Family Names

  1. Amber
    • Origin:

      Word name, English
    • Description:

      Though perhaps not as currently stylish as Ruby, Jade, or Pearl, Amber has a colorful history (remember the notorious Forever Amber heroine?). Unfortunately, it does come with the "Amber Alert" connotation for modern parents (and their children).
  2. Christopher
    • Origin:

      Greek and Latin
    • Meaning:

      "bearer of Christ"
    • Description:

      Christopher derived from the Greek Christophoros, which is composed of the elements Christos, referring to Christ, and phero, meaning "to bear."
  3. Clarence
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "bright"
    • Description:

      The name of the guardian angel in It's a Wonderful Life is rarely heard the rest of the year because of its studious, near-nerdy image, but this could change in the current naming climate.
  4. Daryl
    • Origin:

      Variation of Darrell, French
    • Meaning:

      "dear one, beloved"
    • Description:

      Darrell and all its variations was a trendy name in the 1950s and 1960s, an update on David and Daniel that began to fall out of favor by the 1970s and fell out of the Top 1000 completely at the turn of this century.
  5. David
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "beloved"
    • Description:

      David is an enduring worldwide classic, used from ancient times to the present day.
  6. Faye
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "fairy"
    • Description:

      Does Fay really need that e at the end? We vote no, but modern parents disagree: The Faye spelling was used for nearly 300 girls in 2014, vaulting the name back onto the Top 1000 after a 35-year absence, nearly ten times as many babies as received the Fay spelling.
  7. Franklin
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "free landholder"
    • Description:

      A doubly Presidential name, via Pierce and Roosevelt, Franklin was given an initial boost via the fame of Benjamin Franklin. It also has a literary tie to the main character of the Wilkie Collins classic The Moonstone.
  8. Grady
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "noble, illustrious"
    • Description:

      Following in the footsteps of popular brother Brady, Grady is another lively, ebullient Irish surname name. The O'Gradys (originally O Gradaugh) were an ancient clan that produced an impressive number of bishops.

      Perhaps the most remarkable O'Grady descendant is Muhammad Ali, whose mother's maiden name was Grady.

  9. Jacob
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      Biblical Jacob ceded his Number 1 spot to biblical Noah, in 2013, after holding first place on the list of baby boy names from 1999 to 2012, given a huge boost by the Twilight phenomenon.
  10. Jasmine
    • Origin:

      Flower name, from Persian
    • Meaning:

      "gift from God"
    • Description:

      Jasmine was derived from the Persian word yasmin, referring to the jasmine flower. Scented oil was made from the plant, and it was used as a perfume throughout the Persian Empire. Variants include Jazmin, Yasmin, Yasmine, and Jessamine.
  11. Jennifer
    • Origin:

      Cornish variation of Welsh Guinevere
    • Meaning:

      "white shadow, white wave"
    • Description:

      Jennifer is the Cornish variation of Guinevere, which ultimately derived from the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar. It has been in use in the English-speaking world since the 18th century but came to prominence in the 20th. Playwright George Bernard Shaw chose Jennifer for the name of his leading lady in his play The Doctor’s Dilemma, which drew more attention to the name.
  12. Jessica
    • Origin:

      English, meaning unknown
    • Description:

      When Jennifer was ready to give up her throne, her crown was passed to Jessica, who reigned for not one but two decades; Jessica was the top name of both the 1980's and 90's, never sounding quite as trendy as its predecessor, maybe because of its classic Shakespearean pedigree. Jessica has declined a bit in popularity but is still a popular choice.
  13. Jocelyn
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "member of the Gauts tribe"
    • Description:

      Jocelyn has gotten new life and popularity as a result of the current passion for lyn endings. Though it was a male name in medieval times, now Jocelyn couldn't sound more softly feminine.
  14. Joshua
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "the Lord is my salvation"
    • Description:

      Joshua, a Top 10 name from 1983 until 2010, has dropped out of the Top 50 but manages to present a relaxed, attractive image, with a bit of the Old West mixed in with its biblical persona.
  15. Joy
    • Origin:

      English word name
    • Meaning:

      "joy"
    • Description:

      Joy is from an older generation of word names, which also included Merry, Bliss, and Glory -- all of which exert a certain amount of personality pressure on a child. One interesting name that means the same thing: Chara.
  16. Justice
    • Origin:

      English word name
    • Meaning:

      "the quality of being just, impartial, or fair"
    • Description:

      Justice is a fashionable word name, used for both girls and boys. Justice has the distinction of being a virtue name without the religious implications of Faith or Grace. It still feels more male than female, perhaps partly due to the classic Roman name Justus, but Justice has become a more common pick for girls in recent years.
  17. Kay
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Katherine
    • Description:

      Kay, a cigarette-smoking, nightclubbing name of the 1930's, could be ready for a comeback along with cousins May/Mae and Ray/Rae.
  18. Kyle
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "narrow spit of land"
    • Description:

      Kyle is still appreciated by thousands of parents each year for its combination of simplicity, strength, and style; it was in the Top 20 for most of the nineties. As a Scottish surname, it dates back to the fifteenth century.
  19. Megan
    • Origin:

      Welsh diminutive of Margaret
    • Meaning:

      "pearl"
    • Description:

      Megan originally evolved from Meg, which itself derived as a nickname for Margaret. Margaret ultimately comes from the Greek word margarites, meaning "pearl." Megan is no longer a common nickname for Margaret—it is most often used as a full name. Other spellings include Meghan, Meagan, Megyn, and Meaghan.
  20. Michael
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "who is like God?"
    • Description:

      Michael was the Number 1 American boys' name for almost half a century. While Michael has moved out of the Top 10 baby boy names, it's still widely used.