“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.
Madge Evans was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in New York in 1909. Her birth name was Margherita Evans. Madge Kennedy was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1970s. She was born in Illinois in 1891. Madge was also a character name in multiple films, including The Tragedy of Ambition (short, 1914) and The Peace of Roaring River (1919).
Magda Foy was a child actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in New York in 1905. Her birth name was Magdalena Patricia Foy. Madga was also a character played by actress Gertrude Michael in the film I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby (1940).
Malvina Longfellow was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1889. Malvina Polo was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in California in 1903. Malvina was also a character name in multiple films, including Ann Vickers (1933) and Let’s Make Music (1941).
Marcelle Corday was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in Belgium in 1890. Marcelle Hontabat was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1916. She was born in New York in 1897. Marcelle was also a character name in multiple films, including The Way Out (1918) and 50 Million Frenchmen (1931).
Maud Allan was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1915. She was born in Canada in 1873. Her birth name was Beulah Maude Durrant. Maud was also a character played by actress Miriam Cooper in the film Daughters of the Rich (1923).
Maudie Dunham was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in England in 1902. Maudie was also a character name in multiple films, including Tell Your Children (1922) and Night After Night (1932).
Mayflower was a character played by actress Gladys Hulette in the film Secrets of Paris (1922).
Mayme Kelso was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Ohio in 1867. Mayme was also a character name in multiple films, including One Hundred Percent American (short, 1918) and The Mighty (1929).
It’s easy to figure out which baby names appeared on all (or most) of the state-specific baby name lists for 2017. But what about the rare names that only made one or two state lists?
A total of 1,324 names appeared on just one state list, and a total of 1,198 names appeared on two state lists. (I analyzed boy names and girl names separately, though, so several of these names did show up on extra lists as the other gender.)
Here’s a selection of the baby names that appeared on just one state list last year:
Neyland, 41 boys in Tennessee (out of 53 nation-wide)
Roel, 23 boys in Texas (out of 50 nation-wide)
Ariza, 22 girls in Arizona (out of 31 nation-wide)
Marty, 21 boys in Ohio (out of 66 boys, and 13 girls, nation-wide)
Venice, 20 girls and 5 boys in California (out of 44 and 12 nation-wide)
Kinnick, 19 boys in Iowa (out of 29 nation-wide)
Benuel, 17 boys in Pennsylvania (out of 26 nation-wide)
Barbie, 16 girls in Pennsylvania (out of 29 nation-wide)
Kainalu, 16 boys in Hawaii (out of 23 nation-wide)
Mahina, 16 girls in Hawaii (out of 22 nation-wide)
Taysom, 14 boys in Utah (out of 24 nation-wide)
Hatcher, 10 boys in Alaska (out of 40 nation-wide)
Talmage, 10 boys in Utah (out of 20 nation-wide)
Atlee, 8 boys in Ohio (out of 25 boys and 32 girls nation-wide)
Cruzito, 8 boys in New Mexico (out of 25 nation-wide)
Nizhoni, 8 girls in Arizona (out of 21 nation-wide)
California, 7 girls in California (out of 16 nation-wide)
Griffey, 7 boys in Washington state (out of 21 nation-wide)
Kodiak, 7 boys in California (out of 30 nation-wide)
Rainier, 7 boys in Washington state (out of 24 nation-wide)
Alabama, 5 girls in California (out of 16 nation-wide)
Boomer, 5 boys in Texas (out of 33 nation-wide)
Cleveland, 5 boys in Florida (out of 28 nation-wide)
Crockett, 5 boys in Texas (out of 10 nation-wide)
Ole, 5 boys in Minnesota (out of 21 nation-wide)
A lot of these have easy explanations (e.g., Neyland Stadium, Kinnick Stadium, Mount Rainier, Taysom Hill) or are logical in some other way (like “Ariza” in Arizona).
Two that I couldn’t figure out, though, were Marty in Ohio and Barbie in Pennsylvania. My assumption regarding Barbie is that it’s popular among the Amish. (Benuel too.) But I have no clue about Marty. Is it college sports…?
And here’s a selection of the baby names that showed up on two state lists in 2017:
Hyrum, 36 boys in Utah and 15 in Idaho (out of 88 nation-wide)
Ammon, 24 boys in Utah and 6 in Pennsylvania (out of 64 nation-wide)
Fannie, 18 in Pennsylvania and 6 in New York (out of 45 nation-wide)
Avenir, 11 boys in Washington state and 6 in California (out of 31 nation-wide)
Reverie, 8 girls in California and 5 in Illinois (out of 26 nation-wide)
Sunshine, 7 girls in Arizona and 7 in California (out of 55 nation-wide)
I was confused about Avenir a few years ago, but I’ve since found the answer: it’s the Russian form of the Biblical name Abner. Avenir has been popping up on West Coast state lists (WA, OR, CA) lately, which makes sense given the fact that several West Coast cities have relatively large Russian-American populations.
Have you had a chance to go over the state lists yet? If so, did you spot anything interesting?
A few years ago, we held a fun 1980s name-song tournament. (Come on, Eileen, you must remember!) This year, let’s go back even further — let’s check out songs with names in the titles from the early rock and roll era (late ’50s and early ’60s).
I’ll explain more about the tournament at the bottom of the post. For now, I’ll just forewarn you that each link opens a video in a new page so that you don’t lose your place on this page, which is pretty long.
"Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers (57%, 4 Votes)
"Sally, Go 'Round the Roses" by The Jaynetts (43%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 7
Which song is better? (30 of 32)
"Susie Q" by Dale Hawkins (71%, 5 Votes)
"Sherry" by The Four Seasons (29%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 7
Which song is better? (31 of 32)
"Runaround Sue" by Dion (67%, 4 Votes)
"Venus in Blue Jeans" by Jimmy Clanton (33%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 6
Which song is better? (32 of 32)
"Sheila" by Tommy Roe (67%, 4 Votes)
"Susie Darlin'" by Robin Luke (33%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 6
…And that’s it for now! Round 2 will start on Friday.
Here’s the full tournament schedule:
Round 1 (64 songs to 32): Vote March 12-15
Round 2 (32 to 16): Vote March 16-19
Sweet 16 (16 to 8): Vote March 20-22
Elite Eight (8 to 4): Vote March 23-25
Final Four (4 to 2): Vote March 26-27
Championship (2 to 1): Vote March 28-29
Winner (1): Announced on March 30
Polls close at 11:59 PM (Mountain Time) on the last day of each round.
And finally, in case you’re wondering how I chose the groups and the pairings: The groups are alphabetical (A to F, G to L, L to P, and R to W). To rank the songs within each group, I used that “total” number of Google search results as a proxy for popularity. Then I created match-ups in true March Madness style: first vs. last, second vs. second-to-last, and so forth.