Wide-Ranging Baby Names: Fisher, Fletcher & Amalia

In this week’s Nameberry 9, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s choices run from the royal Amalia to the unique Catchen, showing the anything-goes spirit of baby naming today.

The only rule of baby naming in 2013?

Anything goes.

From reliable classics to nouveau inventions to family heirlooms, the range of possibilities is truly infinite.

So it is no surprise that the baby name news ran the gamut this week.  On the one side are Dutch royals and a supermodel’s three sons with regal names.  On the other?  We have a few nouveau inventions and discoveries that could work nicely for a twenty-first century child.

All of this leads to my favorite piece of baby naming advice from the blogosphere this week: don’t whittle down your short list, discarding names for one reason or another.  Narrow your list UP, until you find the one that you truly adore.

The baby names that made headlines this week weren’t all given to newborns, but don’t be surprised to spot them on a birth announcement sometime soon.

Willem WillemAlexander is the new King of the Netherlands.  Most men to rule the tiny kingdom have answered to William, ever since William of Orange helped establish the nation’s independence in the sixteenth century.  Willem is the Dutch form, one that’s familiar in the US thanks to actor Willem Dafoe.  (Dafoe was born in Wisconsin as just plain William.  He picked up the European version as a nickname.)  Could parents embrace Willem as a slightly different spin on the classic name? 

Edward – Supermodel Eva Herzigová and boyfriend Gregorio Marsiaj have welcomed a third son.  Baby Edward joins George and Philipe.  The trio sounds as regal as any royal sibset.

Fletcher Archer is stylish.  I’ve heard Beau and Bo and even Arrow over the past year or two.  How about this one?  It’s an occupational surname for an arrowsmith, from the Old French word for arrow – fleche.  Hunter, Cooper, Tyler, Fletcher.  I think it flies.

Fisher – He’s another occupational choice, but this one has a subtle appeal for Christian parents.  It’s a reference to the New Testament phrase from the Gospel of Matthew: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Fifty years ago, parents would have just used Matthew, but in our age of Nevaeh and Messiah, Fisher seems like a restrained option.

CurtisDesperate Housewives alum Tuc Watkins is a new dad!  He recently brought home twins.  Tuc’s full name is Charles Curtis III, so his son Curtis continues the family tradition.  Curtis peaked in the 1960s, but I’m a big believer in passing down family heirlooms and honor names even if they’re slightly off-trend.

Catchen – While Tuc’s son inherited a well-worn name, his daughter received a one-of-a-kind creation.  The actor says that it came up in a name brainstorming session with his sister, Courtney.  She suggested Catch, and it well, caught on.  Catchen is a surprise for a girl, but fits right in with nouveau names for boys, like Chasen, Corden, and Caston.  I wouldn’t be surprised to meet some boys called Catchen in the future.

Carice – Speaking of inventions that might appeal, I’m intrigued by Carice van Houten, the Dutch actress appearing in Game of Thrones as Melisandre.  Carice comes from a smoosh of Caroline and Alice.  If that’s not story enough, the original Carice was the daughter of British composer Edward Elgar – Mrs. Elgar was named Caroline Alice.  It all makes for an elegant possibility, fresher than Clarice.

Laurentien – Another smoosh name comes from the Netherlands, this time the name of Princess Laurentien, wife of Prince Constantijn and sister-in-law of the new king.  In Dutch, Laurentien rhymes with queen.  In English, I’d be tempted to rhyme it with line.  The unusual appellation comes from Laurentien’s parents – Laurens and Jantien.  It’s been passed down as an extra middle to several members of the next generation, too.

Amalia – We started with the new Dutch king.  Let’s end with the new Dutch heir apparent, WillemAlexander’s firstborn daughter with wife Maxima (shown in the illustration).  Her full name is CatharinaAmalia, but she’s known as Amalia.  With Amelia so in vogue in the US, and variations like Emelia and Amelie in use, no wonder Amalia has been steadily climbing in use, too.

Have you heard any great names lately?  Do you like smoosh names and other inventions, or do you prefer the classics?

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11 Responses to “Wide-Ranging Baby Names: Fisher, Fletcher & Amalia”

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sarahmezz Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 12:26 am

I went to school with a Fletcher and have friends with a two-year-old Fletcher. I’m not loving Catchen, but Curtis is nice. I think Amalia is a nice alternative to Amelia, which is super popular, especially here in Australia.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 12:37 am

Fletcher and Amalia are both fairly well used in Australia – it’s a rare week where I don’t see at least one of them. Willem isn’t uncommon here either (not surprisingly, when William is so popular).

I’m not usually a fan of portmanteau names, but some definitely work better than others.

The only “new” name I’ve seen this week (new to me!) is Zax. It’s from a video game, and is part of the Max-Jax-Brax-Dax-Pax brigade.

redwoodfey Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 3:03 am

Love Willem. I would have thought Carice was just a different spelling of Carys though, I didn’t know it was a smoosh name. Is it pronounced kuh-RISS, CARE-iss or kuh-REECE?

Abby Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 4:58 am

@redwoodfey – Carice rhymes with Patrice and Clarice. Or at least it does when the actress says her name. I suppose you could meet a Carice who pronounces her name like Carys … potential for confusing is one downside, I guess.

@Waltzing More than Matilda – I was surprised to find two names that really seem to work … usually I’m not a huge fan, either.

tafadhali Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 8:55 am

@Abby Says — Oh, and see, I would have pronounced it CARE-iss. Of course, my great-grandmother pronounced her name, Clarice, CLAIRE-iss, so that’s usually how I read that name too, before I correct myself.

EmilyVA Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I love the names Clarice and Willem, but I thought Willem would be too out for an American baby. I seem to recall Willem da Foe didn’t like his name or thought people gave him a hard time over it. Still it’s a long time favorite for me. I also like Curtiss, but Catchen falls into the what were they thinking category? for me. I also prefer Amelia to Amalia. A lot of interesting names! Thanks for the post.

maggiemary Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Catchen is terrible.

Amy_Boyd Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Willem is lovely! I know siblings named Amelia and Willem and I think the names go together so well.

skizzo Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Amalia is the only good name here.

I also like passing family names, but only as middle names, and definitely not as “Juniors” or “III/IV/etc”…

AmelieAmour Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 1:03 am

Williem is my boyfriend’s middle name. 🙂 (he’s Dutch)

Carice is interesting and I really love Amalia.

explorach1 Says:

September 1st, 2013 at 12:07 am

Fisher is a name I love! However, with a last name that ends in the “er” sound, we couldn’t use it. :'(

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