Unexpected Names for Girls: Edelweiss, Marceline, and Cee Cee

Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

It’s been a quiet week for high profile arrivals.  Sure, Michael Weatherly of NCIS fame and wife Bojana welcomed son Liam.  It’s a great name – friendly, upbeat, accessible.  Liam is also a solid favorite in the US, just like big sister’s name, Olivia.  Last year, he was the #1 choice in at least nine states, and shows no signs of slowing down.

But name news isn’t just about celebrities.  In order for parents to consider a name, they have to know that it exists.  Books, television, movies, athletes, actors, song lyrics, people in the headlines – they can all add new options to an expectant parent’s shortlist.

Baby name books have always surfaced some unusual possibilities.  I fell in love with Hephzibah in a paperback name encyclopedia from the 1970s, the same book my mother used to circle mainstream options like Jill and AmyHester came from The Scarlet Letter.  And Caroline, a name I eventually used as one of my daughter’s middles?  She’s from a Psychedelic Furs song, a classic I never noticed until I heard the lyrics.

Now Nameberry, and the vast community of baby name blogs and websites, is part of that process, too.  This week was filled with daring, even fanciful names for girls with global influence.  Some of these might seem too much for a first name, but I can hear most of them in the middle spot.

The newest options that caught my eye this week are:

Edelweiss – Let’s start with a middle name, one chosen by the Hershey family for eldest daughter Alece Edelweiss.  If you don’t know it from The Sound of Music, edelweiss is a small white flower.  The family embraced the name because they were living in Germany at the time, but the nurses at the hospital?  They did not approve, thanks to Germany’s strict naming rules.  The family was finally pointed to a helpful civil servant who told them: “Oh yes, you are Americans. You can name your child whatever you wish.” Exactly!  Read the rest of the Hershey family naming adventures at Namesims.

Katniss – Another botanical borrowing, this one made famous by Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen.  The second movie in the trilogy comes out in a few weeks, so People Magazine’s mom and baby blog rounded up a real-life Katniss, as well as a Finnick.  Christel Koedel, mom to two year old Katniss, said that she fell in love with the name years ago, when the book was much less well known.

Allifair – From fiction to history, here’s an intriguing find.  Once Upon a Time Baby Names profiled Allifair, a name possibly related to Elvira.  She sounds medieval, a sister for Ghislaine.  Instead, Allifair was chosen by both the Hatfield and the McCoy families in the nineteenth century and is first recorded in the 1700s.  A mystery to be sure!  Wouldn’t it be great to hear Allifair in the middle spot instead of Elizabeth?

FlorenceAustralian Olympian Alisa Campbell and her husband Oliver Warner recently welcomed daughter FlorenceFlorence is one of those names solidly established in the UK and heard elsewhere in the English-speaking world – but still in style limbo in the US.  Just 92 girls received the name in 2012 – still that’s up quite a bit from 2009, when just 54 newborn Florences arrived.  If Hazel and Olive are back, why not Florence?

Francisca – Another F name, this time via Portugal and Portuguese baby name site Nomes e mais nomes.  Actor Ricardo Pereira and his wife have welcomed Francisca, a baby sister for Vicente.  Is this the Pope Francis effect?  Maybe.  Except Mrs. Pereira is Francisca Pinto, so possibly she’s just named after mom.  Either way, Francisca makes for a truly unexpected spin on Frances and Francesca, and a stylish option.

Marceline – Speaking of unexpected twists, what do you think of Marcella’s French cousin, MarcelineMarcheline is Angelina Jolie’s mom, and the middle name of the youngest JoliePitt, VivienneBewitching Baby Names points out that Marceline is also an animated vampire of the not-so-scary sort on Cartoon Network’s Adventure TimeJosephine, Clementine, Marceline … I think she is pretty wearable in 2013.  She’s part of the same family that gives us Mark and Marcus, so if you’re looking for a feminine spin on those names, Marceline is a possibility.

WinsomeDo you ever see a name and think, “interesting – but no.”  That was my reaction to Winsome, until I read this post at Waltzing More than Matilda.  She points out that the very accomplished musician and music historian Winsome Evans wears the name.  I’m still not completely sold on Winsome as a given name, but I’ve warmed up to the idea of Winsome in the middle.  Kate Winsome, Elizabeth Winsome, Everly Winsome

Cee Cee – Names like Hattie and Sadie stand on their own these days, but how about Cee Cee?  With the rise of the vintage Cecelia, we’ll probably hear more girls answering to this nickname.  For Real Baby Names reports a Cee Cee Rose, born in North Dakota.  But does Cee Cee work as a given name?  And is she spelled Cee Cee, Ceci, or Cece?

Vantine – Let’s end with another rarity.  Vantine reminds me of Fantine from Les Mis, but there’s no connection.  Instead, Vantine is a name worn by Jean Harlow in 1932’s Red Dust – easily the most obscure of the names in Bree’s recent post.  Is it a surname?  A contraction of Valentine?  A fanciful creation for the silver screen?  I’m stumped, but I still find her charming.

Spotted any great names for girls this week?  And is Winsome wearable?

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31 Responses to “Unexpected Names for Girls: Edelweiss, Marceline, and Cee Cee”

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bluesparrow5684 Says:

November 3rd, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Allifair is beautiful.. I also love Katniss

ELO Says:

November 3rd, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Edelweiss – I wouldn’t have thought of Edelweiss as a middle but I like it. I always choke up when they sing it in The Sound of Music.

Katniss – I like the character of Katniss in The Hunger Games but I think it will be date stamped to this decade. And two years ago the books were hugely popular, even before the movie came out (which was two years ago this month).

Allifair – It feels a little blah to me.

Florence – I’ve loved Florence for years (nn Florrie or Flossie) but my hubs wouldn’t consider it.

Francisca – I like it. I can see it becoming popular.

Marceline – never heard about it until Angelina’s mom. I’m not a huge fan. It feels very trendy.

Winsome – this could grow on me too. Especially as a middle name.

Cee Cee – I like it as a nick name. It doesn’t feel substantial enough for a full name.

Vantine – I don’t see the appeal.

ruolan Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 12:12 am

I love this list. Especially swooning over Vantine, Winsome, and Allifair! I’d love to see these added to the database with any background that could be found.

paigemontana Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 1:08 am

Great List! Although I don’t like Cee Cee.

calypsotheoneandonly Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 1:24 am

I must have about five additions to my NB lists by now. I particularly love Allifair and Marceline – and I already liked Marcella. Decisions, decisions. Also Vantine, and Edelwiess – the second for some reason always brings to mind chocolate. I don’t know why, but it’s another reason to like it 🙂

Ariel_Michal Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 1:54 am

Marceline is also the name of the town where Walt Disney grew up (it’s in Missouri). 🙂

nat108 Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 2:47 am

Well, I’ve heard of all of these names and Winsome is a longtime favorite, for both genders

taliesin Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 3:06 am

I’m not sold on Winsome. It’s almost one of the virtue names – Prudence, Patience, Honor, Faith, Grace, Charity, Hope….
But not. Maybe an attribute name. Sunny. Merry.

I’m currently re-reading The Physick Book of Deliverance Vance and it is loaded with virtue names.

I like the sound of Katniss but it seems too specific to a character.

Dantea Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 6:17 am

I really like Edelweiss and Francisca. I could imagine playing the song to your little baby Edelweiss.

As for Winsome, I know a man named Winsome. “It’s Winsome, as in charming and attractive.” *crooked smile* Which, when he does it, it is charming and attractive. 😛

maggiemary Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 6:20 am

Allifair is rather charming, and I adore Florence, have done for a long time.

I do like Katniss, and have done since I read The Hunger Games, but I’d never use it on a person. Would happily bestow it on a pet though.

Edelweiss sounds charming, but surely they’d just get the song (from TSOM) sung to them all the time?!

Bookworm857158367 Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 6:24 am

I’ve only seen the name spelled Alafair, which looks better. Alafair Burke is a fairly well known mystery author. She was named after her grandmother. She said in an interview that the name was more popular in the South in the 1800s. It’s apparently an invented name, probably having something to do with the word fair, meaning lovely. I’ve seen it a handful of times in historical records.

mipsy Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 8:44 am

I think Allifair (or Alafair) is pretty. I have friend who named one of her cats Allifair.

When I hear “Winsome,” my mind goes directly to “you win some, you lose some.” I love virtue/word names, and especially odd ones, but this one is a NO for me.

I like Marceline. It entered my consciousness through Adventure Time, and struck me as a name I’d actually use.

Francisca is nice. I still like Francesca a little better, but Francisca could grow on me. I think Cisca/Sisca would be a cool nickname for it.

Saracita00 Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 11:20 am


I had Edelweiss on my list – because of the song. I’ve never heard of Namesims or the Hershey family before. My husband wouldn’t go for Edelweiss as a first name, and it finally fell off our middle name list because it didn’t “flow” well with any of our first name picks. I’m glad to see somebody use it, though!

Allifair looks and sounds too much like “affair” to me to be a very attractive name.

@dantea – that’s too sweet how that man Winsome learned to “sell” his name. It sounds charming!

Jemstone Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 11:46 am

I LOVE Winsome but it doesnt go with my surname. And Allifair jumped out at me but after reading the posts, I prefer Alafair.

livia Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I love Marceline, and Marcie is adorable. I always secretly liked Darcy on a girl even though it went against pretty much all of my ‘rules’ – trendy, surnamey, masculine, etc – so Marcie seems like a perfect solution. And it’s got such a lovely Victorian-sounding long-form to go with it. 😀 AND the Disney connection is great! Adding it to my list.

iwillpraise Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Um, Hephzibah? Winsome? Nope, not for me! As far a Florence goes, I believe it is much more popular in the UK/Austraila because their English accent makes it that much cuter! 🙂 In the US, it’s kinda drab sounding.

I suppose my long-term name crushes I’ve collected from my own random sources: my Cabbage Patch collection, children’s books, Bible-time and Victorian eras. These are my “rare treasures” ~ Minerva nn Min, Lavinia, Suzie/Susannah, Clarice, Lacey, Cindy, Cathy, Marcellus, Adelaide, Emma, Alberta nn Albie, Eli, Aibileen, Corbin, Tobias etc. Each to their own little treasure collections! 🙂 🙂

iwillpraise Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 12:57 pm

@ livia – my (girl) cousin’s name is Darcey. She’s awesome and has been a special needs teacher for forever! Of course, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy is a wonderful nod….but if it makes you feel better, Darcy is also MRS. Elizabeth Darcy’s name as well, once they marry of course! 😉

KateMP91 Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Allifair and Winsome are lovely names. I think Winsome is much more my style than Allifair is.

tori101 Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Edelweiss – a sweet choice, she sounds very natural and looks delicate. I like the potential nickname Edie.
Katniss – ugh it’s a very unpleasant name, really don’t see the appeal in this choice. For me it reminds me of cat piss (sorry)
Allifair – this name for me isn’t very appealing. I do see the appeal (unlike with Katniss) but at the same time the name is a little off.
Florence – a gorgeous elegant name with beautiful connotations. I’m not keen on the nicknames though. Still it’s pretty!!
Francisca – a beautiful name with so much style. Francisca feels elegant and demure. The name is so lovely, I adore the Fran nickname.
Marceline – she’s a lovely elegant choice. Feels very sweet and visually looks pretty. I love the French aura of this choice. It’s great.
Winsome – it’s a vibrant choice, I think she would work nicely as a middle name. Like Merit.
Cee Cee – ugh not sure…
Vantine – again I’m really not sure on this choice.

: )

Abby Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I think the comments have me sold … Alafair over Allifair!

@livia – How had I not thought about Marcie!? It does fit with all of those sweet, throwback nicknames. I knew a Marcella, nn Marcy when I was 20-something and she was a smidge older – it wears well on an adult. And it’s darling on a child … I know a tweenaged Marnie, too – not sure if it is short for anything, but it has really grown on me.

@iwillpraise – For the first time, I think I *really* like the name Darcy – thanks for that perspective! And yes to our treasure collections – that’s a lovely way to think of it!

@Dantea – Yes, I can see that would be the way to sell Winsome!

OceaneBreeze Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Not my favorite list, but I do like Vantine. Just a warning, every time I hear ‘Edelweiss,’ I will sing the song.

LuMary Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I like Winsome (sounds like a Puritan surname or virtue name), Allifair (like the medieval connection), Marceline, Edelweiss (she could be called Edy), Ghislaine.

Esswei Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I love Marceline! I was exposed to it through Adventure Time. I know the nn Marcie is supposed to be very 50s/60s, but I adore it.

gipro2003 Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Edelweiss!! I’ve never considered this as a name possibility, but I think it would fit right into my list! I think Edie could be a potential nickname.

CharacterNamer Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 8:39 pm

I like Cee Cee as a nickname for myself (my first and last initials) but I would spell it Cecie.

iamamiam Says:

November 4th, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I’ve come across a Vantine at work and the name sands out to me amongst the many I see every day.

AprilRobin Says:

November 5th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I like Winsome the most out of all of them but Katniss is a good name as well. Cee Cee doesn’t really seem like a full name but more like a nickname.

clairels Says:

November 5th, 2013 at 6:03 pm

“Christel Koedel, mom to two year old Katniss, said that she fell in love with the name years ago, when the book was much less well known.”

This clearly makes her child superior to all those “other” Katnisses who were just jumping on a trend.

Famous Name: Winsome | Waltzing More Than Matilda Says:

November 6th, 2013 at 7:17 pm

[…] Abby Sandel mentioned Winsome in her Nameberry Nine column, and I was surprised and pleased at how many Berries liked or even loved the name […]

ToNameAFlutist Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I like Marceline partly because I’m an Adventure Time fan.

JossieChris Says:

August 22nd, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Winsome Losesome sounds like a good racehorse name.
Edelweiss is a brave, eccentric and lovely choice for first or middle with cute nicknames Eddie and Edel. And a built in nursery song to boot!

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