Sunday SummarySo the big baby name news is that Beyonce and Jay-Z are going to make Blue Ivy a big sister!  Or so rumor has it.  Speculation about possible names for Bey-Z II is already in full swing.  I turned to the Bey Bey Name Generator for inspiration this morning.  Periwinkle Pine, Cerulean Palm, or Cobalt Lily, anyone?

Something tells me that the famous couple won’t follow the pattern they set with Blue’s name.  But there’s no way it will be Jacob or Sophia, right?

Elsewhere in baby name news:

  • Did you see the birth announcement at For Real for Czarina Maria?  And I thought Messiah was over the top!
  • Houston Press blogger Jef With One F went on a rant about crazy kid names last week.  I just re-read it and realized that while the names he’s criticizing are easy to hate on – Nevaeh, of course – he actually has some pretty funny lines.  My favorite?  By the tick-filled pelt of Peter Rabbit, Cayn. Cayn. I have been obsessed with vampire fiction for two decades and even the most batty of goths never hung Cayn on a fictional character, let alone someone that had to stand in line at the DMV.
  • I really like the name Catarina.  But only Catarina, not Katerina.
  • From the wayback machine: back in 2008, I was writing about Orion.  In 2009, it was Tizoc.  2010 brought us Andrea.  2011 was all about Rayna.  And last year, the 19th fell on a Saturday, but the week before, the spotlight went to Sapphire.
  • Another spotting of Shalom in the middle spot, this time for a boy.  I’m not saying Shalom is the next Marie, but it could be bigger than, say, Danger.
  • I am completely okay with kids named Katniss and Lisbeth, Blue, Hugo, Niall, and Jubilee.  But I’ll admit that Nancy’s Pop Culture Baby Name Game results had me shaking my head at the rise in newborns named Renesmee.  It doesn’t seem like an attractive name – maybe I’m missing something?  Especially since Twilight and company are packed with such gorgeous, glorious choices.
  • Which reminds me – I was talking to an expectant mom the other day.  She told me that her husband had suggested Cullen.  Her response?  “I’m not saying no.  I just need to explain that Cullen is the last name of the vampire family in Twilight.”  I guarantee the dad truly hasn’t got a clue about Bella and Edward, so what happens that we pluck these really current names out of the air anyway?  And no, they’re not going to use Cullen …
  • Loved this post on trends of the past.  Bettye, Buford, Fairy, Tennessee, Queen, Commodore.  Fascinating names, and a great reminder that novelty isn’t new.
  • I’m intrigued by Hawk and Hawkeye.  The former appears in an Arkansas birth announcement.  The latter made Kelli’s list of rare debuts.
  • The Baby Name Wizard analysis on Jacob is fascinating.  It’s a good reason to go ahead and use the names that you love, even if they’re in Top 100, or 20, or 10 … or even the #1 name.
  • Despite that data, here’s my theory: part of the increasing volatility in baby names is due to conversations like this one.  The parents agree on Olive for their daughter’s name, but they’re seriously considering using something else for fear that Olive is going to become too popular.  I think Anna gives her excellent advice, and some low-key encouragement to use Olive anyhow.  But if we’re thinking this way, that means that we’re discarding names as “too popular” before they’re even popular.  All of this crystal-ball gazing pushes us towards more and more unusual names, and growing diversity in given names.
  • Of course, the venerable New York Times explains the dominance of the name Michael in New York, and explains why I know so many little kids named Eleanor and Henry.  It’s another quote from Laura Wattenberg:  The more progressively an area votes, the more conservatively it names its babies.   I do think there’s change afoot here, too, though – probably because we’re likely to avoid a name if someone in our circles has already used it.  More pressure towards diversity, so parents are considering Dorothy rather than welcoming another Beatrix to their block.
  • Which reminds me: how excited am I to read Off-the-Grid baby names from Nameberry?  I’m saving it for my long, lazy Memorial Day weekend.

That’s all the baby name news for this Sunday Summary!  As always, thank you for reading and have a great week.

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. I was so disappointed when reading the Twilight books. Renesmee is awful. I don’t know why anyone would choose that name. It sounds very clunky and awkward to me.

    I feel like every name I love becomes an ‘Olive’. I’ll find one I love and put it in the list. A couple months later it seems to be everywhere online.

    Oh and the Bey generator gave me White Flax, Sepia Eucalyptus, and Turquoise Woodworm. I don’t see those catching on…

    1. Popularity online makes me uneasy, but my area never seems to match up. I live in Southeast Kentucky, in a very small town. While Aidens and Jadens are everywhere, I had not even heard of a Logan until this year. Two were born months apart to parents in separate circles. Also, I only know of one Jacob, who’s around 18-19 years old.

  2. I always find name popularity to be a funny thing especially since I have a top fifty name. Yet, I was always the only one I knew with my name straight up through high school. It wasn’t till my second semester of college that I randomly got one class where I was one of four. In all my other classes I am still the only one. I liked not sharing my name but I think that between having a popular name I did not share and from some of the articles posted in this its safe to say I wouldn’t try too hard to gain that result. It seems very hit or miss to me so you might as well just pick one you love.

    1. Same here! I have a top 50 name, and never went to school or university with another, and have never worked with one either. I would know it was popular though from the amount of people who say, “Oh I know someone called that!”.

  3. Whenever someone says they’re worried that a name not even on the Top 100 could be too popular, I feel rather guilty that I’m part of a name-blogging phenomenon that does tend to increase parental anxiety. It’s so easy to note even small continuing increases in popularity, and also we can’t help getting excited over rare names.

    However, even allowing for that, once you start seeing babies and small children with a particular name in your area, no matter what the data says, you can’t help feeling slightly uneasy.

    Tough decision, but I do think you have to consider that you’re choosing a name for someone who won’t be interested in name trends for many years to come, if ever.

  4. Thank you for posting that conversation about Olive. It describes what happened with us to some extent: through much of my pregnancy I was feeling that Vivian or one of its variants was “the” name, but it bothered me that I felt like I was hearing it everywhere, along with other similar-sounding names (Olivia, Alivia, Eva, Genevieve, Lilian). I probably should have just stayed away from baby name blogs and sites, but alas, I did not. By the time the baby had arrived the name had lost some of its excitement, and we wound up going with a name that is popular but declining locally but not in the US or UK top 1000. Our baby is almost a year old and I find myself still second-guessing this decision, because I could definitely see our daughter as a little Vivi. When you have an interest in names, there is a real danger of over-thinking or thinking about the name so much that it no longer feels fresh by the time you have a real baby to name.

    I agree 100% that having a relatively common name (even if some people’s definition of common is really not common at all) is often more of a problem for the parents who were set on finding something unique than it is for the child. I think that nowadays, many people want the name they choose to have a ‘wow’ factor; they want people to ooh and ahh over their choice or at least make positive comments indicating that their choice was remarkable. I don’t think that desire was as present in our culture a couple of generations ago, though certainly there have always been people who had a strong desire to give their children noteworthy names.

    1. That’s a nice point about the wow! factor being for the parents. But the more wow! factor the name has, the more you’re likely to run into detractors along with fans …

    2. I think there is a “wow” factor, at least for name nerds — but I also think about the fact that my husband has a top ten name that has been top ten for… oh, EVER — and it’s still him. So the important thing was to pick the name we love best, even if it’s Popular. what trumps that for me is that I say it a hundred times a day.

  5. It doesn’t surprise me at all to see that there were six boys named Hawkeye in 2012. The Avengers has a very strong, devoted fan base. Thor gave Thor and Loki a minor boost in 2011.

  6. There was a post on Nameberry ages ago where someone wanted feedback on using Czarina as an alternate spelling of Serena. My recollection is that most of the regular users tried to take this person out of it. I don’t think it’s connected, but I almost wish it was, because Czarina just seems like such a bad idea to me.

  7. I’m having the “Olive conundrum” with our girl name, Clara. It doesn’t help that a big part of the reason we picked it was lack of popularity (it was ranked in the mid-200s seven years ago, when we decided it would be the name of our first daughter, and I had never met a child called Clara). Now I’m actually pregnant with a girl, and Clara is ranked #136 and still rising, AND I’ve met two baby Claras in my area. My husband has his heart set on it, and it already feels like “our” name — but I can’t help but think that, were we starting from scratch today, our daughter would be Susanna or Leta instead.

    1. Oh! I know how you feel. Is this a good time to trot out the data about how even the #1 name is less popular than it was twenty years ago? 🙂

    2. FWIW, My daughter’s baby name has been hovering around 150 nationally for the five years before her birth and now the 2 years after. (It’s 50 in our state, though). We have yet to meet another, though we have friends who tell me they’ve met others.

      Go ahead and Clara it up. It’s not like a late-70s Jennifer!

  8. As a person who follows a lot of birth annoucements, most Michaels, Roberts, Johns, Charles’, etc, that are boring today, are named after their father. Sad, but true. I just really dislike juniors.

    As for giving kids the number 1 name, Jacob is still a very popular name, and you cant really consider just the past year, but at the very least the last 10 years, which I think are part of your kids’ generation, so likely to be his circle of friends, family, coworkers, etc. This will raise the tally of Jacob’s dramatically, so to me its off putting.

    1. Allure, that’s a good point. I think that’s why it is more satisfying to have a name rise AFTER your year of birth than to receive an already popular name.