If my mom had named me Allison, this blog might not exist.
My fascination with names stems from an awareness that my given name was powerfully popular. Epidemic, even. And that I could have – might have – had a different name. When I pulled the baby name dictionary off my parents’ bookshelf and discovered dozens upon hundreds upon dozens of names that no one in my class had? Oh, that was a revelation.
Over the years, I wanted many different names. I lamented that my first and middle togethers were both brief, nickname-proof choices that offered no opportunity for reinvention. So I legally changed it – I wasn’t born Abby.
But I think, if I’d been named Allison, everything might have been different.
In the year I was born, Allison ranked just outside of the Top 100 and was rising steadily. But it wasn’t outside of the kinds of names my parents might have considered. No way would they have dreamed of choosing Lorna or Fawn, but Allison? Allison qualifies as a sweet spot name – familiar, ordinary even, without being too popular.
I think Allisons – at least from my generation – might go through life quietly content with their stands-out/fits-in names.
And that, I suppose, would be a shame.
Because much as I (still) sometimes find it awkward to have shed the name of my first 28 years in favor of something other, I do appreciate this path. And it’s such a gift to connect with so many of you who value names for your own, very personal reasons, too.
- Love this list of classic surname names you’ve overlooked. There’s such a wealth of underused possibilities in this category. I spotted my first Hamilton recently – though he’s a teenager – as well as a McCall, which was a new one to me.
- Anatilde, Clotilde, and more names ready for revival in Portugal. Matilda is on the rise here – could any of the other -tilde/-tilda names catch on?
- This is a great list of offbeat, but very wearable choices. Loving Oak, Pax, and Harbor.
- A name update from one of Duana’s posts that deserves to be shouted from the rooftops.
- I really like Anessa, and I’m impressed this family has managed to continue the same initials for their daughters.
- Looking for something different, but wearable, for a son? The Art of Naming has your list.
That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!