Category: traditional baby names
By Antonia Malchik
I was sitting at the lunch table in fifth grade when I decided that if I ever had a daughter I’d name her something normal.
I grew up mainly in two different towns in Montana. In the first, all my friends had names I coveted: Katie, Stacy, Tiffany, Angie. Their names were pretty, and, importantly for an early 1980s childhood, normal. My name was not. I was named “Antonia” for Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia, “Louise” after my maternal grandmother, and “Evgenia” after my father’s cousin who still lived in the Soviet Union where my father had grown up. All of which got shortened to the decidedly unmusical and definitely not normal “Nia.”
My husband and I are expecting our third baby on February 7. We have decided that we won’t find out the gender. We’ve already used the two boy names we have always loved for our two sons: Henry Hiram (often called Hal) and Joseph Magnus. Both names carry personal and religious significance for us.
If this baby is a girl, we are considering Mary Grace. Whenever I tell people we’re thinking about the name Mary, they wince and seem to really not like it! They say it’s too common, even though my kids do not know one little girl with the name and very few people of any age with the name anymore. We also like Elizabeth and Lydia.
I have a gut instinct, however, that this next child will be another boy. My husband and I are so stuck! Nothing seems right.
I like Thomas, James, Patrick, John, or perhaps Charles. My husband doesn’t like any of these, and the name I love the most, Patrick, has been rejected because of the starfish on SpongeBob SquarePants. He has suggested Abraham called Bram, Sven, and Simon Peter – which seems very heavy to me. Ephraim is a possible middle name. We have ruled out Brigham, Phillip, Benjamin, Ezra, Judah, Caleb, and Theodore.
We tend to like more traditional first names with less conventional middles. All of a sudden, February 7th seems so close, and if this baby is a boy, he does not have a name at all!
The Name Sage replies:
By Linda Rosenkrantz
John and Mary? Not exactly the starbaby names that hit the headlines. And yet, under the radar, there are a number of celebs who have quietly chosen from the canon of traditional names–not the trendier classics like Beatrice and Charlotte, but the solid old historic stalwarts, the most established of the perennial classics. Which kind of makes John and Mary and Jane and Joseph register surprising picks today.
Classic baby names can encompass several different categories. There are Biblical names, from Anne to Zachary. There are names rooted in ancient cultures, including Atticus and Juno, which have survived or are being revived today.
And then there are the classic names that have been well-used in English-speaking cultures over the decades and centuries. While classic names by any definition do move in and out of style just like other names, some manage to endure better than others and become, well, the most classic classic names.
Here, our picks for ten of the best classic baby names today.
Catherine — The Duchess formerly known as Kate has done much to swing fashion toward the C-beginning version of this most classic of girls’ names. Catherine, classic in any spelling, has been borne by saints and queens along with some of the most inspiring literary heroines, including Heathcliff‘s Cathy of Wuthering Heights. Greek for “pure,” Catherine comes in countless international variations and with a wide range of nicknames. Most stylish today are Cate or Kate or the vintage-feeling Kay or Kitty.