Category: Western boys’ names

W-Names: Where’s Waldo?

Once upon a time, in the now distant past, popularity lists–particularly for boys–were teeming with names starting with the letter ‘W’.

In 1920, for example, there were twenty-seven of them in the boys’ Top 500, including every conceivable appendage to the first syllable Wil. Aside from the eternal William, there were Willie, Willard, Wilbur, Willis, Wilbert, Wilfred, Wilson, Wilmer, Wilburn, Wilford, and Wilton, while for girls there were ten W‘s, topped by Willie at Number 74.

By 1950, the  number of W-boys had shrunk down to nineteen, but with many of the Wils hanging in, and in that year only five girls remained: Wanda, Wendy, Wilma, Winifred and the surprisingly persistent female Willie.  The 1980 Top 500 saw most of the fustier boys’ names having retired, leaving only seven stalwarts and just Wendy and newcomer Whitney among the girls. Currently, there are a mere five W-guys remaining in the Top 500—William, Wyatt, Wesley, Waylon and Warren, and one lone girl—Willow.  There are a few others in the bottom half of the list, including Wilson, Westin and Winston, and the rising Willa.

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There’s a whole posse of cowboy baby names in Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s roundup of this week’s newsiest names.

Some weeks, it feels like all of the birth announcements are from one big extended family.

Nameberry dubbed this style trend Iconoclastic Cowboy, and indeed, it does seem to be popular with parents everywhere.  Wyatt and Colton are both in the US Top 100.  For Real Baby Names spotted a crop of little cowpokes with names like Cayson Poe, Lathan West, and Adan Prayer in Connecticut – not exactly a place you associate with ranches and wranglers.

This week’s round-up of the nine most intriguing names begins in Manhattan:

Tristan – The Trump family is bigger by one, with Donald, Jr. and wife Vanessa welcoming Tristan Milos, a little brother for Donnie and Kai MadisonTristan reads medieval romantic hero, but Brad Pitt’s star turn as Tristan in 1994’s Legends of the Fall transported the name from Arthurian legend to the rugged Montana wilderness.

From New York to L.A., Jenna Fischer and husband Lee Kirk welcomed a son named Weston Lee.  I’d almost call Weston nouveau preppy rather than rugged, but his full name – Weston Lee Kirk – sounds right at home in boots and spurs.

Then there’s Nashville.  We’d expect country music stars to give us names at home on the range, and they have:

Boone McCoy – Country crooner Eric Church and wife Katherine welcomed a son.  Boone brings to mind American frontiersman Daniel Boone, as well as the word boon – blessing or bonus.  As for McCoy, the surname brings to mind the phrase “the real McCoy” and implies authenticity.  Yes, Boone McCoy Church sounds a little like a Dallas law firm, but it works.

Colt DanielJohn Rich has welcomed a second son.  He and wife Joan are also parents to son Cash.  Yes, that’s right.  Cash Rich.  Only in Nashville.

Bloggers have embraced the style, too.  Two of my favorite writers at Babble both have new boys with old west names.

Zeke Molly Thornberg, a.k.a Digital Mom, writes about life with her four kids, including new son Zeke.  Big brother is Izaiah, which is more edgy Old Testament.

Huck Natalie Holbrook blogs about life with baby Huck.  His full name is the impeccable classic Henry August.  But the Mark Twain nickname takes this tot from his New York City home to the mighty Mississippi.

Is there such a thing as an Iconoclastic Cowgirl?  Boy howdy, there is!

Brit Baywatch alum David Chokachi and wife Susan are new parents to daughter Brit MadisonBritt is a Swedish short form of Bridget, and the mostly masculine Brett was used for one of Orry’s sisters in the best-selling North and South trilogy.  Brit feels modern and tailored, but also tough.

Poet Poppin – Australian country singer Kasey Chambers has a brother called Nash and sons named Talon and Arlo Ray.  Now Kasey and husband Shane Nicholson have welcomed a daughter called Poet Poppin.  The literary Poet isn’t quite in this group, but paired with middle name Poppin, she sounds delightfully different, and equal to choices like Boone McCoy.

The ultimate Iconoclastic Cowboy name is coming soon to the big screen.  The much-awaited reboot of Footloose opens next weekend.  They’ve moved fictional Bomont from Utah to Tennessee, and invited country music stars to cover the movie’s iconic 80s pop soundtrack. Blake Shelton performs the cover song.  It is tough to imagine anyone filling Kevin Bacon’s dancing shoes, but early reviews have been mostly positive.  So let’s hear it for the character name: Ren.

Ren has never cracked the US Top 1000, but he’s been in steady use ever since the original Footloose debuted.  He’s my pick for the movie name most likely to leap from the screen to the crib in 2012, the perfect blend of rugged and urban, a modern sound with roots – something that seems very much in demand, at least this week!

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