“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.
Vicki Betts, a librarian at the University of Texas, put together an interesting list of female names using the 1860 census records for Smith County, Texas.
Here’s some background information, per Vicki:
Ninety per cent of the people had emigrated to the county within the preceding ten years, 95.8% born in the states of the future Confederacy, 1.8% in the border states, 1.6% in northern states, and 0.8% in foreign countries. Therefore, these name should be fairly representative of Southern female names in general, with the exception of Alamo, Texas, Texana, etc.
And now the names! Here are the names that appeared most frequently on the 1860 Smith County census:
I heard from a reader named Shana a couple of days ago. Here’s what she says:
I’m 35 weeks pregnant and my DH and I still can’t find a name. Maybe it’s because we would like to incorporate too much into the name or maybe we’re just unsure if we want a trendy name/classic name. I think we are trying to find both in one name, yet can’t.
Our DD is named Lilia Josephine. We both love that it takes a name that is recognizable such as “Lily” and puts a spin on it, so that she will indeed be the only “Lilia” in her class even if their are other girls named “Lily”.
The name must contain Anne/a in either the fn or mn. Also, she will be born and living in Hawaii the first 2 years of her life. We would love to incorporate that into the mix somehow (hence, Isla).
On their list right now is:
Abriana Abrielle Annelise Gabriella Gabrielle
Isla Layla Leora Norah Sierra
I really like Norah, Annelise, Isla and Gabrielle/a. I think any of them would sound good with Lilia. I especially like the first three because they bring something more than style to the table. Annelise has the Anne connection, Isla has the Hawaii connection, and Norah has a distinct set of letters/sounds.
I’m not too keen on the other five names, though. Sierra, Abriana and Abrielle don’t seem right to me in terms of style. They remind me of modern-trendy names like Alexis and Brianna, whereas Lilia reminds of old fashioned-trendy names like Isabella and Olivia. Layla and Leora worry me because they’re so similar to Lilia–same first letter, same last letter, same length. I think it would be wiser to choose a name with at least a different first initial.
Suggestions (inspired by Hawaii)
I love the idea of Isla symbolizing Hawaii. Other names that might work are the names of historical Hawaiian royals. Here are some that I like with Lilia:
Analea (The good news is that it could satisfy the Anne/a requirement. The bad news is that it could be mispronounced “anally.” Might be best as a middle name.)
Emalani/Emmalani (The second spelling was no doubt influenced by Emma, as Hawaiian words aren’t typically spelled with double consonants.)
Victoria (Multiple royals had this name.)
I didn’t include Lydia because, as with Layla and Leora, I think it’s uncomfortably close to Lilia.
Suggestions (based on style)
I tried to come up with names that remind me of Lilia (old fashioned with a twist), that aren’t too laden with L- and I-sounds, and that have some sort of connection to Anne/a.
Anastasia – not related to Anna, but looks & sounds like it could be.
Annetta – Italian diminutive of Anna, though it also sounds like an altered form of Annette.
Bryony – a little like Abriana.
Hannah – early form of Anna.
Iona – refers to an island in Scotland. (And might be derived from the Old Norse word for island.)
Junia – could be seen as a spin on June, though it’s a legit name in its own right.
Lisanne – same elements as Annelise, but reordered.
Nanette – French diminutive of Anne.
Sophia, Sophie, maybe Sophronia
Considering only names on the shortlist, I like the pairings Isla Annelise and Norah Annelise. (Though I wish the A-sounds at the end of Isla and Norah didn’t blend with the A of Annalise.)
Of all the names above, let’s see…I might go for Hannah Victoria, Annetta Theresa and Junia Analea.
Now it’s your turn: Of the names above, which are your favorites for the sister of Lilia Josephine? What other names would you add to the mix? What first/middle combinations would you suggest to Shana?