Unusual Real Names: Moscelyne, Ottobuono, Twentyman

Here’s another batch of long, unusual-but-real names. (Here are batches 1 and 2.)

  • Melusina: Feminist Melusina Fay Peirce, leader of the “cooperative housekeeping” movement, was born in Vermont in 1836.
  • Moscelyne: Native American ballerina Moscelyne Larkin was born in Oklahoma in 1925.
  • Olinthus: Mathematician Olinthus Gilbert Gregory was born in England in 1774.
  • Orator: Politician Orator H. LaCraft was born in Wisconsin in 1850.
  • Ottobuono: Ottobuono de’ Fieschi (later Pope Adrian V) was born in Italy during the 13th century.
  • Percenia: Nurse Percenia Johnson was on the cover of Jet in 1953: percenia, nurse
  • Spurzheim: Politician Spurzheim “Spud” Derby was born in Indiana in 1856.
  • Roberdeau: Astronomer Roberdeau Buchanan was born in Pennsylvania in 1839. His first name was his mother’s maiden name.
  • Twentyman: Twentyman Wood of Connecticut received U.S. patent 19,275 in 1858. (His name reminds me of Twentynine Palms, California.)
  • Verrazzani: Judge Verrazzani C. Bratton, Sr., was born in Arkansas in 1860.
  • Whitemarsh: Politician Whitemarsh B. Seabrook was born in South Carolina in 1793.
  • Xenophon: Lawyer Xenophon P. Huddy, an early specialist in automobile law, was born in Rhode Island in 1876.
  • Xiuhtezcatl: Environmental activist Xiuhtezcatl (pron. shu-tez-caht) Martinez was born in Colorado circa 2000.

And one non-human entry: Louboutina, “Loubie,” the hugging dog of Instagram.


Five-Name Friday: Boy Name for Wilder’s Brother

five name friday, boy name

It’s spring! Time to start some spring cleaning. But a quick perusal of your cleaning closet reveals that you’re running low on a few key things, so you head to the store to restock.

In the cleaning goods aisle you strike up a conversation with a friendly pregnant lady. She jokes that she’ll be brainstorming for baby names while she vacuums. You ask her what sort of name she’s looking for and she says:

We’re looking for a boy name to go with big siblings Matilda and Wilder. Mild literary or nature associations are a plus, but not necessary.

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions on the spot. But you’ve got a lot of dusting and scrubbing to do, so you only have time to give her five helpful suggestions before making your purchase and heading home.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d be forced to do in real life) you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in public?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

We’re looking for a boy name to go with big siblings Matilda and Wilder. Mild literary or nature associations are a plus, but not necessary.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]

Five-Name Friday: Girl Name like Sarah

five name friday, girl name

You’re back at the furniture warehouse, this time looking for an armchair to go with the couch you got a few months ago. While there, you strike up a conversation with yet another friendly pregnant lady (what are the chances?!). You ask her if she’s chosen a name yet, and this is what she says:

I want to name my daughter after my mom Sarah, but I also want my daughter (and my mom!) to have their own unique names, not exact duplicate names. What are some nice names like Sarah?

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions on the spot. But there are hundreds of armchairs to choose from, and the store won’t stay open forever, so you only have time to give her five baby name suggestions before you get back to your shopping.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d be forced to do in real life) you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in public?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

I want to name my daughter after my mom Sarah, but I also want my daughter (and my mom!) to have their own unique names, not exact duplicate names. What are some nice names like Sarah?

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: Letter Z

zaza, movie, gloria swanson
Gloria Swanson as Zaza (1923)
Looking for an under-the-radar girl name with a retro feel?

A few years ago I combed though a bunch of IMDb pages looking for interesting female names associated with old films (1910s-1940s).

Most of the names I spotted — names like Mabel, Maisie, Hazel, Hattie, Elsie, Selma, Bessie, and Betty — were ones I expected to see. But I did manage to collect thousands of rarities, many of which have never appeared in the SSA data before.

Want to check out all these unusual names? I thought so! To make things interesting I’ll post the Z-names first and go backwards, letter by letter.

Enjoy!

Zabette
Zabette de Chavalons was a character played by actress Bebe Daniels in the film Volcano! (1926).

Zabie
Zabie Elliot was a character played by actress Mary Alden in the film The Broken Butterfly (1919).

Zada
Zada L’Etoile was a character played by actress Sylvia Breamer in the Cecil B. DeMille-directed film We Can’t Have Everything (1918).

Zadee
Zadee Burbank was an actress who appeared in films during the 1910s and 1920s. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1867 with the name Sarah Pyle Watt.

Zahanna
Zahanna was a character played by actress Marie Walcamp in the short film The Girl and the Tiger (1913).

Zahrah
Zahrah was a character played by actress Gene Gauntier in the short film The Fighting Dervishes of the Desert (1912).

Zahrat
Zahrat was a character played by actress Betty Blythe in the film Chu-Chin-Chow (1923) and by Anna May Wong in Chu-Chin-Chow (1934).

Zalata
Zalata was a character played by actress Ruth Stonehouse in the short film Ashes of Hope (1914).

Zalea
Zalea was a character played by mononymous actress Armida in the film Congo Bill
(1948).

Zalia
Zalia Graem was a character played by actress Virginia Bruce in the film The Garden Murder Case (1936).

Zalla
Zalla Zarana was an actress who appeared in films during the 1920s. She was born in Slovenia in 1897 with the name Rozalija Sršen.

Zamina
Zamina was a character played by actress Edna Eichor in the film The Roughneck (1924).

Zana
Zana was a character name used in multiple films, including Tonight Is Ours (1933) and Call Out the Marines (1942).

Zanda
Zanda was a character played by actress Laska Winter in the film Shipwrecked (1926).

Zandra
Zandra was a character name used in multiple films, including Carnival Lady (1933) and Good Dame (1934).

Zarika
Countess Zarika Rafay was a character played by actress Rosalind Russell in the film The Night is Young (1935).

Zarita
Zarita was a character played by actress Julie Suedo in the film King’s Mate (1928).

Zarmi
Zarmi was a character played by actress Julie Suedo in the three short films The Queen of Hearts (1923), The Man with the Limp (1923), and The Golden Pomegranates (1924).

Zarrah
Zarrah was a character played by actress Violet Horner in the film A Daughter of the Gods (1916).

ZaSu
ZaSu Pitts was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Kansas in 1894.

Zavia
Princess Zavia was a character played by actress Alice Joyce in the short film The Theft of the Crown Jewels (1914).

Zaza
Zaza was a character played by Pauline Frederick in the film Zaza (1915), Gloria Swanson in Zaza (1923), and Claudette Colbert in Zaza (1938).

Zedorah
Zedorah was a character played by actress Mayo Methot in the film Counsellor at Law (1933).

Zee
Zee was a character name used in multiple films, including Jesse James (1939) and Man from Texas (1948).

  • Usage of the baby name Zee (which debuted in the data the year Jesse James came out).

Zeetah
Zeetah was a character played by actress Bessie Eyton in the short film The Totem Mark (1911).

Zeffie
Zeffie Tilbury was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in England in 1863.

Zeleekha
Zeleekha was a character played by actress Mary Duncan in the film Kismet (1930).

Zelia
Zelia de Chaumont was a character played by actress Ruth Chatterton in the film The Rat (1937).

Zelie
Zélie was a character name in multiple films, including The Rat (1925) and The White Black Sheep (1926).

Zell
Zell was a character played by actress Mollie King in the film Fate’s Boomerang (1916).

Zelle
Zelle was a character played by actress Anne Cornwall in the short film The Roughneck (1924).

Zelma
Zelma was a character name in multiple films, including Charity Castle (1917) and Turkish Delight (1927).

Zema
Zema was a character played by actress Louise Vale in the short film The Debt (1912).

Zena
Zena Dare was an actress who appeared in films during the 1920s and 1930s. She was born in England in 1887. Zena Keefe was an actress who appeared in films during the 1910s and 1920s. She was born in California in 1898. Zena was also a character name in multiple films, including The Code of Honor (short, 1916) and The New York Peacock (1917).

Zenia
Zenia was a character name in multiple films such as His Friend’s Wife (short, 1911) and Centennial Summer (1946).

Zenobia
Zenobia was a character name in multiple films such as Secrets of Chinatown (1935) and The Crystal Ball (1943).

Zephne
Zephne Lamont was a character played by actress Edna Murphy in the film The Man Between (1923).

Zephyer
Zephyer Redlynch was a character played by actress “Miss DuPont” (born Patricia Hannon) in the film One Night in Rome (1924).

Zephyrine
Zephyrine was a character name in multiple films, including The Suicide Club (1914) and Women Everywhere (1930).

Zerelda
Zerelda was a character name used in multiple films, including Jesse James (1927) and Jesse James (1939).

Zerilda
Zerilda James was a character played by actress Dorothy Sebastian in the film Days of Jesse James (1939).

Zerlina
Zerlina was a character played by actress Lucile Browne in the film The Devil’s Brother (1933).

Zetta
Zetta was a character played by actress Zalla Zarana in the film The Lady Who Lied (1925).

Zilah
Zilah was a character played by actress Ruth Miller in the film The Sheik (1921).

Zilla
Zilla Riesling was a character played by Cissy Fitzgerald in the film Babbitt (1924) and Minna Gombell in Babbitt (1934).

Zillah
Zillah was a character played by actress Eulalie Jensen in the film Fighting Love (1927).

Zinida
Zinida was a character played by actress Paulette Duval in the film He Who Gets Slapped (1924).

Zira
Zira was a character name in multiple films, including Heart of Flame (short, 1915)
and The Fortieth Door (1924).

Zita
Zita was a character name in multiple films, including The Master Mystery (1919) and The Great Flirtation (1934).

Zixi
Queen Zixi was a character played by actress Juanita Hansen in the short film The Magic Cloak (1914).

Zizi
Zizi was a character played by actress Maudie Dunham in the film Circus Jim (1921).

Zohra
Princess Zohra was a character played by actress Edna Maison in the film serial Under the Crescent (1915).

Zoila
Zoila Conan was an actress who appeared in films during the 1930s. She was born in Mexico in 1903.

Zoldene
Zoldene was a character played by actress Gretchen Lederer in the film Black Friday (1916).

Zonia
Zonia was a character played by actress Eugenie Forde in the film The Light (1916).

Zoradi
Zoradi was a character played by actress Myrtle Gonzalez in the short film The Thief of the Desert (1916).

Zorah
Zorah was a character name in multiple films, such as The Cry of the Captive (short, 1914) and Samson (1914).

Zorina
Vera Zorina, often credited simply as Zorina, was an actress who appeared in films during the 1930s and 1940s. She was born in Germany in 1917 with the name Eva Brigitta Hartwig.

Zudora
Zudora was a character played by actress Marguerite Snow in the film serial Zudora (1914).

Zuleika
Zuleika was a character played by actress Maria Montez in the film Raiders of the Desert (1941).

Zuletta
Zuletta was a character played by actress Lucille Young in the film The Spell of the Poppy (1915).

Zulika
Zulika was a character name used in multiple films, including The Greed of Osman Bey (short, 1913) and How the Earth Was Carpeted (short, 1914).

Zulima
Zulima was a character played by actress Blanche Cornwall in the film Fra Diavolo (1912).

*

Which of the above names do you like best?

Five-Name Friday: Quirky Girl Name Like Sesame

five name friday, girl name

You’re idly wandering through a novelty shop — aisles full of noisemakers, gross-out gifts, books about rednecks, etc. — when you happen upon a pregnant lady examining a roll of glow-in-the-dark toilet paper. She starts up a conversation, and at one point mentions her ongoing search for a baby name:

My cousin just named her daughter Sesame and I wish that I had thought of it, I love that it’s a slightly uncommon word name that sounds similar to more familiar names (e.g. Cecily, Jessamy). Now I’m looking for a similar longish, feminine, but quirky name for my daughter.

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions on the spot. But you’ve found a cool set of mustache refrigerator magnets, and you want to make your purchase and get going. So you decide to stick to five baby name suggestions.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with, you get to press a magical “pause” button, think for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer him the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in public?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

My cousin just named her daughter Sesame and I wish that I had thought of it, I love that it’s a slightly uncommon word name that sounds similar to more familiar names (e.g. Cecily, Jessamy). Now I’m looking for a similar longish, feminine, but quirky name for my daughter.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]

Top Dog and Cat Names in San Diego, 2016

dog, catIn August of 2016, the San Diego County Department of Animal Services (SDDAC) released lists of the most popular names for licensed dogs and licensed cats in the region.

The top ten dog names were…

1. Bella
2. Max
3. Buddy
4. Lucy
5. Daisy
6. Charlie
7. Molly
8. Bailey
9. Roxy
10. Lola

Bella was also #1 on the 2015 list. In the top 10, Lola replaced Maggie. Just outside the top 10 were Rocky, Coco, Maggie, Sadie and Jack.

And the top ten cat names were…

1. Kitty
2. Tiger
3. Smokey
4. Baby
5. Princess
6. Tigger
7. Shadow
8. Lucy
9. Max
10. Missy

The rather unimaginative “Kitty” was also the top pick in 2015. Princess and Missy replaced Sassy and Cleo in the top 10. Just outside the top 10 were Oreo, Charlie, Blackie, Midnight and Bella.

Here are San Diego’s top baby names for 2016, if you’d like to throw in yet another species.

Sources: Top Dog Names in San Diego County, Top Cat Names in San Diego County

Five-Name Friday: Girl Name in the Style of Sophia

five name friday, girl names

You started a small home improvement project…only to discover that you don’t have all the tools you’ll need to finish. So you stop everything and head to the hardware store.

As you make your purchase, you notice that the man behind the counter seems a little stressed out. He admits that his girlfriend is due to give birth any day now, but he doesn’t feel ready to be a dad yet. They don’t even have a name picked out. Then he tells you the gist of what they’re looking for:

My brother named his daughter Sophia. For ours we want something of a similar style, but not as popular.

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give him dozens of suggestions on the spot. But you’ve got to get back to your project, so you only have time to give him five helpful suggestions before heading off.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d be forced to do in real life) you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in public?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

My brother named his daughter Sophia. For ours we want something of a similar style, but not as popular.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]