Nature is waking up again! Let’s celebrate by checking out which nature names are the most popular for baby girls right now. Ironically the top 50 list below includes all the seasons except for “Spring,” but it does feature lots of springtime things: flowers, birds, trees…
For this list I stuck to names that are also correctly spelled English words. This means that I skipped names that are non-English words (like Stella and Luna) and alternative spellings of words (like Brooke and Briar). I should also mention that several of the above (including Rowan, Robin, and Clementine) do have more than one etymology to choose from.
I don’t normally watch television, but I’m visiting my Dad right now and he’s got his TV on all the time, so I haven’t been able to help it lately. :)
The other day I was walking past the TV set and heard the word ‘Alaska’ — a place I’ve long wanted to visit. So I stopped to see what was on. Soon I was hearing names like Atz, Atz Lee and Otto.
Who were these people? Where did they get such interesting names?
Turns out it was a reality show called Alaska: The Last Frontier, and the cast members were part of the locally famous Kilcher family.
Atz and Otto are the sons of homesteaders Yule Farenorth Kilcher (b. 1913) and Ruth Kilcher (b. 1920). Yule and Ruth left Switzerland for Alaska in the early 1940s. Yule went on to serve in the Alaska State Senate during the 1960s.
Yule wasn’t born “Yule Farenorth.” He was originally Julius Jakob [YOO-lee-us YAH-kob] but he changed his first and middle names after immigrating.
Yule and Ruth had a total of eight children — two boys and six girls. Here are the names:
Wurtila Dora (Wurzy)
Attila Kuno (Atz)
Sunrise Diana Irene
Stella Vera Septina (Bonnie)
Many of the above also gave their own children distinctive names, such as Cornelius, Davin, Ecaterina, Gawan, Olga and Saskia.
One of Atz’s children is pop singer Jewel Kilcher, a.k.a. Jewel. Her popularity in the mid-1990s helped push the baby name Jewel back into the U.S. top 1,000 in 1997:
1999: 453 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 557th]
1998: 490 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 516th]
1997: 330 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 665th]
1996: 168 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 1,098th]
1995: 154 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 1,141st]
And, moving forward another generation, one of Wurzy’s grandchildren is actress Q’orianka Kilcher, whose appearance in the movie The New World (2005) made Qorianka a one-hit wonder on the baby name charts in 2006.
(Q’orianka told the press that her name means “golden eagle” in Quechua, and it does seem to be based on the Quechua words for “gold,” quri, and “eagle,” anca, but I’m not sure whether it’s a legit Quechua name or a modern invention.)
So do any of you guys watch Alaska: The Last Frontier regularly? Have I missed any other good Kilcher names?
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?)
Mathematically speaking, it’s possible to construct 676 pairs of letters from a 26-letter alphabet. In terms of baby names, though, only a portion of these pairs can realistically be used to start a baby name.
If you look at each of the 6,692 names that have ever ranked among the most popular U.S. (1880-2006), you’ll notice that only 233 two-letter combinations have ever been used at the beginning of the names (e.g., “Na-” for Nancy, or “Ev-” for Evan).
So…what’s the most common pair of starting letters?
Ma– is the clear winner. It starts nearly twice as many names as Ja-, the second most common starting letter-pair.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of all the two-letter combinations that have started at least 100 ranked baby names: