Happy Sunday!  Thanks to photoquilty for the link to this video.

I’ve never been to Utah, but I’ve heard tons about the Utahn tendency towards unusual names.  This site has been around for ages.  It’s also true that the official Utah Top 100 makes some sharp departures from the US Top 100.  Braxton, Ryker, Asher, Ryder, and Camden are all up-and-coming names, but in Utah they’ve already arrived.  A few – like Bridger and Daxton – are barely a blip outside of the state.  Their girls’ list is a little different, too – Piper, Tessa, Elsie, Aspen, Brielle, Emery, and Hadley all chart in the Top 100 in Utah, as does Oakley – a name that isn’t in the overall US Top 1000.  I suspect the girls’ list is less surprising that the boys because of the impact of variant spellings and forms.  Brynlee and Ashlyn both make the Top 100.  If the video is correct, we’ll also meet Brynlei and Brynnlea, Ashlinn and Ashlynne in Utah.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere:

  • Nancy has opened up the Pop Culture Baby Name Game!  Go, comment, and tell us if you’re shortlisting Django and Kateri after 2012 or taking Anastasia off your list.
  • Do you read The Motherlode?  Gretchen Rubin wrote about The Lonely Doll series of children’s books, and I found myself captivated.  First, the doll in question is called Edith, which is a great, retro name for a doll – or a girl.  But second, the author/photographer was named Dare Wright.  I can’t confirm if it was her birth name, but I have a hunch that it might be.  Dare reminds me of one of my favorites,Adair.
  • A dad’s perspective on cross-cultural baby naming … though I’m not sold thatBrankois the best possible choice.
  • I’m on board with most of these space age baby names, but maybe not Galaxy.
  • Would you ever consider using Belly Ballot to help name a baby?  It’s an interesting tool.
  • Teen Mom 2 cast members talk baby names, and Leah admits that having daughters named Aleeah and Aliannah can be confusing.
  • A baby girl Ellery at Swistle.  I think Ellery could be big …
  • This is funny: Goodnight friends with unique, unusual names.

Let’s end with some math.  We name nerds know that BabyCenter’s announcement of most popular baby names for 2011 isn’t the official list – we’ll be waiting until May for that reveal.  But it always generates some wacky stories in the press.  (At least this year, I haven’t heard that Jacob‘s popularity was due to Twilight.)  BabyCenter claims that Apple rose 15% in 2011, with Mac and Siri also gaining.

But here’s the thing: Apple was given to fewer than five girls born in the US in 2011.  Let’s assume four newborn girls received the name last year.  A 15% bump means that there were … five girls born in 2012?  Hardly a headline-worthy phenomenon.  And, as Kay pointed out, there are plenty of other reasons to name your daughter Apple that have nothing to do with tech.

So what skews the BabyCenter numbers?  Are their users from elsewhere in the English-speaking world?  (There are Canadian, Australian, and British versions of the site, but I suppose you could register as you please.)  Are some of the names registered fake?  (Probably.)  Is the BabyCenter audience different than the general American population?  (Definitely.  It is 75% white, and Spanish-speaking Americans have a separate site with a list that will be released in a few more weeks.)  Still, their list is fascinating, especially around #80.  We’ll have to wait a few more months to see how it matches up with the official list.

That’s all for this week.  As always, thank you for reading!

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’m guessing BabyCenter’s baby list is heavily populated by firstborns. Experienced parents probably won’t spend a lot of time on a pregnancy site and I doubt many of the second or third kids’ names get registered.

    Dare brings to mind the mysterious disaperance of Virginia Dare, but I think it would make a smashing middle name for either sex. It should be on the list of Modern Virtue names from last week!

    (According to her biography, Dare Wright’s first name was Alice.)

    1. Oh, she wasn’t born Dare! Thank you for that.

      And you may be right about BabyCenter. Their forums definitely have some second-time parents, but I think you’re generally right about that. It would explain some things …

  2. I honestly think that the Mormons have creative naming down to a trend-inducing science. I have a Mormon friend named Corbet – great name, I think!

    I’m glad Leah said so about her daughters’ names – I have always wondered why they were so similar. To me, while I understand twinset names having some sort of theme, starting with the name letter, whatever and am not usually bothered by it, when I looked at those names I was struck by how totally almost identical they were, save for the letter N. I also love the Hanson reference. I was an ENORMOUS Hanson fan and love the names Taylor (for a girl) and Zac (for a boy), but because my friends know about my Hanson love I’ve tried to push them from my mind!

    And I think the name I was most surprised to see on the BabyCentre list was Piper. Just didn’t expect it, but I was pleasantly surprised 🙂

  3. I used to work at a library and the biography of Dare Wright caught my eye. I read it having never heard of her or The Lonely Doll books. The biography was interesting and sad, and it totally cemented my love of the name Dare.