Category: baby name choices
By Esmeralda Rocha
When picking a name, it can be hard to find opportunities to test the name in a way that gauges the true ‘wearability’ of the name and the reactions it is likely to elicit. People’s abstract opinions of names (“Meredith is an old lady’s name,”“Billy doesn’t work on a grown man,” “Zenobia is utterly ridiculous,” “no-one will ever be able to spell Aoife correctly,” “Harper is too feminine to be a boy’s name”) are not necessarily great indications of what people think of the name once it is attached to a flesh-and-blood human being.
And while sharing name options with friends and family can be valuable, it can also be fraught – should you really discount Millie because it was the name of your mother-in-law’s pet cat when she was 7?
Is your cousin’s opinion that “using Enzo is not OK because you’re not Italian” valid? If you’re looking for dispassionate and real-life reactions to a name, may we suggest the following strategies. These are based on scenarios where names are required but you never need to show ID:
By Sarah Linke Mezzini
Blaire Irwin Emerson, better known here as Rowangreeneyes, joined Nameberry not long after the birth of her daughter, Rowan Jane, in 2011. As a self-confessed name nerd, she was keen on finding names for her future second child. She loved many different types of names, particularly boys’ names on girls, which she became famous for within the Nameberry community. Her other loves included international names (particularly Welsh), nature names, Southern names and word names. At the time of her passing, she was 35 weeks pregnant with her second child. In remembrance of Blaire, here are some of her favourites.
In 1642, Oliver Cromwell led a contingent of parliamentarians against King Charles I, defeating him in what became known as the English Civil War and giving rise to the only occasion in modern British history where the monarchy has not held power. Three and a half centuries later, he became my husband’s hero for it, my husband who is a constitutional lawyer and a committed republican (small ‘r’). In the years before the arrival of our first child, we lived in Oxford, both of us affiliated with the University there. Amidst its hallowed halls and Gothic spires, people would talk in hushed tones about their ‘periods’ of expertise. My husband’s period was the seventeenth century. Cromwell was his guy.
Unsurprisingly, Oliver was always his first choice for a boy’s name. It became mine too. We said we weren’t having children, though, so we bestowed instead the name Cromwell upon our future dog, a brown and white beagle. Things changed and we didn’t get the dog. But we did welcome a son who was, of course, called Oliver. My husband wanted it because it was traditional and historically grounded. I wanted it because it was sparky and unconventional. It is both of those things, depending on where you come from: this is what has made the Venn diagram effect of our name selection so successful. The year Oliver was born it was the fifth most popular baby name in the UK. In the US, it hadn’t even broken the top 100.
Time again for one of my absolute favorite activities—rounding up the names that Berries have chosen over the past three-month period. These are the winning picks after all the options were weighed– so often the result of enlightened discussions with and suggestions from fellowberries.
Today’s Quarterly Report includes an even more than usual range of fabulous choices, for both singletons and multiples–and we often get to see the sibsets these newbies fit into.
We also have some multiples of our own: three Spring babyberries each named Ivy and Miles, and two each called Charlotte, Cora, Eloise, Jasper, Leo, Oliver and Samuel. Plus the similar but differently spelled Alice and Alys, Eleanor and Elinore, Mathilde and Matilda, Vivien and Vivienne, and Edmond and Edmund.
Some of the more intriguingly unusual choices: girls named Bennett , Connelly and Greyson, boys named Hawthorne and Jones, and distinctive middle names Sherlock, Capri, Dover, Huckleberry, and Adventure.
It is an interesting debate, but for parents seeking inspiration, it isn’t necessarily helpful. Often we read lists of the most popular names as a collection of those to avoid, lest our little Charlotte complain that she’s one of three in her kindergarten.