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Sibling Names: The latest from London

British sibling names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

We love combing the birth announcements in the London Telegraph for baby name trends and ideas.

Each time we issue a report, we look for a different focus — unusual names, fascinating middle name combinations — and today it’s sibling names.

While we hate to exclude singletons with such wonderful names as Aurelia Liliana Rosabel and Tiago Rafferty Redfern, the sibling names were even juicier.

Some observations: The newest vintage names being unpacked from mothballs in England are Martha and Herbert.  Some of the most charming combinations mix ethnicities (Emiko and Freddie) or match first letters (Orlando and Ophelia).  Out-of-the-box middle names include word names, place-names, and surnames such as Spark, Houston, and Allgood.

Oh, and, as usual, these British parents manage to find baby names that are distinctive and adventurous and gorgeous without resorting to (almost ever) strange inventions or kree8tiv spellings.

Our picks from the latest announcements:

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Royal Baby Names, Round 2!

royal baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Will and Kate of Great Britain, have announced that they’re newly expecting baby number two, a sibling for one-year-old Prince George Alexander Louis.

Now that they’ve given their heir an appropriately kingly name, what will they name their spare?

Another name traditionally used in the royal family, we bet, but the door opens a bit wider for a name that may not have been used for a king or queen but has a lesser royal pedigree and is a bit more adventurous.  While we don’t see Diana as a first name, it could well end up in the middle, as could another offbeat choice such as Leopold or Matilda.

Our Top Ten ideas, based on the bookmakers’ odds and our own best guesses.

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unusual baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

If you’re looking for unusual baby names that are also attractive and intriguing, a good place to start is at the bottom of the extended US popularity list, at those names given to just five babies.

Down there, among the wacky inventions or truly terrible kree8tiv spelling variations, are dozens of intriguing choices that you won’t encounter coming and going.

A few of them — Jessamy and Amyas, Celestia and Inigo — might even be considered fabulous.  But all are worth further consideration.  And given that each was given to only five babies in the entire US last year, they qualify as truly unusual baby names.

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boys' names 2014

by Pamela Redmond Satran

There’s a new class of boys’ names trending today that has a short clipped sound, contains only one syllable, is undeniably masculine yet not traditionally so.  Many of these boys’ names barely existed a generation or two ago: They’re definitely not your father’s or grandfather’s baby names.

But in some ways, they are the heirs to names like Glenn and Craig and Sean that took over in the 1960s and 70s from the traditional Bills and Toms.  They seek to reinvent masculinity while preserving qualities like strength and energy.

There are names with more conventional roots that you might consider part of this new brigade of short boys’ names: I’m thinking of such popular, stylish choices as Finn and Jack, Max and Jude.

But I’d like to focus today on those boys’ names that are newer and, some may say, fresher than Jack or Jude.   In 1970, most of these boys’ names barely squeaked onto the Social Security extended list, given to only a handful of baby boys.  Today, most are on the Top 1000, many of them moving up quickly.

The new boys’ names on the block include:

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popular baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

When the 2013 US Popular Baby Names list came out back in May, we ran Kelli Brady aka The Name Freak‘s wonderful Playground Analysis blog, with her count of the REAL Top 50 baby names. Kelli tallies all spelling variations of the top names to arrive at their actual rankings, which puts Aiden et al instead of Noah at Number 1 for boys, for instance, and bumps Jackson (and Jaxen, Jaxon, and Jaxson) up to Number 2.

Our focus is usually on which names are MORE popular than you’d think when you add in all their spelling variations.  The idea is that parents want to be forewarned when they’re likely to hear their favorite baby names far more often than they’d guess based on the official rankings.  Zoe and Aubrey, counting all spellings, are actually in the Top 10 for girls, for example, while Kayden and his many near-identical twins rank not at Number 93 but at Number 9.

But what about those baby names that are LESS popular than they seem judging by the official statistics?  Parents may veer away from some names, both classic and modern, that are actually somewhat more distinctive than they appear.  I’m not talking about names that are a couple of rungs further down the ladder, based on Kelli‘s analysis, but those that are significantly softer by our own subjective measure.

The point is: If you’re shying away from these baby names because you believe they’re too popular, maybe you owe them a second look.  They are:

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