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Unexpected Names for Girls: Edelweiss, Marceline, and Cee Cee

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Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

It’s been a quiet week for high profile arrivals.  Sure, Michael Weatherly of NCIS fame and wife Bojana welcomed son Liam.  It’s a great name – friendly, upbeat, accessible.  Liam is also a solid favorite in the US, just like big sister’s name, Olivia.  Last year, he was the #1 choice in at least nine states, and shows no signs of slowing down.

But name news isn’t just about celebrities.  In order for parents to consider a name, they have to know that it exists.  Books, television, movies, athletes, actors, song lyrics, people in the headlines – they can all add new options to an expectant parent’s shortlist.

Baby name books have always surfaced some unusual possibilities.  I fell in love with Hephzibah in a paperback name encyclopedia from the 1970s, the same book my mother used to circle mainstream options like Jill and AmyHester came from The Scarlet Letter.  And Caroline, a name I eventually used as one of my daughter’s middles?  She’s from a Psychedelic Furs song, a classic I never noticed until I heard the lyrics.

Now Nameberry, and the vast community of baby name blogs and websites, is part of that process, too.  This week was filled with daring, even fanciful names for girls with global influence.  Some of these might seem too much for a first name, but I can hear most of them in the middle spot.

The newest options that caught my eye this week are:

Edelweiss – Let’s start with a middle name, one chosen by the Hershey family for eldest daughter Alece Edelweiss.  If you don’t know it from The Sound of Music, edelweiss is a small white flower.  The family embraced the name because they were living in Germany at the time, but the nurses at the hospital?  They did not approve, thanks to Germany’s strict naming rules.  The family was finally pointed to a helpful civil servant who told them: “Oh yes, you are Americans. You can name your child whatever you wish.” Exactly!  Read the rest of the Hershey family naming adventures at Namesims.

Katniss – Another botanical borrowing, this one made famous by Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen.  The second movie in the trilogy comes out in a few weeks, so People Magazine’s mom and baby blog rounded up a real-life Katniss, as well as a Finnick.  Christel Koedel, mom to two year old Katniss, said that she fell in love with the name years ago, when the book was much less well known.

Allifair – From fiction to history, here’s an intriguing find.  Once Upon a Time Baby Names profiled Allifair, a name possibly related to Elvira.  She sounds medieval, a sister for Ghislaine.  Instead, Allifair was chosen by both the Hatfield and the McCoy families in the nineteenth century and is first recorded in the 1700s.  A mystery to be sure!  Wouldn’t it be great to hear Allifair in the middle spot instead of Elizabeth?

FlorenceAustralian Olympian Alisa Campbell and her husband Oliver Warner recently welcomed daughter FlorenceFlorence is one of those names solidly established in the UK and heard elsewhere in the English-speaking world – but still in style limbo in the US.  Just 92 girls received the name in 2012 – still that’s up quite a bit from 2009, when just 54 newborn Florences arrived.  If Hazel and Olive are back, why not Florence?

Francisca – Another F name, this time via Portugal and Portuguese baby name site Nomes e mais nomes.  Actor Ricardo Pereira and his wife have welcomed Francisca, a baby sister for Vicente.  Is this the Pope Francis effect?  Maybe.  Except Mrs. Pereira is Francisca Pinto, so possibly she’s just named after mom.  Either way, Francisca makes for a truly unexpected spin on Frances and Francesca, and a stylish option.

Marceline – Speaking of unexpected twists, what do you think of Marcella’s French cousin, MarcelineMarcheline is Angelina Jolie’s mom, and the middle name of the youngest Jolie-Pitt, VivienneBewitching Baby Names points out that Marceline is also an animated vampire of the not-so-scary sort on Cartoon Network’s Adventure TimeJosephine, Clementine, Marceline … I think she is pretty wearable in 2013.  She’s part of the same family that gives us Mark and Marcus, so if you’re looking for a feminine spin on those names, Marceline is a possibility.

WinsomeDo you ever see a name and think, “interesting – but no.”  That was my reaction to Winsome, until I read this post at Waltzing More than Matilda.  She points out that the very accomplished musician and music historian Winsome Evans wears the name.  I’m still not completely sold on Winsome as a given name, but I’ve warmed up to the idea of Winsome in the middle.  Kate Winsome, Elizabeth Winsome, Everly Winsome

Cee Cee – Names like Hattie and Sadie stand on their own these days, but how about Cee Cee?  With the rise of the vintage Cecelia, we’ll probably hear more girls answering to this nickname.  For Real Baby Names reports a Cee Cee Rose, born in North Dakota.  But does Cee Cee work as a given name?  And is she spelled Cee Cee, Ceci, or Cece?

Vantine – Let’s end with another rarity.  Vantine reminds me of Fantine from Les Mis, but there’s no connection.  Instead, Vantine is a name worn by Jean Harlow in 1932’s Red Dust – easily the most obscure of the names in Bree’s recent post.  Is it a surname?  A contraction of Valentine?  A fanciful creation for the silver screen?  I’m stumped, but I still find her charming.

Spotted any great names for girls this week?  And is Winsome wearable?

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