“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 late 1946, a baby girl was born to Paul Henning of Denver, Colorado. He’d heard of a man in Seattle who had 17 given names* and, impressed, decided that his own daughter’s name should be even longer. So she ended up with 24 given names.
Henning’s daughter–Mary Ann Bernadette Helen Therese Juanita Oliva Alice Louise Harriet Lucille Henrietta Celeste Corolla Constance Cecile Margaret Rose Eugene Yvonne Florentine Lolita Grace Isabelle Henning–was baptized in St. Elizabeth’s church Sunday.
If you were asked to cut this name down to just a first and a middle, using the names already listed, which two would you choose?
*The Seattle man, known as William Cary, had recently died. He’d been born in the mid-1860s and his 17 names had come from the surnames of officers in his father’s Civil War regiment.
“What’s in Name? This Baby Given 24 for a Starter.” Milwaukee Journal 11 Nov. 1946: 1.
“Man With 17 Names Dies in Seattle.” Abilene Reporter-News 1 Nov. 1946: 33.
The baby names Teresa and Fatima might see higher usage in 2016 and 2017, respectively, thanks to Catholic influence.
On September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa will officially be declared a saint of the Catholic Church.
Mother Teresa’s religious name honors St. Thérèse de Lisieux, but she opted for the Spanish spelling “Teresa” when she took her religious vows (back in 1931) because another nun in the convent was already using the name “Thérèse.”
Her birth name was Anjezë, an Albanian form of Agnes, which can be traced back to the ancient Greek word hagnos, meaning “pure, chaste.”
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions seen by three shepherd children (Lúcia, Francisco, and Jacinta) near the town of Fátima, Portugal.
The place name Fátima is based on the Arabic personal name Fatimah, meaning “to wean.”
If the usage of Fatima does rise in the U.S. in 2017, I’ll be curious to see how much of that increase comes from states with large Portuguese populations (like Massachusetts, California, and Rhode Island).
Update, 5/18/2017: The name Teresa did rise in usage, but only slightly, in 2016.
The Dionne Quintuplets — the first set of quints known to survive infancy — were born in Ontario, Canada, on May 28, 1934. But identical sisters Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Emilie and Marie weren’t the only children in the Dionne family. Over the course of 20 years, parents Oliva-Edouard and Elzire Dionne had a total of 14 children — 6 before the quints, 3 after.