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Newsiest Names this Week: Eamon, Fabian and Florian

September 19, 2018 Clare Green

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes family dynamics – from involving the in-laws to picking a surname – plus a baby named after a fancy dress costume, and what’s hot in Austria.

In-law involvement: yea or nay?

Announcing a baby’s name before it’s born can be a tricky decision – especially if family members react badly. Here’s a particularly painful account from a mother whose in-laws really didn’t approve of the name choice.

What makes it strange (even bearing in mind we don’t know the whole story) is that the name in question really isn’t very out-there. It’s sort-of predicable that a truly unusual grandma-shocker of a name might get a few raised eyebrows, but here we’re talking a Top 300 name that’s been described as “one of the friendliest names on the planet”.

If it’s any consolation, even Kim Kardashian gets naming advice from her in-laws. She’s said that when choosing a name for her daughter Chicago, she got a few suggestions of spiritual word names from Kanye West’s family. Other options on the table included names from the atlas like Rome, Milan and Italy (ok, that’s one page of the atlas) and from the bible, like Aaron and Abel. Either would have been rare, but not completely unheard of, on a girl.

And on that gender note: here’s a detailed look from The Atlantic about why, traditionally, more boy names are given to girls than girl names given to boys.

Heather and Hazel: out with the old

If you’re based in the US, think of Heather and you’ll probably picture a woman born in the 1970s or 1980s. You’d be right: that was when Heather peaked in popularity. But did you know it’s one of the fastest-rising and fastest-falling names ever recorded? The folks at Quartz have done the math, and tell the whole story here.

As Heather fell, Hazel rose to take its place as the hottest H- nature name. But there’s at least one adult Hazel who’s not happy about this! If you have a name that was rare when you were growing up, but is more popular now…do you feel the same? Or are you happy to have more members in your club?

News anchor names: Beckham and Eamon

Two journalists have been on the other end of the news this week as they welcomed baby boys with similar-yet-different name styles.

CNN’s Melissa Knowles picked a modern hero name for her son, Beckham Henry. As well as calling to mind British power couple David and Victoria, Beckham’s status as a two-syllable B-surname makes it automatically cool. (See also recent stories featuring babies named Breland and Bryson.)

Meanwhile, CBS reporter Margaret Brennan used her maiden name – that’s right, another B-surname – as a middle name for her son, Eamon Brennan. Eamon cunningly crosses both sides of his heritage. It’s an Irish name that American parents are slowly discovering, but spell it Ayman and it’s an Arabic name that honors his father’s Syrian roots.

Switching surnames

Choosing a baby’s surname can be as much of a process as choosing its first names. Some parents decide to start from scratch and give the whole family a new name. Would you – like one family in the article – pick yours out of a pencil box?

This post by Annabel Abbs reminds us that surnames don’t have to be set in stone. She took her husband’s name when they started a family; decades later, and still happily married, she went back to her maiden name.

Austria’s top names

Another week, another country releases its baby name data!

The top names in Austria in 2017 were Anna and Maximilian…unless you combine spellings and variants, in which case it’s Anna and Lukas. But then we get into debates about whether Anna and Hannah, or Lukas and Luca, really are the same name.

Many names on the Austrian list (available here) might strike you as classic, even conservative. Austrian parents love some of the names that have fallen off the top of the list in the US, like Paul, Simon, Laura and Marie. They’re also using stylish European names that anglophone parents might not immediately think of – like Fabian and Florian, Melina and Magdalena.

Want to see more? Here’s a fun page (with a map and a graph!) that shows each name’s popularity in each part of Austria over the last 30+ years.

Baby named after Marvel-ous costume

Finally, a mother in Scotland gave birth just hours after winning best costume at a comic convention. She dressed her bump as Wolverine, complete with claws…so it’s no surprise that they named him Logan.

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles