Godward-Drusilla-1906Dear friends of mine recently announced that they’re expecting baby #3.  I’m over the moon for them – their youngest kid is turning nine, so they’re definitely going in for a second round of parenting.

But here’s the fascinating part from a naming perspective: they’ve chosen a name for their daughter-to-be that was in vogue when they named their firstborn – back in 2001.  All of their children will have names from that year’s Top 50.

I know other families who have named children over more than a decade.  In one case, the parents’ style was comfortably ahead of the curve when they named baby #1, and still just slightly ahead of trend when their youngest arrived eleven years later.  In other cases, the parents’ style evolved over time, so while the children sound related, you can easily guess that Connor is the oldest brother, and Wyatt is the baby of the family.

Our son is almost nine, and it is fair to say that our style has become more daring over the years.  Leif has shot up to be my #2 boys’ name, a spot formerly occupied by the much more conservative Henry.

Has your style changed, or stayed about the same?

Elsewhere online:

  • How flat-out gorgeous are these names from John William GodwardDrusilla, Ianthe, Atalanta.  Seriously, I think someone needs to name their daughter Atalanta.  Great story, gorgeous name.  Oh, and the picture in this post is Godward’s Drusilla, another name I’d love to hear more, especially with built-in boyish nickname Dru.
  • Albany, Ingram, Sabrinarose, Kaori, Abel, Racer, and … Druid?  And Phury?  For Real Baby Names never disappoints …
  • All this talk about ugly names from the bottom of the Top 1000!  Love the answer from NameberryArabella, Madeleine, and Penelope were once at the very bottom, along with Gregory, Griffin, and Wyatt.  Could Petal and Frederica be future favorites?
  • Rook for a boy – it works, doesn’t it?
  • Laura Wattenberg’s Magic Formula is mightily impressive.  Check out her lists.
  • And then go read Waltzing More than Matilda’s excellent response, driven partially by the fact that Wattenberg’s formula doesn’t work in Australia.
  • The desire to have a single, unambiguous meaning attached to names is understandable.  But it often isn’t possible.  Clare scooped this post about Minette, which connected Minette to Mary.  Maybe … but Minette is also used as a diminutive for Wilhelmina, and I can think of at least one Henrietta who used it, too.  Nook of Names suggests that it might be connected to Emeline.  So … yes, I can imagine a girl called Mary who was called Minette.  But to give Minette the same meaning as Mary?  That’s a mistake.
  • Marvel, Hawk, Cross, Vegas, Riesling, Charisma – we continue to embrace daring, even daffy, middles, as evidenced by this post from For Real.
  • I’m on the fence about Maxine, but Maxellende is my new favorite obscure saints’ name.
  • How amazing is Elea’s compilation of Norfolk names during the Elizabethan era?
Enhanced by ZemantaThat’s all for this week!  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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. Name “meanings” are sketchy on all levels, both on what screwy meanings that people assign to names and also the connotation that names have separate from their meanings. (like Adolf means Wolf but that’s not what people think if you were to name a kid that!) And you certainly can’t trust whatever some baby name book tells you. My daughter’s name was originally (centuries ago) a bastardization of a nickname, but it’s now a classic. Still, a lot of baby name books ascribe to it a meaning based on another name that it kind of sounds like. My daughter’s name has no dictionary meaning. But it has a lot of meaning to us. So I never say, “Your name is X, it means Y.” I say “we named you X because of Y.”

    Also, Ill say my taste has changed. When I was a kid I named my cabbage patch Tracey Marie. But yeah, even since having my actual child 3 years ago. Names I liked then aren’t on my list anymore, and my husband’s favorite, which I was set against at the time, is pretty much what we’ve decided on should there be a future daughter.

  2. I saw a birth announcement for a boy named Rook just this year! It’s kind of cool, but it does remind me of chess very strongly, giving it a slightly geeky image.

    Having school aged kids now, the thought of a new baby (besides all the usual issues) does make us fret over how the naming would go.

    There is a big age gap between my sister and the rest of us, and I can see that my parents treated us as two separate sibsets. They never expected/planned to have more than one child, so when three came along a dozen or so years later, our names don’t really “go with” hers, and even clash. It would be even more pronounced if they’d had two or three early, and then us three late.

    1. We’re the opposite – my two sisters and I are close together, with matching(ish) names. Our brother is 11 years younger than me, and 8 years younger than my sister. His name matches pretty well, but then a) boys’ names don’t change as quickly; b) he’s a junior, so even if it was a clash there’s a reason. Now if Eric had been a *girl* her name would have been dated, I think – Jill Erica was my mom’s #1 choice.

      1. Your situation seems a bit more usual – having a couple of children early, and then another quite a bit later on. I see quite a lot of sibsets like that, and even bigger age gaps – sometimes of more than 20 years. Having just one on its own for years, and then a whole family a lot later doesn’t seem as common (at least I haven’t met anyone else in our situation).

        Jill does seem more of a clash than Eric – and I think that is unusual for the last-born to have the more dated name.

  3. I suggested Rook as a possible name for a boy to a friend of mine. Her name is Robin and she fell in love when I suggested Wren for a girl, unfortunately a common friend of our’s used it for her daughter and another friend of our’s used the name Kathryn nn Ryn so she now feels Wren is off the table. I think Rook is a great contender.

    And I adore the name Ingram.

  4. Maxellende is luscious!

    Also, I would like to request a Name of the Day post on my new name crush Vashti. 🙂

    1. It is luscious! I think AppMtn has finally found for me a Max name that I really dig. And the nn possibilities are quite fab too.

  5. Is Ira going girl? There’s an Ira May in For Real’s post, and I’m hearing it more and more on girls all of a sudden. It makes sense I guess, but I hate it! You got Avery, you can’t have Ira too! 🙁

    1. The stats for Ira 2012 are:

      Girls: 60 babies (+16 from 2011)
      Boys: 147 babies (+41 from 2012)

      So it’s not really going girl, it seems to be trending upwards for both genders, but quicker for boys.

      1. Technically it’s increasing at about the same rate, since 16 is just under 27% of 60 and 41 is just over 27% of 147. Which would be frustrating to someone wanting to name their son Ira, especially since you can name a girl Iris but that doesn’t work so well on a boy.

        1. My thoughts exactly Dellitt. Why not use Iris? I love the name Ira. It’s an old family name, and it’s so disappointing to me that it’s going to the girls. Especially considering it’s long-time “Old Jewish Man” stereotype, makes me think that these parents are using it rather cluelessly (apologies if that’s an overgeneralization). Not that you can’t use a name once it has become unisex, but I know a lot of people would be turned off using Avery or Emerson on a boy these days. I’m hoping Ira stays under the radar enough that we Ira-appreciators can get away with using it!

  6. Thanks for the mention! And I completely agree that assigning meanings to diminutives isn’t very, well, meaningful.