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Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain focuses this week on some bold and daringly unusual girls’ names that made baby name news.

Some weeks I’m astonished by the range of names we can choose for girls.

We love our children regardless of gender, but when it comes to talking baby names, many of us seem to be on Team Pink.  The statistics bear this out: almost 79% of boys born in the US in 2011 received a Top 1000 name, while the same is true for just 67% of girls.

2012 social media babies Like and Facebook were both girls, and rumored baby Hashtag is also supposed to be a she.  Meanwhile, former #1 name Mary has plummeted to #112, while her male counterpart, John, remains a relatively common #27.

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Unusual Girls’ Names: Destined for Stardom

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You know how there are some names you never heard before that suddenly seem to be everywhere?The 11 choices for girls here are those kinds of names. All are so rare they were given to only about 100 or fewer baby girls in the U.S. last year. But behind the scenes in our current database analytics, we see them attracting twice as much attention as the average baby name.

Our conclusion: No matter how unusual they are by the numbers, these names are drawing considerable buzz. And that’s bound to translate over the coming years into usage for a lot more babies.

Besides their incipient popularity, these names share several appealing qualities. Most relate to nature, but in a fresher, less obvious way than the Lilys and Roses we’ve heard so much of in recent years. Many have deeper roots than they first seem, plus intriguing cultural connections.

And is it coincidence that four of the 11 start with the letter C, and seven contain the letter L? We don’t think so.

Our picks for 11 unusual girls’ names we see destined for stardom.

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Click here for lots more classic names.

The whole idea of classic girls’ names that are hot right now might seem like a contradiction in terms: How can a name be both trendy and timeless?  It can if it’s an ancient name that’s been well and widely used over the centuries but that’s also enjoying the heat of attention right now.

The 12 classic girls’ names here qualify.  All have deep and illustrious roots yet are also listed by the official U.S. roster of names that were the fastest-rising in the past year.  That makes all of them excellent choices, offering both style and substance.

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Ancient Roman Names: Nameberry Picks

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Ancient Roman names are being rediscovered in the modern world in a major way. Rarely does a whole class of names from a place or historical period undergo this widespread a revival, but several forces are at work that are making us take a fresh look at ancient Roman names.

The first Big Read, which featured “To Kill A Mockingbird” and its hero Atticus Finch brought that name to contemporary consciousness.  Then there was the HBO series Rome.  But “The Hunger Games” which features ancient Roman names for most of its male characters has popularized the genre like nothing else.

Of course, many ancient Roman nameshave survived and thrived in modern times, including some of our picks.  And then there are others that have been slumbering for centuries but are reawakening now.  Here, our favorites from this very appealing group.

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You may know Nameberry’s most popular girls’ names 2011: from Top 3 Charlotte, Violet, and Amelia down to Molly, Maya, and Mary.

You may even know our hottest girls’ names 2011, which include such celebrity-influenced picks as Pippa and Mila.

But we’ve got a quieter, less obvious, but potentially more interesting list for you: those girls’ names that don’t make the Top 100 but that are attracting a dramatic rise in interest this summer over last.

Some of the names here bear a relationship to those on the most popular list: Aveline instead of Adeline, for instance, or Indigo rather than Scarlett, or Clover as opposed to Ivy or Poppy. While not all of these names are destined for future popularity, the baby namer in search of a name that will feel as fresh in ten years as it does today should take heed.

Our list of secretly popular girls’ names 2011 (look for the boys’ list next week):

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