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The Nameberry 9: There’s more than one Number 1

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This week, Appellation Mountain ‘s Abby Sandel travels around the country and across the pond to discover which  names ranked Number 1 where.

Baby name news is fast and furious at year’s end.  Lists of Worst and Best Celebrity Baby Names abound.  (Did anyone else notice that Zuzu Audrey, daughter of Top Chef contestant Tania Peterson, has made both Best and Worst lists?)

Then there are the lists of top names from local hospitals and birth centers, as well as a handful of state and local authorities, and plenty of websites, too.  Sometimes the data is drawn from only a few hundred births.  And yet, if your child is going to attend the same schools as other kids born in the same maternity ward, then it is a pretty good indicator of whether he’ll share his name.

Many of the articles end with a little onomastic treat: a list of the wilder appellations given to children in the past year.  Gems from recent articles include Wynter, Rhemidy, Savi Fair, Zyier, Nixen, Passion, Tuff, and Lijah.

It’s tempting to focus on the extremes, but the year end lists always remind me that names become popular for good reasons.  Even though I know plenty of kids called Jake, I love his bright, friendly sound.

These nine names are a mix of enduring classics and current favorites, drawn from the top ranked names somewhere in the English-speaking world, as announced over the last week.

William – He’s tops in Tennessee, a spot he’s held since 2007.  Nation-wide favorite Jacob is all the way back at #4, with Mason and Elijah in between.  Mason was the state’s biggest climber, while Emma is #1 for Tennessean daughters.  William has also fared well with English-speaking parents in Canada.  Get ready for articles attributing the bump to 2011’s Royal Wedding and predicting bunches of baby Billys in the US, too.  Berries know that the prediction is only half right – there may be more Williams, but they’ll all answer to Will.

Alexander – He’s been in the US Top Ten for the past three years, but Genesis Birth Centers in Iowa welcomed 17 Alexanders last year, making it the most popular choice for a boy, beating out Elijah, Noah, and Landon.

Mason – In Western Michigan, Mason makes it to the #1 spot, ahead of Lucas, a surprising #2.  Their girls’ Top Ten list also contains a few surprises, like Natalie and Grace.  My eye is on Mason – can’t you imagine him as the top name in theUS?

Harry – British parenting site Bounty gives the top spot to Harry, as in Potter and Prince.  While Bounty’s stats are unofficial, Harry does rank in the English Top Ten, reaching #3 in 2010, so maybe it isn’t a stretch to imagine he’ll take the lead.

Charlie – Heading to Northern Ireland, another royal moniker is in the top spot – only it is the informal Charlie, rather than the stately Charles, finding favor in Strabane.  The girls’ list is headed by Sophie – together the names could almost be the title of an animated cartoon.  Oh, no – that’s Lola

Lily – While we’re in the UK, West Dunbartonshire parents favored Lily last year, over Sophie, Ellie, and Lucy.

LilyanaLily brings us back to the US, where this surprising spin on the botanical name ranked #3 for newborn girls at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The familiar Sophia and Isabella ranked #1 and 2.  Their boys’ Top Ten included another surprise – Levi.

Macie – Combined with Macey, she’s the top name from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, with Aubrey/Aubree right behind.  The hospital’s decision to combine spellings probably explains why their list is so different.  The #1 boys’ name is the equally unexpected Logan.

Mia – She shares the top spot with Olivia in Newcastle and the surrounding area, in New South Wales, Australia.  She’s familiar to American parents, but a few others on their list are unusual in the US:  Sienna, Ivy, Matilda.

Are there names that feel extremely popular in your area, more so than the statistics would suggest? 

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