“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.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.
So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.
I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.
I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).
Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).
The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).
The top two debut names of 1953 were Trenace (for girls) and Caster (for boys). And you know what? Both have me stumped.
We’ve already talked about Trenace, so here are some details about Caster:
1956: 5 baby boys named Caster
1955: 11 baby boys named Caster
1954: 16 baby boys named Caster
1953: 21 baby boys named Caster [debut]
Caster doesn’t seem to be a variant of some other name (like Casper, or Lancaster). So I’m assuming this usage corresponds to someone named Caster — either real or fictional — who was in the public eye for several years in a row.
The tricky thing is, of course, that any online search for the name “Caster” turns up all sorts of extraneous stuff — fishing, furniture, music (stratocaster), sports (sportscaster), and so forth.
Still, I was able to track down a few clues.
Records suggest that the majority of these 1950s Casters had middle names that started with D. Here’s a Caster D. born in 1953, and another Caster D. born in 1957.
And every single D-middle I tracked down included the letter L and/or the letter R. Some examples: Dell, Derrell, Derrel, Derriel, Daryl, Deryl, Derald, Derra, Doria, and Doral. A handful of people even had combination names like Casterdale or Casterdell (b. 1953).
Finally, it looks like most of the people named Caster D. were born in the South.
Do you have any idea where the name Caster might have come from?
Please note that I did include names in the gray area between one syllable and two syllables. The deciding factor on these particular names will be your own interpretation/accent, so be sure to test the names out loud before making any final decisions. (“Hayle,” for instance — would you say it like Hale, or like Hailey? Or “Rise” — is it rize, or ree-sah?)