Sweet Spot Baby Names: Romy, Francis and Quinn

Sweet Spot Baby Names: Romy, Francis and Quinn

For the Nameberry 9 this week, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain finds a group of sweet spot baby names--names that sound modern and new, but are still based in tradition.

After last week’s birth announcement for Rainbow Aurora, I thought it might be a quiet week.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Baby names trends are constantly evolving, but I’m struck by a theme in this week’s baby name news. It’s the continuing rise of Modern Choices with Roots. This week’s appellations weren’t as out there as Rainbow, but they’re not all conventionally established names, either.

Camden first appeared in the US Top 1000 in 1990. That’s the same year Riley debuted for girls. Isis arrived in 1994. Romy has never have made the charts.

And yet they don’t feel outlandish, do they? We recognize them as given names, and they’re easy to say and spell.

More parents are finding that sweet spot: a name that seems normal, but wasn’t shared by anyone else in your high school, and wouldn’t have been worn by grandma, either.

Of course, names don’t necessarily stay that way. Take Camden. He’s powerfully popular, suggesting that many parents might choose Camden because he’s different – only to discover that their son shares his name.

Vintage picks like Amelia and Henry remain stylish, but there’s more and more space for settling on a name that previously would not have been considered a name at all.

At the same time, our ability to explore history continues to expand. From saints’ names to royalty to records of every day folk from long ago, it is easy to imagine finding a name that will be history rich, but still stand out. If the pope could break new ground, surely parents can, too.

On to the most newsworthy baby names:

Quinn – Model Maggie Rizer and husband Alexander Mehran are now parents to two boys. Baby brother Quinn joins firstborn Zander – he’s Alexander III – at home.

Romy – While we’re talking model mamas, have you seen the website Romy & the Bunnies? Julia Restoin Roitfield is a model turned art director turned mom, and she named her style website after her young daughter, Romy Nicole. I think of Romy as short for Rosemary or maybe Romilly, but Sofia Coppola and Matt Lauer are among the many bestowing Romy as a given name.

Goldie Ryan – Footwear magnate Steve Madden and his wife Wendy went with this colorful choice for baby #3. Goldie Ryan joins big brother Jack and big sister Stevie. With retro picks like Sadie and Hattie in vogue, no wonder we’re hearing names like Goldie.

Camden William – If you’re counting, this is the third celeb birth announcement for a baby Camden in just a few months. Kristin Cavallari welcomed Camden Jack last August. Just weeks later, Nick Lachey became the proud papa of Camden John. Now Nashville’s Eric Gunderson and wife Emily have chosen the popular place name. Camden Gunderson is a little awkward, but Cam Gunderson could be great.

Riley Anne – It’s another Bachelor baby! Jason and Molly Mesnick met on the reality series’ thirteenth season and made headlines. Molly was actually the runner-up, but the couple ended up together nonetheless. Now they’ve welcomed a daughter, Riley Anne. Jason is also father to Tyler from a previous relationship. Riley is a name that’s just starting to fade for both girls and boys, but is still in heavy use.

Francis – There was a boomlet of babies called Benedict last month. Get ready for at least a few newborns named in honor of newly elected Pope Francis. He’s the first pontiff to answer to Francis. With over 250 predecessors, there are plenty of great papal names to consider: Leo, Felix, and Linus are my favorites. But Francis, Frances, Francesca, Frankie, Francisco, and all of the related names are rich with possibility, too.

Elizabeth Diana Carole – Speaking of the titled and mighty, did Kate slip and reveal the gender of the royal baby? Maybe. Now rumors are circulating that the future heir to the throne is a girl, to be named Elizabeth Diana Carole. It’s a likely guess. Some might dismiss it as slightly stodgy, but neither Diana nor Carole are traditional royal picks. I wonder if they’d go further and bestow a nickname on the future monarch. Queen Betsy, anyone?

ElisendeDo you follow Eponymia? If so, you’ve probably read her posts about the Diving Bells round-up of names from Old Quebec. I’m beyond fascinated with these gorgeous lists: Ludivine, Adeliska, Ismerienne, Bellefleur. There are over 22,000 possibilities at the original site. It’s absolute heaven for those who love obscure, elaborate choices.

Do you prefer names that weren’t in use until recently? Would you rather choose a name that people have been answering to for centuries? Is there any middle ground?