Category: Trends and Predictions
Iâ€™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.Â They tend to be a predictable set, drawn from the US Top 100, often reflecting the more conservative choices.Â Over the last year or so, Iâ€™ve detected a subtle shift.Â 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, letâ€™s take it as just one more sign that parents truly are considering a broader range of options than ever before.Â If youâ€™ve ever clicked on the Social Security Administrationâ€™s Beyond the Top 1000 Names page youâ€™ll know that the percentage of newborns given a Top 1000 name has dropped over the years.Â Last year, just 73% of all American newborns received a Top 1000 name.Â Thatâ€™s down about 5% in the past decade.
Looking for more evidence?Â Names Iâ€™ve spotted recently include:
- During the American Idol auditions in New Orleans, 15 year-old Jacee Badeaux belted out â€śDock of the Bay.â€ťÂ Jacee is a he!Â Other hopefuls on their way to Hollywood answer to Ace, Jâ€™Leigh, Jovany, and the oh-so-appropriate Symphony Music.
- For Real Baby Names â€“ a round-up of birth announcements culled from just about everywhere â€“ spotted Linnet Leeann, Sophera Rose, Riken Kade, and Clete Harrison.
- Two from Nancyâ€™s Baby Names reach a bit farther back.Â 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?Â 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.Â The arrival of Owen Wilsonâ€™s son Robert Ford prompted headlines like â€śOwen Wilson Gives His Baby a Normal Name.â€ťÂ Â Â
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban announced the birth of their daughter.
It was shocking that theyâ€™d managed to keep the pregnancy a secret, but the name they chose, Faith Margaret, raised no eyebrows.Â Sisters named Sunday and Faith did prompt a few comments.Â Swistleâ€™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.Â My note to Natalie Portman? Â Fleet Millepied is available.
For those who love Extreme Celeb Baby Naming, donâ€™t lose hope.Â The Beckhams are expecting, and with guesses at the new babyâ€™s name ranging from Vaughn and Arcadio to Primrose and Egypt, hereâ€™s betting that weâ€™ll be in for a surprise in a few more months.Â I canâ€™t wait!
So Posh and Becks are expecting a new member of their team this summer.Â Theyâ€™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 37â€”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)?Â Doesnâ€™t seem too likely with them now living primarilyÂ in Beverly Hills.
One pattern theyâ€™re likely to continue is using aÂ classic maleÂ 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 Â assume that Isabella and Jacob are the top names all across the country.Â But then we look at the state stats and see that there very much still are local preferences.Â
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 sheâ€™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?Â (Please identify where that might be.)
Are there names that seem absolutely epidemic where you live, butÂ are notÂ asÂ popular elsewhere?
Baby namers have started to digÂ deep back into ancient history and myth in their search for fresh and interesting choices.Â Roman names like Atticus are rising up the charts, and the whole pantheon of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses is up for rediscoveryâ€”already there have been such starbaby sightings as Atlas (Anne Heche), Mars (Erykah Badu) and Hermes (Kelly Rutherford).
Here, Nameberryâ€™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.Â 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. Coldplayâ€™s Will Champion chose it for one of his twins.
Every now and then we like to take a look at the mostÂ recent Â British and Irish newspaper birth announcements, to see what parents in those countries are naming their babies at this particular moment in time.Â
What we seeÂ right nowÂ in IrelandÂ is a mix of old and revived Gaelic/Celtic names, classic Anglo names, nickname names similar to those popular in the UK, and more internationallyÂ trendy modern names.
The most widely used recorded Emerald IsleÂ favorites of the last two months include Alice, Florence, Grace, Lily and Molly for girls; Henry, Hugo, LiamÂ and Oscar for boys, as well as several varieties of Fin-starting Â names.Â ( One trivia noteâ€”if youâ€™re surprised by the unusual geographical middle name Abyssinia, you should know thatÂ little LukeÂ was actually born in Ethiopia.)
And if you need some pronunciation help for one of the Gaelic names, you can hear the wayÂ many of theseÂ actually sound asÂ recorded by the late Irish writer Frank McCourt on the website babynamesof Ireland.com
Here are some of the most interesting examples, with sibling names in parentheses.
- Alice DĂˇire
- Alice May (Charlie, Aoibheann)
- AmĂ©lie Anne
- Aobhai Sadhbh (Deborah, BrĂłdaĂ)
- Aoife (Caoimhe, Aisling)
- Aurelia Isabelle
- Dearbha Margaret (Ruairi)
- Eleanor May (Matthew, Aisla)
- Elsa (Quin, Muireann, Milo)
- Elsa Elizabeth