15 Offbeat Occupational Baby Names for Labor Day

August 31, 2017 Linda Rosenkrantz

By Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s become a Nameberry tradition every Labor Day to offer a blog on occupational surname names. This year, we’ve tried to find some examples beyond the usual Coopers and Hunters and Masons and look for less obvious ones. And though many, if not most, of these original occupations no longer exist in the modern world, they are all still good, employable names.

BairdA Scottish name meaning bard, or poet, it makes an original choice with poetic undertones. Baird Whitlock was George Clooney’s name in the film Hail, Caesar!

Baxter—Occupational name of a communal baker, primarily female. The x makes it several degrees cooler than the original Baker. Baxter made a mark a century ago—it was on the popularity lists until the 1920s, peaking at #515 in 1886. Could Bax be the next Max or Jax? Baxter is already #452 on Nameberry and 741 in England.

Brace—a maker of armor—A word name beginning to be considered alongside cousins Jace, Chace and Case.

BrennerAn occupational surname for both charcoal burner and distiller of spirits. The ‘er’ ending puts it right on the trend track. Dr. Brenner is a character on Stranger Things, and 35 baby boys got the name last year.

CarbryA lively Irish surname with a mythological history, from the Gaelic for charioteer, which could work for both boys and girls.

CarverAn arty occupational name that feels fresher than Carter.

CormacAnother onetime charioteer, the well-connected Cormac appeared in Harry Potter, is #85 in Ireland and 287 on Nameberry.

DeckerMeaning roofer, this rarity was chosen by rocker Nikki Sixx for his son.

KieferA German occupational name for a barrel maker. We can’t see any reason why Kiefer Sutherland has to be its sole proprietor. (He was named for director Warren Kiefer, who gave dad Donald Sutherland his first movie role.)

Merceran attractive occupational name for a trader, especially in luxury fabrics, from the Old French mercier; it has two musical namesakes—songwriter Johnny Mercer and Duke Ellington’s musician son.

MillerThis mill worker name is on the rise, already chosen by several celebs including Brett Gardner, Stella McCartney and Scott Wolf. Currently ranks at 854 nationally and 394 on Nameberry.

ReeveAn occupational name for a sheriff-bailiff-chief magistrate type, cool, sophisticated Reeve could be the new Reese. Reeve is a character in the video game Final Fantasy VII

Slater, which means roofer, is a particularly pleasant sounding option, used by Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance for one of their twins.

SmithThis top US surname makes a super-sophisticated first. Popular in the past—it was #326 in the 1880s– it was more recently heard on Sex and the City and is now 863 on Nameberry. (Analogous option Jones was just used for a starbaby.)

TolliverOriginally denoting a man who could cut iron, Tolliver has an upbeat, playful feel and is a lot more distinctive than the related Oliver.


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