The number 1
The number 1 by WarmSleepy via Flickr

I was walking through a kite shop at the oceanfront a few days ago, the kind of shop that also sells tons of personalized gear.  A girl of maybe 8 or 9 was flipping through a rack, hopefully, when her mother said, “Honey, forget it.  If you want something with your name on it, you know we have to order it online.”

Everything in me wanted to ask about her name, but I couldn’t.  The girl was nearly in tears, for one.  For two, instinct told me that there was good chance it was more along the lines of Syrenitee than, say, Beatrix.

Speaking of unusual names:

  • Elestren is officially one of my new favorites.  Elea at British Baby Names recently featured sibling sets of a far much more recent vintage than many of her collections.  Elestren sounds a little bit like an American name for a drug, but it is actually a Cornish word meaning iris – and a completely novel way to get to Ellie.
  • Another old-new obsession: Persephone, prompted by this post at Swistle.  The sound is too prissy and the figure too tragic for me to outright love, and yet I’ve been fascinated by her for years.
  • While we’re elsewhere in the English-speaking world, did you see Anna’s analysis of American influence on Australian names?  It’s an interesting question, one that I can imagine dominating mom’s group conversations … though Anna concludes that there’s really more to the picture.
  • The Baby Name Wizard asks why American parents have yet to embrace Louise.  I agree.  I know a kid called Louisa, who answers to Lulu, and it is pretty much perfection.
  • I poured over this Nameberry post on starbaby names.  Hard to believe that Zoe Isabella was once a surprising choice.
  • Another surprise: there’s a character named Harvey on USA Network’s legal drama Suits.  He’s not a cuddly adorable kid, but neither is he a large, imaginary rabbit.  Could this name make a comeback?  I’m hearing more and more once solidly unfashionable grandpa names revived for television characters – a sometimes-signal that we’re ready to rethink them for our sons.
  • I’ve stalked Queen Bee Creations for ages, and missed my chance to buy one of their Edith totes last fall.  They have plans to bring it back in a few weeks – this time, I won’t hesitate.  Plus, they’re also introducing a LittleEdiebag.  Seriously, Edith and Edie are overdue for rediscovery by American parents.

That’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.

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What do you think?


  1. I think some old fashioned names like Harvey or Jasper have nouveaux appeal. Others like Albert, Harold or Alfred I really don’t see making a comeback anytime soon, or ever really.

  2. In response to the Baby Name Wizard post, I think the main reason Louise hasn’t caught on in the States is because of the influence of Spanish language and names. I don’t know a single female Louise, but I feel like I meet a Luis every other day. They’re virtually homonyms when Luis is pronounced correctly, and that might be a turnoff for some parents. Louisa shares the classic style without the male lilt.

    1. That’s a good point. My (Venezuelan) sister-in-law’s nephew is Luis … and yes, it would be confusing if we added a Louise to the family.

  3. You got me Abby – the article did indeed come out of a parents group chat (we have dads too), or really a series of chats. Probably the source of many of the “myths” I’ve been looking at, as I’m interested in what the regular folks think on naming issues.

    Harvey is a super fast-rising name here, very much on trend. I have actually seen it on one or two girls as well.

    Louisa is a name I keep rabbiting on about, and lo and behold, I am seeing the name suddenly in BAs all over the place (not because of me, I’m pretty sure); I think savvy parents have started to realise what a beauty it is.

  4. I would have to pronounce Elestren el-e-STREN in order not to think it’s a chemical compound.

  5. Ooh I love Harvey. I have serious love for old man names. I would use Eugene, Harvey, and Alfred in a heartbeat.

    As for personalized name stuff? That is one of the nice benefits to having a common and normally spelled name 🙂