Baby Name Stories: The Nameberry 9

This week Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel poses the question: Can a great story influence the way you think about a name?

We berries know that names others dismiss as strange, even wacky, are often mainstream.  Jackson has eclipsed John, and many girls’ names in use only a few decades are among the most popular in the US.  Neveah, Brooklyn, and Kaylee, I’m looking at you.

But if you are going to use an eye-poppingly strange name, I’m convinced the way to do it is to have a great story, one that your child won’t mind re-telling again and again.  And again.  Actually, you’d better be willing to re-tell your tale, too, as curious types coo at your sweet little newborn babe and ask if McKechnie is a family name.

Nancy shared a great article about two women with truly unique names earlier this week, and my theory held up.  Bluzette experienced frustrating moments, especially as a kid, but mostly she’s made peace with her unusual name, inspired by a song.  Open, who lacks a simple backstory, still struggles with her appellation.

Of course the biggest name this week requires no explanation.  Jen and Ben went with an all-boy Biblical staple never out of US Top 100 for baby #3.  The littlest Affleck kicks off our nine most newsworthy baby names this week:

Samuel – From Mark Twain’s birth name to Dr. Seuss’ green-eggs-and-ham pushing character to Uncle Sam, Sam is a friendly, upbeat classic name, one that wears well from the nursery right into adulthood.  Samuel could get a boost thanks to such high-profile parents, but he already ranked #24 in 2010.  File him under classics that are neither harmed nor helped by a Hollywood connection.

Seraphina – Middle child Seraphina now strikes me as the odd one out.  Nothing against Seraphina – it is a lovely name, very on trend for our age.  But while Violet and Sam can be found on any playground in America, Serapahina remains a stand-out.  Is there a story behind her fiery appellation?  Her parents haven’t shared.

Garner – On the other hand, Samuel’s middle name follows a tradition that needs no explanation.  Using mom’s maiden name in the middle spot is one of those simple compromises that keeps a family name alive, and adds meaning.

Rooney – Family names in the middle spot can take center stage.  Oscarnominated actress Rooney Mara has generated plenty of buzz for her stand-out performance as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Rooney is actually Miss Mara’s middle, a family surname.  Her given name?  The equally Irish, but far more conventional, Patricia.

Fox – I do love a daring middle, regardless of the reason.  Do you read design blog Jane Reaction?  Writer Erin Jane is new mom to Henry Fox.  He arrived just before the Christmas holidays.  Henry Fox is quite stylish, without being at all out there.

McKechnie – By now you’ve almost certainly heard the story about the eight-months-pregnant mom who went into labor at a Pittsburgh Pirates pre-season game in Bradenton, Florida, home of McKechnie Field.  Stadium staff had already called an ambulance, but Latasha Kirk’s baby boy would not wait.  Baseball fan mom named him McKechnie and is already imaging a major league future for her little guy.

GibsonNo dramatic delivery story here, but another one making the rounds this week is Gibson, thanks to a Wisconsin kiddo named for his dad’s love of the guitar brand.  You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate this name, though –  designer Laurie Hickson-Smith, formerly of HGTV’s Trading Spaces, has a son called Gibson, too.

Lula Tallulah has found favor with celebrity parents in recent years, but the slimmed-down Lula is the inspiration for online boutique Lula in London.  Shop owner Sarah Sandidge, mom to Lula and Diesel, was recently featured on Design Mom’s Living with Kids series.  The name falls somewhere between Lila and Lucy, but manages to be far less expected than either.

March Spring is just around the corner!  Did you read British Baby Names’ post on March names?  I’m particularly thrilled that she listed March as an option, along with less obvious choices like Maret, Anselm, Victoria, and Aquamarine.  I’ve come across kids named for every other month of the year, including September and December, but somehow March has yet to catch on.  Could 2012 be his year?

Can a great story change the way you think about a name?

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


7 Responses to “Baby Name Stories: The Nameberry 9”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Lola Says:

March 5th, 2012 at 9:42 am

A great story will only sway me if the name is pretty fabulous in the first place. Hence my reaction to Destiny will not be as favorable as my reaction to Potiphar.

I’m more inclined to like names with some long history, even if they’re weird (Sophronia, that’s you!). 😀

iheartnames Says:

March 5th, 2012 at 11:50 am

About Jen & Ben’s Seraphina…. Jennifer Garner DID share the story! I just can’t remember which talk show she was on! (Maybe Ellen?) Violet wanted the baby’s name to be “Sarah.” They weren’t going to let her name the baby and somehow stumbled upon Seraphina. They loved the meaning and used that name. This, of course, made everyone happy! Violet got her “Sera” and mom and dad found a name that also made them happy. So, when I think of Violet, Sera, and Samuel as a sibset, it sounds more harmonious to me.

Abby Says:

March 5th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Oh, thank you iheartnames! How did I miss that? And I agree – Violet, Sara/h/Sera, and Sam feels perfectly matched.

CKA Says:

March 5th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

“But if you are going to use an eye-poppingly strange name, I’m convinced the way to do it is to have a great story, one that your child won’t mind re-telling again and again. And again. Actually, you’d better be willing to re-tell your tale, too…”

This I totally agree with Abby! A child with a “strange name” feels far more confident in their name and can be proud of it if they know the story behind it and there is a (positive) reason behind their name and in turn that confidence is more likely to temper the negative sides of having a “strange name” such as teasing and bullying.

Telling the story of the name (you gotta have a reason right 🙂 ) is part and parcel of having a strange name for both child and parent, but it’s also part of the attraction too – at least you have a talking point.


Names4real Says:

March 5th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Yes, I’m easily swayed by a great story. I see some wild choices sometimes and that’s always what I want to know. What’s the story behind THAT name?

moxielove Says:

March 5th, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I love the point of view of Open in the article. I especially love that she says she thought about changing her name but felt like to do so would be hiding a deep dark secret about her true name – talk about a name taking root in a personality! So fitting

and I agree that Open Banks is a truly burdensome name

lovecariad Says:

March 5th, 2012 at 9:28 pm

My name is Kylie..And growing up, i was the ONLY kylie up until my sophmore year in HS then i was one of two: Kylie and Kylee. I have been retelling my story for years! I even know the exact time my mom picked my name.. Oh yeah, I’m that good. Lol And yes, I’m named after Kylie Minogue.

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.