Category: regional baby names
By Aimee Reneau Tafreshi
Some baby names call to mind sweet tea savored on a porch rocking chair overlooking Spanish moss-covered trees on a humid summer day. If you are looking for the perfect baby name for your Southern belle or gent, look no further. After living in Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, I have enjoyed hearing different variations of uniquely southern names. Some I have heard myself; others are among the most frequently bestowed names in the southern states, and some I just associate with the South.
Rhett is a distinctly southern name, as the love interest of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, and is a strong and timeless choice. My husband’s boss is named Rhett, as well as an older woman who lives down the street. As with Scarlett, the South can’t get enough of Rhett.
There was a time when we thought—rightly or wrongly– of regional names in terms of stereotypes—prim and proper appellations in New England, sweetly feminissima Southern belles, Tex-Mex cowboys out west. Now, though, it sometimes seems that baby names have become more and more homogeneous across the United States, but if we really peruse the popularity figures for states’ local baby names we do find some regional differences and state eccentricities.
First, a look at which names were in first place and where they ruled:
Ava—Louisiana, South Dakota
Emma—Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Wyoming