Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…
Abhinandan: Multiple babies born in India in March of 2019 were named Abhinandan following the release of mustachioed IAF wing-commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. (India Times)
(And, on March 4th, Pizza Hut India offered free pizza to anyone named Abhinandan.)
Audrey Claire: A baby girl born Pennsylvania in April of 2019 was named Audrey Claire after Philadelphia restaurant Audrey Claire. (The Inquirer)
Brady: A baby girl born in New Hampshire in February of 2019 (on Superbowl Sunday) was named Margaret Carter Brady, second middle name in honor of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. (WMUR)
Camden and Maxwell: Twin baby girls born in North Dakota in February of 2019 were named Isla Camden and Eloise Maxwell — middle names in honor of their late brothers, Camden and Maxwell, who’d died in a car accident a year earlier. (Today)
Danielle: A baby girl born in Blackpool, England, in mid-2018 was named Danielle after nurse Danielle McLardie, who had cared for the mother during a pregnancy-induced bout of sepsis. (BBC, via Clare’s Name News)
Desai: A baby boy born in Oklahoma in January of 2019 was named Desai after obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Sneha Desai, who delivered the baby. (KXII)
Gopay: A baby boy born in Indonesia in February of 2019 was named Gopay after Go-Pay, an Indonesian e-payment platform. The parents received Go-Pay credit from the parent company, Go-Jek, as a gift. (Coconuts Jakarta)
Henderson: A baby boy born in England in February of 2019 was named Henderson, nickname Hendo, “after Sheffield’s famous Henderson’s Relish!” (The Star)
Logan: A baby girl born in Saskatchewan in June of 2018 was named Logan Humble in honor of Logan Boulet, who was killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, which the baby’s mother had witnessed. (CBC)
Margaret: A baby girl born in Nairobi, Kenya, in March of 2019 — just after her mother had started a 2km “pregnancy walk” hosted by the Beyond Zero campaign — was named Margaret after First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, founder of the campaign. (Evewoman)
Miraj: A baby boy born in Rajasthan, India, in February of 2019 — minutes after IAF fighter jets carried out the Balakot airstrike — was named Miraj after the jets: Dassault Mirage 2000s. (Mumbai Mirror)
And, finally, a pair of pop-culture influenced names that made headlines:
My name is Jennifer. My siblings: Heather, Michael, Lauren, Kimberly. None of them are stereotypical names you’d hear on the Top 60 Ghetto Black Names list. They are, however, found in the most popular names of the year list. I didn’t want my daughter’s name on either. My mother’s reasoning for her decision was different than mine. She would say “do you want to get a job?” Which sounds harsh but some research shows “black-sounding” names on resumes don’t do as well next to the same resume holding a “white-sounding” names.
If a name isn’t used much any more, no great calamity will result. Brangien and Althalos have been rarely used since the Middle Ages, but nobody has suffered as a result of Brangien deficiency, and no awful disaster has ensued from the loss of Althalos.
Furthermore, if we decided we’d like to see more of a particular name which has gone out of use, it costs no money or effort to bring it back. You simply slap the name onto your child’s birth certificate, and hey presto – you’ve got yourself a rare and beautiful specimen of an Althalos.
As long as we still know of a name’s existence from books and records, it is a potential baby name, no matter how many centuries or even millennia since it was last used.
There is hardly an account of Greenwich Village in the ’20s in which she does not prominently figure. Yet her roots in the neighborhood preceded even her fame. The poet’s unusual middle name came from St. Vincent’s Hospital on 12th St. Millay’s uncle was nursed back to health there after a sailing accident, and her mother wished to show her gratitude by naming her first-born child after the place.
This belief [in baby-name stealing] is ridiculous–after all, liking a name doesn’t give you ownership over it, and sharing a name with a friend or relative is, at worst, a mild nuisance. But the idea that names shouldn’t be stolen is not surprising. Over the past hundred years, naming has increasingly become an act of self-expression for parents, a way to assert their individuality rather than a sense of belonging in their community. With our names and selves so thoroughly intertwined, it stands to reason that parents would become increasingly protective of their children’s names.
As with so much of contemporary parenting, the drama surrounding name-stealing is ultimately more about the threat it poses to parent’s identities than their children’s. In practical terms, no child will be harmed by having the same name as a classmate or cousin. … Far more punishing than having the same name as another child is growing up in an environment where names are considered personal property and friendships end when someone “steals” one.
Naming your child was once simple: you picked from the same handful of options everyone else used. But modern parents want exclusivity. And so boys are called Rollo, Emilio, Rafferty and Grey. Their sisters answer to Aurelia, Bartolomea, Ptarmigan or Plum. Throw in a few middle names and the average birth certificate looks like an earthquake under a Scrabble board.
They’ve forgotten about ‘eccentric sheep’ syndrome.
This is the process, identified by social anthropologist Kate Fox in her book Watching the English, whereby something meant as ‘evidence of our eccentricity and originality’ ends up as ‘conformist, conservative rule-following’. Fox applied it to clothes, but the same thing is happening with names. In an attempt to make their children stand out, parents are only helping them to blend in. When everyone’s a Marni or an Autumn or a Sky, the rebellion has nothing to register against.
In England we find dogs that were named Sturdy, Whitefoot, Hardy, Jakke, Bo and Terri. Anne Boleyn, one of the wives of King Henry VIII, had a dog named Purkoy, who got its name from the French ‘pourquoi’ because it was very inquisitive.
Have you spotted any good name-related quotes/articles/blog posts lately? Let me know!
The registrar of Providence, Rhode Island, published a series of documents listing all “of the names of persons deceased, born and married in the city of Providence” during years 1866, 1867 and 1868. The series may have been longer, but these are the only documents I could find online.
I’ve finally finished creating a set of rankings using one of the documents — 1867. But before we get to the rankings, here are some stats:
1,547 babies were born in Providence in 1867, going by the number of babies listed in the document itself. According to the document’s introduction, though, the number is 1,625. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy.
1,431 of these babies (713 girls and 718 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 116 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps they died young and never received a name.
254 unique names (141 girl names and 113 boy names) were shared among these 1,431 babies.
And now, on to the names…
A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:
Top Baby Girl Names
Top Baby Boy Names
Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.
Twenty-one sets of twins and two sets of triplets were born in Providence in 1867. (All of these names were accounted for above — I just thought it’d be fun to check out the sibsets.)
Abraham & George
Charles & George
Charles & John
Daniel & David
Dunlap & Frank
Eugene & Timothy
George & John
George & William
James & John
John & Martin
Albert & Harriet
Ashel & Ida
George & Grace
James & Mary
Maurice & Ann
Annie & Fannie
Annie & Mary
Ann & Ellen
Jennie & Minnie
Margaret & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Carl, (blank) & (blank)
James, Alexander & Sarah
I’ll post Providence’s 1866 and 1868 rankings as soon I get them done. Until then, here are two older posts featuring uniquely named Rhode Islanders: Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812) and Idawalley (b. 1842).
Writer Ambrose Bierce was born on June 24, 1842, the tenth of thirteen children. In order, all thirteen were named Abigail, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Almeda, Andrew, Albert, Ambrose, Arthur, Adelia and Aurelia.
Which of the girl names do you like best?
How about the boy names?
P.S. The father of the Bierce clan was named Marcus Aurelius.
A reader named Lisa is expecting her second daughter a couple of weeks and needs some name assistance. Her first daughter is Copeland Rhine. Lisa’s main predicament is this:
[H]ow do I find a strong unique vintage name for this second precious girlie that will not wilt next to a strong name like Copeland Rhine?
And here are some other questions and points Lisa brought up:
“Our goal is not to have their names competing for placement but complimenting each other.”
“We do not want to be boxed in on unisex or surname first names.”
“I have been gravitating towards Sojourner Bliss or Sojourner Mercy (Sophie for short) but that is all I have and my husband is not sold on it nor on a stronger masculine name.”
“My husband really loves Evangeline yet he is not wanting to use it because it is becoming so popular. We both love the idea of Evie as a nickname.”
“I really want to honor three people in my family but all three would not wish their name on anyone: Leona, Gertrude and Lorraine. Are there any derived names that I could use?” [Other family names she mentioned are Cornelia, Josephine, Ester, Rosemary, Carmelita, Trinia (Trijntje), Johannes, Sophia, Evelientje, Alice (called Ollie), Francis, Felicia and Blanche.]
The baby’s surname will be a 2-syllable name that starts with D and also includes a z-sound. It’s somewhat similar to De Souza.
So the challenge is to find “strong unique vintage” names that work with Copeland, but that won’t lock Lisa’s family into surnames or unisex names. And to try to get a family connection in there as well.
I think Evangeline is a great idea, actually. It’s strong, vintage, and neither a surname nor a unisex name. And both Lisa and her husband like the nickname Evie. Seems like the only thing holding them back is the popularity.
Yes, Evangeline has become slightly popular recently. It’s been back in the top 1,000 since 2006. But let’s put that into context. Over 2,000,000 baby girls were born last year, and only 735 of them were named Evangeline. That’s a very small percentage. (But if it’s really that bothersome, there’s always Evangelina, which is still well out of the top 1,000.)
I’m not a big fan of Sojourner. It’s strong, and unique, and not a surname…but it’s not feminine, and it’s not what I’d call vintage, even if Sojourner Truth was a well-known 19th-century woman. I’d worry about teasing, especially with a noun-middle like Bliss or Mercy. And I think naming a third child (of either gender) after Copeland and Sojourner would be tricky.
Sophie seems like it would be an awkward nickname for Sojourner. It’s so different from Sojourner that it strikes me as more of a cover-name than a nickname–as if Sojourner were just too strong or strange to work as an everyday name.
Leona, Gertrude and Lorraine…the most interesting way I could think of to combine them was to look for names that feature their first letters (L, G, L) such as Nigella, Allegra and Gillian.
Here are a few other name ideas that came to mind: