Category: place names for babies
It’s been 16 years since Victoria and David Beckham famously named their oldest son Brooklyn after the location where he was conceived. (TMI, Beckhams!) Many more celebs, including Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger (who named their daughter Ireland), Paris Hilton’s parents and Kourtney Kardashian (who gave Penelope the middle name Scotland), have opted to name their wee ones after places. You might not see them in the most popular names of 2015, but we predict this geography trend will keep on trucking. Not only are city, country and body-of-water names powerful and memorable, they’re unisex and make a cute homage to a place that’s special to the proud parents. So, what are the most popular geography-inspired baby names? We compiled this list from the Social Security Administration’s baby-name database, leaving out any names that are super prevalent or where the baby name obviously came before the location name (e.g. Charlotte).
A century ago, you would have gotten some strange looks if you named your daughter Brooklyn — and not just because the borough wasn’t yet a hipster enclave.
Today, babies with place names are everywhere. While Brooklyn is arguably the No. 1 geographic name, you’ll find plenty of kids named Austin, Savannah, Hudson and London roaming America‘s playgrounds. (And a few named America too.)
I have often wondered if parents use place names for their children because of the place itself or for other reasons entirely. If you ever ask me for name advice, I usually send a questionnaire to get some information from you because I like to find names that could have special meaning to you. A few of the questions I ask pertain to locations: where were you engaged, where were you married, and where you honeymooned. In the seven years I’ve used this questionnaire, the answers to these questions never inspired the parent enough to use them, but it has always been a fun thing to research.
By Jane Ní Chaoimh
There are many Irish place names that could happily be used as baby names — in the US or elsewhere–of which this list is just a sampling. I have chosen names which are easily pronounced outside of Ireland and which have a positive meaning or origin. I’ve purposely omitted some well-known options (Kerry, for example, which probably suggests politics – à la US Secretary of State John Kerry – more than the Emerald Isle, at the moment!). Several of these could also fit into the nature name category (river names and so on).
The website Swimmingly recently published this very cool infographic on which place names were used for the most babies in the US in 2013. The surprising results: Malaysia is the hottest place name for babies, beating out America, India, and yes, Sierra Leone. (And yup, there was a pop culture connection–the Malaysia on the reality show Basketball Wives LA.)