Monday, May 20

Old Québec Names: F

it's headed towards summertime on my Instagram

Here are some French-Canadian choices found on old gravestones in Québec. In looking through the "F" names, I realized just how awkward F is, as a letter. It's strange-looking and not very popular as a name-beginner. But I think F is a versatile sound, just look at how it works in these names —


Fleur-de-Mai — translated, it means "flower of May," and I can see it making a totally kickass double-hyphenate middle name

Fleurie — I like the idea of this one, maybe more as a nickname for Fleur than on its own, since it might get confused for the word "flurry" in English-speaking places

Florange — we've seen Solange, a name from the Latin word sollemnis, meaning "religious," incorporating the French words for "sun" and "angel," but this creation switches the Sol- for Flor-,  creating a whole new meaning

Florémie  — this one reminded me of "do-re-mi," like at the beginning of musical scales 

Florémonde  — I was drawn to the names that started with "Fl-" because I liked that the "L" sound toned down the harshness of the "F" at the beginning.  Here, the "-monde" ending balances out the frill factor for a more sophisticated look

Fortille  — I should do a post on names that end with "-ille," because most of the time I really like them and hardly ever see them in use. There's Bertille, Pernille ... Lucille might be the most popular (and my least favorite). Must get a list together


Faldorat — though I'm generally drawn to more subdued boy names, I also have a great appreciation for more dramatic choices. These Québec lists have been a great source of that type of name. I like Faldorat, it sounds like the villain in a Victor Hugo or Charles Dickens novel

Faramond  — this one is a form of Faramund, an ancient Germanic name created from elements meaning "journey" and "protection." It was used on a legendary early king of the Franks, so it has a rather long history of use

Fédéas  — love that this one has strong, familiar sounds but an unusual look. To make it more approachable, I think it could be understood without the accents quite easily

Fédorel  — so fun, dignified yet fresh, so very Dostoevsky-an 

Fénon  — I could totally see a modern parent choosing this, it's short and familiar, masculine and cool. I have seen it used as a surname but not as a first

Ferno  — you know I'm a sucker for a new "ends in 'O'" boy name. This one's kind of crazy, I mean it's two letters off from "inferno," but I think it's interesting as a concept

Thursday, May 9

Brand Spanking New

Here are some names that entered the top 1,000 anew in 2012 — 


Neymar #699
Brentley #750
Kyree #804 (last ranked in 2003)
Thiago #862
Kyrie #866 — it's come to my attention that there is a basketball player named Kyrie Irving that might be responsible for the success of this one
Jionni #870 — thank you, Snooki
Yael #878 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Oakley #880
Yousef #888 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Austyn #898 (last ranked in 2006)
Axton #917
Lucca #919
Truman #929 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Eliot #935 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Zaid #937 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Leroy #943 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Dariel #945
Kaysen #957
Mack #958 (last ranked in 2009)
Titan #961
Briggs #966
Immanuel #967 (last ranked in 2009)
Kase #972
Maison #979
Simeon #980 (last ranked in 2008)
Anton #981 (last ranked in 2009)
Emory #983  — also appeared on the girls side for the 1st time, see below
Graeme #987
Jael #989
Karsen #991
Jarrett #992 (last ranked in 2009)
Apollo #993
Denzel #994 (last ranked in 2009)
Foster #995
Kylen #998
Augustine #999

Litzy #594 (last ranked in 2008)
Kenia #642 (last ranked in 2007)
Colette #659 — go Colette!
Adley #731 — wow, where did this come from?
Winter #772
Ariah #817 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Coraline #823
Emory #881
Estella #882 (ranked in '10 but not in '11, before that hadn't ranked since 1974)
Elissa #888 (last ranked in 2005)
Emmaline #890 (last ranked in 1915)
Dallas #901
Azalea #906 — Iggy Azalea putting it out into the zeitgeist, maybe?
Everly #907
Lillyana #909
Emmalyn #910
Annalee #920
Evalyn #927 (last ranked in 1941) — so nice to see this sweet one back 
Raylee #936
Aubrielle #938
Bayleigh #939
Katrina #942 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Alaysia #946 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Celine #947 (last ranked in 2007)
Monroe #949 — Mariah Carey's daughter?
Estelle #950(last ranked in 1963) — very happy to see this one as well
Harlee #954
Jazzlyn #955
Zahra #957
Collins #960 — character in The Blind Side (ugh ...)
Azariah #963 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Milena #965
Kora #975
Aubriana #986
Aya #989
Dalilah #990
Devyn #991 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Landry #995
Sofie #996
Jessa #999 — Girls and the Duggars + Jessica-adjacent = something for everyone! 
Katalina #1000

(I doubt this is a comprehensive list — it's just what I noticed while browsing through.)

Initial Thoughts on the 2012 SSA List

Here they are: the top 10s for 2012!

Excitement abounds! Time to dive in to this data. First, let's talk about the top 10.

Not much has changed here — the #1s are still Jacob and Sophia. On the girls' side, Chloe dropped a spot from #10 and was replaced by former #11, Elizabeth. On the boys' side, Liam is the notable new entry, coming in at #6. We lost Daniel, the former #10, and there was some rearranging: Ethan rose from #7 to #3, and William, Jayden, Michael and Aiden fell.

As for the predictions I made in my post yesterday, nearly all of them did indeed see a rise. The biggest risers were Archer, which did not quite make it into the top 300 like I thought it would, but just missed it, coming in at #404; Atticus, which rose 52 spots to #410; Declan, which went from #177 to #143; Gemma, which went from #356 to #317 (Jemma also rose); Ivy, which moved into the top 200 at #187; Lincoln went from #132 to #178; and Olive went from #416 to #368.

Beatrice rose a few spots only (and Beatrix did not rank), Camden only rose 4 spots to #156, and Rayna and all her variants all saw declines in popularity, the opposite of what I guessed!

This was not Clementine's year to crack the top 1,000 — there were 204 born, though. India also did not rank.

Adele, Arlo (almost 100 spots), Aria (now firmly in the top 100 at #91), Charlotte (shot into the top 20 at #19 as I predicted), Ezra, Finn, Harper (moved into the top 25 at #24), Isla, Leo, Liam, Luca, Oliver, Pearl,Penelope, Ruby, Scarlett, Willa (big jump from #983 to #723) and Willow all rose as predicted, though I was wrong about Xander — it dropped 11 spots, and Zander only rose 4. 

Two of my guesses for new entries to the top 1,000 made it in! Everly came in at #907 and Thiago came in at #862. 

Some others that are new to the top 1,000 and caught my eye on first glance — 

Axton — at #917 
Briggs — at #966
Graeme  — at #987 
Kyrie — at #866 (yes, for boys)
Lucca — at #919, this spelling now joins variants Luca and Luka in the top 1,000
Titan — at #961

Annalee — at #920
Azalea — #906
Collins — at #960 (yes, for a girl!)
Emmalyn — at #910
Jessa — at #999, maybe thanks to Girls?
Monroe — at #949 (also on the girls side)
Paislee — debuting at #718 (Paisley is #104)
Winter — at #772 (wow!)

And my absolute favorite newbie, Cataleya, which made it not only into the top 1,000 but into the top 500, coming outta nowhere to land at #479! That means there were 636 babies named Cataleya born in 2012, and in 2011 there were only 28. That is a real shocker.

Wednesday, May 8

The 2012 SSA Name List: Names To Watch

Quick! Name these eggs ...

It's that time of the year, name-lovers — the 2012 statistics from the Social Security Administration are due to be released at the end of this week. The top 10 is looking to see some changes. Is this the year Jacob will end its 12-year reign as the #1 boy name? Will a new girl name, like Ella, enter the top 10 for the first time? I'm very interested to see what shifts around at the top of the lists, but of course my real interest is farther down the rankings. What new names might appear? Which names will make big, unexpected leaps, like pop-culture influenced Isla and Aria did last year? 

Here are the names I'll be looking for — 

Archer — Archer first appeared on the list in 2009, and had risen all the way to #447 by 2011. TV show Archer might have put it on the radar for new parents in 2012, and it has an obscure, poetic feel that appeals to people looking for something hip but not "weird." I'd look for it to rise into the 300s, at least

Atticus — I've been seeing this one around more often. All at once old-fashioned and modern-sounding (and of course there's the literary connection, always nice) I'd love to see it rise from its current spot at #462. It's been gaining popularity steadily since it first appeared on the list in 2004, so it'll be interesting to see if that trend continues

Beatrice/Beatrix — classic clunky beauty Beatrice appeared on the list in 2006 after falling off after a very long decline that started in the 1920s. (It was most popular in 1910, when it rose all the way to #36!) But it made a jump from #836 to #707 in 2011, and I'm wondering if something similar happened this year. Beatrix is not in the top 1,000, but I wouldn't be surprised if the spunkier variant follows suit and makes a debut appearance in 2012

Bennett — Bennett has made an uneven but overall steady rise since the early 1990s, and made big jumps in 2009, '10 and '11. It's currently at #239 and I think its rise will continue

Camden — Camden was probably the biggest "celebrity baby" name of 2011, and that is always an indication of an imminent popularity rise. It's currently at #160 and I wonder if it'll crack the top 100 this year

Clementine — though this sweet French beauty hasn't been on the list since 1953, I have been hearing it quite often in both real-life and online-naming circles. Understandably, since it's such a beautiful choice. I wonder if this is the year it'll sneak into the top 1,000 — I'd love to see it there

Declan — Declan made an almost 100-spot jump in 2011, going from #274 to #177. I definitely expect it to rise again. I'm surprised it doesn't rank higher, since it appeals to people looking for an accessible Irish boy name that isn't already heard everywhere, like Connor or Aidan

Gemma — this one first appeared in the top 1,000 in 2008, and by 2011 had risen all the way to #356. I'm curious to see if it gains more popularity, since it's very popular/bordering on dated in the UK

India — India had been on the decline since 2001 and fell out of the top 1,000 in 2010. I have a  namey-feeling that it might have a little more life left in it, though, and could make a little comeback this year

Ivy — okay, so Blue might never be a popular name, but Ivy has a chance. I mean, it's been in the top 1,000 since 1880! It's already pretty high-ranking, sitting at #266. I wonder if this is its year to make a big leap

Olive — Olive reappeared in 2007 at #989 after leaving the list in 1950. It's currently at #416 and I'd love to see it rise even higher this year

Lincoln — another old-timer, Lincoln's been on the list since at least 1880. It broke into the top 500 in in 2005 and is currently at #178. I expect a continued rise, but the question is  — how high will it go? I don't know if I can see it in the top 100, but it wouldn't surprise me

Rayna — this one jumped from #900 to #869 in 2011, not a huge jump, but when you factor in the popularity of its variants — Reyna at #730, Raina at #736 and Reina (#979 in 2010), plus the fact that it's the name of a popular TV character, I think it's definitely an interesting one to keep an eye on


Here are some names that entered the top 1,000 last year. I'll be looking closely at them to see if they rise or fall in 2012 —

Adele (actually entered in 2010 but had a huge jump from #909 to #627 in '11 — is that sustainable?)

Bowen/Kohen (also Cohen/Coen, already on the list)
Mae (same as Adele, entered in '10 but had a big jump the next year)

I predict big jumps for Adelyn, Aria, Charlotte, Ezra, Finn, Harper, Isla, Leo, Liam, Luca, Oliver, Pearl, Penelope, Ruby, Scarlett, Willa, Willow and Xander/Zander.

My guesses for new appearances in the top 1,000 are Boden, Forrest, Lachlan, Lucien, Magnus and Thiago for boys, and Addie, Astrid, Aurelia, Everly, Maren, Naya and Wren for girls.

Okay, that's all folks — I'm ready for namer-Christmas! 

Tuesday, May 7

Sets Sets Sets

crystals and canyons

Every once in a while I come across a really striking set of names — where it's not so much the individual names that stand out, but the way they play off one another. Namers know that there are tons of message board games that involve creating sets like these, and there's always talk about whether or not a name "goes with" the names of potential siblings. How a name functions in a set can change its overall effect, make it a more surprising choice, add a mismatched edge or blend seamlessly into a specific style.

My favorite sets seem to be the ones where the names seem like they shouldn't go together at all, but when they're all viewed together, you get a better sense of why they match up. A good sibling set should be like a collage — the pieces stand alone, but work together as part of a bigger overall picture. Here are some that I've created/come across lately:

The "quasi-religious, oblique Biblical, southern belle/beau" set — 

Hart (boy)
Vesper (girl)
Sunday and Selah (girls)

I love how Hart works here as a sort of theme anchor. Obviously it sounds like the word "heart," which serves to bring you in to the more overtly religious trio of Vesper (meaning "evening," and can refer to evening prayer services/mass), Sunday (for the Sabbath) and Selah (a word used in the book of Psalms referring to a musical pause)

The "European, history-buff, daring but classical" set — 

Aquilla (boy)
Bruno (boy)
George (boy)
Olympia (girl)

The use of Aquilla for a boy sets the tone here. Following it up with Bruno and George, two very masculine choices, grounds the set, and then Olympia is a nice bookend, reminding us of the daring choice of Aquilla, a name from ancient Rome that means "eagle"

The "modern, hip, artsy, sort of hippie but not really" set  

Seth (boy)
Remy (girl) 
Jude (girl) 
August (girl) 

I'm not generally a fan of Seth, but I like how it works here. The first three names are 4-letters long, which would make you expect a fourth one to match, and I like the surprise of August, instead. I like the use of boy names on girls here, too  if this were an all-boy set I don't think it'd work nearly as well

The "lyrical feminine, strong and mystical, princessy" set  

Maialen & Taliesen (all girls)

I love that this sister set uses names with different endings, but similar soft, lyrical sounds. Aurelia starts it off with a bang, is grounded by the lovely, simple Cecile, and the very unusual Maialen and Taliesen (used here as twin names) make it clear that this set isn't just about super-girly names, it's about a collection of beautiful sounds. If you take apart the elements here, they are heavy on the "L," "-ay" and "-ah"

Check back later this week for my predictions/guesses on what's coming up on the 2012 SSA lists!