By Clare Green
This week’s celebrity baby name news includes gender-neutral and alliterative starbaby names, plus how to reuse your friend’s baby name gracefully, and sisters with sporty acronym names.
Celebrity baby name news: alliterative, unisex and on-trend
The highest-profile starbaby this week is Jenna Bush Hager’s son Henry Harold, aka Hal. There’s a lot to say about this name: here’s our expert opinion on everything from Hal’s historic roots to how the combination, blending family and modern style, is a perfect match for the Hagers’ older children.
Another celebrity who knows a lot about names starting with H is Jessica Alba, mother to Honor, Haven and Hayes. She’s been sharing her baby naming advice, which centers on not listening too much to advice from others.
Two new arrivals prove that unisex names are becoming more the norm than ever. Nava James is a girl (actor Kevin McKidd’s daughter) and Marlo James Francis is a boy (American Idol winner Kris Allen’s son) – but it could easily be the other way around.
Brooks isn’t so unisex: last year it was given to 44 girls and over 2000 boys. But it is a very of-the-moment surname name, and quite literally a crowd-pleaser. Bachelor couple Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert ran an Instagram poll for fans to vote on their favorite baby name choices, and the ones they used for their son, Brooks Easton, made the final four.
Lastly, a mellow rock-and-roll baby name for Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx. His new daughter Ruby has a name with a spunky edge to it, but if anything it feels toned-down compared to his older children’s names, Gunner, Storm, Decker and Frankie–Jean.
Sharing names with style
Would you reuse a name a friend had already given to their child? Whether it’s out of bounds or fair game depends on your personal views, your relationship, your reasons for loving it, and the name in question.
As usual, the Duchess of Cambridge and her circle show us how to do it with class. Her friend Sophie Snuggs – who is godmother to Princess Charlotte – has just welcomed a daughter named Amalia Rose Charlotte. It feels like a sweet bond between the girls without being too copycat; and Kate can hardly complain, having reused the name Louis for both her sons.
Another shared name fact! I may be the last person on earth to know this, but Emeli Sandé’s stage name is actually her middle name, passed down from her Zambian grandmother. Why? Because her first name, Adele, was already taken by the Adele.
Surnames in the news
When choosing your baby’s name, is their surname up for discussion? Or is it already a given?
For couples with different last names, there are several possibilities: one or other parent’s name, or a mixture of both, or something completely different. Yet often, as this journalist found, there’s pressure for the baby to automatically get their father’s name. (You may have limited free views of this article – use them wisely!)
One deciding factor could be how common the surname is. Here are some reflections on the pros and cons of having one that’s shared with thousands if not millions of people.
Here’s a different way to use a surname. When choosing a new name as they transitioned gender, Foster decided to go by their last name for everyday use. It strikes a neat balance between change and continuity, plus it’s a surname name that’s very stylish at the moment.
But whatever you do, we don’t advise you to use a joke last name that will get you denied a new passport.
Rarely does a week go by without sports fans making the news for naming their children after their favorite players and teams. This week, we’ve got three stories from the world of soccer.
Following the surname theme, French footballer André-Pierre Gignac has a wave of young namesakes in Mexico, where he plays for the team Tigres UANL. Several boys have received the name Gignac in recent years, including some with double player combinations like Griezmann Gignac (for fellow French plater Antoine Griezmann) and Iker Gignac (perhaps for Spanish player Iker Casillas).
In Britain, more than a few boys called Lucas were named after South African player Lucas Radebe, who played for Leeds United. His legacy is impressive: parents are still taking namespiration from him 14 years after he retired!
Anyone remember the Norwegian man who named his daughter Ynwa, an acronym for You’ll Never Walk Alone? (That’s the theme song of the Liverpool football team.) Well, now she has a sister called Tia. It’s a lovely name…and it also stands for This Is Anfield (the club’s stadium).
German names: inspiration around the corner
A few weeks ago, we had the (unsurprising) news that names from the 1980s and 90s, like Craig and Lauren, are falling in popularity. Well, it’s not just happening in the English-speaking world. 90s names on the decline in Germany include familiar ones like Lisa and Sarah, Justin and Kevin.
But it’s interesting that some of the names that are becoming passé in German are still up-and-coming for English speakers: Julian, Nico, Luca, Alina. So if you’re looking for the next generation of fresh international names, you might find some clues in the most popular names in Germany right now.
Clare Green writes Nameberry’s weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world. Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.