By Emma Waterhouse
A look back at a decade of brilliant baby names, Nameberry style!
It all started with V…
Way back in November 2008, we proudly shared the first ever Babyberry birth announcement: a little girl given the beautiful name Vera Adelaide. Her parents had fallen in love with Vera after stumbling across it on our site, but they were concerned that it might feel too “great-grandma-ish”, having dropped out of the US Top 1000 a quarter century before. But the Berry consensus was that it was a fresh, appealing vintage choice, ripe for revival.
Fast-forward ten years, and how right you were! Elegant international beauty Vera now sits serenely up at #278, and she’s still rising steadily.
It’s a picture-perfect example of what the Berries do best: choose spectacular, stylish, richly significant baby names that are somehow still, miraculously, flying under the radar — although sometimes not for long! The list of names that were popular with Berry parents long before they hit the mainstream is an extensive and illustrious one: from adventurous Archer and Wilder, to mischievous Matilda and Ramona, to elegant Eloise, Margot and Beatrice.
Ten years and almost three thousand Babyberry birth announcements later (yes, we’ve read every single one!) and the sheer volume, variety and inventiveness of the incredible baby names our members have chosen over the past decade has completely blown us away.
Some raw stats for the dataphiles amongst you: for the 1688 baby girls whose births have been announced on the site since October 2008, there were 1071 different names used; and for the 1265 baby boys announced in that time, the total name-count stands at 913. That’s an astonishing range, especially when you consider that we’ve combined a fair few variant spellings, like Amias and Amyas, Nora and Norah, Wolf and Wolfe.
The single most popular first name for girls is vibrant vintage Violet, with 20 uses (plus one Violette). In joint second place are pretty Greek mythology picks Penelope and Phoebe, with 17 uses each, and tied for third are retro Ruby and ladylike Louisa/Luisa, with 16 uses apiece. You can find the full Top 10 below, shown with their dominant spelling.
Quirkier picks near the top of the Babyberry rankings for girls include Zelda, Ingrid, Florence, Cordelia, Marguerite, Juno and Iona, all of which received five or more first-name uses, despite sitting well outside of the current US Top 500 — in most cases, even the Top 1000.
Among boys’ names, presidential Theodore reigns supreme, with 25 babies receiving the name (plus one Theodor). Elegant Oliver comes in at number two, with 21 uses, and handsome Henry rounds out the top three with 17 uses. Here is the full Top 10 list for Babyberry boys.
And some striking choices popular with our members but barely used in the “real world” (for now…) include Cormac, Peregrine, Viggo, Barnaby, Leopold, Hawthorne and Phineas: all well outside of the US Top 1000, but all used at least four times by bold Berry parents.
In the middle spot, Rose and James unsurprisingly came out on top, with an impressive 51 and 55 uses respectively. Other popular picks include traditional Elizabeth (42), Grace (36), Claire/Clare (28) and Marie (25) on the girls’ side, and Alexander (27), Michael (27), William (26) and John (20) for the boys.
But there are some surprises here too: fierce nature names Fox and Wolf were each given as middles to nine baby boys, plus one baby girl. And other quirky nature picks like Marigold, Soleil, Lake, Snow, Gray, Reed, River and Orion were all used at least five times. There’s also a strong trend amongst Berry parents to put family surnames or famous namesakes in the middle spot, yielding such eye-catching combos as Felix Arkham, Rowan Vivaldi, Honor Sinclair and Oona Beatrice Kahlo.
That little extra spark or flourish or touch of whimsy has always been the hallmark of a Nameberry name. Our members are by no means immune to baby naming trends — we can see so many of the Name Trends We Called played out here — but, most importantly, Berries have fun with their baby names!
We’ve seen novel nature names from Hummingbird to Huckleberry, unconventional virtue picks from Valor to Vigueur, and “post-gender” baby naming putting options like Emery and Evelyn, Harlow and Harper, Willow and Wren on the table for both genders. Two, or sometimes even more, middle names has become an increasingly popular phenomenon with Berry parents over the past decade, giving us gems like Caspian Sage Adventure and Clementine Clara Honesty. And it’s also striking how much less prevalent creative respellings are on the Nameberry list than in the official rankings; instead, intriguing international variants abound, like Beatrice/Beatrix/Beatriz/Behati or Matthew/Matthias/Mathias/Matteo.
Below is just a small selection of 10 stand-out Babyberry names from the past decade, voted on by the Berries themselves (because we just couldn’t choose!)
Endymion Atlas Faramir (2018)
Betty Nightingale (2017)
We’ve been so proud to welcome every single one of our beautifully-named Babyberries, from vintage Vera to, well, sterling Sterling, the last baby officially announced during our first decade. And we can’t wait to see where Nameberry names will head in the next ten years: after all, the only truly predictable thing about Babyberry names is that they will be surprising — and spectacular!
What are your stand-out Babyberry names from the past decade? What trends can you see gaining ground on Nameberry in the next ten years? Share your thoughts in the comments!