Baby name needed: Boy name that’s familiar, yet uncommon

A reader named Rachel is expecting a baby boy. She says:

We had two girls’ names that I adored — Jane and Marjorie. Both of these are very uncommon (400s for Jane, not in top 1000 for Marjorie!) yet are utterly familiar (and unpretentious).

I am completely unable to find a boys’ name that fits that bill. All of the familiar, classic names are common. All of the uncommon names make me fear trendiness; few have that classic simplicity.

To add another wrinkle, if possible we’d like to honor a relative with an S-name. The only two I’ve found that I like so far are Samuel (but so common) and Silas (uncommon, but maybe trying too hard?) Other contenders are Henry and Edmund.

How funny — as soon as I read that second paragraph, the name Henry popped into my head.

I don’t think Silas is necessarily one of those “trying too hard”-types of names. (Unlike, say, Ptolemy.) But it will sound more natural in some areas than in others. Are future playmates going to have names like Victoria and Robert, or names like Jayden and Kayla? That could make a huge difference to a boy named Silas.

Here are a few other S-names that might be tempting (along with current rankings, for those in the top 1,000):

  • Simon (261st)
  • Solomon (429th)
  • Stanley (653rd)
  • Stanton
  • Stuart/Stewart
  • Sylvan
  • Sylvester

And, along with Edmund and Henry, here are some non-S-names that could work:

Antony (895)
Bernard (940)
Carl (490)
Curtis (380)
Duncan (717)
Eugene (691)
Francis (656)
Franklin (467)
Frederick (523)
Gerald (603)
Howard (903)
Jerome (616)
Lane (319)
Leonard (621)
Lewis (640)
Matthias (772)
Milton (923)
Philip (378)
Roger (463)
Victor (111)
Walter (393)

What other names would you suggest to Rachel?

Update: The baby is here! Scroll down to find out what name Rachel chose.

6 thoughts on “Baby name needed: Boy name that’s familiar, yet uncommon

  1. I think Silas isn’t trying too hard. It is the name of one of the characters on Heroes, so has some current usage.

  2. and yet again I am going to be unoriginal and mention my husbands name…common but not.


  3. What about Theodore? It’s not common, but it “feels” like Jane & Marjorie to me–everybody’s familiar with it. And there are some great nickname options with it. Though, not an “S” name…

  4. Just heard from Rachel:

    We ended up naming our son Silas. Five months later, I am completely happy with the name. We agonized so much, but ended up in exactly the right place.

    Great choice. Congrats!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.