This week’s news includes a wealth of names from Canada, lots of celebrity boy names, and naming stories from the worlds of rugby and baseball.
There’s a lot of online fanfare about the release of new name data, but have you ever heard of a real-life ceremony for the latest name stats?
The enlightened citizens of Alberta have. Last week, the Premier of Alberta announced the Canadian province’s most popular names of 2016. Olivia and Liam are in the top spots, and it’s interesting to note that names that are more popular than average in nearby US states, like Lincoln and Wyatt, also rank highly in Alberta.
Alberta releases a list of every name registered, even those only used once, so you’ll find some real treasures for boys and girls. To name but a few: Octavian, Awesome, Czarina, Swan…and a few boys called Albert but no Alberta.
France has just elected a new National Assembly, and with 577 members it’s no surprise that someone has analysed their names. The most common are 1960s boomers like Philippe and Valérie. With the new intake, names more popular in earlier decades have dropped out, and 1980s and 90s favorites have appeared, like Emilie, Fabien and the unusual Thyphanie.
If you have a soft spot for French names, this clever tool tells you how much each name has been used since 1900, and where in France. Or you could take a shortcut to the best French names for girls and boys.
The week of Father’s Day saw the arrival of not only Beyoncé’s twins (names still unknown), but also lots of stylishly-named boys.
Let’s start with some back-to-nature names. Reality TV stars John and Candice Cody welcomed Forrest Henry. Named after his great-grandfather, Forrest fits the great-grandparents rule well, give or take a few blips. It’s been back in the top 1000 since 2013.
River Jones was born to golfer Dustin Johnson and model Paulina Gretzky. River is quite the starbaby favorite: Jeff Goldblum and Jamie Oliver have recently used it, among others. It’s truly unisex, ranking #214 for boys and #286 for girls in the US. (The figures are even closer in England, Wales and Scotland.) With an older son called Tatum, the couple must be fans of the unisex style. Jones is a middle name shared with Paulina’s mother.
If you like the style of River, Slate and Forrest, here are more nature names that work equally well for boys and girls.
Speaking of celebrity favorites, Saint is one that’s gained momentum with the wider public. Thanks to Pete Wentz and especially Kim and Kanye, it skyrocketed from 37 boys called Saint in 2015 to 115 in 2016. Athlete Breaux Greer and actress Katy Mixon have just named their son Kingston Saint.
Going back to nature names, what do you think of Hill? It’s could be one to consider if you’re looking for a rare-but-familiar name from the natural world.
And then there’s Walt, the starbaby name that wasn’t to be. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher almost called their son Walt instead of Dimitri when he was born in 2016. Do you think that knowing they considered Walt makes it seem just a bit cooler? And would Walt and Wyatt have been too close as sibling names? I can’t make my mind up.
Sporting tributes: Waveland and Wales
Do you love sports enough to name a child after it?
There are lots of possible baseball-inspired names for boys, but two fans have just shown that girls can have baseball names too. These parents called their daughter Waveland, the name of a street near the Chicago Cubs’ stadium. It’s uncommon, but not quite unique. There’s a boy Waveland in this post, and apparently 5 Chicago babies have been given the name since 1916.
Meanwhile in Samoa, rugby fans named their son after not just a stadium, but also both teams and the final score. Wales Manu Samoa 9-34 Moamoa Gale, born in 1994, surely doesn’t have many namesakes in Samoa or anywhere else.
Say it right
Finally, I love the title of this piece: “The beauty of unpronounceable names is that we all eventually learn them”. Mariam Veiszadeh makes the point that saying someone’s name right is more than just a courtesy: it can make the difference between discrimination and celebrating diversity, between hostility and welcoming.
We only have to look at new top-1000 entrant Saoirse, which was unheard of 25 years ago, to see that with the right motivation, people can learn to pronounce anything.