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Atticus

Atticus (AT-ik-uss) has been gaining popularity recently, thanks to Atticus Finch, the well-named main character of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. (My theory is that some parents searching for a literary name thought of this first, as almost all high schools require reading this.) Mr. Finch was a strong enough character to change the law community as a fictional role model for lawyers. His character in the 1962 film adaptation was voted the "greatest hero in American film."

However, there are other notable people named Atticus, dating all the way back to 112 BC. Titus Pomponius Atticus may have been the first namesake, an ancient Roman philosopher/author, one of two ancient philosophers with the name. Around the same time, Herodes Atticus was a rhetorician, and later namesakes include Archbishop Atticus of Constantinople, Saint Atticus (5th century, Armenia), musician Atticus Ross, and actor Atticus Shaffer.

In the literary world, authors Greg Rucka, Ron Hansen, Cicero and Kevin Hearne have used Atticus for characters. Some may even recall a rock band called Atticus. In recent years, two celebrity couples have used Atticus for their child - Casey Affleck & Summer Phoenix, and Daniel Baldwin & Isabella Hoffman.

Atticus simply means "man from Attica" in Latin, a place in ancient Greece which contains Athens. (Note: Athens is the capital, so name sites that list Atticus as meaning "from Athens" are incorrect.) However, it has long been associated with intellect and intelligence. Atticus broke back into the U.S. top 1000 in 2004 and now ranks at #462. The last time it ranked was in 1881, at #875.

Other high school English class names coming into fashion include Gatsby, Harper and Darcy.

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Allifair

Alifair Hatfield
The baby name Allifair, alternatively spelled Alifair, Alafair, or Alafare, has a very interesting history. This girl's name suddenly popped into existence in the U.S. around the mid 1800's, with no mention why or how.

Some history buffs may be familiar with the Hatfield-McCoy "New Year's Day" Massacre, in which a long-time hatred between families (including Union vs Confederacy differences) finally escalated into an all-out violent battle. Alifair was the name of Randolph McCoy's daughter, born in 1858, who suffered from Polio as a child but remained productive. During an attack on the McCoy home, Alifair was shot and killed. There was later a legal trial for her murder. Ironically, there was an Alifair Hatfield born in 1873 in Kentucky.

So how did she get her name? There are records of others in 1809, 1815, 1819, 1831, 1870, 1883, 1920 and 1923. 1767 or 1787 seems to be the earliest it was recorded. It could come from Alfher/Alvar/Aelfhere…