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Thanksgiving Names

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There are some wonderful names associated with the Thanksgiving holiday–those that came over on the Mayflower and other early settlers, Puritan Virtue names, ancient harvest gods and goddesses–all fit for a late November baby.  Ahead are:

1. Mayflower Names

2. Ocean-crossing Names

3. Harvest Names

4. Plymouth Bay Colony Names

5. Puritan Virtue Names

6. Turkey Names

7. Other Thanksgiving-related Names

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Valentine Names: Romancing the Name

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Here is our annual Valentine’s Day blog—think of it as a love letter to  the whole community of Berries.

Valentine‘s Day certainly isn’t the only time we can think about names related to love, but it does present an opportunity to look at the theme–names that will make a child feel especially adored–and its many variations.

First of all, there are the Valentine names that relate most directly to the holiday and its traditional symbols:

Then there are the words-of-endearment names, though some of them might be wiser to use in the middle spot, as in Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Tobey Maguire’s daughter Ruby Sweetheart and Kate Winslet’s Mia Honey:

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Black History Names: Barrier Breakers

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Black history is filled with the extraordinary names of extraordinary achievers.  This being the first day of Black History Month, we thought we’d look back through African-American history, on the lookout for the (interesting) names of people who have made breakthroughs by being the first to achieve something, whether it be in the arena of goverment, Civil Rights, scholarship, the professions, sports or the arts.  It’s quite surprising to see how recently some of them occurred.

Here are some outstanding black history names:

GIRLS

  • Alexia Canada— first female African-American neurosurgeon (1984)
  • Althea Gibson—first black to win a major tennis title (1956) and first black woman to play on the Ladies PGA golf tour (1964)
  • Aretha Franklin—first black woman inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (1986)
  • Aulana Peters—first black woman appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (1984)
  • Bessie Coleman—first black woman aviator (1921)
  • Biddy Mason—first known black female property owner in L.A. (1866)
  • Camilla Williams—first black woman to sing with the New York City Opera (1945)
  • Charlotta Bass—considered the first black woman newspaper publisher (1912), and the first African-American to run for vice-president (1952)
  • Condoleezza Rice –first female head of the National Security Council (2001), first black woman Secretary of State (2005)
  • Constance Baker Motley—first black woman federal judge (1966)
  • Cora M. Brown—first black woman in the US to be elected to a state senate (1952)
  • Della Reese—first black woman to host a TV variety show (1969)
  • Euzham Palcy—first black woman director of a feature film for a major studio (1989)
  • Dorothea Towles—first professional black woman model (1949)
  • Dorothy Dandridge—first black woman nominated for an Oscar in a leading role (1955)
  • Ella Fitzgerald—first black woman to win a Grammy (1959)
  • Gwendolyn Stewart King—first black woman commissioner of Social Security (1989)
  • Hazel Johnson—first black woman army general (1979)
  • Hazel Scott—first black entertainer to host her own TV show (1950)
  • Ida Rollins—the first black woman dentist (1890)
  • Jewel Plummer Cobb — the first black woman president of a California State University (1981)
  • Joycelyn (born Minnie) Elders –the first black female Surgeon General of the U.S. (1993)
  • Katherine Dunham—first black choreographer to work at the Metropolitan Opera House (1963)
  • Lorraine Hansberry—first African-American to win the NY Drama Critics Award (1959)
  • Lucy Ann Stanton—the first black woman college graduate (1850)
  • Maggie Lena Walker—first black woman bank president (1903)
  • Mamie Smith—first black woman to make a recording (1920)
  • Marvel Jackson Cooke—first full-time black reporter on a mainstream paper (1950)
  • Maude Rutherford—dancer who first introduced the Charleston on Broadway (1922)
  • Maya Angelou (born Marguerite) – first black woman to have a nonfiction bestseller (1970); first black inaugural poet (1993)
  • Michelle Obama–first African-American first lady (2009)
  • Minnie M. Geddings Cox—first black US postmistress (1891)
  • Minyon Moore—first black woman political director of the National Democratic Committee (1995)
  • Octavia Butler—the first published female black science fiction writer (1976)
  • Oprah Winfrey==first black woman to host a nationally syndicated weekday talk show (1986)

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The Baby Namers’ Alphabet

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A

A was the most popular first initial for girls’ names in 2009, the last year for which there are official US statistics, and the most popular first letter overall, with one in eight babies getting a name that starts with A.

B

Boys’ names were led by J names, starting with the Number 1 Jacob.

C

C or K?  A lot of parents see these initials as interchangeable, with names from the classic (Cate or Kate) to the trendy (Kaylee or Caleigh) .  And of course, international variations of certain names may make the first initial C in some cases — Christopher, for instance — but K is others, as with the Dutch or German Kristof.

D

Kids with names that start with D do worse in school than those whose start with A, B, and C, according to one study.

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Nameberry Picks: 12 Best Photo Names

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Creative baby names can be more than names you invent: The category can include names from literature, the arts, and even photography.  You could consider a related word name–the late tennis champion Arthur Ashe and his photographer wife named their daughter Camera– and we’ve also heard of at least one little girl called Leica, after the iconic brand.

Much better though to turn to the names of the greats in the field for artistic inspiration.  Here are the Nameberry Picks of the 12 Best –meaning of course the most creative baby names.

Andreas Feininger, Gursky

A name commonly heard in many parts of Europe (it’s currently in Norway’s Top 10), Andreas has the rich patina of an Old Master painting, and could make a distinctive and attractive Andrew variation.

Ansel Adams

Ansel is very much associated with this great photographer of the American West, and could serve as a tribute to him in the middle spot. The name Ansel is related to the German Anselm, which happens to be the name of another artist, Anselm Kiefer.

August Sander

August has been heating up in Hollywood–used by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin and Jeanne Tripplehorn, (and by Garth Brooks for his daughter), and is rapidly becoming the preferred month name for boys. August has two august literary namesakes: playwrights August Strindberg and August Wilson.

Dorothea Lange

One of the romantic vintage names now on the cusp of a revival, Dorothea means ‘gift of God’ (it’s the reverse of Theodora), and its literary heritage includes Dorothea Brooke, the heroine of the George Eliot novel Middlemarch.

Elliott Erwitt

This is a name with four legitimate spellings—depending on how many consonants you want to use. One of the increasingly popular E-boy names, its namesakes include such variously spelled Elliotts as Roosevelt, Ness, Gould, and Spitzer

Eve Arnold

Adam has faded, but sweet, simple Eve (forget the one in All About Eve) is being appreciated anew these days. It’s biblical but without a heavy religious feel, short but strong, has musical cred via singer Eve, and it’s even a palindrome.  Actor Clive Owen chose it for his daughter.

Félix Nadar.

Felix, which means happy and fortunate, would make a felicitous choice, now that it’s thrown off the old negative associations with Felix the Cat and the overly fastidious half of The Odd CoupleFelix Unger.  The name of four popes and 67 saints, it’s currently a Top 10 choice in Europe.

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