You asked me what my middle name is. When you care about people, you want to know more about them. My middle name is McFeely. I was named after my Grandfather McFeely. That’s the name we decided to use for the man who does the deliveries on our television visits.
Before Aoife, we were never big on meaningful names, on names that represented something. With Greer and Scout, we just went with ones that were right for the moment, oblivious to what serendipity had in store. With Aoife, there was a purpose, a reason. And if when she curses us for it, we have a story to tell her. A story she can tell. She may not immediately appreciate it, but in time she will.
I was named after Jaime Sommers, The Bionic Woman. True story. My mom was a huge fan and evidently watched a lot of it while pregnant with me. But these days it’s cooler to tell people I spell it like Jaime Lannister.
(The “ShezCrafti” handle comes from the Beastie Boys song “She’s Crafty.”)
Most of the little girls were what you’d expect from the affluent suburbs of a major American city. They were cute, thin, predominantly blond, with WASPy names that were so white they were practically invisible.
Weighing in at 6lb 14oz Kirra Smith was born at 5.09am to the delight of Ella and her mum Claire, 42, and dad Richard, 46, from Neston.
Gazing at her new-born, Claire, a speech and language therapist, said: “Yes. Ella wished for a sister and now she has got one. It was a shock as she was not due until January 6 but this is very special and I will never forget this Christmas.”
Kirra’s unusual name was inspired by Kirra Beach on Australia’s Gold Coast where Richard likes to surf when visiting Claire’s ex-pat mum Triana, 65, who flew over to be at the birth.
“We were trying to figure out what the characteristics on it were,” he said. “We share a lab with some arachnologists, and one of them looked at it and said, ‘You know, that looks like that guy from Star Wars.'”
[Jonathan] Armbruster and his colleagues figured out the arachnologist had been referring to Greedo. “As soon as we heard that, we knew what the species would be,” Armbruster said.
At university, I accrued the ear-splitting nickname Choliver, until I simply refused to respond. And while my favourite, Carlotta, worked when I lived in Mexico — mostly with Mojito in hand and salsa on the stereo — I soon realised it caused something of a stink when I returned to the UK. Like a very English John, who replies: “Ay, no papi, call me Juan.”
I have this one friend Sabina, though, we’ve been friends forever. She’s gorgeous. She’s a Ford model, she’s dating a professional athlete. And that name Sabina, that’s one of those annoying names you have to be really hot to pull off, right? … You can’t have a bum knee and a lazy eye and be like, “I’m Sabina!”
If you’re really hot you can be like, I’m Gorgonzola, whut.”
(For the record, I have yet to find a person legally named Gorgonzola.)
A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.
I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”
Here’s the list:
Have any favorites?
Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.
BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.
I’ve got some 13th-century English names for you today!
They come from the fine rolls of King Henry III (1216–1272). The fine rolls were basically financial records. King Henry III wasn’t the first to keep them, but they “expand[ed] considerably in size and content during Henry’s reign.”
(These lists aren’t the same as the single-year, society-wide baby name popularity lists we’re accustomed to — they cover a wide range of birth years, and a small segment of society — but they do give us a general idea of which names were the most popular during the 1200s.)
Of the 8,423 male names in the fine rolls, these were the most popular:
William (1,217 mentions)
Nicholas, Peter (180 each)
Andrew, Matthew (42 each)
Other names on the men’s list: Hamo, Fulk, Payn, Waleran, Drogo, Engeram, Amfrid, Ratikin, Walkelin, Bonefey, Fulcher, Hasculf, Herlewin, Joldwin, Lefsi, Marmaduke, Orm, Albizium, Cocky, Deulobene, Gwenwynwyn, Markewart.
Of the 1,314 female names in the fine rolls, these were the most popular:
A reader named Andi has two children, Emma and Ethan. She’s now expecting her third, a girl, and she’d like some name suggestions. Here are the details:
She does not want another E-name.
She’d like something that isn’t very trendy.
The baby’s surname will start with an r and have two syllables. (Think Rogers.)
Andi likes the names Adeline (nn Addie), Ava, Chloe, Ellie, Grace, Isabelle, Lauren, Lily, Madeline (nn Maddie) and Victoria. Her husband doesn’t care for any of these names, though.
She also mentions that the names Olivia, Catherine and Julia are off the table.
This is a curious case. Andi would like to avoid trendy names, yet many of the names she likes are very trendy right now. Ava and Chloe are in the top 10. Grace and Lily are in the top 20. Isabelle is similar to #1 name Isabella. Ellie is similar to #14 Ella. Addie and Maddie are also nicknames for #12 Addison and #7 Madison.
So the challenge will be finding a name to go with Emma and Ethan that sounds trendy, but isn’t. Here are some ideas: