Is This Baby Name Too Popular?
Their favorite girl names have raced up the charts of popular baby names, sending this couple back to the drawing board for their December daughter. Let’s help them find a vintage, traditional name – that isn’t headed for the Top Ten!
My husband and I are at a name standoff. I like sophisticated, vintage names and my husband likes traditional, common names.
We are now expecting a little girl in December and have gone through about 100 names that we cannot agree on.
The Name Sage replies:
When you’re trying to narrow down a long list of maybes to The Name, it can seem like you’re miles apart from your partner. But when I look at your list, it sounds like you have plenty in common.
And that’s good news. Because the stumbling block isn’t necessarily finding The Name – it’s recognizing that sometimes The Name doesn’t come with lightning bolts and angels singing. Sometimes it has drawbacks. Sometimes it’s just a little different from your style. Or maybe it breaks every single one of your rules, and it seems like it can’t possibly be The Name because you want X, and it is so Y.
Which is all a long way of saying this: Are you sure you don’t want to use Evelyn for your daughter?
About a hundred years ago, Evelyn hovered just outside the US Top Ten. Today, the name is back, coming in at Number 15. Similarly popular names include Grace, Chloe, Charlotte, Madison, and Amelia. I know children with most of those names, but not so many that they seem too popular.
Here’s where math is really on your side: fewer children receive the most popular names today than they did thirty or fifty or 100 years ago. The Number Fifteen name in 2016 is given to around the same percentage of children that received the Number Forty name in 1916. In other words, yes, Evelyn is popular – but that’s no guarantee that she’ll go through school as one of three in her class.
Caroline – Caroline is Charlotte’s bridesmaid. She’s every bit as lovely, but hasn’t moved into the spotlight. That’s good news for you, though. Like Nathaniel, Caroline has ranked in the Top 100 for years. Nicknames Carrie, Carlie, and Callie all work, but if you named her Caroline Jean, she could also be CJ.
Mariel/Marielle – If you like Gabrielle, maybe Mariel or Marielle will appeal? While it is a very unusual name, it’s a spin on the evergreen Mary. Nicknames include Ella and Ellie, but also Mari and Mimi.
Gemma – Gemma is originally an Italian name meaning jewel. It’s not nearly as Italian as Gianna or Francesca, but it should pair well with an Italian surname, and hits the familiar-but-different sweet spot.
Eleanor – I can imagine Eleanor and Evelyn as sisters – feminine names, but strong, too. Nicknames like Ellie and Nell make it very wearable for a child. It combines the –elle sound from Gabrielle with a vintage, traditional vibe.
Overall, my favorite for you is Caroline Jean, especially with the potential nickname CJ. But it still seems like a shame to abandon your long-time favorite choice, so I’d suggest Caroline only if you’re sure that Evelyn is off the table.
Let’s add a quick poll about how other have dealt with this issue.
Readers, have you abandoned a favorite name because it was too popular? Did you regret it?
About the author
View all of 's articles
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on November 1st, 2016 at 11:05 pm
My suggestion is Margret Jean, nn – Maggie, Pearl, or Greta
From Abby’s list I like Genevieve Margret, nn – Gen, Nev, Nieva, or Vivi
I really like the second combo as I feel it has an appealing charm and is well balanced. Also think Nate and Nieva make a cute sibling pair and aren’t too matchup since baby girl would have a longer formal name.
on November 1st, 2016 at 11:32 pm
I second what Joquinta said: Margaret as a first name, with the nickname Greta or Maggie. Margaret Jean is lovely. Or, Genevieve Margaret is quite pretty. I know so many little Evelyns that I can’t plead with you to use it, although its appeal is totally understandable and if it’s been a life-long love it’s certainly worthy of consideration!
on November 1st, 2016 at 11:44 pm
Love the suggestion on Genevieve! Genevieve Margaret-swoon!
This post scared me though..,I don’t think Lucy is that popular is it?! And Lulu is a great nickname for Lucy…at least that is the plan for our lo due soon!
Lucy & Nate do sound sweet together!
on November 2nd, 2016 at 2:03 am
I love the nickname CJ for a girl! and Caroline is such a pretty name that pairs great with Nathaniel “Nate.” She could also go by Carrie or Cara for short.
Genevieve also has so many great nicknames! My personally favorite is Ginny but you could go with Evie, Gen, Genny Genna, Vivi. I actually really like Genevieve Jean but Genevieve Margaret is also pretty, just a bit long for my taste.
I really love Josephine personally but I like the nickname Joey for a girl. I also like Josie, but not as much!
Other names I think you might like based on Evelyn/ Layla/ Josephone”Jojo”/ Gabrielle”Gabby”
Tabitha Jean “Tabby” Nate & Tabby is super cute in my opinion! It has a vintage feel with a very fun modern vibe.
Sloane Margaret- it doesn’t have any nicknames but neither does Layla and I think it works well with Nate and has a similar vibe to the names you like.
Hadley Jean “Haddie”- I love this name/unexpected nickname combo. Nathaniel & Hadley and Nate & Haddie both sound so cute together!
maybe Marilyn instead of Mariel?
on November 2nd, 2016 at 5:52 am
Emmeline Jean called Emmy
Or Madeline called Maddy
Or Geneva called Eve or Eva (which brings to mind your love for Evelyn)
Geneva Margaret sounds lovely
on November 2nd, 2016 at 7:36 am
What about Adella shortened to Della? We’re considering Della on its own for our daughter due in Feb.
on November 2nd, 2016 at 9:04 am
I think you should use Evelyn. It’s not crazy, over the top popular. From Abby’s list, I love (with Nate) Caroline, Lydia, Julia.
on November 2nd, 2016 at 9:21 am
I think Abby’s insight to name popularity is really important. Unless you are seriously hearing a particular name out on the playgrounds too much, it’s number on the charts really shouldn’t mean much. Even the most popular names of today aren’t nearly as popular as all those 80’s and 90’s names. I doubt your daughter would be one of 3 Evelyns.
The poster’s own suggestion of Josephine is my favorite- I’d call her Josie.
Nate and Josie are fantastic siblings. Nathaniel and Josephine. Josephine Jean could even go by JJ.
Have you thought of making her name double, to have it stand out more, especially if you feel Evelyn is too popular? Evelyn Jean could totally go together as double barreled. Evie Jean is absolutely adorable.
on November 2nd, 2016 at 10:34 am
I love the name Evelyn Margaret. I haven’t actually met a baby Evelyn!
on November 2nd, 2016 at 10:52 am
Evelyn is pretty popular BUT All the Evelyn’s I know go by Evie. If you wanted to use her full name, that might be more distinctive!
names with similar beginnings or endings
on November 2nd, 2016 at 10:54 am
I let go of using Grace in 2005 because it was too common but I now think that was a mistake.
Amber W Said
on November 2nd, 2016 at 12:05 pm
If you want an overlooked classic with a great nickname, consider Gillian, nn Jill. I may be a little biased since I named my daughter Gillian Margaret, but I’ve never met another kid named this and it’s as old as Jack and Jill. Jill is pretty cute with Nate, too. 🙂
on November 2nd, 2016 at 12:58 pm
I also love the name Evelyn, though it is far too popular for me to consider using it now, personally. I think Josephine (Jojo or Josie) is really sweet. I also second the suggestions of Caroline and Julia and the suggestions of going with Margaret as a first name and of Jillian/Gillian and Tabitha.
on November 2nd, 2016 at 1:15 pm
I had a popular name (Sarah in the 80s) and it always bugged me even though I liked my name. I like the suggestions of Genevieve/Vivi, Julia, and Francesca. Other ideas: Virginia, Sylvia, Sylvie, Bianca, Beatrice, Luisa, Rosamund. Good luck!
on November 2nd, 2016 at 5:34 pm
Evelyn reminds me of Evangeline (probably because both are family names) same beginning and my family pronounces Evangeline more like Evangelyn so they basically end the same way too. My Evangeline goes by Vangie but Evie is a great nickname, too.
on November 2nd, 2016 at 6:55 pm
I think Alyssa is ready for a comeback. It ticks both your and your husband’s boxes and Alyssa Jean is great.
on November 3rd, 2016 at 3:50 am
If Evelyn is the one, how about another name from the Eve family? Just as others have suggested, how about Eve Eva Evangeline Evara Evora Evanna Evanthia Evathia Evolet or Evangelia?
I also really like the Genevieve suggestion, but how about Geneva, Genoveva or Annevieve? Or perhaps Maeve?
on November 3rd, 2016 at 1:34 pm
How about Louisa Jean? Nate and Louisa or Lulu sounds great to me and Louisa is not that common atm
Other names that you might like with cute nickname possibilities
Vivienne/ Viv or Vivi
Cecilia or Cecily / Cece
I do love the suggestion of Genevieve Margret as well!
on November 3rd, 2016 at 2:46 pm
I think you should go for Evelyn! But if you’re still not sure about it then I also love Genevieve. I also like Lucy but I’d suggest the longer form Lucinda.
Lucinda and Nathaniel, Lucy and Nate
You could also use Lulu (similar to Jojo?), Cindy, Lindy and Linda as nicknames for Lucinda.
on November 4th, 2016 at 7:51 pm
How about Victoria? It’s sort of popular, but it has so many great nicknames! Another option is Elizabeth; it’s classic, timeless, and has countless nicknames.
I love the suggestion of Louisa!
on November 6th, 2016 at 1:52 am
Like Essa, I also just want to put in a good word for Lucinda, which I think is even better than Lucille.
on November 6th, 2016 at 4:36 pm
I just came here to say that Nathaniel and Josephine sound perfect together. They have the same number of letters and syllables, and they have the same vintage-yet-familiar feel. Nathaniel and Josephine, Nate and Joey, Nate and Jo. They just fit together like two peas in a pod.
If you’re not sold on Josephine, I wanted to offer the Scandinavian name Evelina. You could still use the nickname “Evie” (which I prefer pronounced “Eh-vee”), but it has the bonus nickname of “Lina” if that’s more your style. I think Nate and Evie and Nate and Lina both sound like siblings, too.
on November 7th, 2016 at 12:07 am
If I may add a comment, and it’s just a matter of opinion: but I feel Lucy and Nate do not really go that well together because it is too similar to the word hallucinate – maybe that’s why they seem to go well together- but if I heard “my 2 kids Lucy and Nate” I would for sure think of the word Hallucinate- wanted to point that out
on November 28th, 2016 at 9:15 pm
In the defense of Evelyn, I have a nine year old sister named Evelynne (named after our great grandmother) and we call her Evie. She is the only Evie/Evelyn(ne) in her school and her large gymnastics team. I have only met one other Evie, and she was 12. It may be a popular name overall but it’s not going to be too popular in every area of the country.
on December 13th, 2016 at 4:54 am
Anyone who a baby name that is not popular, head to our site for some http://www.suggestbabynames.com/meaning_of_english_boyname_brangui.html
70 Most Enchanting Autumn-Inspired Baby Names ⋆ Said
on February 22nd, 2019 at 11:29 pm
[…] via nameberry.com […]
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.