How popular is the baby name Hester in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Hester and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Hester.

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Hester

Number of Babies Named Hester

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Hester

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide


Female Names in Texas, 1860

Vicki Betts, a librarian at the University of Texas, put together a neat list of female names using the 1860 census records for Smith County, Texas.

Here’s some background information, per Vicki:

Ninety per cent of the people had emigrated to the county within the preceding ten years, 95.8% born in the states of the future Confederacy, 1.8% in the border states, 1.6% in northern states, and 0.8% in foreign countries. Therefore, these name should be fairly representative of Southern female names in general, with the exception of Alamo, Texas, Texana, etc.

And now the names! Here are the names that appeared most frequently on the 1860 Smith County census:

Mary, 501
Sarah, 271
Martha, 247
Elizabeth, 218
Jane, 199
Ann, 198
Nancy, 176
Margaret, 98
Susan, 95
Frances, 94
Eliza, 74
Amanda, 65
Louisa, 61
Laura, 52
Lucinda, 50
Rebecca, 50
Emily, 49
Catherine, 48
Caroline, 41
Julia, 39
Anna, 31
Isabella, 28
Ellen, 26
Josephine, 25
Harriet, 24
Emmer, 22
Lucy, 22
Rachel, 22
Melissa, 18
Adeline, 17
Malinda, 17
Matilda, 16
Allice, 15
Mariah, 15
Virginia, 15
Minerva, 14
Ella, 13
Eveline, 13
Charlotte, 12
Cynthia, 10
Evaline, 10
Victoria, 10
Emeline, 9
Hannah, 9
Hellen, 9
Theodosia, 9
Angeline, 8
Eudora, 8
Eugenia, 8
Mahala, 8
Ophelia, 8
Permelia, 8
Dorotha, 7
Fannie, 7
Missouri, 7
Olive, 7
Samantha, 7
Tabitha, 7
Ada, 6
Charity, 6
Delilah, 6
Flora, 6
Georgia, 6
Tennessee, 6

Names in the 2-to-5 range:

  • 5: Clementine, Cyntha, Florence, Ida, Joannah, Narcissa, Priscilla, Serena, Texana, Texas
  • 4: Almeda, Amelia, Augusta, Celia, Clara, Cornelia, Dicy, Dora, Henrietta, Janetta, Louisiana, Louvenia, Lulah, Mollie, Parmelia, Penelope, Ruth, Susannah
  • 3: Alma, Amarillo, Angelina, Antonette, Carrie, Casandra, Christiana, Clarissa, Cora, Cordelia, Edna, Emma, Ester, Fanny, Irena, Jemima, Kesiah, Leona, Leonora, Lucretia, Lyddia, Manerva, Maranda, Morando, Mildred, Milly, Narcissus, Olevia, Piety, Rhoda, Sallie, Sefrona, Sophrona, Telulah, Zelida
  • 2: Abigal, Adaline, Adelia, Agnes, Alabama, Alcasarah, America, Amy, Annetta, Araminta, Armelia, Arrenia, Candis, Caledonia, Celina, Easter, Eller, Elvira, Epsey, Exer, Henryetta, Jaly, Judy, Leah, Luella, Madora, Malissa, Marsileet, Medorah, Melinda, Mattie, Minnie, Moranda, Nelly, Olivia, Priscella, Rhody, Roxana, Salena, Sirena, Sophia, Temperance, Viola, Willie

Finally, names that appeared only once:

Abbigal
Abi
Absaly
Adah
Adalade
Adaline
Addia
Adelade
Adella
Ader
Aimenetta
Alamanzer
Alamo
Alcisty
Alis
Allethia
Almanda
Alphine
Alsey
Althie
Alvarado
Alvira
Amarantha
Amarylles
Amazor
Ameda
Americus
Amira
Ansebell
Appy
Arabella
Arainetta
Aramintha
Aranda
Arcadia
Ardalla
Armedilla
Armel
Armelda
Arminda
Artele
Arvezene
Arvilla
Atha
Audella
Aurire
Azeline
Barbary
Belzora
Bendett
Bernessa
Bethania
Bethany
California
Callie
Camella
Camilla
Candas
Candice
Cansandra
Carrentha
Casandre
Castero
Cecily
Celistia
CerroGordo
Christana
Cicily
Claranda
Claricinda
Conzada
Darcus
Deannah
Debra
Delila
Delitha
Della
Delmar
Derinda
Deziah
Dicey
Dilla
Dilly
Disha
Dlia
Dola
Domaris
Dorothea
Dovy
Drucilla
Dulcena
Dyca
Eddie
Edith
Editha
Elander
Eleanor
Elisa
Ellenor
Elmina
Elsy
Elvy
Elwina
Elzina
Elzona
Emaline
English
Eunis
Euphema
Euphemia
Euratasa
Evy
Falby
Fenette
Fillmore
Flore
Florida
Fransina
Georgana
George Eller
Georgiana
Harmoner
Hazeltine
Heepsebeth
Heland
Hester
Hetty
Hilery
Hutoka
Idella
Imogenia
Indiana
Inez
Irine
Isabelle
Isadora
Jeannah
Jerusha
Jessie
Joana
Joicy
Joly
Judah
Judith
Juliett
June
Kasandre
Kasana
Keburah
Keturah
Lailah
Larresa
Larrissa
Laurena
Lavacca
Lela
Leora
Leuella
Levega
Levina
Lewella
Lilla
Lillian
Lilly
Lina
Livana
Livona
Lizza
Loreey
Loreta
Lourana
Lourena
Lourenia
Louretta
Louvena
Louvina
Lova
Lovena
Lucretice
Lurana
Lurena
Lutitia
Luvena
Lydda
Madella
Madosa
Malabry
Mariella
Marietta
Marinda
Marion
Marbre
Marcella
Marcena
Marg
Matta
McReudry
Medarah
Melbry
Melvina
Mercena
Milley
Millison
Minor
Missoura
Mitty
Molly
Morinua
Mouring
Mourmen
Mourning
Nannett
Narcisa
Nebraska
Neome
Neomia
Nicy
Nina
Nisse
Occo
Octavia
Oja
Oliva
Omino
Orpha
Oudelia
Paralee
Paralie
Parilee
Parolee
Parthena
Pauline
Pemelia
Pernetta
Pernisia
Petrona
Phebe
Pheby
Phereby
Philliss
Pleasant
Pope
Prascovia
Pricilla
Prudence
Recella
Resalla
Reozia
Resiah
Rhina
Rosana
Rosanna
Rosena
Sabra
Sabrina
Salina
Samaria
Saphona
Saphrona
Sareta
Sebrina
Sefrone
Seleta
Selethia
Selina
Shaby
Sharlotti
Silena
Sina
Sirena
Sobrina
Sofrona
Solona
Sonora
Sophier
Stacy
Surana
Tabetha
Taletha
Talitha
Telpha
Teressa
Texanah
Texanna
Theodora
Theressa
Tranquilla
Trephemia
Ululie
Vanburena
Vandalia
Varlinda
Vashti
Vasti
Verlinda
Vertula
Victora
Victorier
Vina
Vinolia
Violet
Vunavista
Wennyford
Wilford
Wilmouth
Wineford
Winerfred
Winnaford
Winnfred
Zarilla
Zeban
Zeleame
Zira
Zouley

See any names you like? Any that make you curious?

Here are some thoughts I had:

  • Location names were more common than I thought they’d be. Seven females named Missouri? Six named Tennessee? Huh.
  • I love that Emmer appeared 22 times, while Emma appeared a mere 3 times.
  • The Battle of Cerro Gordo (1847) inspired a handful of namesakes. Cerro gordo is Spanish for “fat hill.”
  • Hutoka: Or, The Maid of the Forest: a Tale of the Indian Wars (1846) by Osgood Bradbury inspired several hundred namesakes nationwide. The book claimed that the fictitious Native American name Hutoka meant “springing fawn.”
  • Martin Van Buren — no doubt the inspiration behind Vanburena — was president of the U.S. from 1837 to 1841.
  • I’m thinking Vunavista was based on buena vista, Spanish for “good view.”

Source: Female First Names in the 1860 Smith County, Texas, Census, via Vicki Betts

Name Quotes for the Weekend #10

From Baby Names Beyond Parody at The Awl:

We didn’t quite believe it when we saw this on Kate Day’s Twitter, but here it is, in the Independent. Biggles George Fittleworth Jackson-Kew. And his sister. Posie Betsy Winifred Jackson-Kew. Who have an older sister. Named Tuppence.

But of course, things are crazy in England. The paper also makes note of the marriage of Peter Wood and Kitty Fox, and please let them hyphenate their names. “Hello, Mrs. Kitty Wood-Fox!”

From a Telegraph article by a UK mom with kids named Croyde, Kiki and Trixie:

My middle child may not have got through that particular net. She’s called Kiki (that alliteration thing again). I was inspired by the linguistic fact that it’s impossible to say the ‘ee’ sound without the mouth turning up into a smile. Plus, I know a sassy, smart Kiki in her thirties so I asked for her advice. “I love it” she said, “Nobody ever forgets it. But in The Philippines it means vagina so my mum’s cleaner can’t look me in the eye.” That swung it for me. I like the idea of a stealthy vagina. And it will hopefully be a deterrent to island hopping in South East Asia when she should be going to university.

From a Globe and Mail article about the death of Rehtaeh Parsons:

Rehtaeh is “Heather” spelled backwards, a name her mother thought was pretty.

From Attempting to create original baby names has repercussions in The Australian:

McCrindle Research director Mark McCrindle said many parents were now “designing” rather than choosing names, often driven by phonetics.

But he warned it could lead to a lifetime of grief for children whose names are now attached to their digital profile.

“More than ever, people are saying, ‘it’s my child’s name, I am going to give it some difference’,” he said.

“But I think sometimes parents are being a bit short-sighted in the designing of their children’s names.”

From an article on names in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“The Name Game” was a hit for Shirley Ellis in 1965. You know the song: “Shirley-Shirley-bo-burly, banana-fana-fo-furly, fee-fie-foe-murly … Shirley!” She bragged that “there isn’t any name that you can’t rhyme.” While entertaining soldiers in Vietnam, however, she discovered she couldn’t rhyme “Rich” or “Chuck.”

From a 5 Ways to Sabotage Your Baby Name Search at Upswing Baby Names:

While I don’t condone picking a name that is blatantly humorous, I would never disqualify a name just because it has remote teasing potential. For example, some parents will eliminate a name for rhyming with a funny word. But if you think long enough, you can find a funny word to rhyme with many names. Instead of trying to find the safest (most boring) name possible for your child, work on building their social skills instead.

From Betting on Baby in The Daily Beast:

Despite being a modern couple, Will and Kate are almost guaranteed to pluck a traditional moniker — like Mary, Victoria, or Elizabeth (a favorite) — from the royal bloodline, says author Phil Dampier, who has spent 27 years covering the royal family.

In mid-April, bets for the name Alexandra (Queen Elizabeth’s middle name) surged unexpectedly, causing house odds at William Hill to jump from 33/1 to 2/1. Other major betting firms also slashed their previously high odds. The profiles betting on Alexandra (new accounts, higher bets) led bookies to suspect an inside tip had leaked.

From an episode of The Mindy Project:

Mindy: “I want kids, four kids. Madison, Jayden, Bree and the little one’s Piper.”

Danny: “Are you kidding me with those names? You want a bunch of girls who work at the mall?”

From Parents Name Their Child Bane, Secure His Future Grudge Against Batman, Mumbling at The Mary Sue:

A couple from England have named their newborn baby boy, Bane. Yes, after the Batman villain last seen in The Dark Knight Rises. Rugby player Jamie Jones-Buchanan and wife Emma told The Sun they always agreed to give their children unusual names.

Oh yes, there’s more.

The couple have three other children. Two are named after Star Trek characters – Lore and Dacx [sic] – while the other is named after Highlander’s Kurgan.

From ‘Twas Ever Thus at British Baby Names:

In the late 18th and 19th century talk about names often bandied the phrase “romantic names” around. From all I can glean, it was used generally as a euphemism for any name considered slightly fanciful or outlandish, in much the same way “creative names” or “unique names” are used today.

[…]

The idea was, of course, also then picked up in essays and newspapers. Strangely, although we now tend to associate fanciful names with the aristocracy, it is the working classes who get the brunt of criticism in much of the commentary.

From British grandmother claims she was raised by monkeys at Today.com:

Marina Chapman’s book, “The Girl with No Name,” claims that she was raised by monkeys in the Colombian jungle for about five years of her childhood, adopting their behavior and eating the same food. Chapman claims that a group of capuchin monkeys became her surrogate family after she was kidnapped and abandoned in a Colombian jungle when she was 4 years old.

After living with the monkeys for several years, Chapman says she encountered hunters who tried to sell her into domestic slavery in the Colombian city of Cucuta. She then ran away and became a thieving street kid before being adopted by a loving family in Bogota as a teenager and giving herself the name Marina.

This reminds me of that isolated indigenous Brazilian man

And, finally, a bit about Quaker names from Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer:

Delaware Quakers also differed from other English-speaking people in the descent of names from one generation to the next. Unlike New England Puritans, Quakers named their first-born children after grandparents. Unlike Virginia Anglicans, they were careful to honor maternal and paternal lines in an even-handed way.

[…]

These naming choices were not invented in the New World. They were virtually identical among Quakers in England’s North Midlands and America’s Delaware Valley. Through the eighteenth century, males received the same combination of biblical and teutonic names — with John, Thomas, William, Joseph and George the leading favorites among Friends on both sides of the water. Quaker females were mostly named Mary and Sarah in English and America, with Hannah, Anne, Elizabeth, Hester, Esther and Deborah strong secondary favorites. Plain English names such as Jane, and traditional Christian favorites such as Catherine and Margaret preserved their popularity among Quakers, more so than among Puritans. Also exceptionally popular among Quakers in England and America was the name of Phebe, which rarely appeared in Puritan and Anglican families.

Baby Name Story: Return

In 1708, a baby boy named Return was born in Guilford, CT.

His parents were Janna Meigs* (1672-1739) and Hannah Willard (1674-1749), and he was the fifth of ten children: Janna, Josiah, Jehiel, Hannah, Return, Hester, Silence and Submit (twin girls), Timothy and Eunice.

There’s a story behind Return’s name. That much I know. But so many different versions of the story exist that there’s no telling which one is true.

The most common version starts with Janna proposing marriage to Hannah. She rejects him. (Many sources say this happened repeatedly.) Just as he’s about to ride off, she changes her mind and calls after him, “Return, Janna, return!” He does. They wed. And when they welcome their fifth child, they name him Return in honor of that moment.

Other versions of the story are quite different. One patriotic attempt claims the baby was born during the Battle of Concord (1775), and that “Return, Janna, return” was Hannah’s cry for her husband to come home from battle. Too bad the baby was already 67 years old at that point.

The name has since been handed down to more than a dozen of Return’s descendants, including Return’s son Return Jonathan Meigs, Sr. (1740-1823) and grandson Return Jonathan Meigs, Jr. (1764-1825).

*Either Janna or Junna, depends on the source.

Sources:

Girl Names Based on “Hester Jo” Needed

A reader named Q* contacted me a several years ago about choosing a name for her first daughter, Posy. Q is now expecting her second daughter (due in one week!) and would like some help naming baby #2.

I never wrote a post about Posy’s name, but I think a collective brainstorm is in order for baby #2.

The frontrunners so far are Gemma, Evie (“EH-vie”), Persephone (nn Sephie) and Belle, but Q says that “nothing has really grabbed us.”

Also, there’s this to think about:

We got some very sad news this weekend which is that our close family friend passed away. We would like to incorporate her name somehow in our daughter’s name.

Her name was Hester Jo. I don’t particularly like the name Hester Jo but we would really like to somehow honor her. I prefer Hestia or Hes or Esti to Hester, but none of these names really grab me, and the fact that our last name also ends in an “-er” sound doesn’t seem to mesh well with Hester.

Can you think of any creative ways to incorporate her name? I know that Hester means “star” so I was wondering if there are any other names meaning star or something similar that might be good. Or even matching the initials HJ?

The baby’s last name will be a 2-syllable T-name a lot like Tyler.

First, let me say that I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.

I think it’s wonderful that you want to honor Hester Jo. I can understand why “Hester” might not sound so hot with a surname that ends with -er, though.

Hester comes from Esther, which we know of through the biblical Queen Esther. We don’t know for sure what her name means. Esther could be based on the Persian word for “star,” on the name of the goddess Ishtar, on a Median word for “myrtle,” or on something else entirely.

One H-name with a direct connection to the original Esther is Esther’s birth name, Hadassah, which is Hebrew for “myrtle.” It could shortened to a nickname like Hada or Dassah to make it sound a bit peppier, like Posy.

Speaking of nicknames, short forms of Hester and Esther are Hettie and Essie. These could also be bestowed as-is, just like Posy (which is a nickname for Josephine).

Essie reminds me of Vanessa, a name invented by Jonathan Swift. He based it on the name of a friend, Esther Vanhomrigh, and featured it in his poem “Cadenus and Vanessa.” (And Vanessa gives rise to nicknames like Vana and Nessa.)

In terms of star-names, I like Stella, Estella, and Estelle — really, anything in the Stella family (stella is Latin for “star”).

Another star-themed idea is the Scandinavian name Astrid, which doesn’t have an etymological connection to the prefix astro- (which is based on the Ancient Greek astron, “star”) but looks/sounds like it does.

The name Johanna reminds me of Hester Jo a little — Jo in the front, followed by an H.

Other H-names, let’s see…Hazel, Honora (Nora), Heidi, Harriet, Helen, maybe even Hephzibah (nn Hepsie — Persephone/Sephie is on the table, so I had to throw this in!).

Out of this group, I like Hazel the best. It has a z-sound like Posy, and also a vegetation connection like Hester/Esther (possibly “myrtle”), Hadassah (definitely “myrtle”) and Posy (in the bouquet sense).

Now on to the current favorites…

I like them all, actually. I could see any of them in a sibset with Posy.

I’d be a little concerned about trendiness with both Gemma and Belle. Gemma’s been climbing the charts rather quickly in the last few years; you never know how high it could go. And Belle, not popular on its own, could get lost in a sea of girls with -bella names (Isabella is currently ranked #1, Bella #48, Isabelle #105, Annabelle #117, Izabella #140, etc.).

Sephie reminds me a lot of Posy — both are very rare and have an old-fashioned feel. But I don’t know how fair it is to give one daughter a name that is a nickname (i.e. 1 name) and the other a name that has a nickname (i.e. 2 names). If Posy had been Josephine (nn Posy), I would have been a lot more excited about Persephone (nn Sephie).

Finally, Evie. I have a feeling that most people pronounce it EE-vee, not EHV-ee, so correcting people could become a chore. Spelling it Evvie might help, though both names can be pronounced both ways, so the extra v may not make much of a difference.

Want to help Q name her daughter? Please leave a comment with your…

  • Ideas about how to incorporate the name Hester Jo (or the initials H. J.),
  • Opinions on the current favorites, and/or
  • Other helpful suggestions.

*Name edited out at Q’s request.

Girl Names for Parents Who Don’t Like Girl Names

Some parents see names like Angelina, Isabella, and Olivia and think, “I’m not going to bother weeding through these dainty little sissy-names on the off chance I find a good one. Forget it. I’m gonna flip ahead to the boy names.”

What these parents might not realize, though, is that there are plenty of strong, non-frilly girl names out there. Here are three types I’ve come up with:

Girl Names with Boyish Nicknames
A boy name wrapped in a girl name — the best of both worlds. Most of the full names below are based on boy names, so they simply shorten to the same pet forms.

Alex – Alexandra
Andy – Andrea, Miranda
Bernie – Bernadette
Cal – Calista, Calla
Clem – Clementine
Dan – Danielle
Ernie – Ernestine
Frank – Frances
Gerry – Geraldine
Gus – Augusta
Jack – Jacqueline
Jo – Josephine, Johanna
Max – Maxine
Mo – Monique, Maureen
Nick – Nicole, Monica, Veronica
Rick – Erica
Rob – Roberta
Sal – Salome, Sarah
Tony – Antonia
Will – Wilhelmina

Girl Names with Lots of Consonants
Girl names with at least as many consonants as vowels tend to sound much more serious than vowel-laden girl names. Especially if they end with a consonant (or a consonant-sound).

Adele*
Agnes
Alice
Ardith
Astrid
Blanche
Bridget
Brooke
Carmen
Claire*
Edith
Eleanor*
Elizabeth
Enid
Esther
Gertrude
Gretchen
Harriet
Helen
Hester
Imogene*
Ingrid
Jane
Janet
Jill
Joan
Judith
Katherine
Laurel
Mabel
Margaret
Marion
Maude*
Megan
Meredith
Nadine
Rachel
Ruth
Sibyl
Tamar

*Technically, these names have more vowels than consonants. But it doesn’t sound like they do, and that’s the important part.

Girl Names with Unusual Letters/Sounds
Unusual things command your attention. They may seem odd, but, because they stand out, they also tend to seem bold.

Beatrix
Beulah
Eugenia
Eunice
Gwyneth
Hazel
Izora
Maeve
Tirzah
Tallulah
Ursula
Violet
Winifred
Winona
Yolanda
Zelda
Zenobia
Zillah

What other types of girl names would you add to this list?

Baby Name Needed – Girl Name that Goes with Abel

A reader named Bonny writes:

We are already decided on a boys’ name, but just can’t come up with a good girl’s name. Our firstborn is Abel Zachary. We want a girls’ name that doesn’t clash with Abel. So far we like these girls’ names: Evangelina, Arabella, Amethyst, Isabelle, Olivia, River, Violet. We want something uncommon, but not overly weird. We are stumped and just can’t decide on a girl’s name we really love that fits well with Abel.

I like most of the names on Bonny’s shortlist, but I don’t think many of them fit well with Abel.

To me, Abel is simple, unassuming, obviously biblical, and slightly rural/old-fashioned.

Amethyst and River strike me as being exotic and modern (though I’m sure Amethyst was used occasionally during the Victorian era). Both are gender-neutral names, while Abel is definitively masculine. And I’m slightly concerned that an unusual noun-name could make people think of Abel as able the adjective…you never know.

I like Evangelina, Isabelle, Arabelle and Olivia a little more with Abel, but to me they still sound too formal, too cosmopolitan. I’m not fond of the way Isabelle and Arabelle nearly rhyme with Abel. Finally, Olivia and Isabelle can no longer be described as “uncommon” since becoming trendy during the 1990s.

I do think Violet and Abel make a nice pair, though. Other names that I think fit well with Abel include:

Adina
Cara
Clara
Daria
Dinah
Edna
Eliza
Esther
Helah (the “e” is long)
Helen
Hester
Irene/Irena
Judith
Leona
Mara
Martha
Miriam
Pauline
Ruth
Selah (another long “e”)
Tabitha
Tamar/Tamara
Tirzah
Zillah

Which of the names above do you like best with Abel? What other names would you suggest to Bonny?

Update – The baby is here! Scroll down to see what name Bonny chose…