Category: Historic Names

By Andy Osterdahl, The Strangest Names in American Political History

Thanks to mass mega-phenomena like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, we’ve been exposed to lots of previously fusty-sounding ancient Latinate names, and some of them are beginning to sound more and more wearable as baby names—in fact several have landed on the current popularity list.  Guest blogger Andy Osterdahl, in his extensive study of the strangest names in American political history, has found many examples of these in the names of past American politicos.

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

We looked at some great options for summertime girls, now it’s the boys’ turn. Here are 20+ relevant baby name options related to the season, the sun and the sea.

APOLLOThe powerful name of the Greek god of the sun is currently heating up in the US, especially since it was chosen by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale for their son. Fictional Apollos have appeared in the Rocky films, in the Percy Jackson books and in video games. The space program reference is another definite plus. Apollo is currently at its highest ever–#535 nationally and 267 on Nameberry. The Latinized Phoebus is a more unusual possibility.

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s become a Nameberry tradition to commemorate Independence Day with a salute to notable historical figures and celebs who were born on the Fourth of July, This year, we’ll single out those with the most interesting prospective baby names. (By the way, George M. Cohan, the ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ who famously claimed he was ‘born on the fourth of July’, was actually born on the third. Similarly, PR people promoted the story that jazzman Louis Armstrong was born on Independence Day when his real birthdate was August 4th.)

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By John Kelly

June is Pride Month, an occasion to celebrate sexual and gender diversity and champion LGBTQ rights. It’s also an occasion for us to highlight an array—a rainbow, if you will—of LGBTQ heroes whose names make for some inspirational choices for your baby boy or girl.

Audre

Memorably describing herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde challenged us to address the intersections of our different identities in her art and activism. Born Audrey, she dropped the Y from her given name as a child, attracted to the way it balanced out the E of Lorde. This indeed distinguishes Audre from Audrey, a Top 200 name for most of the 20th century (#46 in 2017) and borne by both early saints and Shakespeare characters. Aptly, it means “noble strength” in Old English.

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

Though its current associations might run more to barbecues, picnics and parades, Memorial Day conjures up a load of historic references dating back to its post-Civil War origins, as well as some more contemporary traditions.

There are several blogs-worth of noteworthy Civil War generals’ names alone—Alpheus, Americus, Cassius, Gustavus, Lafayette, Napoleon, Pleasant, Romeyn, for starters– but for now we’ve included just a few of the most intriguing, as well as some less obvious Memorial Day names associated with the holiday.

BLUE and GREYThe colors of the  uniforms of the Union and Confederate soldiers fighting the Civil War (the Confederate soldiers sometimes referred to the Yankees disparagingly as ‘bluebellies’),  Blue and Gray are among the current coolest of the unisex color names. Blue Ivy is the much-discussed name picked by Beyoncé and Jay-Z for their daughter; actress Jenna von Oy recently named her daughter Gray.

CATHAYCathay Williams—aka William Cathay—was one of many women who passed as men to serve as Civil War soldiers.  A former slave, she was the first African-American woman to enlist. Cathay is an evocative old term for China used by Marco Polo that could make an interesting choice—if it weren’t in danger of being constantly confused with Cathy.

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