When this name was first profiled in 2008 she was an under-the-radar choice with spiritual overtones and a tailored sound. Then in the summer of 2011, she took her place on the playgrounds of Hollywood, and could be poised to catch on.
Thanks to Bo for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day: Haven.
Haven has some history as a surname, but it is limited. The surname and the word share the same roots – the Old English word for a port, possibly related to our word have, or maybe to an old word for sea. If you lived near a haven, then you might end up wearing the name. As with any last name, a few individuals – mostly men – answered to it as a first name over the years.
Despite that history, Haven reads as a modern choice, a noun name with meaning, a cousin to Journey or Harmony. She’s less overtly religious than Genesis or Trinity, but more spiritual than Sailor or Skye. Haven is just as likely to refer to a place of religious refuge – the Pilgrims sought a safe haven in the New World – as it is to things like home decor – the new bedding makes the room feel like a haven.
Haven touches on a few other trends, too:
- She’s a place name, thanks to Connecticut’s New Haven. New Haven isn’t exactly a world-famous metropolis, but it is home to a school that is known the world over – Yale University.
- While a harbor can be man-made, many are naturally occurring, putting Haven in the company of Willow and Wren.
- Her sound is one-part Harper and Harlow, one-part Ava. That’s a powerful combination.
And yet Haven has remained relatively obscure. She first cracked the Top 1000 in 1996, and ranked #582 in 2007, the most recent data available when this post originally appeared in 2008. Since then she’s fallen to #651.
That could change, though. Jessica Alba welcomed a daughter in August of 2011, a little sister for Honor. While Honor has never appeared in the US Top 1000, dad’s name – Cash – is on fire. Alba and family are a staple in the media, making her kids’ names as familiar as the Jolie-Pitt clan.
There’s a story behind Haven’s name, too. While it sounds like a perfect match for Honor, the parents settled on Haven after their daughter was born in caul – in her amniotic sac. It’s said that Napoleon and Charlemagne share the same rare birth story, so perhaps Haven is destined for greatness.
Until Jessica welcomed baby #2, the most famous Haven was probably Haven Kimmel, the New York Times bestselling author, or possibly James Haven, brother to Angelina Jolie, and an actor in his own right.
If you’re looking for a meaningful moniker, but wouldn’t dream of something as specifically Christian as Heaven, this name has appeal. A harbor brings to mind the physical place where a boat rides out the storm, while a haven connotes refuge, safety and shelter. It’s a positive image for a child’s name. The idea of sanctuary carries just enough significance to make Haven more virtue than nature name, though she combines qualities of both.
If you’re naming a daughter and want something frills-free and modern but meaningful and familiar, too, Haven is a great choice.
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on May 29, 2008, and was revised on November 8. 2011. Original comments remain unaltered.