Love surname names for girls? Looking for something fresh and new? Halsey might belong on your list.
Our Baby Name of the Day is inspired by the pop singer.
Halsey: Last Name First
Halsey is a surname, but the origins aren’t clear. It’s almost certainly derived from a place name, possibly in Essex or maybe Somerset.
Like many a surname, you can find a handful of people who wear it as a first name through the years.
In the US, a handful of places bear the name, along with a historic home or two.
If this surname is familiar, it might be thanks to a famous admiral.
William Frederick Halsey, Jr. – better known as Bill or Bull – served during World War II. He served in the Pacific, becoming commander of the Third Fleet.
This made for a tough gig. We’re talking Guadalcanal. But he got the job done, ultimately taking command of Pacific. More than one battleship has been named in his honor.
Halsey: Artistic License
A very different William also answered to the surname.
South Carolina’s William M. Halsey became an abstract artist, first showing in New York City in the late 1940s.
But this name is in the spotlight thanks to Ashley Frangipane.
Who, you might ask? You know her by the mono-name Halsey.
Ashley played all sorts of instruments as a child, started writing songs as a teenager, landed her first contract in 2014, and released her first studio album in 2015.
Where did she find her unusual name?
It’s an anagram of Ashley, but the singer also noted that there’s a street by the name in Brooklyn. A New York City subway station bears the name.
Halsey: By the Numbers
The singer released her debut studio album in 2015. That is much too recent to show an impact on the popularity charts. Fewer than five girls received the name in 2015.
But here’s why I plan to watch this name:
- We love H surname names for girls, like Top Ten Harper and literary Hadley. Names like Harlow, Haven, and Harley are rising, too.
- More broadly, it sounds like surname names parents love. Think of Delaney and Riley.
- The -sey ending echoes other formerly stylish names. Think of Lindsey and, more recently, Kelsey.
- It feels like a mash-up of long-time Top 100 name Hailey – also spelled Hayley, Haylee, Hailee, and other faded names like Ashley.
Interestingly, the trendlines suggest this name has been going girl for decades.
Until the 1980s, the very few bearers of the name tended to be male. But the numbers suggest that parents changed their minds during the decade. Over the last forty years or so, Halsey has become far more common for girls.
Credit Ashley and Hailey and Kelsey, too. Famous admiral aside, this just plain sounds like a girl’s name.
And yet, it’s too soon to declare this name unwearable for a son. A biopic of the admiral, or a fictional character by the name could just as easily push Halsey into broader use for boys.
Do you like this name better for a son or daughter?
My primary association with the name Halsey is a song from 1971 called “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” by Paul and Linda McCartney. Instantly started singing it a minute ago when I saw the Twitter link for this post! 😀
The Mrs. says
I knew a girl born in the 1970s named Halcyon…her nickname was Halcy. It sounds identical to Halsey.
However, I recently read All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, and a minor male character was named Halsey.
It feels feminine still to me.
C in DC says
Halsey Hall was a baseball broadcaster for the Twins, and Halsey is the name of the women’s gym at UIowa, the field house at USNA, and the statistics building at UVa. I’d have a hard time using this one.
The only Halsey I’ve ever met is a man who is now in his 30’s (although I knew him when he was a teenager). Of course, this means he would have been born in the 80’s when the name began to switch, but because of that it will always sound boy to me.