Seeing Double: Twins and trends in this week’s baby names news
Good things came in twos this week, as the baby name news was dominated by interesting sets of twins, and two new ends-with-R names for boys.
Let’s start with the letter R.
This past spring, the mainstream media picked up on a phenomenon we name nerds have long recognized: two-syllable, ends-with-N names for boys are big. Whether we’re talking chart toppers like Aiden and Mason, or new inventions like Zennon and Dreyson, N has been the go-to letter for ending boys’ names in recent years.
This week, two high profile birth announcements both featured ends-with-R names for baby boys. While their style was miles apart, it suggests that R really is the letter to watch.
The trend holds for girls, too, with the literary Harper and the musical Piper leading the pack. But girls’ names this week were all about twins. From the grass courts of Wimbledon to the Mediterranean island of Malta, interesting sister sets abounded.
The most newsworthy baby names this week were:
Wilbur – Kate Silverton is a familiar face for BBC viewers. The television journalist has been on the small screen for over a decade. Now she’s welcomed a second child with husband Mike Heron. Daughter Clemency is joined by new arrival Wilbur. It’s a quirky, decidedly British sibset, reminiscent of Doctor Who alum David Tennant’s Olive and Wilfred. Wilbur, Wilfred – could all of those clunky Wil– names make a comeback in the US? Or is Wilbur permanently reserved for the human companion of talking horse Mister Ed? There was a Wright brother named Wilbur, and the name appeared in the US Top 100 back in the 1910s.
Kaiser – The second ends-with-R boys’ name in the news is very different, but just as much of a surprise. Teen Mom 2 cast member Jenelle Evans and new boyfriend Nathan Griffith are now parents to Kaiser. Yes, Kaiser – as in roll and Soze and Wilhelm. Evans got her start on 16 and Pregnant back in 2009. Her firstborn’s name, Jace, was among the trendy choices boosted by the reality series. Along with Bentley, Jace is now in the US Top 100. Speculation is that Evans will shorten Kaiser to Kai, though in interviews she talked about looking for an unusual name. Then again, 62 boys were called Kaiser in 2013, compared to just 20 Wilburs. Maybe Jenelle should have consulted with Kate.
Eugenie & Beatrice – Back to Britain for Wimbledon! Montreal-born Eugenie Bouchard was the first Canadian to advance to the finals in the tournament’s history. Bouchard is a twin, and her royal-loving mother named Eugenie after Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York. Her sister? Beatrice, of course, after Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary, Eugenie’s big sister. Today, Beatrice is a fast-rising classic in the US, while Eugenie remains rare. The tennis star answers to the accessible Genie. Bouchard fell in the finals to Czech powerhouse Petra Kvitova, but here’s guessing that the Canadian’s future success could encourage more use of her lovely name.
Etoile Ella & Soleil Sophia – The tiny island nation of Malta is one of the few jurisdictions to cluster their popular name data. Instead of just Elena and Luke, they list their #1s as Elena/Elena/Helena/Ella and Luke/Luca/Lucas. Nancy has a rundown on all on their data here. But the fact that caught my eye? The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, is father to twin daughters. He and wife Michelle named their girls Etoile and Soleil – star and sun. A handful of girls share Soleil’s name, but I couldn’t confirm whether Etoile has any imitators.
Morning Star & Evening Moon – Just as I was pondering if Etoile and Soleil were too much for twin sisters, this twinset appeared at Names for Real. Like Etoile and Soleil, the words Morning and Evening are tempting possibilities for given names. But Etoile and Soleil are anchored by their conventional, popular given names. Should the girls prefer more of a blend-in name, their middles await. But Morning Star and Evening Moon are even more obviously paired, and the middles offer no opportunity to tone down …
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on July 7th, 2014 at 12:27 am
I think that Etoile and Soleil are pretty and exotic but Morning and Evening is too much. I imagine they’ll get a lot of comments saying things like “Are your names really Morning and Evening?” when they introduce themselves. I love similar meanings for twin names, but I think that it should be done through the name’s meaning, if it isn’t obvious, or middle names. Star and Moon are nice middles though,
on July 7th, 2014 at 3:11 am
I’m surprised to not see Roger Federer’s twinsets mentioned even though they have already been in the news quite a lot. Myla Rose and Charlene Riva are sweet and I like the same initial middles for the girls. Leo and Lennart “Lenny” are his second twinset, I think they fit together more obviously than Myla and Charlene, but they are still not too matchy-matchy, which is nice.
Etoile and Soleil are very imaginative and nice, not sure if they’ll catch on in the UK or US though.
on July 7th, 2014 at 7:31 am
I love Etoile and Soliel!
I always liked Eugenie, and the nn Genie makes me like it all the more.
Admittedly, my guilty secret is that if I ever had twin girls, I’d want to name them Aurora and Cordelia-or, Rory and Cory [ashamed]
on July 7th, 2014 at 8:56 am
@MillieMM – Good point! Roger Federer has been *everywhere* this week, right? I talked about Leo and Lenny when they were born – I still think the names are a little bit too close, though in everyday use, I suppose it would never be a problem.
Agreed that Etoile/Soleil are a longshot. Soleil is more familiar, I think – if only thanks to Soleil Moon-Frye. Speaking of crazy names …
@namesnerd – Aurora and Cordelia are gorgeous! Not so sure about Rory/Cory, but hey, one of my favorite GP names is the completely unwearable Veruca. (Thank goodness for nameberry so we can all talk about the names we love, but wouldn’t ever dare use!)
And yes, Genie really makes me like Eugenie – which is wild, because I’ve never given Genie a second’s thought.
on July 7th, 2014 at 9:05 am
Etoile is lovely, but I can just hear my family butchering the pronunciation to something like ee-toyle. I like much more covert connections since twins get paired up enough as it is. Let them have some individuality!
on July 7th, 2014 at 9:47 am
I agree with preferring much more subtle connections between names for twins, I’d go with any regular names I’d pick for siblings and not seek something out just because of twins.
I want to add that while zennon may be a new invention, zenon (same pronunciation) is a long standing Polish boy’s name.
on July 7th, 2014 at 1:07 pm
Love Etoile and Soleil! I keep a journal of all the names that I have found in birth announcements over the years that stand out to me like Veruka Nine that I mentioned to you a couple of weeks ago and I did have an Etoile Rose in there, so she’s been used at least once. I also have also spotted a Rose Etoile. I do think she’d make a great middle
Thanks for the mention. Evening is a guilty pleasure of mine, but not a fan of the name Morning.
Have a great week!
on July 7th, 2014 at 1:52 pm
We already have a famous Genie named Eugenia here in the US — Star Trek TNG’s Jonathan Frakes is married to actress Eugenia Ann Francis (nn Genie), daughter of the Canadian acting combo of Ivor and Rosemary Francis. The Frakes-Francis family did some interesting things with names…their first child is Jameson Ivor, named after Jonathan’s father, James R Frakes of the NY Times Book Review and Lehigh University, and Ivor, after Ivor Francis; Jameson is known as Jamo. Their youngest is Elizabeth (perhaps after Elizabeth Berman, Rick Berman’s wife, who is Jameson Frakes’s godmother) Francis Frakes — the surname Francis, as opposed to the feminine Frances; Elizabeth Frakes is known as Eliza, a very common name in the Frakes family, which goes back to 18th century Pennsylvania.
Jonathan Frakes and his younger brother were given literary names by their scholar father — Jonathan (Jonathan Swift) Scott (F Scott Fitzgerald) and Daniel (Daniel Defoe) Mark (Mark Twain).
Another little interesting tidbit on the name “Jameson”….Jamison Collins was the name of the character played by David Hennessy in the 60s soap Dark Shadows, and actor David Selby named his first son Jameson Todd. Selby played against Frakes in Falcon Crest, and we get a second Hollywood Jameson in the Frakes family. Jameson Selby is a producer and Jameson Frakes is studying film at Ithaca College in NY.
on July 7th, 2014 at 4:40 pm
Etoile Ella and Soleil Sophia are darling names for sisters, although I’m not sure of the aliteration.
I’m not too sure about Morning Star and Evening Moon though. Sibling names should feel similar, not necessarily match.
Then again, I’m a writer planning to give Henry Miller a baby sis named Peridot Maris. Or I was, until I remembered their last name starts with an ‘S’.
on July 10th, 2014 at 9:15 am
I am in love with Soliel. I wanted to name my daughter that but the hubby was quick to veto that one. 🙁 he likes more popular names while I tend to like names not on the top 100 list! We finally settled on Dara! I like the idea of matching names for twins but not names that sound alike for example Aliannah (sp?) And Alleah(sp??) Pretty sure I spelled those wrong but they are Cory and Leah ‘ s twins from teen mom. They seem like they would be easy to mix up…A lot! I think if I had twin girls I may name them the same “theme” names. I like flower names…maybe Poppy and Peony or Poppy and Posey (but they are kinda too similar as well). Maybe Calla and Poppy? I have a harder time with boy names. My son is Griffin but my sister named him because I couldn’t decide!
on July 22nd, 2014 at 12:38 am
If someone dont mind I could use some help. Im having twin girls and i personally like Persephone (per-suf-uh-nee) and Athena. Both are greek names. I have a middle name for Persephone, Nicole after my older still born sister. I cant come up with one for Athena other than Rae or Rosabeth and i would like something to do with my deceased father’s name Dewey. I want my children to have parts in their names dedicated to people I care about. Like my oldest daughter, who will soon be two. Her name is Jasmine after the flower then her middle name is my grandmother’s first name. And she carries my moms last name since her dad walked out on her. I figured someone could help me with Athena. I would really appriate the help. Because im stumped and i dont have much longer to carry. And honestly I cant really turn to my family cause they want them to have matching or rhyming names. And i see them as two different people so why make them have names so close to the other’s. but please someone help.
on December 2nd, 2015 at 3:27 pm
@jessiehall21- like your ideas for your daughters’ names! A common thread without being too match-y! I think Athena Dewey is pretty, too.
But you’d probably get more help and ideas/opinions if you re-posted your comment in the forums under “girls’ names”.
Best of luck to you!
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