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Starbaby and Other Name News of the Week

December 19, 2018 Clare Green

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes name announcements from YouTubers, popular names in Canada and Scotland, and debate over a Christmassy name.

Stylish starbaby names: Flynn and Frey

Do you like keeping up with celebrity baby names? You’re not alone. The most-Googled starbaby names of 2018 included some that you’d expect – like KarJenner babies Stormi, True and Chicago, and Prince Louis – but also some surprises. No Rumi or Sir, but weather anchor Ginger Zee’s son Miles made the list, as did YouTube channel The Ace Family’s daughter Alaïa.

YouTuber Colleen Ballinger (aka Miranda Sings) welcomed a son last week, and has just announced that his name is Flynn Timothy. Both are family names – and although Colleen said that she and her husband didn’t deliberately pick a name based on what was cool, they’ve managed to find a very stylish name nonetheless. Flynn has been on parents’ radar since the movie Tangled came out in 2010. It’s higher on the Nameberry popularity chart than in in real life, but this new arrival might give it an extra boost.

More recent starbabies with cool of-the-moment names include country singer Eric Paslay’s daughter Piper Lily, born to country singer Eric Paslay, and Once Upon a Time actress Emilie de Ravin’s new son Theodore Kubrick.

On the other hand, some parents have gone further off the beaten track to find a name that makes an impact. The Filipino actress Aubrey Miles used a powerful word name for her daughter Rocket Miller, proving that it’s possible to have a sibset made of different styles: Rocket’s older brothers are Maurie and Hunter. British soap actress Kara Tointon chose a lesser-used Norse god name for her son, Frey.

What’s cool in Canada: Marie, Muhammad and Maverick

Canadian provinces release their baby name statistics independently, and on very different timescales. So this week, one province has finally published its most popular names for 2017, while another already has the list for 2018!

It was worth the wait for  Ontario’s most popular baby names of 2017, especially as they include the top names in each city and region. There’s quite a bit of variation. For example, while the number one boy name was Noah overall, in one region it was Maverick, and in another, Muhammad. (One local mother explains why she named her son Muhammad. She sees it as a name that lets him have both strong Canadian values and strong Islamic values.) The top girl name in Ontario was Olivia, but in some parts names like Grace and Ella were more popular.

And Ontario’s most popular names of the last 100 years? Just in time for Christmas, they’re Marie and Joseph.

Meanwhile in Manitoba, Olivia and Lucas are the most popular names of 2018 so far. New names in the Top 10 are Connor and Aria – looks like Manitoban parents may be ahead of the trends on these.

Super Scottish names: Rory and Rose

Scotland is always early to release its provisional name data for the year – and here they are. At the top of the charts, there’s little change. Jack has reigned supreme for 11 years and counting, while Olivia is on her third year. Further down the list, notable climbers include Iona, Aila and Rowan for girls, and Hunter, Arthur and Arran for boys.

Again, the top names in Scotland’s regions varied. Number one names in some parts included Rory, Archie, and island names Harris and Lewis for boys, and Alice, Ellie and Thea for girls.

Interestingly, the report includes the most popular middle names given to children. This makes for quite a different style of list, especially for the girls: where else nowadays would you find a Top 20 that includes Mary, Margaret and Jean? The number one middle names were James and Rose.

Data-driven baby naming

After all this news of baby name rankings…how much do a name’s vital statistics really matter to you?

This article made me pause for thought about how we use name data. Georges Duverger, a software engineer, drills deep into the US baby name stats to plot the rise and fall of several names, and predict what they’ll do next. As the author points out, parents may react to the data differently: some are happy to use names that are tied to this generation of children, while others may prefer to choose one that’s more ageless or rare.

Is it good to be well-informed about the popularity of your favorite name? Or, like older generations, should we use the names we love without thinking about where they rank on the charts?

Say no to Noel?

Let’s not forget the Christmas names this week! Noel is one of the most festive names around, but a British mother-to-be found that not everyone likes it as much as she does. In the UK, it’s closely linked to a few celebrities, which some find offputting.

This is a situation where looking at the data might help. Noel is actually on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly in the US where it’s never been out of the Top 600. That might reassure this mum that lots of other parents agree it’s a good name, whatever the Noel naysayers may think.

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