Category: Western baby names
Hyperlocal is a word you hear a lot today. There’s hyperlocal news and hyperlocal food, hyperlocal weather and hyperlocal — yeah, baby names.
What are the name trends where you live? Which popular names ring through every playground and crowd every class list? What kinds of names are considered cool, and what names do you NEVER hear?
In my diverse liberal suburb of New York City, for instance, names that are ethnically distinctive and unconventional when it comes to gender identity are definitely cool. Names you hear a lot include Henry (there are three on my short block), Zoe, Izzy, and my younger son’s name, Owen.
Please tell us where you live to help put your hyperlocal baby names report in context. If you’re not comfortable revealing your exact locale, you can say “a gentrifying neighborhood of London” or “a prosperous town in Silicon Valley.” But something vaguer like “a conservative small town in New England” works too.
Heroes and villains, famous and infamous, real life, big and small screen characters and the actors who played them—there’s a whole genre of cowboy names that have a certain swagger and western twang all their own.
Here are a dozen of the best: who they were and why we like their names.
Beau(regard) Maverick was one of the B-named Maverick brothers in the long-running TV series, along with Bret, Bart and Brent. Beau was played by future James Bond, Roger Moore, and the name Beau has retained both a southern drawl and a western twang.
Cole Younger (born Thomas Coleman) was a real-life Confederate guerilla during the Civil War, who then became an outlaw with the James-Younger gang. Cole has been in the Top 100 since 1997 and makes a strong but sensitive choice
Cheyenne Bodie was the lead character in the 1950s western TV series, Cheyenne, set right after the Civil War. A place name in many old cowboy movies, it became a legitimate first name with this show, and became a cowgirl name beginning in the eighties, reaching a high of 72 in 1998 and now ranking at Number 184.
Emmett Dalton was another bad boy—an outlaw member of the Dalton gang. Nowadays the name is associated with a character in the popular Twilight series, which helped propel Emmett up more than 200 spots in the past year, but it still has something of a far west feel.
Flint McCullough was a co-starring character on the seminal TV oater, Wagon Train. Flint is the kind of heavy-metal macho moniker being considered by some parents today, along with cousins Steel and Stone.
Names from television and movie Westerns sometimes got a lot more adventurous than Josh and Jesse. In fact, Westerns are responsible for reviving scores of antiquated classics that might otherwise have disappeared completely, along with introducing unconventional animal and word names as firsts. Some Western character names from the classic shows and movies of the 50s and 60s that sound fresh and new, if a bit quirky, today:
The newest Western names draw heavily on the place itself, or on Western-themed words. Some choices that have been used in the post-Bonanza world:
Cowboy names first galloped onto the scene in the 1950s and 1960s, along with the cool Western TV shows and movies of the era. A lot of these were Old Testament names that had not been heard much since, well, since the real Old West. Some of the early choices that launched a trend that’s still going strong:
BARNABY — Wagon Train
FLINT — Wagon Train
JASON — Wanted: Dead or Alive; Here Come the Brides
JEREMY — Here Come the Brides
JOSH — Wanted: Dead or Alive
JOSHUA — Here Come the Brides
LUCAS — Rifleman
MATT — Gunsmoke
SETH — Wagon Train
SIMON — Rawhide
Females and their names were in short supply in the Old West, split between hardy pioneer women and dance hall girls. Their names help you tell which was which:
BIDDIE — Here Come the Brides
CANDY –Here Come the Brides
KITTY — Gunsmoke
Tomorrow: Names for thoroughly modern cowbabies.