Three recent baby name stories featuring names that pay tribute to others:
Katrina: In May of 2015, a baby girl born to a survivor of the Sydney siege was named Emily Katrina, middle name in honor of Katrina Dawson, one of the victims.
Briar: In May of 2016, a baby girl born to a couple who had fled from the Fort McMurray wildfire two weeks earlier was named Briar Adele, Briar in honor of CBC broadcaster Briar Stewart, who had reported on the wildfire from the front lines.
Carmi Hallel: In July of 2016, a baby girl born to a family in Israel was named Carmi Hallel, middle name in honor of Hallel Ariel, the 13-year-old girl who had been murdered several days earlier. (Hallel means “praise” in Hebrew.)
According to data from Malta’s National Statistics Office, the most popular name-groups in Malta in 2014 were Elena/Elenia/Helena/Ella and Luke/Luca/Lucas.
Here are Malta’s top 10 girl and boy name-groups of 2014:
Elena/Elenia/Helena/Ella, 97 baby girls
Maria/Marija/Mariah/Marie, 37 [tie]
Anna/Hannah/Ann, 37 [tie]
Luke/Luca/Lucas, 98 baby boys
Liam/William, 51 [tie]
John/Jean/Jonathan/Juan/Gan, 51 [tie]
Kaiden/Kayden/Kai ,46 [tie]
Alexander/Alessandro/Alec, 46 [tie]
Down in 15th place on the boys’ side is “Yannick/Yan” — both are versions of John, and yet they’re not part of the John group, which is tied for 6th.
Speaking of strange things…
The current Maltese birth registration system does not allow for Maltese fonts, which essentially means that names with ċ such as Ċikku or Ċensa; with a ġ such as Ġorġ or Ġanna; and with a ż such as Liża or Ġużi, are out – or at least will be recorded without the essential dots which distinguish the Maltese phonetical sound.
I’ve seen governments (e.g., NWT, California) make excuses about not being able to render minority/ethnic names properly on birth certificates, but I’ve never heard of a country that couldn’t render names from its own national language.
I recently read something about Prince and Apollonia, and it reminded me I hadn’t yet blogged about Prince and Apollonia. So here we go…
Prince — his real first name — was born in Minnesota in 1958. His full legal name is Prince Rogers Nelson. The “Prince Rogers” part comes from his father, who was a jazz musician with the stage name Prince Rogers (real name: John Nelson).
Prince’s albums started coming out in the late ’70s: For You (1978), Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and so forth.
Did Prince’s musical career affect the usage of the baby name Prince?
1986: 150 baby boys named Prince
1985: 195 baby boys named Prince
1984: 206 baby boys named Prince
1983: 167 baby boys named Prince
1982: 137 baby boys named Prince
1981: 146 baby boys named Prince
1980: 131 baby boys named Prince
1979: 92 baby boys named Prince
1978: 73 baby boys named Prince
1977: 59 baby boys named Prince
1976: 65 baby boys named Prince
Usage of the name Prince, which had been relatively steady for decades, started to rise right away. It hit a high point in 1984, the year Purple Rain (both the album and the movie) came out. After that, usage declined. (Perhaps Prince had become a little too famous at that point?)
In mid-1981, Prince put together an all-female R&B trio called Vanity 6 — named after lead singer Denise Katrina “Vanity” Matthews. The group put out their one and only album (the self-titled Vanity 6) in August of 1982.
Vanity left the band in 1983 after just 2 years, but she continued putting out music as a solo artist during the ’80s.
So did Vanity influence the usage of the baby name Vanity?
1989: 102 baby girls named Vanity
1988: 116 baby girls named Vanity [peak]
1987: 89 baby girls named Vanity
1986: 76 baby girls named Vanity
1985: 103 baby girls named Vanity
1984: 45 baby girls named Vanity
1983: 56 baby girls named Vanity
1982: 5 baby girls named Vanity [debut]
The name Vanity debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1982 and saw peak usage in 1988.
When Vanity left the band, Prince replaced her with (Patricia) Apollonia Kotero and changed the name of the trio from “Vanity 6” to “Apollonia 6.”
In 1984, not only did the group put out an album (the self-titled Apollonia 6), but Apollonia co-starred with Prince in the movie Purple Rain. (Her efforts earned her a Razzie nomination for “Worst New Star” of 1984.)
Did Apollonia influence the usage of the baby name Apollonia?
1987: 29 baby girls named Apollonia
1986: 53 baby girls named Apollonia
1985: 67 baby girls named Apollonia
1984: 28 baby girls named Apollonia
The name had charted a few times before, back in the early 1900s, but Prince’s protégé Apollonia put it back on the map in 1984. She also gave variants Apolonia and Appollonia a boost.
Did you know Prince had a female alter-ego named “Camille” for a time?
In fact, Camille was going to be the name of a 1986 album by his alter-ego Camille, but the project was scrapped. (The songs were going to be sung with altered vocals.)
If the album Camillehad come out that year, though, what affect do you think it would have had on the trajectory of the baby name Camille?
A few weeks ago, The Stir posted a list of 20 pairs of baby names for girl-boy twins.
The problem with their list? Each matchy-matchy name-pair started with the same first letter.
Yes, most parents gravitate toward patterns when it comes to naming twins. This has been confirmed by at least one study and is easy to see when you peruse the (now discontinued) lists of popular twin names.
So I thought I’d improve upon their list by separating the pairings and giving each of the 40 names a new, non-matchy partner — different first letter, different ending, different number of syllables.
Hazel & Hugo
Emma & Evan
Madison & Mason
Taylor & Tyler
Vivienne & Val
Ava & Alexander
Chloe & Caleb
Sophia & Samuel
Eva & Ethan
Penelope & Pax
Savannah & Sebastian
Lily & Luke
Dylan & Dean
Naomi & Noah
Imogen & Isaac
Juliette & James
Christina & Christian
Grace & Gavin
Avery & Aiden
Claire & Clive
Hazel & Benjamin
Emma & Charles
Madison & Liam
Taylor & Grant
Vivienne & Phillip
Ava & Carl
Chloe & Gabriel
Sophia & Owen
Eva & Jack
Penelope & Duncan
Savannah & Zane
Lily & Cash
Dylan & Matthias
Naomi & Joseph
Imogen & Grey
Juliette & Simon
Christina & Thomas
Grace & Dominic
Avery & Beau
Claire & Julian
Hugo & Adelaide
Evan & Sabrina
Mason & Aria
Tyler & Addison
Val & Edie
Alexander & Daphne
Caleb & Lydia
Samuel & Hannah
Ethan & Amelia
Pax & Kira
Sebastian & Gemma
Luke & Maya
Dean & Harper
Noah & Abigail
Isaac & Johanna
James & Tabitha
Christian & Veronica
Gavin & Bree
Aiden & Katrina
Clive & Odette
Not only are the pairs in the middle and on the right smarter choices in terms of child development, but they’re also less likely to cause embarrassment and/or confusion. Unlike, say, Christina and Christian.
What are your favorite non-matchy baby names for girl-boy twins?
P.S. Hate to nit-pick, but…the Stir post also included several bogus definitions. Caleb means “devotion to God”? Nope, Caleb means dog.