Mary, Maya, Magnus and Olive: This week’s newsiest names


This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel finds inspiration for the Nameberry 9 from celebrity birth announcements and TV listings.

I know it has been a busy week in baby name news when my friend C makes a point of seeking me out.  “So what are they going to name the baby?” she asked, knowing that she didn’t have to add that “they” are William and Kate and the baby in question will be hounded by more paparazzi than a JoliePitt kid.

Then again, bookies couldn’t take bets on the name of a new JoliePitt arrival.  Where would a gambler begin?  We know the royal couple is up against some definite limits in choosing their child’s name, creating a perfect opportunity for the placing of bets, a scenario that couldn’t exist in Hollywood.

What separates name nerds from others might be this: I am filled with curiosity whenever I meet an expectant parent.  “Have you thought about names?” I’ll mention, casually, trying to not make it too obvious.  Aidan Donnelly Rowley’s post congratulating Kate struck a chord.  It doesn’t really matter if I know you – I’m excited for that new little person you’re about to welcome, and very willing to help if you’d like to talk names.

Thank goodness for Nameberry, and berries the world over who are also eager to chat about all things baby naming.  The nine names from last week’s baby names news are:

RosemaryBlue Juniper wrote about Raviva, a character from MTV’s new series Underemployed.  Other characters are Daphne, Miles, and a guy called Lou.  Raviva’s daughter’s name caught my eye.  Rosemary seems like a name on the rise.  Oh, and the twins who play baby RosemaryEmmah and Emmilee.

Judith – While we’re on television, The Walking Dead baby was finally named Judith.  What a great, classic name.  Is Judy too Jetson, or is she an obvious alternative to Lucy and Ruby?  And will we really name our daughters after fictional infants in a post-apocalyptic zombie nightmare?

OliveThe Walking Dead wouldn’t be the wackiest source of baby name inspiration.  This week we learned Drew Barrymore’s baby name news.  Daughter Olive’s name wasn’t given in homage to Drew’s turn in animated holiday classic Olive, the Other Reindeer.  Instead the name stuck while she and husband Will Kopelman were reading a pregnancy development guide: “Your baby is the size of an olive.”

Bailey – I’ve tended to dismiss Bailey as a surname pick past its moment– a great sound, yes, but one that we’ve heard too often.  Last week Lisa re-imagined Bailey as a great Christmas name, thanks to George Bailey.  Who doesn’t love It’s a Wonderful Life?  Then again, if we’re considering Christmas flicks, there’s also Zuzu Bailey, or Ralphie Parker, or Virginia

Mary – Which reminds me, isn’t Mary the perfect name for a December-born daughter?  The Atlantic Monthly picked up the story of Mary’s speedy decline in recent years, and it is true that she’s fading.  Over 2,600 girls received the name in 2011, but that’s nothing compared to her heyday.  In 1900 – a year with fewer than 500,000 births, compared to 2011’s nearly four million – there were 16,709 baby Marys.  But what if the newest British royal is a Princess Mary?  She could make a comeback faster than you can whistle “God Save the Queen.”

Maya – Then again, some say that we’re just a few days away from the end of the world as we know it. Nancy rounded up a long list of imaginative names should your due date be December 21 – or the day after.  Maya is an obvious choice, but I’m intrigued by Vendela and Armando, too.

Vivian – Congratulations to Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen on the arrival of their second child.  Like many couples, they’ve taken a slightly more daring approach to naming a daughter.  Vivian joins brother Benjamin, and half-brother JohnJust when Vivienne – the choice of the Jolie-Pitts and Rosie Pope – looked like the spelling sure to dominate, Vivian shows signs of life.

LakeVivian Brady’s middle name is Lake, and what a great middle name it is!  She fits with conventional middles like Jane and Kate, but also blends in with all of the nature names we’ve heard in recent years, from River to Sky.  She’s one of my favorite unexpected middles of the year, right up there with Jeremy Sisto’s Bastian Kick.

Magnus – The most buzzworthy name last week had to be MagnusElizabeth Banks recently named her second son Magnus, and now Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles has welcomed Magnus Hamilton.  It’s the most surprising starbaby name duplication since the two Camdens arrived earlier this year.  There were already plenty of reasons to watch Magnus in 2012 – and now there’s yet another.

Are you excited about the royal baby?  Did the excitement give you a chance to talk baby names with friends who usually aren’t paying attention?  And what do you think of Judith and Lake?

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz