Today’s choice is a surname borrowing that’s racing up the popularity charts.
Celebrity baby name week continues with Everly as our Baby Name of the Day, thanks to Rhiannon and her daughter-on-the-way.
Do you hear this name and immediately think of the Everly Brothers?
In my brain, the name is attached to Don and Phil singing “Wake Up, Little Susie.” If the brothers are before your time – and really, they’re way before mine – you might remember that they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Plus, Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day fame have just released a cover album of their hits called “Foreverly.”
Music aside, you’ll probably recognize Everly as a surname name inspired by a place name, and indeed it is. There is an Everly, an Everleigh, and an Everley in the UK. Both probably come from eofor – wild boar – plus that so familiar –leah ending, for a clearing near a wood, or a meadow.
When did it migrate to given name status? For the most part, she’s a recent innovation. But she’s not completely new.
Much to my surprise, I found a British actress called Everley Gregg, born in 1903. Was it her given name? Nope. Apparently she was born Gertrude. I can’t say where her stage name came from.
There were a handful of girls named Everlee in the US in the 1910s. It’s too early for Gregg to be the influence, and nothing else seems to explain it.
Except that the 1910s were a good era for Ev- names, like Evelyn, Eva, Genevieve, Geneva, and Beverly. Neva, Reva, and Treva were all in use, and the spelling Rosalee was seen as an alternative to the more popular Rosalie.
In some ways, the 1910s have a lot in common with the 2010s – we’re mad about Ev- names, too. Plus, by the 1980s, we had fully embraced ends-with-y surname and place names for girls, like Brittany and Courtney. That’s probably why Everly sounds like a girls’ name to us today.
Of course, Everly is open to use for boys. While history gives this one to the girls, any surname name probably has a few masculine bearers. Legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis gave the name to his son, Everly Bear, in 2007, inspired by the Everly Brothers.
Kiedis’ kiddo seems to have given the name a boost – but only for girls. Take a look at the numbers:
- Everly, given to 10 girls in 2000, 20 in 2007, 46 in 2008, and 286 in 2012.
- Everley, fewer than 5 in 2007, 7 in 2008, 41 in 2012.
- Everleigh, fewer than 5 in 2007, 8 in 2008, 163 in 2012.
- Everlee, fewer than 5 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 51 in 2012.
- Everlie, fewer than 5 in 2007, 10 in 2012.
Could Everly climb higher? Besides the new cover album, in 2014 a Salma Hayek action-thriller is slated for release. Hayek plays Everly, and I’m guessing she’s a pretty tough customer – maybe even the kind of character that can get an expectant parents’ attention.
Add in Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewar’s choice of Everly Elizabeth Maiselle in 2013, and Cam Gigandet and fiancee Dominique’s daughter Everleigh Rae, born in 2009, and this name gets plenty of exposure.
And so it is that the Everly Brothers have inspired a name that is just right for Cash’s sister. It’s a surname name with musical connections, a cool and modern choice with history and backstory aplenty. It’s easy to imagine parents choosing between Genevieve and Everly, or Bellamy and Everly, or Willow and Everly. She’s exactly on trend, in the best of possible ways.
I actually like this one even though it’s very different to my usual style!
I want to like it, but I can only hear it as a dated Beverly alternative.
Everly is a gem! I agree that it appeals to a broad range of naming styles. I could see her as a sister to Riley or Addison or Annabel or Chloe.
Everly – the modern day Beverly.
A great way to honour an older rellie without resorting to using a name that isn’t ready to make a return quite yet.