Name Popularity: The Nameberry 9–Ezra, Etta and June
Lately I’m wondering: is all this talk about baby names changing the names we use?
A century ago, parents could draw inspiration from the newspaper, the Bible, literature, music, and anything on the family tree. There was room for creativity, but actual data gathering would have been difficult.
Today a few keystrokes will tell you how many girls were named Isabella last year, or whether hundreds of random strangers think that Ethan Alexander is a good name for your son. No wonder an expectant mom actually grimaced when I asked her if they’d chosen a name yet.
With all of this information, could it be that trends will accelerate? Will we talk ourselves out of using great names? I’ve heard of dozens of parents deciding against their top choice for fear that Stella is the next Ava. Or maybe they’re desperately searching for a name just like Logan, but much less popular, without actually being too unusual.
It can be done, of course, thanks to resources like Nameberry. This week’s baby name news was full of names that seem like substitutes for the most popular choices.
On to this week’s nine newsiest names:
Etta – Television host Carson Daly and girlfriend Siri Pinter have welcomed a second child, Etta Jones. It’s a jazzy pick. Etta is a little sister for Jackson. Name aficionados have been watching Etta, eager to see if she’s the successor to Emma and Ella.
Jones – Baby Etta shares her middle name with dad. It’s a common surname related to John, but unlike Jackson, Jones hasn’t been in the US Top 1000 since 1931. Ends-in-s choices like Ames and Brooks have been popping up lately. Could Jones and company be the next Carter, Tyler, and Hunter?
June – Nameberry put June on their list of hottest Classic Girls’ Names, and it is also the name of Design Mom’s youngest child. Gabrielle Blair recently wrote about the process of settling on the names Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty, and June. I love the way she described the names they settled on for their children: “A name with some history. A name our kids will discover as they get to know great books. … Whenever we were talking about names, I would imagine my kids as 80-year-olds, sitting at a card table playing canasta. If the name we were considering fit at the table, it got a green light.”
Ezra – Could Ezra be the next Jacob? Elisabeth has a list of possible substitutes for Jacob, including Silas and Jonas. I love her list, but can I just say that the name Jake remains one of my favorites? The trouble with the Top Ten names is that they’re so widely used because they’re just such great choices.
Rufus – Did you see Swistle’s list of names that are too unusual for your family to use? Her list is delightful, as are the comments. Too bad that they’re the names that parents are planning to avoid. I think the world could use a few more kids called Ivy, Cosima, Holland, Flynn, Louisa, and Thisbe.
Calliope – When they announced that the newest Kardashian was called Penelope, plenty of expectant parents started looking for something different-but-similar. Maybe Calliope is just the thing. Baby Name Pondering makes a compelling case.
Daisy – Lily is in the Top 20, and that’s without counting all of the girls answering to Lilly and Liliana. Elea at British Baby Names covered the history of the fascinating floral name Daisy. She’s certainly not uncommon, but if your neighbor, best friend, and co-worker just named their girls Lillie, Lillian, and Lilia, well … Daisy is a possibility.
Violet – Another botanical option, this time courtesy of baby namer extraordinaire, Dixie Chick Emily Robinson. Her new daughter is called Violet Isabel, a little sister for Julianna Tex, Henry Benjamin, and Charles Augustus. Robinson has a knack for choosing names that are reasonably common but have a twist.
Isabel – For years, Elizabeth was a default middle name, the go-to name to pair with shorter choices from Amy and Ava. Her cousin Isabel makes for a slightly unexpected choice. She has all of Elizabeth’s gravitas, but brings a lighter, more current feel to a name. Just like Elizabeth, she works with nearly anything, from Violet Isabel to Emily Isabel, Ava Isobel, Lila Isabelle, June Isabel …
Do you find yourself avoiding names just because they’re currently popular? Or because it seems like they’re about to become popular? If so, how popular does a name have to be before you start avoiding it?
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on September 9th, 2012 at 11:59 pm
I have noticed myself reject a few names because of popularity. But for me, I just want to avoid using a name in the top 10 or 20. All the names in the top section are there for a reason, they are great names!! However, I dont really want to call my child by the names of every other kid. Dont want to end up with my kid being Isabel D or Sophia M, you know? If I like a name enough I’d definitely use it regardless, my baby will have the name I truly love (and my man, of course hehe!). I do prefer to avoid the top names though.
I love Etta, so soft and sweet! I’d love to see little Etta’s with the Emma’s and Ella’s. Moreso, I’d love it to replace them for some time! I feel like they’ve been here long enough, especially Emma // Emily.
I also adore June and Calliope!! June is so spunky and quirky, I think! And I love the nick name June Bug 🙂 and Calliope just sounds so foreign, yet its familar through Callie.
Isabel is gorgeous, I love it way more than isabella. Though I also prefer it said as EEE-sah-belle, rather than IZZ-uh-bell. Probably just me. Though Violet Isabel is a stunning combo! I love it!
I’d also love to see more Ivy’s, Thisbe’s, etc. I have a great uncle Cosmos and I’ve thought of Cosima as a middle name potentially. I also love that lady’s baby names, Maude, Olive, Ralph, etc. i swear its one of the most beautiful sibling sets!! <3
on September 10th, 2012 at 12:19 am
We avoided calling our 8 year old daughter Ella as it was already top 10 in Australia.
Iwish we’d stuck with my no. 1 choice as I’ve yet to meet another Ella her age!
on September 10th, 2012 at 12:44 am
When I was pregnant with my daughter, the name Addison was around 160 and I’d never met anyone with the name. I was going to go ahead and use it, until I looked to see how fast if had been rising in popularity. When I saw it had been rising astronomically fast, I decided against it. A couple of years later, it was number 11, and I had two friends use it for their daughters. I much prefer my daughter’s more unusual name.
on September 10th, 2012 at 3:12 am
My grandmother was Etta, and she HATED her name! Somehow, that rubbed off on me and I always thought it was clunky and unpalatable … until pretty recently. I love the name Etta now. I like the combo Etta Beatrix, but like you mentioned, Etta Isobel would be lovely too.
on September 10th, 2012 at 5:53 am
I have a common name. I was always ” Rachel B” or people used my whole last name. Not something i want for my kids. I would like to avoid names in the top 500… bonus points if its off the list all together. Plus sides of a common name? Easy to pronounce and take seriously.
on September 10th, 2012 at 6:19 am
I really hope Etta doesn’t become popular.
As others have said, I don’t want my child to be one of 4 kids in his/her class with the same name. I love that I’m often the only Tara people have ever met. My parents chose an uncommon yet not unheard of name and I plan to do the same
on September 10th, 2012 at 7:28 am
If a name is in the top 10, sometimes 20, it’s off my list automatically. I don’t really think of it as how many kids will be named that when my kids are in school. It’s more like- that name is now overused and therefore boring, in my mind. Even if it’s a great name. Like songs on the radio that are classic or really awesome, but you hear it 3-4 times a day. I feel like it’s a personal challenge to come up with something better. The farther down the list, the more I consider it. But I suppose that if I’m absolutely over the moon about a name, and it works perfectly with our last name, and my husband loves it too, then we’d add it to our list. I don’t know anyone in my circle of friends/family who keeps track of name like I do, and I’d want them to love it. Also, yes, those top names are there because they’re great and not usually “trendeigh.” But it’s also a trend in itself that they’re at the top in the first place. 😉
on September 10th, 2012 at 7:45 am
My husband and I had this exact conversation yesterday. Are we trying too hard? Can we not find that perfect name, because we are avoiding everything we love due to it being “too popular?” Penelope was on our list until the Kardashian baby. And you are exactly right… We said, “What else? …Calliope??” Our son is named Felix, so we have been wanting a sib set with around the same popularity (300ish). Well, off to reevaluate & perhaps put Penelope back on the list! Thanks Abby 🙂
on September 10th, 2012 at 8:53 am
Calliope is so swoon worthy! I love that name.
I used to be very ruled by popularity, but after having an Arabella who often goes by Bella, it just doesn’t matter anymore. My taste in names includes names in the top 50, 20, and even the top 10. If I love it enough, I’ll use it. For instance, my son’s middle name is Alexander. I would have used Alexander in a heartbeat if we couldn’t agree on Jude. There’s a handful of top 50 names I feel similarly about.
I still find myself wanting something a little less common, for many of the reasons that the previous posters have mentioned. However, I won’t immediately rule out a name towards the top of the list anymore. Like nicoleb519 said, I’ll just try to come up with something better :). That’s why I do love those “If you like X, you’ll love Y” kind of lists!
on September 10th, 2012 at 9:28 am
I LOVE the name Daisy!
on September 10th, 2012 at 10:15 am
I have nixed Penelope and Evangeline and recently Alice off of my actual “use” list due to popularity. My son’s name is pretty popular(Caleb), and I don’t actually hear it as often as you might think (even living in the bible belt!), but for some reason…..I feel like it’s more important for a girl to have a more unusual name. I’m not sure WHY, it’s not rational, but I seem to be far more concerned about giving a potential daughter an uncommon name than a boy.
I do think that the internet has made us hyper-aware of whats popular and I guess being presented with the information, it has made us push against it more than we normally would have.
From the list above, I really enjoy Calliope, Isabel and Ezra – I guess I don’t get the appeal of Etta. I don’t tend to like names with T sounds (I dislike Charlotte/ Scarlett and Violet, yet Tabitha is near the top of my list? Weird.)
on September 10th, 2012 at 11:25 am
I didn’t use Grace in 2008 even though it had been our girl pick for our son in 2005 because it seemed like Grace and Gracies were every where. But the name I ended up choosing didn’t fit my naming style nearly as well as Grace does. If we have another daughter I think we might use Grace despite it’s popularity.
on September 10th, 2012 at 11:45 am
I avoided popular names with my first child for fear of the “Jennifer B.” syndrome. Growing up I was the only girl in my class with an unusal, traditionally male name, and I loved it. I’ve actually only ever met one other woman with my name, and she was 90+ and named after her father!
However, I find that looking over names now, more than a decade after my first son was born, I’m much more willing to consider a popular name if it has enough signifigance. Charles is a traditional family name, and it’s popularity won’t turn me off. Penelope may be the newest Kardashian, but I still love-love-love the name. On the other hand Stella has been moved off my list, even though I adore it, because I know of at least three baby Stellas in my circle of friends. That’s just a few too many! 😉
on September 10th, 2012 at 2:19 pm
We absolutely have been avoiding names that are popular. My husband never loved his very common name, and I alternatively loved only meeting 3 other people ever who had the same name as me.
Our December baby will (hopefully) go through life with a moniker that is unique to them, and not blend in with the crowd.
on September 10th, 2012 at 3:00 pm
I would avoid a name within the top 100, and if I did use it, it would be as a middle name. I was willing to use Daniel as a my son’s middle name before choosing another name because Daniel was such a great person in the bible that I did not care about the popularity.
I remember that I used to want names that were off the top 1000 because I grew up knowing many who had common names like Ashley, Emily, and Jessica. I did not want my child to have to be Isabella H, no matter how pretty Isabella is. It makes the person feel less individual in my opinion. Now after being on nameberry for a few months I think I have changed my tune and I am willing to use a name with significance to me even if it is in the top 1000. My husband’s middle name is predicted to be very popular and in both the yupster and hipster lists on this website but right now it is not even in the top 1000 so I will use it because it is my husband’s middle name. I still would prefer a name not as high on the popularity list.
I wouldn’t judge a name based on it’s supposed future popularity because we never know how popularity will be. Any name can become popular if the right person uses it.
on September 10th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
My grandmother was named Etta June. She hated Etta and always went by June. And now my daughter’s mn is June. I just can’t get behind Etta as a name.
on September 10th, 2012 at 8:58 pm
@ty13 – June is delightful! Glad you found a way to honor your grandmother.
@mara_lyn86 – You’re so right. Names have been completely off the radar, only to suddenly race up the charts.
@Lo – that’s interesting! I do like Grace, and I think she has such enduring appeal … even though I can think of a few little Graces.
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