By Linda Rosenkrantz
At the beginning of every new year, we like to follow the Hundred Year Rule and look back at the popularity lists of a century ago, seeing if we can find some faded flowers with revival potential.
1918 was a year of major world events. The devastating First World War came to an end when an armistice was signed in November, and there was a horrific Spanish flu pandemic. This was also the year when women (over 30) got the vote in the UK, Daylight Savings Time began, Billy Graham was born, the first Tarzan movie debuted and there were new books by James Joyce, Willa Cather, Proust, Kafka, Freud and Churchill.
And baby names? Top of the list were the perennial John and Mary, followed by James and Dorothy, Robert and Margaret, Charles and Ruth. But we’re more interested in looking deeper into the lists, which paid off by finding 100 great names from the 1918 Top 500 that aren’t even in today’s Top 1000– but could find their way back.
We have @columbiacharm to thank for the suggestion that we reprise our popular Invent-A-Name Contest, which ran nearly three years ago.
That time, we got more than 200 entries and crowned two winners — Avonlea and Julep — whose creators each received a complete library of our ebooks.
This time we have a topical theme, challenging you to create a new name that in some way is perfect for 2018, where we are and where we’re going. You can define that however you want, and please let’s not get into any political tussles. If you want to suggest the name Naturella because this is a critical time for the planet’s ecological well-being, fine. But don’t get into blaming any particular person or group for those ecological issues.
Submit your ideas for new names in the comments section. Only one name entry per visitor please. Entries must be names not currently included in the Nameberry database or in any other established lexicon of first names. Include why this name is perfect for 2018.
This year’s winner will receive a beautiful name bracelet hand-crafted by artisan Heather McGuire with up to three names in your choice of sterling silver or gold-filled wire. Or if you’d rather have the library of baby name ebooks, we can do that too!
Name creators, start your engines. UPDATE: The contest closes at midnight on Sunday.
As we wait with bated breath to find out what Kim and Kanye will call North and Saint’s new sister, here are some less high-profile name news stories. They include rarities spotted in birth announcements, what’s hot in Portugal and the Netherlands, and colorful names inspired by American states.
Below-the-radar names: Zailey and Lae
This week I’ve spotted a few one-of-a-kind names in birth stories. They may not be strictly unique, but it’s always nice to see parents using names that you won’t find on any popularity charts.
They have the perfect name for their next child – if they can resolve spelling and pronunciation challenges. Can it be done, or should they move on to another choice?
My husband’s family has a great name that has been passed down (to boys only so far) for many generations: Remy. I love names that aren’t too common, are familiar, pack a good historical punch (either familial or popular history), and feel nice to say.
The only holdup is that the family pronounces it Ray-mee. My husband’s family has been in the US for many generations, originally from Belgium. My mom’s side of the family is very French. To them, this pronunciation sounds like an Anglicized version of the French original (which it likely is). I’m not French enough to feel comfortable committing to the ‘r’ rolling French pronunciation.
So … is there any way we can salvage this name? I think this name could work for either sex and aside from a bit of confusion, no one in my husband’s family would be insulted by a different take on the name.
I think an obvious solution would be to use the “Rem-mee” pronunciation and maybe use the Remi spelling to signal that it is an ode to Remy but a different name. I need some convincing on this though.
Our older son has a name that has two possible pronunciations. I am constantly correcting people. If possible, it would be a bonus to find a name with a straightforward pronunciation and spelling … which might be challenging with this name!
The Name Sage replies:
Chicago, of course, makes a lot of sense as a choice for Kanye, who grew up in the Windy City and talks about it often. Kanye’s hit Homecoming includes the line, “I’m talking about Chi-town.”
Chi, pronounced like chai as in tea, can make a cute, simple nickname that fits with the one-syllable names of the couple’s other two children, daughter North and son Saint.