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Names on the Cusp

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By Kelli Brady at NameFreak!

The 2012 Popular Baby Names list was released in May to a lot of excited name enthusiasts. Of course we were all interested in the Top 10 and Top 100, but I also loved seeing what fell out of and what made its way into the Top 1000. What’s the new name on the block? Finding out was like Christmas in May.

On my blog back in January, I made my own predictions and suggested 6 girl names and 6 boy names that would crack into the Top 1000. It’s always hard to say what will make the jump into the published list and what will not. In 2011, for example, Hattie reentered the Top 1000 at #993 with 253 births, up from 157 births in 2010 (which would have put it at #1444). It could take a lot of births, or just a few depending on the activity of the other thousand names throughout the year. To help me make these predictions, I went through the 100 names below the Top 1000 to see what jumped out at me.

Here are the twelve names I had thought would make their way into the Top 1000, and you’ll see below how I made out: (the 2011 rank is in parentheses.)

The Girls:

Lyra (#1030) – Along with its space-cousin Luna, this stellar name is making strides. Pronounced either “lee-rah”  or “lie-rah,”  it is a constellation in the northern sky that contains the star Vega. Lyra made a pretty big jump in 2008 and has slowly been increasing in number ever since.

Aurelia (#1034) – I first became aware of this beautiful name after seeing the movie Love Actually. The character in the movie was Portuguese, but the name is from Ancient Rome… remember Marcus Aurelius? 2011 saw the most girls given the name Aurelia in the US since records have been kept (239 births) and I had hoped to see the number increase enough to make the Top 1000 in 2012.

Ellison (#1047) – Similar to Allison, but mostly a surname, and traditionally a boy name like other -son names, that hav been overtaken by girls. If parents want the cute nicknames Ellie or Elle but don’t want to use the popular Elizabeth or Eleanor, I saw a good reason for Ellison to join the ranks in 2012.

Milena (#1064) – I heard this name a lot while living in Poland and I love its quiet beauty. It is fairly popular in most Central and Eastern European countries and could be compared to Mila, which is similar in sound and origination and growing tremendously in the US. I continued to hope Milena would follow the same path.

Tinsley (#1073) – It is not found on most name sites, but does have an entry on Nameberry. It was brought into the social realm by socialite Tinsley Mortimer, is a character in The It Girl series, and is a place name in England. With the help of trendy names like Ainsley and Kinsley, Tinsley has made big strides over the past couple of years and could possibly enter the Top 1000 in the future.

Everly (#1099) – Everly came very close to becoming the name of my daughter. To be honest, I am surprised this particular spelling is the highest ranking of the name. It first came to my attention on name forums back in 2005. Several people brought up the name Everleigh and I fell in love with the sound, but preferred the simpler Everly. Unfortunately, my husband was not as enthusiastic about it as I was and in the end we chose a different name, but it will always be a favorite of mine. Everly is increasing in number more and more each year and I thought it would have a great chance to break into the Top 1000 in 2012.

The Boys:

Oakley (#1004) – Of course it’s easy to say that the name only 1 birth away from making the Top 1000 will make it the next year, but Oakley is making headway of late for both boys and girls. Oakley‘s numbers jumped by over 50 births between 2010 and 2011; I was interested to see if it would jump again.

Thiago (#1021) – I have already written about how much I love this name. It is a variant of James and popular in Argentina and Brazil. Can Thiago break into the Top 1000 in the United States?

Boden (#1018) – Add -en to Bodhi and you have Boden, a surname with several roots as well as the name of a clothing shop based in the UK. Boden is a fresh take on the popular “ends with -en” name and could very well rise up into the ranks.

Jericho (#1025) – Want a Biblical name with a little bite? The TV show of the same name could also have created some fans who chose the name out of loyalty, but Jericho itself is a strong name that I would love to see in the Top 1000.

Lachlan (#1052) – A Scottish name that is overdue, especially in a world of Lucases and Landons. Even Declan and Kellen, which are similar in feel, are making waves. It’s popular in the UK and Australia, and it is about time Lachlan makes similar noise in the US.

Colson (#1054) – For those who like Cole or Colton but want something less common, or who want to honor a family member named Cole or even Nicholas, this could be the option for you. Colson has made a few jumps over the past few years, and I wondered if it could make a big enough one to enter the Top 1000.

And so how did I do? Well, in 2012…

Milena ranked at #965 with 262 births, up from 230 births in 2011.

Everly ranked at #907 with 286 births, up from 222 births in 2011.

Oakley ranked at #880 with 237 births, up from 191 births in 2011.

Thiago ranked at #862 with 244 births, up from 187 births in 2011.

So, I was 1/3 right.

Here are the results for the rest:

Lyra increased from 241 to 242 births.

Aurelia increased from 239 to 250 births (which actually put it at Number 1005).

Ellison stayed at 234 births.

Tinsley decreased from 231 to 207 births.

Boden decreased from 188 to 156 births.

Jericho increased from 185 to 186 births.

Lachlan increased from 178 to 183 births.

Colson decreased from 178 to 144 births.

This was really fun to do! Did you make any predictions that became reality?  What names do you see jumping ahead next year?

Originally posted at NameFreak! in January and May 2013 and revised for Nameberry. Thanks to Nancy’s Baby Names for the number graphs.

Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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About the author


Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her eBook, Name-alytics, is a look at the history of the Top 100 names in the United States. Check it out at!
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11 Responses to “Names on the Cusp”

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Maple10 Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 7:24 am

Aurelia was one of my top choices, but I decided against it because of pronounciation issues. My husband and I couldn’t agree on how to pronounce it, so I don’t see how strangers could

stephykneejo Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 9:17 am

Aurelia always reminds me of the word areola. Yikes. That could be an issue along with pronunciation. I expect to see a surge in Everly this next year, as it was thrust into the forefront by the Tatums. I love the name Lachlan, and Colson. However, the name Colson is too closely related to the last name of a boy I grew up with. Cute name, nonetheless.

upswingbabynames Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 10:17 am

I also felt certain… absolutely certain… that Lachlan would hit the top 1000 in 2012 and I was so wrong. I’ll be watching next year!

GrecianErn Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 10:56 am

My son has a friend named Meleinna. Pronounced the same as Milena. It’s a very pretty name on a stunning little girl.

I kind of like Boden…

Lea Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I hope Aurelia doesn’t rise too much more, in a selfish way I don’t want it to become popular score I get the chance to use it! I was surprised Gerard wasn’t on the 1000, pretty classic but not too common.

alphabetdem Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Looove Aurelia and Lyra. I also like Milena and Oakley, but for other people.

Everly, or Everleigh, on the other hand…. I’m amazed how many people don’t google their future baby’s names. I’m also amazed anyone would want that name for their daughter, considering it came into usage because it was the name of a high-priced, nationally famous brothel in Chicago in the 19th century. A simple search for “Everleigh” will bring up the Everleigh Club as the second result!

Gigi_mk Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I love Jericho!

EmilyVA Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Aurelia and Thiago are both names I would think it’s hard to pronounce. (I have no idea how to pronounce thiago.)

Oakley is one I picture on a girl as in Annie Oakley.

I like Milena and Lyra (although neither is a favorite of mine.) I definitely think Lyra has top 1000 potential.

I could see Imogen, Antonia, and Octavia all eventually joining the top 1000. I personally think top 1000 isn’t that popular. Top 100 on the other hand…

tori101 Says:

July 27th, 2013 at 7:12 am

Ah interesting blog!

I really love Aurelia, Lyra & Milena.

For boys I really love Oakley & Jericho

Everly is growing on me but I prefer the ‘more traditional’ choice of Evelyn.

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

September 13th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

My great-grandmother’s name was Aurelia. It had been my choice for a daughter’s middle name, as a way to honor her, along with the name of my other great-grandmother, Elena. Elena Aurelia… Which was all good and fine and still on the table should I ever have a second hypothetical daughter…

iwillpraise Says:

December 12th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

My favorites from this list are:

-Ellison – but it’s all boy to me!
-Milena – really like how this one rolls off the tongue
-Oakley – but it’s all girl to me! one of my favorite nature names (and I’m not a huge fan of nature names!)
-Boden – I wouldn’t normally be drawn to this, but the more I read this article and said it in my head, the more I liked it!
-Jericho – for some reason, this brings up images of Gideon (I know, totally different story!! One is the city destroyed by Israel, the other is the “Valiant” warrior chosen by God to destroy the Philistines), but between the 2, it seems that I really prefer Jericho. nn could be Jer or Jeri which is a cool twist!
-Lachlan – have loved this one (as a GP) for a couple years now, along with Leland

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