Category: traditional baby names

An Anglophile’s Guide to Baby Names

british baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Baby names are in general a lot more adventurous in the US than they are in the UK, with American parents using word names and place names and surname-names and gender-ambiguous names in far greater numbers than their British counterparts.

But British parents tend to be broader-minded when it comes to using vintage names with more history than gloss. Some of the names that might be considered dowdy and old-fashioned by Americans – Constance and Hubert, for example – are chic in London.

A recent review of birth announcements produced this list of names favored by contemporary parents in Britain. If you love vintage baby names that are also distinctive, you may find your perfect name here.

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Why I Picked a Traditional Baby Name

By Antonia Malchik

I was sitting at the lunch table in fifth grade when I decided that if I ever had a daughter I’d name her something normal.

I grew up mainly in two different towns in Montana. In the first, all my friends had names I coveted: Katie, Stacy, Tiffany, Angie. Their names were pretty, and, importantly for an early 1980s childhood, normal. My name was not. I was named “Antonia” for Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia, “Louise” after my maternal grandmother, and “Evgenia” after my father’s cousin who still lived in the Soviet Union where my father had grown up. All of which got shortened to the decidedly unmusical and definitely not normal “Nia.”

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Name Sage: Traditional Boy Names Needed

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

Sarah writes:

My husband and I are expecting our third baby on February 7. We have decided that we won’t find out the gender. We’ve already used the two boy names we have always loved for our two sons: Henry Hiram (often called Hal) and Joseph Magnus. Both names carry personal and religious significance for us.

If this baby is a girl, we are considering Mary Grace. Whenever I tell people we’re thinking about the name Mary, they wince and seem to really not like it! They say it’s too common, even though my kids do not know one little girl with the name and very few people of any age with the name anymore. We also like Elizabeth and Lydia.

I have a gut instinct, however, that this next child will be another boy. My husband and I are so stuck! Nothing seems right.

I like Thomas, James, Patrick, John, or perhaps Charles. My husband doesn’t like any of these, and the name I love the most, Patrick, has been rejected because of the starfish on SpongeBob SquarePants. He has suggested Abraham called Bram, Sven, and Simon Peter – which seems very heavy to me. Ephraim is a possible middle name. We have ruled out Brigham, Phillip, Benjamin, Ezra, Judah, Caleb, and Theodore.

We tend to like more traditional first names with less conventional middles. All of a sudden, February 7th seems so close, and if this baby is a boy, he does not have a name at all!

The Name Sage replies:

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Classy Classics Picked by Celebs

By Linda Rosenkrantz

John and Mary? Not exactly the starbaby names that hit the headlines. And yet, under the radar, there are a number of celebs who have quietly chosen from the canon of traditional names–not the trendier classics like Beatrice and Charlotte, but the solid old historic stalwarts, the most established of the perennial classics. Which kind of makes John and Mary and Jane and Joseph register surprising picks today.

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By Linda Rosenkrantz & Pamela Redmond Satran

One day you’re out, and the next day — if you’re one of the old-fashioned formerly-dowdy baby names here — you’re very very in.  Just a few years ago, you might have cringed if the family expected you to name the baby after Great-Aunt Martha or Grandpa Harvey.  Today, those names and the others on the list are among the fastest-rising on the Social Security list.  These are the Olives and Oscars, the Sadies and Silases of tomorrow.

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