Category: baby name Romy
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There are some names that we’ve become so accustomed to seeing on the covers of People et al, attached to the babes of Tinseltown, that we assume that their popularity has instantly spread beyond the confines of Malibu and Calabasas. But it ain’t necessarily so. There are several appellations worn by more than one starbaby that have yet to hit the current Top 1000 list—though this could change with the new rankings coming next month! Some of these names did have some nineteenth or twentieth century success, others have never entered the list at all.
Alabama—Used by Drea de Matteo and Shooter Jennings and by Travis Barker for their daughters, this Southern state name—unlike neighboring Georgia and Carolina—appeared only once on the Social Security list, and that was in 1881.
Blue—Beyonce and Jay Z made quite the colorful splash when they named their daughter Blue Ivy; several years earlier Dave Evans dubbed his girl Blue Angel. Many others have picked Blue as the middle name for their kids–both girls and boys–including Maria Bello, Soleil Moon Frye and Veronica Webb, but the name has not yet entered the popularity list.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Baby names trends are constantly evolving, but I’m struck by a theme in this week’s baby name news. It’s the continuing rise of Modern Choices with Roots. This week’s appellations weren’t as out there as Rainbow, but they’re not all conventionally established names, either.
The Sundance Film Festival just wrapped up in Utah yesterday. Indie films are a great resource for unexpected baby names – they’re inventive, original, often rich with significance, and yet they’re usually not blockbusters. Choosing a name from a great but somewhat obscure movie is different than calling your daughter Neytiri or your son Anakin – there’s less instant, unavoidable connection to the character.
Last week also brought us a string of celebrity birth announcements too intriguing to ignore. A handful of Sundance-inspired appellations, like Merrily, Beatrice, Clarke, Spring, and Beau, exited the list to make room for a few newsworthy baby names.
Let’s start with a few from the Festival:
Tulip – Catherine Zeta–Jones’ character in upcoming crime caper Lay the Favorite answers to this botanical rarity. Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell used it as an extra middle for their daughter Charlie Tamara Tulip. She shares the same vowel sound as Ruby and Lucy. Will we start to see Tulip in bloom?
Zibby – The youngest Olsen sister, Elizabeth, plays Zibby in coming-of-age flick Liberal Arts. Surely it isn’t the character’s given name. Maybe Zibby is a creative short form of Elizabeth, or it could be a novel nickname for Isabella.
German names have had a spotty immigration record in the United States , even though one million Germans emigrated to America in the 1850s alone, and of course brought their native names with them. On the 1900 Social Security list, we find fairly high on the girls’ side such names as Bertha, Gertrude, Hilda, Irma, Frieda and Wilhelmina, while for the boys there were Carl, Oscar, Herman, Otto, August, Rudolph, Emil, Gus, Adolph (at Number 180!), and Fritz.
That aside, there are many, many attractive names with German roots, and here are just a few (which don’t necessarily reflect current popularity, where tastes run to more international favorites such as Mia, Hannah and Ben*:
- Adela—the a-ending of the rarely used German form of Adele (accent on the first syllable) makes it lighter and more feminine, as in Joanna/Joanne, Suzanna/Suzanne. Adela was the name of William the Conqueror’s youngest daughter and a character in E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India. Adel, which means ‘noble’ is a popular element in German names, as in Adelaide and Adelina.
- Amalia, Amalie—These pretty alternatives to Amelia derive from the Old German word meaning ‘industrious’.
- Cosima has become something of a hot choice, since it was chosen almost simultaneously last year by both Claudia Schiffer and Sofia Coppola. Though it has Greek roots, it has long been used in Germany, and has strong musical connections via the Cosima who was the daughter of Franz Liszt and the wife of Richard Wagner.
- Domino—Yes, it sounds like a black-and-white game piece, but this playful and dynamic o-ending girl’s name became popular in Germany in the late 80s. It was used for her daughter by British designer India Hicks.
- Ebba—Widely used in both Germany and Scandinavia, this seventh century saint’s name has a nice bouncy sound, and could be a follow-up to Emma and Ella. As could Elsa, the operatic bride who was the first to walk down the aisle to Wagner’s famous wedding march
Is it a coincidence that Sofia Coppola and Claudia Schiffer both picked the same unusual (in the U.S. anyway) name for their baby daughters almost simultaneously—or is it a signal that it’s about to enter the mainstream?
Cosima (accent on the first syllable) derives from the Greek Kosmos, and refers to the order and harmony of the universe. It’s a logical choice for both of these moms in terms of their roots: there could be a Cosima on Coppola’s family tree and it’s also often heard in Germany, where Schiffer was born. Cosima is used in Greece as well, and by upper class Brits: English celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has a daughter named Cosima, while Marissa Ribisi and Beck used the male form, Cosimo, for their son. The most famous bearer of the name in history is a woman with strong musical ties—Cosima Wagner was both the daughter of composer Franz Liszt and the wife of composer Richard Wagner.
With her third child, Claudia Schiffer has continued her previous pattern of choosing a distinctive, cutting-edge name starting with her own first initial, “C,” as she did with older daughter Clementine and son Caspar. Clementine, although it hasn’t made it onto the popularity lists yet, is rapidly becoming a favorite of both nameberries and celebrities . Kirstie Alley first revived it in the late 70s, and it’s since been chosen by Ethan Hawke and Rachel Griffiths.
Caspar has been slower to catch on, but may well follow in the wake of cousin Jasper, if it can finally shake the friendly ghost association. Romy, the name of Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mars’ first daughter, is also beginning to be heard more and more.
Several other celebs have followed Claudia’s practice of serial-initializing, often repeating their own name’s starting letter. There are, for instance, Tarian, Tristan and Tyler Tritt (sons of Travis); Corde, Cordell and Cori, children of Cordozar Calvin (Snoop Dogg) Broadus; Scarlet, Sophia and Sistine Stallone, who all share the middle name of Rose; and—the grand prize winner—director Robert Rodriguez, who named his five children Racer, Rebel, Rocket, Rogue and Rhiannon.
But getting back to Cosima—does it have the potential to move out beyond the celebrisphere? Especially since it could be limited by some possible pronunciation problems –as in coz-EE-ma.
What do you think?