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Category: surprising baby names

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Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

It’s been a quiet week for high profile arrivals.  Sure, Michael Weatherly of NCIS fame and wife Bojana welcomed son Liam.  It’s a great name – friendly, upbeat, accessible.  Liam is also a solid favorite in the US, just like big sister’s name, Olivia.  Last year, he was the #1 choice in at least nine states, and shows no signs of slowing down.

But name news isn’t just about celebrities.  In order for parents to consider a name, they have to know that it exists.  Books, television, movies, athletes, actors, song lyrics, people in the headlines – they can all add new options to an expectant parent’s shortlist.

Baby name books have always surfaced some unusual possibilities.  I fell in love with Hephzibah in a paperback name encyclopedia from the 1970s, the same book my mother used to circle mainstream options like Jill and AmyHester came from The Scarlet Letter.  And Caroline, a name I eventually used as one of my daughter’s middles?  She’s from a Psychedelic Furs song, a classic I never noticed until I heard the lyrics.

Now Nameberry, and the vast community of baby name blogs and websites, is part of that process, too.  This week was filled with daring, even fanciful names for girls with global influence.  Some of these might seem too much for a first name, but I can hear most of them in the middle spot.

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28 Surprising Baby Names on the Rise

baby name Azalea

Swimming just below our Most Popular lists are other baby names that are attracting new levels of attention. Some of these are unusual names from traditional sources like the Bible and nature. Others are classic choices that have suddenly gone from dowdy to stylish.Many of these names share a darkness, an edginess I didn’t notice until I began researching illustrations to accompany the text. It may be that, in these vampire-threatened times, we’re more drawn to myths and pop culture sources that have a shadowy underside. Or it may just be that we’re looking harder for unusual names, in places parents may have shied away from in the past.Wherever we find them, here are 28 surprising baby names on the way up:

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Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel looks at some of the new baby names to make the headlines this week–with several surprises.

Being a name nerd used to be hard work.

Do you remember paging through lists of Olympic medalists in the paper, gazing at name plaques in art museums, seeking out family trees in history books at the library?  Did you know exactly which days the local paper ran birth announcements?

Then you must be a thirty-something or better name nerd.

I borrowed my mother’s only baby name book and kept it on my bookshelf, between Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew.  I read it obsessively, even the small print listing nicknames and foreign variants.  That long lost book is where I fell in love with Libby and Nan, Katrinka and Alexei.

So many stories about twenty-first century baby naming trends are dismissive.  They claim parents are trying too hard for their children to stand out and be unique.

Maybe that happens some of the time, but to me it seems straightforward.

With access to all of these fabulous names, why wouldn’t we consider a wider range of possibilities?

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