Category: Trends and Predictions
It often feels like Twilight made a huge impact on the naming scene. Isabella and Jacob may have been top ten names before the first book was published, but the series possibly enabled them to hold onto their top positions longer than they may have otherwise. And while Edward seems to be the one anomaly that didn’t benefit from the resurgence in attention, the secondary characters in the series certainly did.
As soon as the final movie was released, critics started theorizing on what will be the next big sensation. And Nameberries have been wondering what might replace Twilight for naming inspiration.
One promising contender is Veronica Roth‘s Divergent trilogy. The first two books are Divergent and Insurgent, soon to be joined by the final book Allegiant later this year. Filming of the first movie also started earlier this year, starring Shailene Woodley (of George Clooney Oscar winner The Descendants) and Kate Winslet. But perhaps more importantly, it feels that in many ways the author has managed to tap into a naming style that may prove to be just as inspirational as Stephenie Meyer‘s.
I’ll admit it: I obsessively read the Pottery Barn Kids catalog not for the color-coordinated, impossibly organized nurseries and playrooms, but for the names. They tend to be a predictable set, drawn from the US Top 100, often reflecting the more conservative choices. Over the last year or so, I’ve detected a subtle shift. Along with Andrew and Michael, Katherine and Grace, the Spring 2011 issue featured bedding and gear personalized for girls called Emerson and Leela, and boys named Rory, Ryland, Tyson, Calvin, and Graham.
If Pottery Barn Kids is embracing a greater diversity of names, let’s take it as just one more sign that parents truly are considering a broader range of options than ever before. If you’ve ever clicked on the Social Security Administration’s Beyond the Top 1000 Names page you’ll know that the percentage of newborns given a Top 1000 name has dropped over the years. Last year, just 73% of all American newborns received a Top 1000 name. That’s down about 5% in the past decade.
Looking for more evidence? Names I’ve spotted recently include:
- During the American Idol auditions in New Orleans, 15 year-old Jacee Badeaux belted out “Dock of the Bay.” Jacee is a he! Other hopefuls on their way to Hollywood answer to Ace, J’Leigh, Jovany, and the oh-so-appropriate Symphony Music.
- For Real Baby Names – a round-up of birth announcements culled from just about everywhere – spotted Linnet Leeann, Sophera Rose, Riken Kade, and Clete Harrison.
- Two from Nancy’s Baby Names reach a bit farther back. Actress Swoosie Kurtz was named after a B-17 bomber by her fighter-pilot dad. And what could explain the rise of Kasara in the 1980s? I think Nancy has solved the mystery.
- My friend Emily met a boy called Echo, and I met a little girl named Bethlehem.
While we ordinary folks were giving our kids inventive appellations, Hollywood was doing the opposite. The arrival of Owen Wilson’s son Robert Ford prompted headlines like “Owen Wilson Gives His Baby a Normal Name.”
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban announced the birth of their daughter.
It was shocking that they’d managed to keep the pregnancy a secret, but the name they chose, Faith Margaret, raised no eyebrows. Sisters named Sunday and Faith did prompt a few comments. Swistle’s list of possible names for a future sibling is great: Deacon, Bishop, or Benediction for a brother; Trinity, Epiphany, or Hosanna for another girl.
Even Flynn, the name Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr chose for their son,has resulted in very little chatter, though some speculated that F-names could make for a surprising trend. My note to Natalie Portman? Fleet Millepied is available.
For those who love Extreme Celeb Baby Naming, don’t lose hope. The Beckhams are expecting, and with guesses at the new baby’s name ranging from Vaughn and Arcadio to Primrose and Egypt, here’s betting that we’ll be in for a surprise in a few more months. I can’t wait!
So Posh and Becks are expecting a new member of their team this summer. They’ve been both imaginative and trendsetting when choosing the names for their three boys: Brooklyn Joseph, Cruz David and Romeo James. Due in some part to their influence, Cruz is now Number 346, Romeo is Number 411, and Brooklyn is 37—but for girls!
Will they again use some reference to place, as they did with Brooklyn (chosen–no–not because that was where he was conceived but where Victoria was when she found out she was pregnant) and Cruz (a Spanish name chosen when Beckham was playing for Real Madrid)? Doesn’t seem too likely with them now living primarily in Beverly Hills.
One pattern they’re likely to continue is using a classic male name in the middle.
But wait–to quote a line from the musical Carousel–what if he is a she?
Any great suggestions for them for either or both sexes?
We look at the national name statistics and somehow start to assume that Isabella and Jacob are the top names all across the country. But then we look at the state stats and see that there very much still are local preferences.
For example, Carter, which is Number 50 nationally, is in second place in Nebraska and third in Iowa; Wyatt (60) is Number One in Wyoming (Wyoming/Wyatt?), Owen (50) is third in Vermont and fourth in Maine, and for girls, Brooklyn (37) has relocated to Utah, where she’s Number Three.
So our Question of the Week is a two-parter:
Are there any names near the top of the Social Security list that you never hear in your neighborhood/city/state/country? (Please identify where that might be.)
Are there names that seem absolutely epidemic where you live, but are not as popular elsewhere?
Baby namers have started to dig deep back into ancient history and myth in their search for fresh and interesting choices. Roman names like Atticus are rising up the charts, and the whole pantheon of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses is up for rediscovery—already there have been such starbaby sightings as Atlas (Anne Heche), Mars (Erykah Badu) and Hermes (Kelly Rutherford).
Here, Nameberry’s Top Dozen picks in this category:
2. Echo was a mythological mountain nymph and her o-ending name carries pleasant reverberations.
3. Flora, the name of the Roman goddess of flowers and fertility, is symbolic of spring and apt for a baby born in that season. Like cousin Florence, it is definitely having a rebirth among retro name-seekers.
4. Juno, the name of the patron goddess of ancient Rome, has become a hot modern option, especially since the release of the popular eponymous film. Coldplay’s Will Champion chose it for one of his twins.