“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
The aim of California’s Assembly Bill No. 2528, which was introduced Assemblymember Nancy Skinner in early 2014, was to force the state to add diacritical marks to birth certificates and other state-issued identity documents:
From the text of the bill:
This bill would require the State Registrar to ensure that diacritical marks on English letters are properly recorded on all certificates of live birth, fetal death, or death, and all marriage licenses, including, but not limited to, accents, tildes, graves, umlauts, and cedillas.
As Skinner’s bill progressed through the assembly it came time for different agencies to chime in with estimates on the cost of updating their systems. The final tally: $10m. “Coming out of the recession, when an agency or department put the cost on a bill that was their way of trying to prevent action from being taken,” Skinner said. “We’ve pushed through some of that, but there is still resistance. I questioned how much it would really cost.”
The Arizona city of Sedona was named after the first postmaser’s wife — but only because all the other names he’d submitted to the U.S. Post Office Department got rejected.
The wife in question is Sedona Arabella Miller, born in Missouri in 1877. She pronounced her name “see-dona” and went by the nicknames Donie (as a kid) and Dona (as an adult).
Sedona was the only one in her family with an unusual name; her siblings included Lillie, Edna, Minnie, Noah, and Edward. Her mother said simply, “I liked the sound of it.” It is possible that she had heard the Creole name Sedonie, used among free women of color in the South.
[Sedonie is probably a variant of Sidonie, which is a French feminine form of the Latin name Sidonius, which means “of Sidon.” Sidon was an ancient Phoenician city-state.]
Sedona married Theodore Carlton “T.C.” Schnebly on her 20th birthday, and in 1901 she and T.C. moved to Arizona with their two young children.
Not long after they arrived, T.C. decided the settlement needed a post office, so he applied for a post office name. But all the names he sent in — Schnebly Station, Red Rock Crossing, Oak Creek Station — were rejected, as they were too long to fit on the cancellation stamp beside “Arizona Territory.”
Finally, at the suggestion of his brother, T.C. tried his wife’s name. The relatively short “Sedona” was approved. By mid-1902, T.C. had the Sedona post office up and running “in the back of the Schnebly home.”
So the baby name Sedona existed before the city did, but it’s never been popular enough to rank in the U.S. top 1,000.
Here’s how many U.S. babies have been named Sedona since the year 2000:
2013: 38 baby girls named Sedona (7 in AZ)
2012: 55 baby girls named Sedona (9 in AZ, 9 in CA)
2011: 51 baby girls named Sedona (6 in AZ, 7 in CA)
2010: 60 baby girls named Sedona (8 in AZ, 12 in CA)
2009: 69 baby girls named Sedona (8 in AZ, 11 in CA)
2008: 91 baby girls named Sedona (18 in AZ, 11 in CA)
2007: 75 baby girls named Sedona (17 in AZ, 7 in CA)
2006: 76 baby girls named Sedona (14 in AZ, 8 in CA)
2005: 58 baby girls named Sedona (6 in AZ, 9 in CA)
2004: 77 baby girls named Sedona (12 in AZ, 10 in CA)
2003: 66 baby girls named Sedona (16 in AZ, 10 in CA)
2002: 76 baby girls named Sedona (14 in AZ, 7 in CA)
2001: 62 baby girls named Sedona (12 in AZ, 9 in CA)
2000: 69 baby girls named Sedona (8 in AZ, 10 in CA)
Baby names that coincide with city names tend to be less popular among locals (i.e., Brooklyn and Madison are less popular among New Yorkers and Wisconsinites, respectively) but that’s not the case for Sedona.
Of the 923 baby girls named Sedona since the turn of the century, 155 (17%) were born in Arizona, making Arizona the state with the most Sedonas.
In second place is California with 120 Sedonas (13%). In third is Texas with 24 Sedonas (3%).
Arizona’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider that both California and Texas welcome several times as many babies as Arizona does per year.
Heidinger, Lisa Schnebly, Janeen Trevillyan, and the Sedona Historical Society. Sedona. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.