15 Offbeat Occupational Baby Names for Labor Day
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.
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.
Brenner—An 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.
Carbry—A lively Irish surname with a mythological history, from the Gaelic for charioteer, which could work for both boys and girls.
Kiefer—A 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.)
Mercer—an 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.
Smith—This 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.)
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on September 1st, 2017 at 6:18 am
I love Tolliver…..t is a great alternative to Oliver. Baxter is a nice alternative to Dexter.
on September 1st, 2017 at 8:42 am
Alright, I’m ready for all the berries who object to girls being given names that begin in Mc- or end in -son to show up and insist that Baxter should ONLY be used for girls, since it’s derived from a word for a female Baker.
on September 1st, 2017 at 6:25 pm
I know a Kiefer who is in his early 20s. Great name!
on September 3rd, 2017 at 2:41 pm
I love Tolliver! Tolliver Winston is one of my favorite names. And Baxter is one of my favorite boy names, I would never use it for a girl, it’s too masculine in my opinion. I love Decker and Mercer, and I would name a girl Mercier. It’s actually kind of pretty.
on September 4th, 2017 at 1:00 am
I think Baxter has a lot of potential, but the -ter ending makes me think it leans masculine, a la Carter and Dexter.
I’m partial to Miller (my maiden name) but would only use it for a middle for a hypothetical future son. Smith is hard to imagine on a child–nickname Smitty??
Wasn’t Decker a character in Legends of the Fall?
on September 4th, 2017 at 4:45 pm
@mill1020- Yes! Decker was Isabel Two’s dad. I was just watching Legends of the Fall for the first time since we had our third boy. I made it through a little bit before I decided I can’t watch it for a while. I’ll still listen to the music, which is my favorite along with The Last of the Mohicans.
Baby Name News: Hurricanes, royals, middles and multiples – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on September 7th, 2017 at 12:10 pm
[…] Ok, these parents aren’t asking for our advice. But when you read a story like this, it’s hard not to take up the challenge. They already have three sons called Saylor, Wales and Bridge (those last two are twins). Now they’re expecting sextuplets, 3 boys and 3 girls. Any guesses what they might call them? Since they have a Saylor, perhaps they might like some of these offbeat occupational names. […]
on September 29th, 2017 at 1:16 pm
I love the Labor Day lists, I look forward to them every year! Occupation names are such a great way to honor your heritage in a subtle way. And I never knew the history of Baxter; I feel like it’s more usable for a girl now that I know it derived from a female baker!
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