Sunday SummaryLet’s start this week with a predicament: Swistle tries to help another family trying to avoid trendy names, when their tastes run to Camden and Avery, Beckett and Hadley. I love this quote:

Here is what I think is making you stuck: you want to avoid trendy, common names, but your tastes are absolutely on-trend. Every single name you like, every single sound you’re attracted to, is what is in style right this minute. What it comes down to in these cases is which is more important to you: a name that fits your preferences for unique, or a name that fits your tastes?

There are some great suggestions in Swistle’s lists and in the comments, but it is a tricky question.  If you love a name, how popular does it have to be before you’ll pass it up?  And is it reasonable to let a name go because of its popularity?

Elsewhere online, in baby name news:

  • On the same note, if you love Olivia, would you consider Odilia or Olympia instead?  Elisabeth has plenty of other suggestions.
  • There are popular names, unusual names, and then there are nearly one-of-a-kind baby names.  Nancy turned up a bunch of true rarities in Ontario: boys called Warsame and Kalervo, girls named Mimma, Verdun, and Jeanne D’Arc.  That last one surprised me – I’m all for Joan and Jeanne, but Jeanne D’Arc seems like too much to live up to!
  • Do you have a great-grandmother named Mary?
  • Loving Eponymia’s round-up of 2012 royal births.  Few of these were high profile enough to make baby name news, but they are a terribly intriguing set.
  • Joe Jr. somehow lost out on a middle name!
  • I’m all about Swithin and Kasiani on Nameberry’s newest finds list.
  • Another unusual and pleasingly preppy possibility: Collins, profiled by Blue Juniper here.
  • This is a very pretty name, but is Dimity too delicate?
  • Wild dolphins have personal names.  To date, no dolphins have name blogs, but I’ll be on the lookout.
  • Names big in Baltimore – Harper makes the Top Ten.  I can’t wait to see what Harper ranks when the 2012 data is released in May.

That’s all for this Sunday.  As always, thanks for reading!

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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What do you think?


  1. Nope, my great-grandmothers were Myrtle Olive, Irene Helen, & Alma Bess [my paternal grandfather’s side is a mystery]. But my great-great-grandmothers included a Mary — Mary Ellen, Tamma Ethel, Stanislawa, Mathilda, Caroline, & Katherine.

    When my husband and I first started making name lists, & then trying to conceive, Hannah was one of my favorite names. But I gave up on it because it was soooo popular then [#2-3]. I still love it, but I guess my daughters having even semi-unique names is more important to me.

  2. I have a great-grandmother Mary Ellen, not Mary but Mary Ellen. I’ve always liked that. Actually, I like all my great-grandma names: Ada May, Harriet Esther, and Elizabeth Jane. And I like just Mary.

    Olympia has really been growing on me. As for Odilia, which I like a lot, I think I prefer Ottilie to Odilia or Ottilia or Odilie. But they are all very cool. I have now actually met an Otilia. No Olympias yet though. Octavia is also cool. And I had a friend growing up named Otivia – I’ve never heard it anywhere else.

  3. Not a Mary to be seen in my family. Not many Marys in Jewish families.

    My great-grandmothers were Leah, Jessie, and two named Rose, the Roses’ Anglicized from two different Yiddish names. Leah was “really” a Leah.

    I don’t mind Dimity. Fabric doesn’t bother me as a reference – I like Calico and Twila too!

    Viola is my favourite of the Olivia options, far and away, loved it for ages. Octavia a distant second, and the rest don’t rate. But I like Opal/Opaline, which seems like another good substitute.

  4. Dimity seems akin to naming your child Organza or Taffeta, but I quite like Demetria and its variants.

    Jeanne d’Arc has never been used as a given name in France, but in Quebec the name spiked in popularity when Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920. It became the second most popular girls’ name in that province that year! Thus many French-Canadians have grandmothers or great-grandmothers named Jeanne d’Arc, and I suppose a few might think it whimsical to bestow the name on their daughters. It does seem a bit much to live up to, but no more than, say, Atlas (one of the names on your March Madness list).

  5. Collins makes me think of Phil Collins, since my Mum is a big fan of his. I was surprised to click through to the link and see it was about a female character named Collins. I’d like it better on a boy, though I do prefer regular ‘old’ Colin, for the British vibe too.

    I don’t think I can get past the Dim part of Dimity – wherein “dim” means “not very clever”. That would make me not want to use the name. I’d prefer the similar sounding Verity.

  6. DD1 is Mary Adeline after my grandmas. My mom’s mom was Mary Lou and my dad’s mom was Adeline. However, my grandma Adeline actually changed her name throughout her life. When she died we found out she was Marie Adeline not Adeline Marie as we had all thought. Oddly her mother was also named Marie so maybe that’s the reason for the name change?

    I do agree that Mary is refreshing on a young child. Where I live I know several Marys, but most (my daughter included) go by their middle name. Maybe that’s one reason why she feels so uncommon now?

  7. My great-grandmothers were Anna, Sarah, Sophie and Karoline. Other than the K spelling of Caroline, I think they sound like kindergarteners from 2013, instead of European immigrants born around 1880-90.

    MN has quite the Somali population and Warsame is pretty common amongst adults, but I just looked it up and it didn’t rank in 2011. It’s meaning is lovely (“Good News”) and it easy enough for Americans to spell and pronounce… I wonder why new parents of Somali descent aren’t using it? Perhaps it feels to much like a “dad” name?

  8. I love that you live near me. I’ll always know the trends in the area. It will be helpful should we have anymore kids 🙂