Nameberry Week in Review: Debut issue

As promised, here is our first Week in Review by Abby Sandel–creator of the wonderful AppellationMountain blog– bringing you a roundup of the latest baby name news of the week every Monday  from hereon in.

Early January brought round-ups of The Most Popular Names of 2010, at least according to a host of informal polls and results from individual hospitals. It makes for a quirky assortment of headlines. Lauren is still holding on in Caledonia, Minnesota, despite falling for decades elsewhere.   The gems, of course, are the articles that mention the truly unusual choices, like Ged Spartacus and Hunni Princess, British babies born in 2010 according to an article by Hertfordshire’s The Watford Observer.

Just as we’d exhausted regional Top Tens, Pope VXI conveniently made a comment praising the names of the 21 infants – all of children of Vatican employees – he baptized in the Sistine Chapel on January 9.  It wasn’t much of a comment – he encouraged parents to choose Christian names, but his remarks were about religious faith, not Hollywood trends.  It was enough to result in a flurry of headlines, like this one from Canada’s National Post: Despite the Pope’s disapproval, designer baby names flourish. BBC News Magazine responded with a list of 10 Christian names you don’t really hear these days.  Gomer and Wilgefortis, anyone?  Jezebel also appeared on the BBC list, with an expert insisting that no one would give the name to a child.  Name junkies will have heard Jezebel mentioned on more than one message board.  Nancy’s exhaustive list of J names given to girls in 2009  reveals 24 girls named Jezebel – plus plenty of spelling variants, like:Benedict

 There’s even Jessabella, which feels like it might be different enough to qualify as a mash-up of Jessica and Isabella, rather than a long-avoided Biblical name.  Sure enough, there’s Jezebel on the Nameberry message boards, too: Facebook Babies 2010.  With the equally Biblical, and once just as maligned Delilah at the heights of fashion, maybe we shouldn’t count Gomer out, either.

There weren’t any crazy celeb baby names in the news last week.  Sasha Alexander, currently co-starring with Angie Harmon in TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, and director husband Edoardo Ponti welcomed a little brother for Lucia Sofia, a son named Leonardo Fortunato.   I can’t imagine the Pope would object to the couple’s choices.

2011 promises to bring many more noteworthy names, some of which will surely be on the outrageous side.  For a round-up of expectant parents of the famous variety, check out Elisabeth’s post at You Can’t Call It “It,” complete with speculation about the names everyone from Natalie Portman to Jennie Finch might choose.

Have a great week, and should you find yourself on a game show, remember: the Most Popular Boys’ Name in 2009?  Jacob.

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15 Responses to “Nameberry Week in Review: Debut issue”

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Charlotte Vera Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 4:47 am

Great first weekly post, Abby! I was out of the loop when it came to the Pope’s address — fascinating stuff. I have myself come across one toddler named Jezebel. That is, she was a toddler when I met her, she wouldn’t be one now. I came across her and her mother while trying on outfits in a clothing store. I have to confess that my judgmental mind wasn’t too surprised in the choice of name given the clothes the girl’s mother was trying on. “Jessie/Jezzie” is certainly a wearable nickname.

babynames Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 5:50 am

You can also find the meaning of the names given above.

Abby Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 8:08 am

Thanks, Charlotte! The first few times I heard Delilah, I thought “Delilah, really?” And now it strikes me as perfectly ordinary. I’m starting to feel that way about Jezebel – it no longer shocks me, though there are definitely less controversial -bel names out there.

sadiesadie Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 8:57 am

Eww Jezebel? It isn’t even pretty. Great first post!

Brooke Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 9:40 am

Love it! Looking forward to catching up with this weekly post!

Auntie_A Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 9:48 am

I’m so excited that you’ll be posting here regularly!
I can’t imagine anyone using Jezebel. The Biblical association is too much for me.
My sister was watching that game show & called me to ask what the most popular boys name was in 2009! 😀

Taylor Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 11:20 am

I remember when I was younger and learning about the biblical Jezebel. I also recall insisting that I would name my future daughter that, just to irritate my mother. I’ve certainly changed my mind since but I wasn’t too surprised to have seen it on a message board lately.

Taylor Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 11:24 am

Oh and great post, Abby. I’ll be excited every Monday morning to read your posts!

Abby Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Auntie A, you knew, of course! I have Jacob so cemented in the front of my brain, followed by this thought: “No, he was really popular BEFORE Twilight.”

One thing that makes me wonder: is Jezebelle (or Jezabella or Jezibel) an attempt to distance the name from her bad girl reputation, or is it really a case of parents arriving at a name by linking up attractive sounds without ever thinking about her origins?

nameseeker3 Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I enjoyed reading your first Monday post, Abby! Wonderful job on it!

I really like the name Leonardo Fortunato-lots of syllables, but very stunning. Love his sister’s name, Lucia Sofia, as well. The two names go very well together and have the same kind of rhythm, which is neat!

Being a Catholic, I plan on incorporating Saints’ names and Biblical names into my future children’s names. Those names on that list of 10 Christian names that are unheard of these days were interesting, but a bit much for me. Zipporah is neat, but I like it much better on a kitty than I human being. Zipporah nickname Zippy for a kitty would be so cute!

Saints’ names I like are: Gianna, Cecelia, Lucia, Bridget, Juliana, Genevieve, Helena, Clare, Matthias, and more…

Biblical names I like are: Leah, Lydia, Miriam, Naomi, Rebekah, Susannah, Abel, Abner, Asher, Gabriel, Gideon, Isaac, Jethro, Levi, and Silas.

Virtue names I like are: Faith, Felicity, Grace, Honora/Annora, Hope, Joy, Mercy, and Verity.

I would never use Jezebel, but I will say that it is quite a rhythmic name.

nameseeker3 Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Oops..I meant “Zipporah is neat, but I like it much better on a kitty than on a human being.” Now that I think about it, though, I think it would be awesome to meet a little girl or a woman named Zipporah.

Abby Says:

January 17th, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I love Abel, nameseeker – a friend of mine just used it in the middle spot. I was cheering for Abel to be the first name!

Elle Says:

January 18th, 2011 at 1:09 am

Aside from the Biblical connection…Jezebel makes me think of Grizabella from CATS! I just don’t see the loveliness in this name quite yet.

Emmy Jo Says:

January 18th, 2011 at 1:51 am

I’m very amused by the BBC article of 10 Christian names that didn’t quite catch on. I think the expert they consulted was WAY off on the reasons.

1. For starters, Jezebel hasn’t just “taken on negative associations.” The original Jezebel was pretty awful to begin with. While she wasn’t a loose woman, she did oversee the murders of every priest of Yahweh in the nation. I love the line, “To most people, this is better known than the fact that Jezebel was in the Old Testament, like Ruth, Eve, or Naomi.” Ummm… there’s a huge difference between Jezebel and Ruth. Just being in the Bible does not make you a worthy namesake. (For what it’s worth, based on sound alone, I do think Jezebel is quite pretty.)

2. Gomer hasn’t just been avoided because her name sounds masculine. If so, we would never meet any Tamars or Gwyneths. The biblical Gomer is best known for being an unfaithful wife and having children with multiple lovers.

2. I love how the consulted psychologist theorized that we aren’t using Radbod because it “just sounds too familiar.” Really? Just how many names do you know of that sound like Radbod? Besides Ichabod, of course — our playgrounds are just teeming with little Ichabods. Perhaps the real reason we aren’t using Radbod is we don’t want it to sound like we’re commenting on the physique of an attractive skater boy.

I have a friend whose father wanted (in all seriousness) to name him Nebuchadnezzar. His parents settled on Mark instead.

I hope you don’t mind me linking here to an old post of mine where I discuss 15 bad girl names from the Bible — and the real reasons we shouldn’t use most of them:

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

January 18th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Thanks so much for the mention, Abby! It’s going to be so super to have you here on a regular basis.

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