“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.
In the early ’90s, he and wife, Pam, who grew up in Pinellas County, settled down in the Sunshine State, drawn by family ties and the promise of a nice, safe community in which to raise their son, Robin Taylor, now 23, and daughter, Robin-Sailor, 15. (Zander’s go-to line about his kids’ quirky names: “My wife just calls us Robin, and we all come running.”)
On November 7 1955, part-way through a two-year, Guggenheim-funded voyage around America, the photographer Robert Frank was arrested by Arkansas state police who suspected he was a communist. Their reasons: he was a shabbily dressed foreigner, he was Jewish, he had letters of reference from people with Russian-sounding names, he had photographed the Ford plant, possessed foreign whisky and his children had foreign names (Pablo and Andrea).
Contrary to what one might think, Rex Reason was his birth name, not one dreamed up by a Hollywood executive. Universal Pictures, in fact, had billed him as “Bart Roberts” in a couple of films before he insisted on being credited with his real name.
There seemed to be a bit of destiny attached. Her middle name, Ka-polioka’ehukai, means Heart of the Sea.
“Most Hawaiian grandparents name you before you’re born,” she says. “They have a dream or something that tells them what the name will be.” Hawaiians also have a knack for giving people rhythmic, dead-on nicknames, and for young Rell they had a beauty: Rella Propella.
“My godmother called me that because I was always moving so fast,” says Rell. “To this day, people think my real name is Rella. Actually I was born Roella, a combination of my parents’ names: Roen and Elbert. But I hated it, and no one used it, so I changed it to Rell.”
When [Kelechi Eke] was born, his mother experienced dangerous complications, which his parents acknowledged in his naming. In Igbo, Kelechi means “thank God”, and Eke means “creation”. The usual Igbo name for God, Chineke, means literally, “God of Creation”, and you can see both elements (chi + eke) in his two names. When K.C.’s own son was born, it was in the wake of difficulties in bringing his wife to the United States; consequently, they chose the name Oluchi, meaning “God’s work”, suggesting their gratitude that the immigration problems were resolved before his mother went into labor.
My name is Tsh Oxenreider, and no, my name is not a typo (one of the first things people ask). It’s pronounced “Tish.” No reason, really, except that my parents were experimental with their names choices in the 70s. Until my younger brother was born in the 80s, whom they named Josh, quite possibly one of the most common names for people his age. Who knows what they were thinking, really.
The top two debut names of 1953 were Trenace (for girls) and Caster (for boys). And you know what? Both have me stumped.
We’ve already talked about Trenace, so here are some details about Caster:
1956: 5 baby boys named Caster
1955: 11 baby boys named Caster
1954: 16 baby boys named Caster
1953: 21 baby boys named Caster [debut]
Caster doesn’t seem to be a variant of some other name (like Casper, or Lancaster). So I’m assuming this usage corresponds to someone named Caster — either real or fictional — who was in the public eye for several years in a row.
The tricky thing is, of course, that any online search for the name “Caster” turns up all sorts of extraneous stuff — fishing, furniture, music (stratocaster), sports (sportscaster), and so forth.
Still, I was able to track down a few clues.
Records suggest that the majority of these 1950s Casters had middle names that started with D. Here’s a Caster D. born in 1953, and another Caster D. born in 1957.
And every single D-middle I tracked down included the letter L and/or the letter R. Some examples: Dell, Derrell, Derrel, Derriel, Daryl, Deryl, Derald, Derra, Doria, and Doral. A handful of people even had combination names like Casterdale or Casterdell (b. 1953).
Finally, it looks like most of the people named Caster D. were born in the South.
Do you have any idea where the name Caster might have come from?
We all know that usage of the baby name Madison rose sharply in the years after 1984, thanks to the movie Splash, which starred Daryl Hannah as mermaid Madison (named after Madison Avenue).
Interestingly, I’ve found an article in New York Magazine, published only about two and a half months after the movie was released, that seems to predict this rise.
The article mostly focuses on Alan Ladd Jr.’s unlucky decision not to produce Splash, but it includes the following quotes, allegedly spoken by an anonymous Hollywood movie producer:
“Do you suppose this is happening all over the country?” the Hollywood producer asked nervously.
“Two weeks ago, I walk into a party, and there is this woman I’ve known for fifteen years, always wears her blonde hair properly tied back from her face. She’s gone to see Splash, this movie about a mermaid named Madison, and now she’s trying to be Daryl Hannah. She’s got blonde bangs hat practically cover her eyes. Then last night, my wife tells me the couple down the street had a baby girl that morning. They named the baby Madison.”
That was how the article began, and here’s how it ends:
The producer’s shoulders shuddered almost imperceptibly. “It could happen to any of us,” he said. “I tell you, I can’t get that baby named Madison out of my mind.”
…Just like a lot of expectant parents couldn’t get the name Madison out of their minds in the years to come. The popularity of the name snowballed over the next couple of decades. It peaked at #2 in the nation in 2001 and 2002, behind #1 Emily both times.
Source: Kasindorf, Jeanie. “How not to make a “Splash.”” New York Magazine 21 May 1984: 34.
In late 1966, Jim and Eldora Parnell of Bakersfield, California, welcomed their 20th child.
Here are the names of all twenty kids, plus their 1966-ages:
Marie (nn Baby Doll, “because we were sure she’d be our last one”), 19
Chris (female), 15
Daryl (twin), 18 months
Gerald (twin), 18 months
Teri Kay, newborn
Which girl name is your favorite? How about boy name?
Bonus: The article included name stories for Charlotte and Logan. Charlotte “was born in the family car during a visit to Los Angeles. The police officer delivering the baby was named Charley–so, Charlotte.” Logan “was named after Dr. Lloyd Q. Logan, who delivered eight of his older brothers and sisters. But when Logan was born, Dr. Logan was out of town and another doctor delivered him.”
Source: Hillinger, Charles. “Managing a Family of 20 Poses Big, Happy Problem.” Spokesman-Review 11 Dec. 1966: 7.