Saturday, December 3, 2016

Alaric

Alaric is a Germanic boys name meaning "everyone's ruler/ruler of all." While most pronounce the name AL-uh-rik, many pronounce it uh-LAHR-ik or uh-LAIR-ik.

There are three accounts for the Alarick spelling: 12 in 2015, 5 in 2013, and 5 in 2001. For the Alarik spelling there has been a little more consistency: 6 in 2003, working its way up to 20 in 2015. Lastly, the Alaric spelling is much more popular, used since at least 1949 (7 births that year) to its all-time high of 181 boys given the name in 2015. Alarich, a form sometimes used in Germany, has not been seen on the U.S. graphs, nor has Italian Alarico. Aleric is also sometimes recorded. The name had already been slowly rising, but note a jump between 40 births in 2010, 50 in 2011, and then 88 in 2012. This is likely thanks to The Vampire Diaries, which began airing in 2009. The character Alaric Saltzman is a history teacher and vampire hunter who befriends a vampire and impacts all of the characters for the better.

Alaric I and Alaric II were Visigoth kings who ruled between c. 370 and 507. Another Alaric was king of the Swedes, who shared his kingship with his brother Eric. His name is also spelled Alrek, Alrik and Alric in certain accounts. Alrekr is the Old Norse form, while Alareiks is the original Gothic form.

In modern times, namesakes include Medal of Honor recipient Alaric Chapin, British journalist Alaric Jacob, Liberian politician Alaric Tokpa, American composer Alaric Jans, and British poet and journalist Alaric Alexander Watts. A film director from Singapore born Tay Liang Hoong goes by Alaric, and an English writer born Harold Jacob was known as Alaric.

As for literary references other than Alaric Saltzman, P. G. Wodehouse had a character named Alaric in Blandings Castle, Alexander Theroux's main character in Darconville's Cat was an Alaric, there is a character by the name in Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, an Alaric in The Bird Artist by Howard Norman, and Stephen King even used the name in the Dark Tower series. Possibly the oldest literary namesake is Alaric Tudor, a clerk in Anthony Trollope's The Three Clerks, published in 1857. You might also like Sir Alaric, Keeper of the Kings Records, a Dr. Seuss character in "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Also, Alaric is in the title of a book, sort of, in the Tales of Alaric the Minstrel - a couple of books with individual titles by Phyllis Eisenstein.

Ulric, Ullrich and Ulrick are not other forms of the name Alaric. They are originally from Odalric, a Germanic name meaning "prosperity and power."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yarden

Like yesterday's post on Yardley, Yarden is extremely similar in every way - nature name, place name, rare, but it seems to work as a boy's name just a tiny bit more than Yardley thanks to it's trending -n ending. However, the similarity in sound to "garden" makes it seem a bit whimsical-meets-tomboy for a girl. The perfect unisex name.

The statistics say Yarden is for girls, though. While Yardley was given to 9 girls in 2014 and none in 2015, and not given to boys at all, the name Yarden was given to 7 girls in 2014, then 5 in 2011 and none between those dates. Yarden previously had a run between 2002 and 2008, missing some years between, and not given more than 11 times in a year. It started being used on girls in 1984 with 6 births (probably five and less than five births for any number of years beforehand) and started being used on boys in 1990 with 5 births. Interestingly, Yarden seems to switch sides: given to boys in the years it's not used on girls and vice versa, but not strictly so. For example, Yarden was used on both genders in the early 90's, but more so on girls. Then between 1996 and 2001 it was more used on boys - in fact only once on girls in 2000, but then after 2002 it wasn't used on boys again until 2009.

Yarden is a Hebrew name, unlike Yardley which is English. It means "to flow down, to descend" in reference to the movement of a river - specifically the Jordan river. Indeed, this was the original word/name that Jordan derived from (like most European names, j and y are frequently switched and/or misspoken by English speakers). Yarden is considered unisex but sometimes Yardena is given to girls. Given that Jordan and Yarden have the same meaning, this could make an excellent alternative to parents that like Jordan but fear it's popularity or think it might be dated.

A couple of famous namesakes include Yarden Gerbi, judoka world champion from Israel and Olympic bronze medalist, and Yarden Cohen, an Israeli footballer.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Yardley

Yardley, also sometimes spelled Yeardley or Yeardlea (less often Yeardlee, Yeardleigh and Yeardlie), is an English surname occassionally found as a given name. It means "enclosed (fenced) meadow," and is pronounced YARD-lee.

There are a few namesakes for Yeardley: George Yeardley, plantation owner and a former governor of Virginia whose wife was Temperence Flowerdew Yaerdley; voice actress Yeardley Smith, who was born Martha (Marge, The Simpsons); lacrosse player Yeardley Love, who was murdered; also Quaker missionary John Yeardley. The spelling Yardley is largely used as a place name, and it can be seen on several people as a surname, but as a given name this is the name of patent attorney Yardley Chittick, born Charles Yardly Chittick, and news reporter Megyn Kelly's daughter. The cosmetics brand Yardley of London was established in 1770. In the news last year (2015) a baby was named Yardley and her brother was named Camden for Orioles home field Camden Yards.

Other rare names derived from Old English leah include Elmsley, Oxley, Brinkley, Hinckley, Langley, Greenley, Ainsley, Audley, Bentley, Tinsley and Blakeley along with the more common Ashley, Hayley, Bradley, and Presley.

The spelling Yardley has never been popular - in fact it's been very rare, only given to 9 girls in 2014 (none in 2015) and 11 girls in each of the years 2013, 2012 and 2011, with only a handful sporadically before then, starting 1977. For boys, only a few handfuls here and there between 1968 and 2010. Yeardley and the other spelling options seem to be nonexistent in the U.S.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Moana

While Kai, a Hawaiian name that means "sea," has been increasing in popularity, Moana may just catch up. Moana (moh-AH-nah) means "ocean" in Hawaiian, Polynesian and Maori (New Zealand). Both Kai and Moana are unisex. Moana first appeared with the SSA in 1941, given to 8 girls, and there are no recordings for boys. It's been used very sporadically, but it wasn't until 2000 that it picked up to steady, albeit rare, usage.

Moana is also the newest Disney princess name: Moana is a Polynesian chief's daughter who uses the help of the demi-god Maui to finish a family quest and perfect her skills of navigation. In Polynesian mythology, Maui was responsible for raising the Hawaiian islands from the ocean floor. ... Moana's mom in the movie, Sina, may have also been based on a Polynesian goddess of the same name, but we won't know for sure until the movie comes out.

The Disney movie is not the first film titled Moana - in 1926 a documentary titled Moana came out by director Robert Flaherty. Set in Samoa, it follows a man named Moana and his Samoan village.

The House of Moana is a Hawaiian noble family which started with Moana kāne, whose granddaughter was named Moana Wahine. Many of their descendants were rulers in the House of Kamehameha. Sometimes the name is used as a word to describe "ocean blue," or lanu moana.

There are two namesakes for Moana, however, neither are Hawaiian. Moana Rosa Pozzi is an Italian adult film actress (and the reason why the main character in the Disney movie will be renamed Vaiana in Italy), and Moana Maree Maniapoto is a New Zealand singer.

Moana Radio is a broadcast in New Zealand. In French Polynesia, "moana wrestling" is a traditional folk wrestling style, also practiced in Tahiti.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ailani

Ailani (EYE-law-nee) is a Hawaiian girl's name meaning "chief," which makes it a very powerful yet feminine name. If you're thinking about nicknames, you could call her Ali, Aia, Lani, Aila (sounds like Isla) or even Annie. This name does not rank in the U.S. top 1000, but it's not too far away - in 2015 Ailani was given to 206 and it is only going up. Perhaps with the new Disney movie Moana, this and other Hawaiian names will gain interest.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sailor

sailor
Oscar de le Renta 

Sailor is a baby name with immediate imagery impact: an actual sailor on the sea, or perhaps someone in the Navy. While the word sailor as we know it today does refer to a person who sails a boat, and it has meant that in English since the 17th century, as a surname it comes from Old French sailleor, meaning "leaper, dancer," which was used as an occupational surname, and from Old German seil, meaning "rope," as an occupational name: rope maker. There is possibly a connection here between the use of ropes in sailing. It sounds summery, modern and unisex. This name is rising in popularity, from only five boys given the name in 1997 and then ten girls in 1998, in 2015 it increased to 42 boys and 234 girls, making it rank just outside the top 1000 for girls (but still rare on boys). You may have heard this name on a little one before, but perhaps Sailor isn't how that child's name was spelled. Saylor, Sayler, and Saylar have also been used, possibly because of the different recorded spellings of the surname.

Part of the reason behind Sailor's rise in popularity may have started with model Christie Brinkley bestowing it on her daughter in 1998. Then, with word names gaining in popularity in general, it took off. Much more recently it was given to Bristol Palin's daughter, Kristin Cavallari's daughter Saylor James, Liv Tyler's son Sailor Gene Gardner, and just this year to Joanna Garcia's daughter. However, use as a given name can be seen earlier than this. American boxer Charles Presser, born 1995, went by Sailor Burke in the ring, Sailor Stroud was an American major league baseball player born in 1885, English cricketer Sailor Young was born in 1876, Sailor Brown was an English footballer born in 1915, Sailor Art Thomas was a bodybuilder and wrestler born in 1924, and Sailor Roberts, born 1931, was an American poker player.

In fiction there is the anime character Sailor Moon, where the sailor theme applies to many characters, and Sailor Steve Costigan, a character created by Robert E. Howard. You can also listen to several different songs with Sailor in the title.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Gascon language girls names

Gascon is a dialect of Occitan spoken in Gascony, France, whose speakers at one point in history were Basque. Here are some beautiful and unique female names from this origin, which are unlike anything you've seen before.

Adelaïda (from Adelaide)
Aimelina
Aizivella
Alaizina
Alamanda, Allemande
Alaria
Alesta
Alissende, Alissenda
Almoïse
Amadeta
Amandina
Amaneva
Anderequina
Arsende
Asalaïs
Auda
Aulaire
Belina
Berengaria, Bereguièira
Bertrana
Biatris
Blanqua
Bousigat
Brayda
Brunissen, Brunissenda
Cathelina
Célina
Ciragua
Claramontine
Clariana
Clarie
Cristia
Domengina
Domenja
Eisabèu
Ermessinde
Esclarmonda
Esperta
Esterelle (thought to be a Provençal fairy who protects pregnant women, means "star")
Estevena
Fortina
Franquine
Garsenda
Gauzia
Guiana
Guilhelma
Guiralda
Isabèu
Izelda
Jacotte (found in Foix)
Jenofa
Jouselet
Liloia
Liorada
Loïsa
Mabilia
Magalona (Occitan name for the planet Venus as well)
Maguelone
Marguesa
Mataline
Mathive
Miquèla
Miramonda
Pantxika
Pascalina
Pasquine
Pélegria
Penelopa
Peyrona
Phélipa
Quitèira
Ralia
Ramonda
Rixen (from Rixende)
Rixenda
Sança (prn. SAHN-sha) also Sancia and Sancie
Saubade
Séguine, Seguina
Seurine
Sibila
Sicarde
Thalesa
Veziade
Vuissance, Vuissancia
Zouè

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Brunissende

I just caught sight of this beauty in the Dictionary of Medieval Names and it turns out this female name was used on someone with a bit of a pedigree. Brunissende de Comborn was the daughter of the Viscount of Comborn in France in medieval times. However, the first ruler, Archambaud, was of Merovingian descent. There are at least two named Brunissende in the family tree that I can see - Brunissende de Limoges, married to Archambaud the Bearded (1147) and from then on called Brunissende de Comborn. Her name was also written Brunissent, Brunicenda, Brunissen and Brunicens, but her birth name may have been Humberga. Delightfully, one of her daughters was named Melisende. Brunissende de Thiern (1235 or 1318) was daughter of Archambaud VII. Her name has also been written in the Latin Brunicendis.

Are those the only namesakes for this rare French name? Nope. Brunissende of Cardona was another, wife of Roger IV of Foix, the son of Roger-Bernard II the Great. Their son named one of his daughters Brunissende as well - she married Elias VII of Perigord. Then there's the daughter of Vicomte Pierre II de Grailly, born 1315, and also Brunissende de Lautrec, from between 1325 and 1379, daughter of Amalric, Vicomte de Lautrec. So, very historical.

But that's not all. Brunissende is also a character in an Arthurian romance written in Occitan called Le Roman de Jaufré. The tale is of a newly knighted squire who goes on a quest, meets a young maiden named Brunissen, and marries her in King Arthur's court. Interestingly, name-cousin Belisent is used as a character name in other Arthurian romances, including Idylls of the King. Their other name-cousin Melisande is a literary appellation as well.

Brunissende can technically mean "brown, tan," the same as Bruna, Brunhilda and Brunelle, in modern Latin and French. However, it also means "shield strength" or "strong protection," from the ancient Germanic brun and the same element used in Millicent (Melisende) and Belisent (Belissendis). It is a rare name even in France, where only three births were recorded in 2013.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pieran

While Kieran seems to be all the rage lately, no one pays attention to the Cornish version of the name, meaning "little black one." Pieran is the same as Kieran because of the rule of language making the Gaelic "k" a "p" in Cymric. A transcription of Piran, sometimes written Perran, or even Perrian and Pierrian, this is the patron saint of miners and of Cornwall. The name is basically unheard of, unused in the U.S.

Some locations bear this name in Cornwall. Saint Piran died c. 480 after being an abbot, with possible Irish roots. He is linked to the Irish saint Ciaran of Saigir. His legend starts with being thrown over a cliff into the sea tied to a boulder. He calms the sea and floats to safety in Cornwall, becomes a hermit with great qualities so he is gifted the ability to perform miracles. Then he made the Abbey of Lanpiran with his followers and helped the community perfect the art of tin-smelting. His flag is a white cross on a black background, often used to represent Cornwall.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Accalia

Accalia (ah-KAH-lee-uh, uh-KAY-lee-uh) was the Etruscan woman from mythology that cared for the twins Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, after they were suckled by a she-wolf or the goddess Rhea Silvia in the form of a wolf, who took them in when they were abandoned as the sons of the god Mars. In many places you will not find a meaning for this baby name, and in some instances the listed meaning will be "she-wolf," which is inaccurate. Accalia is likely from Acca Larentia, who was the wife of the shepherd Faustulus. Together they had twelve sons who became the Arval Brotherhood. In some cases it is said she was called lupa because of her personality, in others she was called that because she was a prostitute, and this is probably what spurred the legend of the she-wolf. In another version she was either a prize that Hercules won or a woman he helped get married, and the property she inherited upon that husband's death she then gave to the Roman people. But Accalia's meaning from Acca Larentia is "mother of the lares," as it is certainly connected to the Lares - guardian deities of the land or household.

Accalia (maybe an alternate name for Larentalia) may have been a feast thrown in this woman's honor, as her legend turned her into a goddess - the divine ancestor of Rome. Acca Larentia has gone by other names as well: Larenta, Larentia, Lara, Larunda, Larentina and Mater Laum.

Accalia Hipwood is a British radio host in Dubai. Accalia Quintana is a young actress. Accalia and the Swamp Monster is a story book with art by Kelli Scott Kelley; the original artwork has been on display at the Masur Museum of Art and the LSU Museum of Art. Accalia is also a novelette by Gabriel J. M. and Accalia is a novel by Kimberly Olsen, both are loosely based on Accalia's association with wolves from ancient mythology.

Accalia is rare given as a baby name in the U.S. In 2015 it was only given seven times, but every year since 2006, with an additional six in 2003 and five in 1999. As a side note, I noticed the number of girls names starting with Ac- are very few. Acacia and Acadia are really the only two substantial ones.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Oscalie

Oscalie is the first Creole origin name to be featured here, and although it is a rare name you can find it every so often in France, Haiti and the South (maybe about 3 in the U.S. total). The name is a feminine French variant of Oscar, as well as Oscalia and perhaps Oscaria. Oscarine has been found in Quebec. There aren't any famous namesakes, but I bet a lot of little Oscalie's have been named in honor of a special Oscar in the family tree. Oscar was originally a Viking (Old Norse) name, Asger, meaning "god-spear." Oskaria and Oscaria are possibly feminine Swedish variants.

Friday, September 30, 2016

French boys names you've never heard

Absalon
Adalric
Alain
Albin
Alberic
Aldric
Alliaume
Aloïs 
Alpinien
Amandin
Amant
Anastase
Anatole
Ancelin
Andéol
Andoche
Angelin
Angilran
Angoustan
Antonin
Apollinaire
Arcade
Archambeau
Arian
Aristion
Arsène
Arthème
Ascelin
Aubin
Audouin
Audran
Aurelien
Aurian
Auxence
Aymard
Aymeric
Aymon

Barthélemy 
Basile
Bastien
Baudouin
Benoît
Béranger
Bertrand
Blaise
Bon
Brice
Brieuc

Camélien 
Camillien
Caribert
Carloman
Cassien
Chrétien
Claudien
Clement
Clotaire
Clovis
Corentin
Cyprien
Cyril

Didier

Edgard 
Éleuthère
Emeric
Emile
Emilien
Epiphane
Etienne
Eudes
Eudoxe
Eugene
Evariste
Evrard

Fabrice
Flavien
Florent
Florian
Foulques
Fulcran
Fulgence

Gabin
Gaël
Gaston
Gaspard
Gatien
Gédéon
Géroud
Ghislain
Girart
Gonthier
Grégoire 
Guérin
Guillaume
Gustave
Guyot

Hardouin
Hédelin 
Hélier
Herluin
Hilaire
Hincmar

Idris
Isabeau
Isidore

Japhet
Josse
Josselin
Jourdain

Laurent
Lazare
Leu
Leufroy
Loïc
Longin
Lorrain
Lothaire

Macaire
Malo
Manassé
Marceau
Marcelin
Mathurin
Mauricet
Maxence
Mayeul
Mayron
Médéric
Michel
Moïse

Naudet
Nicéphore
Noé
Normand

Odilon
Odon
Oury

Palémon
Pascal
Pepin
Perceval
Philémon
Pierrick

Roch
Rodolphe
Ronan
Roselin

Savin
Selyan
Seraphin
Serge
Severin
Sidoine
Silvère
Siméon
Syvain

Tancrède
Tanguy
Taurin
Thierry
Titien
Tonnin
Trajan

Valentin
Valère
Venance
Vianney

Waleron
Wandrille
Zéphirin

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

French girls names you've never heard

Here's a long list of French girls names you've probably never heard in America that could likely go over well here.

Abeline
Aicelina
Aliénor
Alaine
Alcine
Alexine
Aliette (from place name Aleth)
Alix (a form of Alice)
Amaliane (from Germanic amal liut, "powerful people")
Amandine
Ameline
Anastasie
Anceline
Anicette
Apolline and Apollonie
Arabelle
Arcadie
Ariette
Audeline
Auxane
Avoye
Aymardine

Basilisse
Bastienne
Bérangère
Bibiane
Blanchette
Blandine
Brunelle
Brunissende

Capucine
Carine
Celandine
Celarie
Cendrine
Charlaine
Charmaine
Claudie, Claudine
Clio
Coline
Coralie
Corisande
Cyrielle

Delphine
Domitille
Doriane

Edmée (or Edmé)
Éliane 
Élia
Elzire
Émérance
Eudoxie
Eugenie
Eulalie

Faustine
Felicie
Flavie
Florie
Francia

Garance
Garcelle
Germaine
Godelieve
Guenièvre
Guimauve
Gustavine
Gwenaëlle

Helissente

Isabeau
Iseult
Ismerie

Jacinthe

Laure
Laureline
Lauriane
Luce

Magali
Maguelone
Marjolaine
Melisandre
Melisande
Melusine
Micheline

Odette
Odile
Ombeline
Oriabel
Oriande
Oriane
Ozanne

Pelagie
Peronelle
Perrine
Persinette
Pervenche
Petronille
Pomeline
Prunelle
Pulcherie

Quitterie

Rochelle
Roseline

Sandrine
Ségolène
Sérine
Severine
Silène
Silvestine
Sixtine
Soline
Solène, Solenne

Thaïs
Tiphaine

Vinciane (feminine from Vincent)
Violaine
Virginie

Ysaline
Yseult (a form of Isolde)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Praxedes

Vermeer_saint_praxedis
Vermeer, Saint Praxedis

Also seen in the form of Praxedis (Latin), Praxede (18th and/or 19th century France), and Prassede (Italian), this unusual saint name is extremely rare and interesting. She comes from Greek praxis, "an accomplishment." PRA-shed-yees and PRAHK-say-dahs are accepted pronunciations in Spanish and Portuguese, while prak-SAY-deez for the Praxedes spelling (like Mercedes) and PRAK-sed-iss for the Praxedis spelling are accepted in English. PRAK-seh-deh is commonly accepted elsewhere.

The Roman female Christian saint died in the year 165, and little is known about her. According to Jacobus de Voragine, her sister was Saint Pudentiana and her brothers were Saint Timothy and Saint Donatus. Sabine Baring-Gould claims she was the daughter of Saint Pudens, also the sister of Saint Pudentiana, but that her brothers were Saint Timothy and Saint Novatus. Some think because her name is not a feminine form of Pudens, she must have been a slave. According to Catholic Online, she was very charitable during the time when Emperor Marcus Antoninus was murdering Christians, until she couldn't bear their suffering anymore and asked God if he could relieve her of her pain.

She has a couple of famous paintings, one as shown above by Johannes Vermeer, which is a copy of a painting by Felice Ficherelli, the other by Simone Pignoni. Three famous people were named for the saint, including Spanish civil engineer/Prime Minister Praxedes Mateo Sagasta (1825-1903), who was given the name because he was born on her feast day; Praxedes Guerrero, Mexican anarchist poet and writer who fought during the 1910 Revolution; lastly Praxede Larue, Quebec physician and politician. There are also four place names for this saint: Santa Prassede church in Rome, Santa Praxedes in Cagayan, Sainte-Praxede in Quebec, and Praxedis G. Guerrero municipality in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

547 Praxedis is a minor planet/asteroid orbiting our sun, named for the character in Joseph Viktor von Scheffel's Ekkehard.

In the U.S. all forms of this name are very rare, with no SSA data and White Pages reporting 425 total Praxedes, 310 Praxedis, a handful of Praxadis and Praxides, 13 Praxede and 5 Prassede. Also of note: 2 Prasseda.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Garden

Garden is a baby name option for the very brave, although it wouldn't be the first time this unisex name was used. It was used in 1923 on five boys, but for all we know this may have been a surname used in honor, much like the use of Gardener as a given name (although Gardener is an occupational surname). Garden basically means "enclosed yard," but through time it has been used to refer to a home orchard, kitchen garden or personal yard. Today we immediately think of a beautiful flower, herb, or vegetable garden. It sounds similar to the vintage gemstone name Garnet, the trending Arden, masculine Gordon, and popular Grayden-Ayden type names (names ending with N are very popular now).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tamarix

Tamarix_gallica01
Tamarix gallica


Tamarix (TAM-ar-iks) would make for quite an unusual baby name, but the salt cedar plant, shrub, and small tree also known as tamarisk is no different than other flowering plants used as baby names, such as Rose, Magnolia, Petunia or Laurel. The only difference is that everyone knows what a rose looks like, while little Tamarix would have to say "Google it" with every introduction. She's also very similar to other familiar names like Tamar/a, Beatrix and Tamsin. This pretty namesake might just be worth the trouble.

From Latin, the name may have originated from the Tamaris River in Spain, now know as the Tambre or Tamariz, because these plants grew along the river. Tamaris may have been directly connected to the Biblical names Tamara and Tamar, meaning "date palm tree," but more likely the ancient goddess Tamara of Britian, goddess of rivers and streams or at least specifically the Tamar River, which borders Cornwall and has a different meaning, "great water." The etymologically connected Thames River (the Tamesis) means "dark [water]."

The tamarisk is popular in mythology and religious tales, from The Epic of Gilgamesh to the Quran to Genesis to Egyptian mythology. The Biblical Hebrew name Eshel (AY-shell) means "tamarisk tree."

Tamarisk showed up in U.S. records twice in 1979 when it was given to 9 girls and 1980 when it was given to 5 girls. Tamaris, however, can be found in census records a handful of times between 1797 and 1898. After 1980 Tamaris pops up again on five girls in 1980, 1986, 1990, 1992, seven girls in 1999 and five again in 2001. It was also given to boys six or seven times in some of those years. Tamarix was not used.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cian

Cian (KEY-in) is an Irish boy's name meaning "enduring, ancient." The most legendary namesake was Cian Mac Maelmuaid, son-in-law of Ireland's great Brian Boru, King of Munster. Cian led an army from Munster to victory against the Vikings during the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, where he and his father-in-law were killed in battle. Ironically, Cian's father Mael Muad had been killed by Brain Boru years before. In mythology, however, Cian is also known as Scal Balb and is father of Lug (Lugh, sun god) and son of Dian Cecht. In oral medieval narrative Cian's marriage to Ethniu was a romance/bridal quest. Today the most popular namesake is likely either Youtube star Cian Twomey or Kian Lawley.

In 2015 Cian was given to 153 boys, not too far outside the top 1000 but far enough from the top 100 to be unusual. It is currently a very popular name in Ireland, #14 as of 2015.

Spelled Kian the name is now Persian, pronounced key-AHN, possibly meaning "kings." (I say possibly because I believe this was actually the surname of the second dynasty of Persian kings. It also means symbol of pride or unity of the country, or essentially "united by one name" in Iran.) This is the case for Filipino-Iranian actor Kian Reza Kizemi and Iranian-American scholar and sociologist Kian Tajbakhsh, although it is possible they are named intently for the city Kian in Iran. However, the K spelling is used in Ireland as well, and currently ranks low in the top 100 there. Kian ranks inside the top 1000 at #487 and rising with 599 boys given the name. It also ranks in England, Wales, Netherlands, Scotland and Sweden. Geena Davis named one of her sons Kian. There's also model Kian Mitchum, Danish footballer Kian Hansen, singers Cian Morrin and Kian Egan, and British cyclist Kian Emadi. Keane is the Anglicized spelling of the Irish name. As Kiyan or Keyan it is also considered Arabic.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Top Irish Baby Names 2015

Boys:                                                      Girls:
1. Jack                                                     1. Emily
2. James                                                  2. Emma
3. Daniel                                                 3. Ava
4. Conor                                                  4. Sophie
5. Sean                                                    5. Amelia
6. Adam                                                  6. Ella
7. Noah                                                   7. Lucy
8. Michael                                               8. Grace
9. Charlie                                                9. Chloe
10. Thomas                                            10. Mia

(This seems like a dated U.S. list!)       (This seems like a future U.S. list)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Polly

"Polly want a cracker?" "Polly put the kettle on." We've all heard it, and you must understand that if you choose Polly as your baby's name then you and she will hear this often. The question is, is it worth it? Polly has a certain allure - catchy, obviously, but also confident and happy. Maybe you'll just want to put it in the middle spot, but it is a delightfully bright, vintage name with dozens of namesakes.

Most people don't know that Polly and Molly are related, connected in medieval times. Both are originally nicknames for Mary (the most popular name ever given in the U.S.), which either means "beloved," from Egyptian, or "sea of bitterness," the most common given meaning.

An inspiring name, little Polly can look up to several powerful women. Polly Berry was an American slave who sued for freedom. Polly Beemis was born in 1853 in China, then became an American pioneer whose story later became a novel. Polly Bergen, born 1930, was an actress who won an Emmy, but she was also a singer, TV host, writer and entrepreneur. Polly Coke is a viscountess currently in England - she is married to the Earl of Leicester, Thomas Coke. Singer PJ Harvey is a Polly as well. There are many more namesakes.

In fiction, we have Aunt Polly from Tom Sawyer, Polly Plummer from The Chronicles of Narnia series, in Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes, "Polly" is a song by Nirvana, Polly is a character in the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Jennifer Anniston's character in Along Came Polly, and a character in Fawlty Towers and Orange is the New Black.

She was last on the SSA charts in 1977 and was only given to 50 girls in 2015. Despite how rare Polly's become, it's safe to say everyone knows it.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Maynard

The baby name Maynard (MAY-nard) is from Anglo-French Mainard, ultimately Old High German Maganhard, meaning "mighty and brave." There are a few famous namesakes, such as Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of the metal band Tool, American artist Maynard Dixon, actor Rex Maynard Linn, 1930's movie cowboy Ken Maynard and trumpet jazz player Maynard Ferguson. On TV, there was a Maynard in "Desperate Housewives" and "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," as well as the movie "The Sasquatch Gang."

The name peaked in 1922 at #278, but was only given to 16 boys in 2015. Mayne could make a good nickname. Menard and Maynor are unusual variants. Maynor was given to 23 boys in 2015.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Castalia

Caria castalia


Castalia (Κασταλια) is pronounced kah-STAH-lia, KASS-tah-lee-uh. She was a nymph, daughter of the river Achelous, who gave her name to the Castalian Spring near Delphi, Greece - home of the prophetic Oracle of Delphi. According to some legends she married the King of Delphi (possibly King Delphus who gave his name to the city) and had a son with him, who was named Castalius. According to other legends, she became the Castalian Spring itself by diving into the fountain at the foot of Mount Parnassus after being pursued romantically by the god Apollo. Now she is a muse who inspires poetic genius to those who touch her waters, and the other muses are sometimes called Castalides, or it is used as their surname or collective name, because they are associated with this spring. 'Castalian' is now a word, meaning "pertaining to Castalia, fountain of Parnassus."

German writer Herman Hesse used this name as a Utopian location in his series The Glass Bead. Castalia House is a Finnish publisher. Caria castalia, also known as the Green Mantle, is a species of butterfly. Castalius is also a butterfly genus with four species. Castalia odorata is one of the names of the American white water lily aka white pond lily aka Nymphaea odorata. 4769 Castalia is a near-earth asteroid. There are a few U.S. towns named Castalia. Castalia Blue Hole, located in Castalia, Ohio, is a deep fresh water pond with a vibrant blue color that draws in tourists for its incredible beauty. The Castalian Band was the name of a group of late 1500s court poets that were Scottish Jacobean in the court of James VI. They took the name from the idea that the Castalian Spring gave the gift of poetic inspiration.

Castalia's likely meaning is "to sew [together]," from Greek kassuo. Kassotis was the place where the river Achelous first formed into a spring at the top of Mount Parnassos, and in some accounts Kassotis is her own being separate from Kastalia, a nymph whose water gave the Delphi Oracle her legendary prophetic powers. Kastalia, as a separate location and a nymph with her own myth, was the point at which the spring reappeared below - and the two were "sewn together." Kastalia might have just a slightly different etymology from Kassotis, though. It's entirely possible the different ending comes from halos, and the meaning would then be "sewing needle." But let's stick with "sewn together" until further research is done. Some would have you believe the etymology of the name is "sacred fountain of the muses," which is careless and lazy, because that is just a modern description of the place, not the name itself. Many have suggested Castalia is from Latin castus, meaning "chaste," but this is a Greek origin name - not Latin.  At least one source suggests the meaning is "spring; source," with reference to a mountain spring, from Old European but not PIE. The SSA does not have record of this name, but White Pages reports about 67 people with this name living in the U.S.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Rhodri

rhodri-mawr
www.walesonline.co.uk

Rhodri (HRO-dree) is a Welsh boy's name meaning "circle; disk; crown" and "ruler." 'Crown of royalty' could be what this is hinting at. Consider the following three historical namesakes and you'll agree that this is certainly a name for a circle of rulers.

Rhodri Molwynog, also known as Rhodri the Bald and Grey, was an 8th century king of Gwynedd. Little is known about him, but he is called King of the Britons in the Annals of Wales, and he probably died in 754 A.D. Rhodri the Great (820-878) was also a Welsh king, named Rhodri ap Merfyn and also known as Rhodri Mawr, and he was from either the Isle of Mann or Manau. His father, Merfyn Frych, was King of Gwynedd until 844, who took the throne after the previous line (Cunedda) ran out of male heirs. In the Annals of Ulster he is called King of the Britons. Fun fact: it may be possible that rap superstar Eminem (Marshall Mathers) is descended from him. Then we have Rhodri ap Gruffudd (1230 - 1315), a Welsh prince third or fourth in line to inherit the throne. His uncle sent his father to London as a prisoner, where he died, in order to ensure his position as king, since Rhodri's father was Llywelyn the Great's oldest son, although illegitimate. When Rhodri's uncle died, his brothers fought for the throne, but Rhodri managed to stay out of it. Later, when all his brothers had passed, he would've been the only one with a legitimate claim to the throne of Gwynedd and the title Prince of Wales, but unfortunately he had sold his rights to his older brother. His son made no claim to the throne either.

There are a handful of other British and Welsh namesakes that are more modern. Rhodri Morgan may be the most important modern namesake. A Welsh politician, he was the First Minister of Wales.

In the U.S. this name is rare and unusual, with no record.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Angelica

angelicaplant

Angelica (ann-JEL-ik-uh) is a Latin origin girl's name meaning "angelic," from the word angelicus. It has a faint hint of being dated, but not so much as Angel, and without the scream of "celebrity" that Angelina carries. Angelica is also a plant name - a Northern Hemisphere herb that grows tall with white flowers. It has been used to flavor things from cake toppings to gin, it's been used as medicine, and it's been made into the musical instrument called the fadno.

Some of you will instantly remember Angelica Pickles from the animated series Rugrats. Others will think of actress Anjelica Houston. There are other actresses with the name, including Angelica Panganiban, Angelica Domrose, and Anjelica Bridges. There's Austrian Neoclassical painter Angelica Kauffman, a founding member of the Royal Academy in London. Angelica Schuyler Church was a socialite with a village and a town named after her in New York. Angelica Rylin is a Swedish musician, and Angelica Rivera is a Mexican singer and actress. Princess Martha Louise of Norway has a daughter named Maud Angelica Behn. There are seemingly endless namesakes for the spelling Angelika as well, including actresses, politicians and writers.

Angelica is also a literary name: both the poet Boiardo and the poet Ariosto used it in the Orlando poems as the hero's love interest. Boiardo wrote Orlando Innamorato, while Ariosto wrote Orlando Furioso as a continuation of Boiardo's work. We also see Tolkien character Angelica Baggins, and an Angelica makes an appearance in Romeo and Juliet. Angelica Schuyler is a character in the musical Hamilton. Penelope Cruz plays Angelica Teach in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Used since the 18th century, Angelica currently ranks at #425 and was given to 746 girls in 2015. While it is not considered rare, it is not common. Angel, Angela and Angelina still rank above it, but Angeline is only at #951. 1996 was Angelica's most popular year in recent times. Aniela, Anielka, Aniella, Angiolina, Angelita, Anzhela and Angeli are all much more unusual. Angel, which is unisex, is currently more popular for boys.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wallace

William Wallace window glass
Sir William Wallace stained glass in Edinburgh Castle


Wallace (WAHL-iss) is an unusual baby name, since it means "Welshman," but it's of Old French origin, from the word waleis that translates to "Celtic foreigner." Before this, Wallace came from the cognate of an Old English word (Wylisc, Welisc) of the same meaning: "Welshman; foreigner." It originated as a surname. Most of the namesakes bearing Wallace as a surname were from the 1800's and 1900's, and there are many namesakes representing the armed forces, law, media, sports, religion, and sciences. If this name interests you, be sure to look up Alfred Russel Wallace, who was the first to create the theory of evolution in regard to natural selection, and who inspired Charles Darwin. In fiction there are characters in Final Fantasy VII, Pulp Fiction, Stargate, EastEnders, The Office and more with Wallace as their last name. The surname Walsh is connected to Wallace.

Wallace may have first been used as a given name to honor Sir William Wallace, a Scottish hero who helped defeat the English from invading in the 13th century. You might know this if you've ever watched Braveheart with Mel Gibson. Fun fact: the movie's screenwriter is named Randall Wallace. Or you might remember the animated series Wallace and Gromit. Wallace last ranked on the U.S. top 1000 in 1993, but the highest it ranked was #69 in 1923. It is possible, howver, that the name was most popular in 2015 given the rise in the overall number of births. Wally is generally accepted as the traditional nickname. Wallace Beery and Wallas Eaton are two actors who wore the name, Wallace Stegner won a Pulitzer Prize, and there are three Olympic medalists.

Wallis is another form of the name, but for this the most famous namesake was female. Bessie Wallis Simpson was the woman who Edward, Prince of Wales stepped down as the King of England for. He famously wanted to marry "the woman I love," becoming Duke of Windsor, while Wallis (as she was known) became Duchess of Windsor. As one can assume, this was highly controversial, not only because she was not royal or was American, but because she had two living ex-husbands. Wallis was named in honor of her father, William, who was called Wallis.

Wallis_Simpson
Duchess of Windsor

Wallis was not used as a girl's name before this event. In 1936 it was used for the first time on 6 girls, up to 33 girls the next year, but then down to 14 in 1938. By 1961 it was unheard of again. Wallis popped back up in 1980, never really climbing in number. In 2015 she was only given to 14 girls, despite the movie W.E. being made in 2011 (by Madonna!) of the royal affair.

Wallis and Futuna are a few French islands in the South Pacific which is inhabited by Polynesians.

Wallis Bird is an Irish musician.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Elina

While Elena (el-AY-nah) is having a moment in the sun, her sister Elina (el-EE-nah) is just outside of ranking. In 2015 Elina was given to 248 girls, a triumph considering she was only given to 5 girls in 1900 and no more than 13 until 1976. It wasn't until 2005 that she jumped past 100 births, so by all means Elina is still quite a rare gem. Elena, on the other hand, was given to 2,877 girls in 2015, ranking at #106. Similar-sounding Eliana (el-ee-AH-nah) currently ranks #103, given to 2,956 girls in 2015. If the baby name Eliana or Elena is perfect for you but you're afraid it's too common, give Elina a chance. She's streamlined and sophisticated, and truly sparkles.

Elena is the Latin cognate of Helen, from Greek mythology. The name most likely means "torch," with attention to the flame. Helen (Helene) was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and her kidnapping by Paris ended up causing the famous Trojan War. Throughout history she's been known as the beauty that "launched a thousand ships." Elina is the Finnish and Swedish form of the name. Eliana, though only one letter off, is not related, but it is almost identical in imagery. Eliana is the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese modern version of Aeliana (Aelia is an alternate form; they are pronounced AY-lee-uh and AY-lee-ah-nah), from the Roman family name Aelius, from the word helios, meaning "sun." So, all bright flames of names. I'd also like to mention that in Greek mythology Helios was the personification of the sun. (And in Sailor Moon he was a Pegasus, but let's not go there! ;p)

If you want something even more rare, try the Old Provencal form of Eleanor, which is Elladine (ELL-uh-deen). (Also, Elatine, an aquatic plant, has a lovely sound.) Elladine saw 5 births in 1924 which may have been a creative combination of Ella and Dean, or the rare French version. Something rare and very similar in sound to Elina - Elisena (ell-ee-SAY-nuh). which is a plant and also a princess character from Amadis de Gaula. It is likely a variant of Alison, meaning "noble character." Neither Elladine nor Elisena were given in U.S. record, or at least less than 5 were born in any given year.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cassiana

This female form of Cassian (KASH-in, though KASS-ee-an is accepted), Cassius (KASH-us), and the Roman family name Cassianus. It is of Latin origin, meaning "hollow." Cassiana is pronounced KAH-shah-nah, KASS-ee-ah-nah, or KAH-see-ah-nah. Cassiane/Kassiane (KAH-see-ah-neh) and Cassia (KAH-shuh, KASS-ee-uh accepted) are other female forms.

Recorded in the years 1992, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015, never more than seven times in a year, the name Cassiana is definitely rare. The spelling Casiana was only used in 1996 on 7 girls and 1998 on 5, and there is no recorded spelling of Cassiane. The spelling Kassiana was used in 2011 on 5 and 2014 on 6 girls. Cassia was used 61 times in 2015, making it the most popular option. Although these are rare feminine names, they do have a nice history of use and a broad range of countries it is used in. However, I do think people confuse Cassiana for a smoosh of Cassie/Cassandra and Ana/Anna, or think it might just be a form of Cassandra. Cassiana and Cassandra do share the Cass start, but one is of Latin origin, the other Greek. By the way, Cassandra means "shining upon man."

Cassiana is a genus of moth, and Cassia is used in the botanical name for Chinese cinnamon, cinnamomum cassia. Also, while there are several male saints named Cassius and Cassian, there is record of Saint Cassiana the Melodist, who was born in Constantinople around 800 A.D. and known as a great beauty and very intelligent. She was courageous, and she wrote poems and music under her own name - something only one other Byzantine woman did in this time period (she was Anna Comnena). The same saint is also referred to as Saint Cassia/Kassia, Cassiane/Kassiane, and Kassiani.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Vanellope

Vanellope


Hey, remember that one time an author made up a name and it suddenly surged in popularity? (I'm looking at you, Renesmee.) Well, add Vanellope to the list. I bet it sounds familiar, and that's because it's the name of the main female character in 2012's Wreck It Ralph, an animated kid's movie. I believe it is a candy-coated smoosh of 'vanilla' and Penelope. Vanellope von Schweetz is the lead racer in a game called "Sugar Rush," and she is cute, determined and witty. She is 9 years old, dislikes bullying, and loves candy. With Ralph's help they are able to get her out of glitch mode and save the residents of the arcade's games.

In 2012 when the movie came out the name was nonexistant, but by 2015 Vanellope was used 68 times. The spelling Vanelope was also used 7 times in 2015. While the credibility of this name is lacking thanks to being made up for a recent animated film, the plus side is that most people won't recognize where it came from. So if you want them to know where it came from, tell them, and if you don't, at least it has an appealing sound.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Best of the bottom 2016 stats part 3

Larimar
Larimar


Continuing after taking a break to talk about Tigris, here is a list of the stunning names given to only seven girls in 2016.

Accalia, Aissa, Ambriella, Anastassia, Annesley, Annisa, Antonette, Avabelle, Avriella
Belicia, Bell, Bia (a goddess), Bitania, Brigitta, Briona, Bronte, Branwen
Cecilie, Chandra, Chetana, Chriselle, Claritza, Corazon
Daciana, Deidra, Derica, Deva, Domino, Doriana
Eisele, Eleri, Eline, Elisea, Emmelina, Elora, Enora, Essa, Eudora, Evania
Fatimatou, Faviola, Felina, Fionnuala, Florentina, Fortune
Gabriana, Gael, Garnet, Gene, Genoveva, Giordana, Gwenneth, Gwynneth
Haydan, Helina, Hodaya, Holliday (possibly the extra L is to give notice that it's being used as a name and not the word)
Ilyse, Isana
Jara, Jarah, Jem, Jenia, Jera, Jerra, Jet, Jezebelle, Jora
Kaede, Kathalia (which is a place name), Kei, Keirsten, Kelsa, Kesha, Kindra, Kirstin, Korinna
Larimar*, Leonore, Lilana, Lior, Lisbet, Lolly, Louna, Lucelia, Lucine, Lunetta, Lyria
Magenta, Marabel, Maryjane, Mazarine, Mystic
Nastasia, Nigella, Nitara
Omaria, Omnia, Oralia, Oria, Oriya
Padme, Patty, Pennylane (probably written Penny Lane in practice)
Raissa, Ramira, Rashida, Roy, Rune
Sadira, Sanna, Season, Shine, Shona, Sibylla, Sira, Silvie, Sincerity, Sorcha, Sorrel, Sulamita
Talullah, Tamora, Theory, Tigerlilly, Tilia, Triana
Valena, Valley, Vannia, Venezia
Windy, Wonder
Yarden
Zira

*Larimar is a combination of Larissa and the root mar, meaning "sea." It is not a typical name, nor a typical "smoosh," and would not be used if it weren't for the Larimar gemstone, which is also known as Stefilia's Stone (for reasons unknown), Atlantis stone, and the dolphin stone. It is found in the Dominican Republic.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tigris

tigris
Visit TigerDay.org

Tigris (TY-griss) is a name of Latin origin meaning "tiger," and it is used as the species name of the tiger family, Panthera Tigris. It is the name of the Tigris River that runs through Iraq and Turkey, and it connects with the Euphrates River. Legend has it that Saint Patrick had a sister named Tigris, and she is listed as a Catholic saint in her own right. She had at least five children, and it is said that they were five boys who all became bishops - one of which may have been Saint Loman of Trim. In Thermodon and Tiigris were the two river spirits Romans knew as Flumina, but they represented every river. In the movie Gladiator, the main character fights "the undefeated" Tigris of Gaul, and there is a Tigris character in The Hunger Games series as well.

A tigress (TY-gress) is a female tiger. The Tigress is the name of a 1927 silent film and a 1992 German film. There are characters named Tigress in DC Comics, Kung Fu Panda, and the Tigress comics by Heroic Publishing.

Although word names are popular, Tigress (female) and Tigris (unisex) are very rare, with no government statistics. It is also worth nothing that Tiger is used as a name, mainly for boys. In 2015 Tiger was not used on girls, but was given to 28 boys, and in general since at least 1962. Tigra, a feminine name with the same meaning, was only used five times in 1988 and five times in 1991.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Best of the bottom pt.2 (Girls)

Continuing from the last post, here are beautiful and rare names from the very bottom of the SSA extended list in 2015. I do try to make sure they are all "real" names that have been used before. Not sure how many more of these posts will be written or if I will get to the boys, so enjoy, and tell me which ones you like!

6 times used in 2015

Abela, Abelina, Aleska, Alexine, Amabelle, Anthem, Aradia, Aricia, Arlena, Athaliah
Bess, Bettina, Bibianna, Blakesley, Branwen, Briceyda, Brizeida, Brynja, Bryony
Callalily, Caralena, Castella, Catherina, Cecille, Charlena, Cherith, Christiane, Christmas, Cicilia, Cipriana, Circe, Clemence, Cloris, Corrinne, Cristabel
Dariona, Deidre, Delphia, Denisa, Devlin, Dhara, Diona, Dione, Drusilla, Dyna
Edina, Elvina, Elvy, Emanuelle, Emelda, Enza, Eponine, Erendira, Ernestina, Eula, Evanora
Faria, Fauna, Fayza, Felicitas, Feyza, Fiorela, Florina, Fox
Gal, Galadriel, Galena, Gavrielle, Ghita, Gloriann, Gracianna, Griselle
Heloisa, Hildana, Hildegard
Ilma, Ilya, Isadore
Jessamyn, Joaquina, Josefa
Kalypso, Katarzyna, Keirstin, Kiki, Kohana
Lauriana, Layden, Lazara, Leandra, Lelaina, Leontine, Lilijana, Lima, Lin, Livinia, Loki, Lolana, Luann, Lucilia, Luvina, Lydiana, Lyn, Lysandra
Magdalina, Magdaline, Maiden, Mandolin, Marcianna, Marine, Marquetta, Marquita, Mayana, Melita, Micheline, Momina, Mythili
Natividad, Nazarene, Nimue, Ninfa
Olivet, Otilia, Ottilia
Pace, Pasqualina, Pax, Pelagia, Petal, Pristine, Prairie
Quetzal, Quianna
Romana, Romelia, Romilly, Roosevelt, Rosalva
Sabrine, Saga, Sandrine, Saraphina, Sophronia
Tansy, Tarya, Theophilia, Trillian, Tristine, Tzippora
Valor, Valora, Velvet, Veronique, Victoriana
Xanthe
Yazmina
Zephyra, Zetta, Zsazsa (might be ZsaZsa or Zsa Zsa in practice), Zsofia, Zuleima, Zuzana

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Best of the Bottom (Girls)

Here is a list of the best of the names at the very bottom of the 2015 extended SSA document. These names were given to five girls, are real names and have a history of use either in the U.S. or abroad. Some of them are truly stunning! (And refreshing, once you're knee deep in the L's and M's with all the various spelling choices for the same name and the J's which are mainly a collection of random trendy sounds.)

Aia, Aisosa, Albana, Alesya, Amabella, Amadea, Ambra, Aniella, Anneth, Annetta, Antalya, Apsara, Aquinnah, Araminta, Aspasia, Avalena

Bellatrix, Betselot, Brita

Caelia, Calyx, Cameo, Capella, Carlita, Carmia, Carola, Carsten (although typically used for boys), Cassiana, Clarita, Cliona, Clodagh, Clothilde, Concetta, Constantina, Coralina, Corinthia, Czarina

Dafina, Dagmar, Delancy, Delancey, Delphina, Desta, Doria, Dorsa, Dotty

Eilonwy, Elisiana, Eliska, Etana, Exie

Federica, Fiamma, Franziska

Gwenna

Ife, Iselin, Ishara, Izora

Jeannine, Jenella, Jensine, Jinny, Joelie/Joellie (I wonder if this is in honor of a Joel?), Josina, Joviana, Joyana, Justyne

Karine, Karinne, Katrielle

Leonella, Lise, Louann, Lovisa, Lowry, Luciella, Ludmila, Ludovica, Luziana

Macrina, Madalena, Madalene, Maleficent (surely you jest!), Malvina, Marigny, Marimar, Marisabel, Marjory, Martine, Mary-Frances, Mary-Jean, Mary-Jose, Mary-Louise, Michella, Mila-Marie, Miriana, Moria

Naria, Nastassia, Nerissa, Nicholette, Nicolena, Nilufer

Olesya, Olivine, Osiria

Panagiota, Parissa, Parvina, Prisma

Qiana, Qianna, Quintessa

Raziela, Rohan, Rohana, Ruqayya

Sebastiana, Serendipity, Sevilla, Shalimar, Stellaluna, Svana, Synnove

Tirsa, Tirza, Trillium

Ulla

Valina, Varina, Velina, Verbena

Xochil, Xyliana

Yazmeen, Yuzu, Yvelisse

Zakeria, Zelene, Ziza, Zohara, Zorina

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I say Maibritt, you say Maybrit

Maybritt and Maybrit are modern spellings of the Nordic name Majbritt, pronounced MY-brit. It is largely used in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, in that order. The girl's name can be traced back to at least 1893. It is now a bit dated, as its heyday was between 1950 and 1980. Maybrit, Majbrit, Maibritt, Maibrit, Majbritta, Majbritte, and -th endings such as Maibrith have also been used. The 'maj' element of the name comes from Maja (and ultimately from Maria, whose meaning is contested) and can also mean May (the month), while 'britt' comes from Britta, from the Celtic name Brighid (prn: BREED), meaning "exalted one." Brighid/Bridget was a goddess in Irish mythology. The takeaway for meaning is "exalted woman."

May-Britt Moser is a Norwegian psychologist and neuroscientist who was a Nobel laureate. Majbritt Morrison was the victim of racial violence that initiated the 1958 Notting Hill race riots. She later wrote Jungle West 11. Maibritt Saerens is a Danish actress. Maybrit Illner is a German journalist, and her name is pronounced MY-brit.

Other combination names with Maj or Britt exist, including Majken/Maiken, Annbritt/Britanna, and Ellabritt.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Eternity

eternity2_
Eternity graffiti, Arthur Stace


Eternity is an intriguing option as a girls baby name. While word names are always popular, those with grand meanings are favorites. Serenity, for example, has been climbing the charts steadily and now sits high at #71. Eternity, however, remains rare. In 2015 there were only 84 baby girls given the name, which is about the same amount for the past decade. It has only been used since about 1990, which is when Calvin Klein introduced the perfume Eternity. However, the universal concept of eternity (mathematical, philosophical, religious or otherwise) has been around for, pun intended, eternity, and there is no off-putting association for it.

From old Latin aeturnus, Eternity means "without beginning or end." Synonym: forever. It is easy to see as a name - just like Destiny or Trinity. It has a modern, feminine sound, like Eve, Lily (currently ranking at #25) or Emily (currently ranking at #8). Nicknames could be Etty, Teri, or Terny, but I'm sure you could get creative - but it doesn't need a nickname.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

My naming advice to myself

I'll admit, I had a very rough time choosing a name for my daughter. For my son, we had a list of about ten names going into the hospital, narrowed it down to three once we saw what he looked like, and then my husband suddenly put his bossy pants on and said, "It's this one." Easy. With our daughter born in March, the list was three times longer and even though I narrowed it down to three like before, I left the hospital without a name picked. We called the hospital the next day to make at least one of them official, but it didn't feel right. I poured over my lists all night. Our top name suddenly felt boring, while the runner-up was so beautiful I really wanted to pick it, but it didn't look like her. Even after making her name official I considered a few others, wondering if one of them would jump out and say, "Why didn't you pick me?!"

I asked myself, what advice would I give to a friend having trouble making a decision?

- You've spent loads of time picking these names, researching and giving thoughtful consideration to each one. None of them are random and they all mean something to you, so logically, any of them would make a fine choice. So relax.

- What is your top priority? Focus on that. Do you want other people to gush over it? Or do you want to feel like, to you, it's the prettiest name in the world, regardless of what other people think? Do you want it to be masculine, feminine, flowy, sparkly, or strong? Do you want her to have to spell it and say it repeatedly? Does it matter more if the name is very unique, or would you go with a popular name if it felt perfect on your baby? Maybe the most important thing is that it's a family name, or maybe you want it to match a sibling's name.

- What does she look like? When you call her this name, does it feel right? Does it make you happy? Do you love explaining it to other people, and when someone trashes the name does it make you want to defend it, or do you get embarrassed?

- Tell people your options, and mind their reaction. If you tell five people the name and all five of them make a sour face (or verbal disgust for it), you might not want your child to deal with everyone disliking the name, even if Mom and Dad love it. However, if everyone says "What a pretty name!" and you still don't want to use it, go with that gut feeling.

- Consider her future. This is not your name, she will not be you. Without guessing what kind of personality, career, or talents she'll have, think of what you know for sure. 1) In 2016 the top 10 girls names are Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Isabella, Mia, Abigail, Emily, Charlotte, and Harper, while the rest of the top 1000 has choices that range from dated, ethnic, wildcard and nickname-y. These are the girls she will be in school with, the names of kids in her neighborhood and relatives. 2) Consider what state and city she lives in. A religious community? A hip and understanding community? Maybe there are three Kaylee's on your block alone, and you don't want her to be #4 or Kaylee N. 3) Consider the state of the world. For example, I doubt many people are naming their babies Isis right now, and I don't think Bertha is ready to come back to life just yet (or ever). Certain things are popular right now, too, just like Twilight made a few names super hip. 4) Judging by what you and your partner look like, you'll know if she's likely to be tall, brown-eyed, freckled, and probably what hair color, so what do you think she'll look like when she's your age? Look at a picture of your grandma and see if Granny looks like an Emma or a Raven. Genetics are powerful.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Trystine

trystineametrine
Ametrine

A gorgeous natural mixture of amethyst and citrine, this beautiful name can hardly say its been used at all - in fact there are likely as few as two people in the U.S. named Trystine. While the stone itself is known as ametrine (amethyst + citrine as a smush word) or golden amethyst, it is naturally found in Bolivia, thus the trade-name is Bolivianite. There are several varieties of quartz, including onyx, Tiger's eye, rock crystal, and amethyst and citrine individually.

To be clear, a gemstone is a "mineral crystal" and it can be a precious or semi-precious stone. When cut and polished these are used to make jewelry. A few gemstones are not minerals at all, such as lapis lazuli, amber and jet.

In legend, ametrine was first seen when a Conquistador inherited a Bolivian mine via marriage to a Princess Anahi of the Ayoreos tribe, and he gifted some of these New World gemstones to the Queen of Spain. This must only be legend because the Ayoreo were supposedly first contacted by Jesuits in the 1720's, but that is not to say a similar situation could've never happened. Most ametrine sold today is lab-created. You can read more about the legend at the stone's official website, www.ametrine.com Also be sure to check out anahite, also found at this mine, and also very beautiful.

The name Trystine, which means "thrice" or "three" is in reference to a cutting process: when a gemstone has alternating color segments and is cut perpendicular to its c-axis, a pinwheel shape is visible, and in ametrine it will have 3 violet and 3 yellow sectors when cut perfectly. That information is found here and to be honest I think you have to be a mineralogist/geologist/jeweler to understand it, but that is the only clue as to how ametrine also became known as trystine. There is no one to credit with naming it and no other backstory.

In 2015 there were 6 girls given the name Tristine.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gap Casting Call Boys 2016

Oliver (3)
Aiden & Aaden & Ayden (2)
Aaron (2)
Liam (2)
Jude
Gavin (2)
Grady
Austin
Roland
Lennon
Ryuu
Lucien
Dominic (8)
Albert
Linkin & Lincoln (3)
Hudson (3)
Ollie
Christian
Miguel
Titus
Michael (3)
Kaemon
Kale
Austin
John (2) & Jon
Marcus
Brynnen
Johnathan (2)
Eric
Rhett
Anthony (2)
Wade
Mason (4)
Sky (f & m)
Ashton (2)
Nathan & Nathaniel (2) & Nathanial (2)
Kellen
Dakarai
Connor (7)
Elijah (4)
Tyler (2)
Spencer
Jasper (2)
Thomas (3)
Allen
Sebastian (2)
Isaac (2)
Andres
Jason (2)
Maxwell
Gerardo
Phoenix
Easton
Gunner
Nolan (2)
Reid
Bennett
Devon & Devin
Gabriel
Noah (4)
Skyler (m & f)
Henry (4)
Cole (2)
Bradley
Zander
Ziggy
Weston (2) & Westin
Asher
Landon (3)
Jacob (6) & Jake (3)
Daniel
Pedro
Thatcher
Bodhi
Christopher (3)
Ty
Xavier (2)
Max (4)
Levi (2)
William (2)
Giovanni (3) & Jovanni
Aquiles
Kenneth
Morgan
Warner
Camron & Cameron (2)
Rhyan
Blake (3)
Eli
Sanaa
Zachary
Donovan
Cohen
Evan (5)
Colten
Arian
Ace
Kiran
Miles (2)
Beckett
Braylen
Parker
Byron
Ignazio
Vincent & Vincente
James (3)
Lucas
Kevan
Jack (2) & Jackson
Grayson (3) & Graisen & Greyson
Taven
Nehemiah
Raheem
Ethan (3)
Derek
Matthew
Tramayne
Jamaury
Inde
Rowan
Gideon (2)
Alphonse
Destin
Harrison
Leon
Alexander
Jelani
Maksymilian
Roman (2)
Ulysses
Case
Karson
Dean
Stryker
Emanuel
Joseph
Jhett
Julius
Darrel
Brycen
Gage
Emmitt
Leonidas
Isaiah
Khalid
Wynter
Dale
Jamison & Jameson
Robby & Robert
Terrence
Cruz
Clayton
Payson
Troy
Lawson
Blaine
Blaise & Blaze
Bryhan
Benjamin
Logan
Tevin
Soren
Kason
Kayden
Simon
Florian
Colin (3)
Trip
Elias
Andrew (2)
Reece
Turner
Angelo
Camden
Charles
Avery
Nicholas
Caleb (2)
Mavrik
Kyron
Wyatt
Colton & Colt
Jerome
Nevin
Cypress
Desmond
Talan
Quinn
Sergio
Mathias
Jordan
Rhyder
Brandon (2)
Oscar
Zaire
Mark
Hunter
Jamie
Rocco
Lochlan
Aldo
Carter
Julian
Tristan
Dawson
Rhys
Scott
Tucker
Malachi
Kendall

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Gap Casting Call Girls 2016

Somehow the Gap Casting Call has a wide array of very well named children each year, you would think this was a naming pageant. So without further ado, the U.S. names from submissions...

Kyleigh (2) & Kylee & Kaileigh
Caylee & Kaylie
Paislee & Paisley (3)
Rifka
Penelope
Alina
Gabriela & Gabriella
Layla (2) Leila & Laila
Lennon (2)
Farrah
Elizabeth (4)
Brianna
Hattie
Lillian (2)
Alaina (2)
Madison (5)
Esther
Kayden and Kaiden (2)
Kendall
Scarlette
Alessandra
Belen
Gloria
Lyric
Isla
Kinsley
Maelin
London (3) & Londyn
Mikayla (2) & Micaela & Makayla
Madeleine & Madeline (3)
Norah (3)
Kelsie
Melody
Amelia
Sequoia
Emma (4)
Arianna (3) & Ariana (2) & Aryanna
Violet (3)
Ipek
Anna (2)
Avril
Sophia (5) & Sofie & Sofia & Sophie (2)
Ananda
Annabeth
Bianca
Adrianna (2)
Sky (f & m)
Valentina (2)
Eva (2)
Stella (3)
Autumn
Mariah (2)
Peyton (2)
Baylinn
Ava (2) & Avalyn & Avalyne
Elle
Eloise
Emmaline
Wren
Imogen
Julia (3)
Dallas & Dallis
Kenzie & McKenzie
Aubrey (2) & Aubri
Janie
Emri
Ember
Olivia (6)
Mavelyn
Riley & Rylee (2)
Dezmarie
Everleigh & Everlie
Alaysia
Halie & Hallie
Lior
Abigail (5)
Audrey
Reese (2)
Zyah
Melanie
Kaylani
Julianna (2)
Avery
Olive
Amelie
Kiyomi
Margot
Eleanor (6)
Charlotte (2)
Skyler (m & f)
Alyce & Alice (3)
Breena
Minah
Damiya
Willow
Tessa
Stokely
Brooke
Adaleigh
Lucia (2)
Camille (2)
Lilith
Aniah & Aniya (3)
Angelia
Michelle
Addison (2)
Halle
Rianna
Maya (2) & Amaya (2)
Mila (2)
Ariella
Bella
Chloe (4)
Isabela & Isabella & Isabelle
Annabella & Annabelle (3)
Mia-Monroe
Aashka
Alexa & Alexis
Amani
Jordyn (2)
Caliya
Glori
Hannah
Ellana
Charley & Charlie
Chanel
Clare & Claire
Emily
Lola (3)
Lylah
Caterina
Catalina & Katalina
Codi
Adalyn
Berlin
Elena
Katherine
Kayla (2)
Ruby (2)
Lalia
Noelle
Sally
Nilah
Marleigh
Malaysia
Kaylin
Natalie (2)
Kinley (2) & McKinley
Luna
Gianna (2)
Geovanna
Cataliah
Lilly (2)
Syann
Alayah
Brenna
Allie (2)
Amy
Makenna
Caroline
Stevie
Aria (2) & Aryah
Harley
Samantha (2)
Allison
Naya
Lucy
Josalyn
Pamela
Jadyn
Daniela
Evelyn (2)
Brinley & Brynlee
Nevaeh
Piper
Molly
Havannah
Harper (2)
Victoria
Zoey (2)
Analee`
Holly
Danica
Adeline
Sloan
Dylan
Benett
Amber (2)
Milliana
Veola
Bailey
Grace
Aila
Christina & Kristina
Lea
Berkley
Mia (2)
Jaycee
Carina
Aaliyah & Naliyah
Caidence & Kaydence
Majesti
Elani
Milan
Brylee
Delainee
Vivienne
Kenadie
Nila & Nyla
Sawyer
Emeri
Grey
Hayden
Keira
Elliot
Campbell
Josephine
Morgan
Brooklyn
Clarity
Savannah
Emerson
Alyssa (2)
Dia
Alizee
Leah
Aviana
Lydia
Maura
Brielle
Amira

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Top 10 Portugal 2015

1. Maria & João
2. Leonor & Martim
3. Matilde & Rodrigo
4. Beatriz & Santiago
5. Carolina & Francisco
6. Mariana & Afonso
7. Ana & Tomás
8. Ines & Miguel
9. Margarida & Guilherme
10. Sofia & Gabriel

11. Lara & Duarte
12. Laura & Gonçalo
13. Francisca & Pedro
14. Joana & Tiago
15. Alice & Rafael
16. Clara & Diogo
17. Diana & Lourenço
18. Luana & Lucas
19. Madalena & Dinis
20. Mafalda & Salvador

To see up to #100 for both genders visit this site.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Catrina (Katrina)

katia-winter-sleepy-hollow-season-2-promoshoot_1
Katia Winter as Katrina Crane 

Catrina was only used 11 times in 2015, a dramatic drop from its 1980 peak of 454 births. The spelling Katrina is always more popular, lurking just off the top 1000 with 215 births in 2015. Katrina also peaked in 1980 with 3,397 births. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 negatively impacted the popularity of both spelling options, but usage was already decreasing. The original spelling, Catriona (pronounced the same, kuh-TREE-nah) was used 17 times in 2015. It is the Gaelic form of Katherine, and "pure" is the accepted meaning.

Cat, Trina, Rini, Caty/Katy and Kiki have all been used as nicknames. Most recently the name Katrina has been used in the TV show Sleepy Hollow, which began airing in 2013. The character Katrina Crane is played by Katia Winter.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Seeley

seeleybooth
Special Agent Seeley Booth


Due to its -ley ending and its obscurity, Seeley started life in the U.S. fairly unisex. It was used 5 times in 1914, 6 in 1924 on just boys. Then it reappeared to be used 5 times in 1996 and 7 times in 2007 on just girls. 2009 and later it was used on both genders and has been increasing in popularity, but it is clearly more popular for boys, being used 36 times in 2015 but only 15 for girls. The sudden interest in this name and consistency of use in the 2000's is likely in thanks to Seeley Booth, played by David Boreanaz in the TV show Bones. The show began airing in 2005, but it wasn't until 2009 that Seeley resumed use on team blue. Temperance had a similar revival at the same time and then took off running.

Seeley is an Old French surname meaning "blessed," and historically has been spelled Sealey, Seelye and Seely. Real life namesakes include Seeley G. Mudd, professor, physician and philanthropist, the son of Seeley Wintersmith Mudd, mining engineer. Seeley comes from the same root as German name Selig, ultimately a Yiddish word meaning "happy" and "blessed."

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Beatrix

beatrixneth
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands when she was just a princess

Beatrix (BEE-ah-trix) is a vintage name, a historical name, very international, and a modern favorite here in the States. It is little known that her original form is Viatrix, ultimately from Latin viator, meaning "voyager." The -trix suffix for Latin loan words was traced back to the 15th century by The Oxford English Dictionary, yet Saint Viatrix/Beatrix/Beatrice of Rome is from the 4th century. Christians later changed the spelling so that via- became bea- and "blessed" became the new meaning, but beatus also makes "she who makes happy" a legitimate meaning. Beatrice, Beatriu, Betrys, Beitris, Beatrise, Beatrycze and Beatriz are the other spelling variants in Europe. Trixy and Bea/Bee are the most used nickname options, although Bix/Bixy, Beaty, Bebe and even Brice have been used as well.

Namesakes include Beatrix Kiddo from "Kill Bill," the girl detective Trixie Belden series (full name
Beatrix Belden), asteroid 83 Beatrix, and two Olympic medalists - both in figure skating, but among them children's book writer Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit, and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, are the two most well known. There are three saints and two blessed with the name Beatrix.

Surprisingly, Beatrix does not currently rank in the U.S., and the only time it ever did was in 1883 at #754. Of course, Beatrice had more luck, likely due to it's lack of a sassy ending sound and it's Shakespeare pedigree. Beatrice is #601 in the U.S. but Beatrix is not too far behind, used 209 times in 2015, almost double the 123 births in 2010 and just under the top 1000. In England and Wales Beatrix currently ranks at #234, in Hungary it last ranked in 2004 (used 140 times that year), and in Switzerland had a run between 1942 and 1969 with its peak in 1956 at #39 (used 258 times that year).

* A note on Bellatrix * The -trix ending in a word or name simply means "female," just like a -tress suffix (huntress, for example). So Bellatrix, "female warrior," and Beatrix, "female voyager," are not related. Here is a list of examples.