While we’re all waiting to hear the name of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s new daughter, here’s a little distraction. I tallied up the most read Names of the Day from 2008. The results follow – a few are quite surprising!

Top Ten Boys

Four of the ten are single syllables – suggesting that it may indeed be one of the hottest trends in baby naming.

  1. Vaughn
  2. Finn
  3. Etienne This was the big surprise! Will French names catch on for boys, too?
  4. Ronan
  5. Orrin
  6. Aoyun The Olympic name attracted attention long after the games’ end.
  7. Jude
  8. Rhys
  9. Raphael
  10. Xavier

Top Twenty Girls:

Girls’ name searches outrank boys’ name searches by more than 2:1. In other words, even the 20th most popular girls’ NotD had more hits than the 10th most popular boys’ post. That’s while you find twice as many girls’ names listed as boys.

  1. Esme She’s also the top search name for the site.
  2. Isla She’s right behind Esme on the search list.
  3. Poppy
  4. Helena
  5. Lorelei
  6. Noa
  7. Mallory
  8. Nina
  9. Xanthe
  10. Tallulah Despite the flap over New Zealand’s Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii this summer, plenty of parents find this one intriguing.
  11. Natasha The First Daughter could inspire thousands of namesakes in the next few years.
  12. Eulalie
  13. Sylvia
  14. Clara
  15. Romilly
  16. Frances
  17. Annika Could she be the next Annabel?
  18. Ophelia
  19. Oona
  20. Octavia Hmm … three O names in a row! Are parents desperate to find substitutes for Olivia?

I can’t wait to see if any of these actually move up in the US rankings for 2008!

    About Abby Sandel

    Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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    1. Cat, fair enough – Jayden could’ve been the most read!

      Elisabeth, I think you’re right that there’s a small (or not so small!) community out here, and some of the names are driven by that conversation.

      But what’s interesting is that these aren’t top search names – they’re the most read posts. Esme, Isla, Lorelei and Finn are actually the top search names, along with a few surprises – Pomeline, for example, is one of the most common searches. And I’m sure that’s because there’s so little info about the name. (Google “baby name Pomeline” and this site is the fourth one to pop up.)

      There are probably quirkier things driving the most read posts. The NotD post on Vaughn, for example, was mentioned by an Alias fan site for Michael Vartan fans. (His character was Michael Vaughn.) And Tallulah is referenced in the Norwegian Wikipedia page on the name – so when the whole Talula Does the Hula brouhaha broke, a whole lot of people in Oslo found the site.

      I’m most curious about this – until recently, we haven’t been able to track the names that parents consider – only the names that they choose. But for a new name to catch on, it has to make the “possibles” list for many more parents. I don’t know if there’s an official statistic, but on any site, something like 99% of the readers never comment. So does that mean that web hits will translate to actual children’s names in a few years? Can a namenik with a passionate love for, say, Doris or Bruce, encourage all those lurkers to consider the name?

    2. Verity, I have a theory about this.

      Some of these names indeed might be well on the rise. Others are so unusual that when you type in “baby name _______” to a google search, Appellation Mountain will be one of the first sites to come up, so more people will come specifically to this site for that name.

      In addition, there are a few names here that individual baby name fanatics with a wide presence on the web (blogs, name boards) tend to talk about a lot. So they may either be on the rise with the baby name fanatics, or those fanatics may be indeed changing the tide ever so slightly!

      Two of those names are ones that I suggested, one to you, and one to a friend, who subsequently asked you to write about it! Funny what a tight circle it is…

      Very interesting post! 😀

    3. I was surprised to see Mallory up there sandwiched in between all of the exotic names!
      I’m not shocked at all that Finn was up there- I can see him being the Next Big Thing for boy’s naming, if he is not already. A pity; I really like him.

    4. That’s really interesting! I’m surprised to see Sylvia so far up. Could it be picking up steam outside of name-nerd communities? Vaughn also surprises the crap out of me. It recalls flannel to me, not any hot new trend!

      Thanks for taking the time to look at everything. It’s really fascinating to see what people are looking at. I imagine this is probably a good name nerd haven, though. Then again, you haven’t done a post on Jayden; it might become the top viewed if you did!

    5. Absolutely fascinating, indeed! All those ‘N’ enders, it figures my favorites on the boys are those last 2. Anything to be contrary!
      As for those ‘O’ girls, I think you nailed it, parents are looking for an Olivia substitute, whether it be an O (obvious beginning similarity) or a four syllable, regal sounding name. Very cool, I see most of those discussed pretty heavily online too and think you’re definitely onto something. 😀 I too associate some of those 30 names with certain people!
      I don’t even remember how to say Aoyun, so I wouldn’t be thinking of using it but I’d be willing to bet there’ll be a few born in the next year, It’s familiar to pople now and may very well be a “why not?” sort of name. Maybe still not in the top 1000, except barely.

    6. You’re right, Christina – and I think Ronan and Orrin suggest that some parents are still looking for the next Aiden – another two-syllable, ends-in-n choice. As for Aoyun, do you think anyone will use it in the US?!

    7. Fascinating look at last year’s searches. The top 6 boys’ names end in the “n” sound. Most of those 30 names were discussed at some length on the Old Baby Center (OBBC)and I actually associate some of those names with certain moms.