Category: surname names
By Abby Sandel
There’s more than one way to choose an unusual name.
But if you think you’d like something different – maybe even dramatically different – for your child’s name, it can be tough to know where to start.
Here’s a road map with nine different paths to choose an unusual baby name. Celebrities are fond of each one of these strategies, but they’re not exclusive to Hollywood. Anyone can use these same approaches.
Now that 2014 is coming to an end, here is a look at the main trends and influences that have proven popular in Britain in this eventful year.
ALL ABOUT THE AR
The hottest sound this year is the undoubtedly ‘Ar’. Archie, Arthur, Martha and Arran in Scotland have already obtained top 100 status, but 2014 has also seen a rise in the likes of Arlo and Archer for boys and Arabella, Aria/Arya and Ariana for girls.
Clara and Margot are two vintage ‘ar’ sound choices that have been gaining more attention this year, while the similar ‘Or’ sound has also bolstered Aurora, Aurelia and Scottish choices Orla and Rory.
Back in 2012, I heard about parents naming their babies Draper in honor of Mad Men. I remember thinking the idea was daring but a little silly. These people were taking the last-name-as-first-name trend to an absurd conclusion, I griped.
It had been a few years since occupational surnames like Cooper and Mason had become popular, and I worried that pretty soon every kid would be a Fletcher, Tanner or Jagger. Traditional names were a dying species.
Then I made a startling discovery.
I am currently catching up on the show Scandal, which takes place in the US Capital and involves the highest political figures of the land. The fictitious president has one of the best character names I’ve ever heard: Fitzgerald Thomas Grant. He is called Fitz by those close to him, and I can’t help but be drawn to it, especially since there are so many names that could lead to the nickname. Let’s take a look at the Fitzes!
Fitz is the Anglo-Norman version of -son and means “son of.” It eventually was used by the British family as a surname of the illegitimate children of kings and princes. Fitz is also a standalone surname of German origin.
There are a few Fitz names that are or have been used in the United States. In 2012, only Fitzgerald (12) and Fitzpatrick (7) were given to boys. Since 1880, the only other Fitz names given to 5 or more boys in any given year in the United States were Fitzhugh and Fitzroy. Fitz itself also has a history of use.
I love my job. Each September, I joyfully copy my second graders’ appellations onto name tags and into grade books – and then stand back to admire them. As I do so, I am often struck by the differences between parents’ choices here and in my own country. For their first homework assignment, I always ask my students to find out more about why their parents chose their name, and then to share this information with the class. As a name fanatic, I can’t help but devour these “name stories” and amaze at the naming differences on this side of the pond.