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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
C in DC says
I would have to pronounce Elestren el-e-STREN in order not to think it’s a chemical compound.
Sarah A says
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 🙂
My cousin has a son named Keag@n Harvey. They had originally considered using Harvey as a first name, but the movies Milk and The Dark Knight had both just come out and my cousin was worried that Harvey might be “too popular.” Needless to say, Keag@n is a lot more popular than Harvey. (I tried really hard to convince them to stick with Harvey, but then the Jimmy Stewart Film is one of my favorites!)
In my mind, Elestren looks too much like Olestra.
I’d use Louis or Lovisa in a heartbeat… I just didn’t have an “S” surname. 🙁
Charlotte Vera — Elestren is indeed pronounced el-EST-ren.
There is an adorable 11 year old girl at my school named Edie and she has just had a baby sister called Nancy Frances.
Harvey has probably already peaked in the UK, where the rabbit is much less well known 🙂 It was 47th in 2010 and falling…On the other hand, Suits is great. Well worth watching.
Cornish word names are fun – Hebasca ‘solace’ and Gover ‘stream’ are my favourites.
On the subject of name trend differences between countries, I made a blog post about some differences within the U.S. (and the “name archetypes” I observed):
If Edith and Edie are ready for rediscovery what about Ethel? My grandma was Ethel Adelaide, everyone called her by her middle name. I also know someone who named their daughter Essie as an alternative to Ethel which I think is adorable.
Thanks for the Canada Day wishes Charlotte, 145 years young.
Charlotte Vera says
Elestren is gorgeous! I’m pronouncing it with the emphasis on the middle syllable, does anyone know if this is correct?
Very interesting article on American vs. Australian baby names. It’s funny how more knowledge of another nation’s names can make us assume/appear to be copying, when in reality there have been similarities and differences long before people really started taking notice. That wasn’t a very well-constructed thought, but hopefully you know what I mean.
Happy Canada Day, fellow Canadians!
Gabriel Macht’s character in Suits is the absolutely only reason why I sort of like Harvey. And Elestren is too clinical for me, but, like you said, it is a nice way to get to Ellie or Elle.
Duh, just read what you actually wrote. Never mind the above comment. 🙂
Harvey, of course, is a reference to this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042546/
I think I must be weird. Elestren automatically made me think of estrogen. It is pretty though.