Category: place names for babies
New Jersey gets no respect. We’ve been laughed at, lied to, hell—we’ve even endured some pretty serious storms. But hey, you have to hand it to us, we’re survivors. The Garden State has a lot going for it—like these baby names with history you’ve got to read to believe, written by yours truly, a proud ‘Joi-sey’ girl. You want to make something of it? And for all those who think we’re just a landfill: Dream on, read on, and just remember, we’re Jersey Strong; we can handle anything you’ve got.
Aberdeen– This Scottish place-name for girls can also refer to the beach-township in Monmouth County.
Alice– In 1920, the celebrated suffragist and women’s rights activist, Alice Paul, led the campaign that resulted in the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Born in Mount Laurel and died in Moorestown, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1979. A name that is strong and sweet, Alice is also popular, jumping from Number 258 to Number127 this past year!
Place names for people are a category that’s exploded over the past generation.
Some place names owe their popularity to the epically beautiful places they reference: Kenya, for instance, and Venice. And then there are those names that are much more attractive than the places they represent: We’re thinking of Trenton, Camden, Detroit.
Our question this week: Would you use a place name for your child? Have you used one? In the first place, or only as a middle?
The revelation of Tennessee as the name of Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth’s baby boy came as something of a surprise to the celebrity babies‘ name-watching world—but perhaps it shouldn’t have been, what with other recent starkids named Alabama, Indiana and Arizona. And a simple Google search will tell you that though Reese was born in New Orleans, most of her childhood was spent in Tennessee, her mother’s native state, explaining why it was meaningful to her.
Although the name Tennessee’s two notable most namesakes, playwright Williams (born Thomas) and country singer ‘Tennessee’ Ernie Ford, are male, Tennessee actually had some popularity as a girl’s name in the late nineteenth century, appearing in the Top 1000 five times between 1880 and 1890. It reached as high as Number 580 in 1884—though granted that accounted for only fourteen girls—the same year that Missouri, Nevada and Florida were also on the girls’ list. (The nickname Tennie, on the other hand, reigned for more than forty years.)
A few blogs back, we talked about lake names, and what an evocative word that is. Another, similarly appealing word is island, calling up images of calm, peaceful, isolated places surrounded by the sea. We’re not suggesting you name your baby Island (though Isla comes close), but here are the Nameberry Picks of 15 favorite island names.
- Catalina—Santa Catalina is one of the California Channel Islands and is a popular tourist destination for Angelinos and others. A Spanish version of Catherine that is more delicate and feminine than the English one, Catalina has been rising in popularity since the late eighties.
- Cayman—the Caymans consist of three islands in the western Caribbean south of Cuba. Peaceful and beautiful, they are also a major offshore banking hub. The name Cayman would fit right in with Cayden & Co.
- Corsica, famed as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, is a mountainous Mediterranean island, part of France but closer to Tuscany than the French coast. The name could be thought of as a Cora-elaboration with a feminissima ‘ica’ ending.