15 by Lincolnian via Flickr

I happened to be shopping for kids’ books this morning when I stumbled across the Sophie series by Laura Bergen.  Do you know the books?  This is a line from the early pages of the first installment:

She couldn’t even be the only Sophie in Ms. Moffly’s third grade class, thanks to Sophie Aarons.  Or Sophie A., as everyone called her.  That was another reason Sophie needed a special name.  Being called Sophie M. was just plain silly.

It strikes me that only a few years after we’ve stopped thinking about the names we’ve chosen for our children, our kids pick up where we left off.  It happened with my son, and I’ll be very curious to see what happens with my daughter and her very complicated name.

Elsewhere online:

  • Via Marginamia, a birth announcement for a lovely little girl called Phoebe Sue Irene, and called Bee.  I should do a Getting to Bee-Bea-BebeBibi post one of these Fridays.  Congrats to Katie on her nicely-named arrival!
  • Okay, I kind of love Boone for a boy, recently spotted at Small Words blog, and sported by the sons of Dennis Quaid and Eric Church.
  • I’m watching Craft Wars on TLC and imagining what Tori Spelling will name baby #4.  Any guesses as to what goes with Liam, Stella, and Hattie?
  • Eponymia’s rarities series is rich with fascinating possibilities.  My favorites from this installment include Evienne, Aberdeen, Devery, Theda, and Poetry.
  • Babble’s post from Danielle Sullivan started out on an interesting note.  But Are Unisex Baby Names The Best Idea Ever? missed a crucial point.  In order to be unisex, the names have to be used in similar numbers for boys and girls.  From their list, Harper and Avery are, origins aside, solidly established as feminine.  Others on their list, like Dylan and Rory, may occasionally be given to girls, but are solidly established as masculine.  What’s more interesting – and far more rare – are cases where parents choose name without regard for the child’s gender.  I know a couple who passed on a family surname to their (almost certainly) one and only child.  That’s true unisex naming – and I find it rather admirable.
  • Freya and Magnus – great combination, once again courtesy of Design Mom’s Living with Kids series.
  • This might be the most insightful article in a long while – Laura Wattenberg on The Rise of Liquid Names.  I’ll admit, this is a category I just don’t enjoy, though some of the names have appeal.  I’d be more likely to name a daughter Lorna.
  • If not Lorna, then any of the names from British Baby Name’s 1858 finds … I love Ada Atlanta Mary, Dinah Claradia, Egypt Charles, Meadows Henry, and really just about every clunky curiosity on her list.
  • Australian readers – is Maree pronounced like Mary or Marie?  I keep seeing her in birth announcements at Waltzing More than Matilda.
  • Zeffy mentioned Lucilia – a great way to get toLucy.
  • This post officially made me takeDiamondoff my whiff-of-stripper name list and put it on my Great Gem Names for Girls list.

That’s all for this week.  As always, thank you for reading and have a great Sunday!

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. Maree was originally an Anglicisation of the Scottish name Mairi, which is said MAH-ree. That is how older people pronounce the name.

    However, it’s now used as a variant spelling of Marie, said muh-REE. My generation must be the cross-over point, as people around my age seem to pronounce their name either of the ways.

    Maree is much more common here than Marie, I knows dozens and dozens of Marees, but only one Marie!

    I’m sure by now you have learnt more about Maree than you ever wanted to know!!!! 🙂

    1. Oh, no – I’ve actually been incredibly curious. Thanks for the explanation!

      1. I checked the stats, and historically there have been more Maries in Australia and there may be more being born now.

        It’s just that Marie peaked in the 1930s at #11, and Maree peaked in the 1960s at #62. By the 1970s, Maree wasn’t on the Top 100, but had been there for the three previous decades, accounting for my experience of “lots of Marees”. Marie was only about 30 places lower than Maree in the ’70s, but had been on a decline for four decades.

        Currently, Marie is in rare use, and Maree hasn’t ranked since the late 2000s. However, I do think Maree is winning as a middle name – no doubt being named after mums and grandmothers.

  2. The names from British Baby Name’s 1858 finds were so intriguing! Loved Exuperious! And Lancelot Marmaduke Orlando (might be a bit much), Meadows Henry, and Obededom (reminds me of that Beatles song) are very intriguing. And Smith Follows Smith? LOL.

    And as far as Diamond goes… I kind of like it for a boy (George McDonald’s fairy tale “At the Back of the North Wind” has a little boy named Diamond as its hero). Similarly I find Sapphire and Pearl intriguing for boys, though they are fine for girls too. Ruby and Opal (Love Opaline!) are much more lovely for girls.


  3. Jordanna, you are right. Marie was originally MAH-ree in England (aka Marie Lloyd) but the French pronunciation now rules supreme and most people in England are completely unaware of its original pronunciation — in much the same way that the original English pronunciations of Maria (ma-RY-a) and Sophia (so-FY-a) have become overlooked. So, actually, the Aussies are totally right.

    Abby, I love the term “clunky curiosity”. Fabulous!