Ella, Alexander, and Other Baby Names in the News


By Clare Bristow

This week’s baby name news includes celebrity twins, the most popular names in Ireland and Latvia, and girls’ names with an “et” sound.


The Clooney twins are here!

Amal and George Clooney have ticked all the stylish boxes with their twins’ names. Ella and Alexander are classic but modern-feeling, popular on both sides of the Atlantic but not trendy, complementary but not matchy.

If you like the Clooneys’ style but don’t want to copy their names, this list of fashionable classic names has lots of alternatives.

There’s no news yet on whether the twins have middle names. Perhaps the Clooneys will use Nicholas or Nina to honor George’s parents, or names reflecting Amal’s Lebanese heritage…or maybe they’ll surprise us all with something wild to balance out the un-crazy first names.


“Et” girls

In other celebrity news, girls’ names with an “et” sound have been a theme of the week.

Bennet Alejandra is the daughter of actors Briga Heelan and Rene Gube, born in March. Both this spelling and the more popular Bennett are used much more for boys than girls, but Bennet was given to 7 girls in 2016. It has a literary vibe, thanks to the Bennet family in Pride and Prejudice.

Trulee Nanette, country singer Lee Brice’s daughter, has a name that blends modern and dated. Trulee sounds like it would appeal to parents today, combining a virtue word with a cool “lee” ending (also a nod to her dad’s name). The more popular spelling Truly is rare but has risen in the last decade. Will this announcement give either spelling a boost this year?

Trulee shares her middle name with her mother, reminding me of another family middle name, Bessette, which featured in this month’s babyberry announcements.

Nanette is in style limbo right now. Along with similar names like Jeanette and Babette, it last peaked around 1960 and probably won’t make a comeback any time soon. But there are three “ette” names in the US Top 1000 (Juliette, Colette and Scarlette) and parents are embracing other girls’ names with French endings, like Isabelle and Vivienne, so why not more alternative “ette” names too? Bonus: they’re a way to get Etta as a nickname.

Julieta, the daughter of Portuguese actor Ricardo Pereira, shows another way to get an “et” sound. This name is rising in the States: last year it leapt almost 200 places to #635.


What’s hot in Ireland and Latvia

Last week, Ireland released its Top 100 names of 2016. The main headlines? James replaced long-term favourite Jack as the top boys’ name, while Emily remained in the top spot for the 6th year running. The highest-climbing names in the Top 100 were Muhammad, Willow and Zoey.

Some of Ireland’s high-ranking names will sound familiar: as well as James and Emily, Michael, Noah, Ava, Emma and Mia are all in Ireland’s Top 10 as they are in the States.

But you don’t have to go far down the list to find distinctively Irish choices. Oisin, Cian, Cillian, Saoirse, Aoife and Fiadh are all in the Top 25. A few years ago, they might have seemed too out-there to use outside of Ireland, but now that Saoirse is in the US top 1000, it feels like the rules are changing.

If surnames are more your style, you might find inspiration in the Top 10 surnames for babies in Ireland last year. They include Murphy, Doyle and Byrne.

Moving further east, Latvia has released its most popular names since 1918 (when the country became independent). One interesting discovery is that the “hundred-year rule” for vintage revivals works in Latvia just as it does elsewhere. Sofija, Emilija, Marta, Alise, Katrina and Elza were all popular for girls 100 years ago, fell out of fashion for a few decades, and are now back among the leading baby names.


When to announce the name?

Would you tell the world your child’s name before they were born, or leave everyone waiting for days or weeks afterwards? This week we’ve seen examples of both.

Reality TV star Jill Duggar Dillard and her husband Derick have announced that their son, who’s due in July, will be called Samuel Scott. He’ll join big brother Israel David, continuing the biblical first name theme.

At the other end of the scale, an Australian couple changed their daughter’s name from Betty to Rosie after 11 days. It was no big deal legally because she hadn’t been registered yet – in most parts of Australia, parents have 60 days to register a birth. It’s a sign of the times that the main hassle was correcting the announcement on social media.


Unusual names galore

Finally, the fun of the US name data continues! Now that there’s time to peruse the bottom of the list at leisure, there are lots of treasures to be found. Here’s Nameberry’s pick of the craziest names of 2016, and a list of 60 more unusual choices.

Photo is courtesy of website

About the Author

Clare Green

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.

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