is tricky, especially if your aim is to find unusual monikers which still have history — and if you’re browsing Nameberry then it probably is. You think you’ve found one, you get excited … and then you meet five Violets in a day and realize that perhaps #141 is too popular for you after all.

The letter Y has lost some of its magic after various incriminations recently, involving either the addition of Y’s to perfectly Y-free names (looking at you, Addysyn), or the apparent abhorrence of Y’s by others (Ashleigh). What about its generally ignored neighbor, though? Every time I see an X name it catches my eye. I think “Wow, X? Crazy!” X is daring and attention-grabbing; it’s a shortcut to awesome in the baby naming world.

The Jolie-Pitts clearly realized the power of this not-so-humble letter when they used it to round off their three sons’ names: Maddox, Pax and Knox. In the same vein, Max is hot at the moment, but it is X in front that is still that Holy Grail of naming: rare.

According to the site http://yournotme.com, which searches the records to find people in Britain aged over 18 with a certain name, the top 10 X names include 7 Chinese names (Xiao, Xin, Xuan, Xiu, Xue, Xiang and Xing, for the record). The others are Xavier (795 of them), Xenia (330), and Xanthe (309). In contrast, the top A name, Andrew, can boast 508,320 bearers across the British Isles.

X names are few and far between in the popularity rankings as well, with just two charting in both the US and the UK top 1000s :
Xavier – #68 in the US, #234 in the UK
Xander – #244, #354.

Due to the large Hispanic population of North America, Ximena and Xiomara also chart at #311 and #909 respectively. Ximena is the feminine version of Ximeno, a Spanish name alternatively claimed to be a version of Simon or from the Basque for son, seme . Xiomara is the Spanish version of Guiomar, a name for either gender that belonged to a male character of Arthurian legend who was banished for his affair with Morgan le Fey.

The UK has its own pretty, feminine X name, Xanthe, which currently stands at #778. It should be noted that that means it was only given to 44 babies, though, due to the relatively small size of Britain. Xanthe is a lovely Greek choice meaning ‘fair hair’ and can also appear in the variation Xanthia.

Strangely enough, the US can also claim many a little Xzaviers, which comes in at #586. In my opinion it’s preferable to use unusual letters in moderation, readers. Just one in a sea of A’s, E’s, and R’s looks so much more striking than Xyzvyq, which gives the impression you were leaning on the keyboard.

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