Sunday SummaryNames are all around us, aren’t they?

My five name-spotting tales from this week are:

  • My mother, calling to tell me that my cousin had her baby.  “His name is Atticus.  I’ve never heard it before!”  “Mom, like To Kill a Mockingbird?”  “I don’t remember that.”  “Gregory Peck, mom?”  “I guess so.  Now don’t tell me it’s popular.”  “Not common, mom, but very stylish.”  I adore my mom beyond reason, but she is definitely of the school that there are normal names, and they are the ones she liked for her own children in the 1970s.
  • Watching the Tour de France, hearing Cadel, and remembering how much I like that name.  Remember WaltzingMoreThanMatilda’s great post on the name?
  • I just finishing reading Glitch, a dystopian young adult novel set many years in the future.  The names are fascinating: Zoel, Maximin, Molla, Daavd, Markam.  When they rebel, they become Zoe and Max.  It’s an interesting look at how names might change and evolve – just a little bit.
  • Running into (another) cousin, who lives in a super small town.  (My dad’s hometown – the kind of place that is completely down on its luck, and yet, incredibly resilient.  My dad’s cousin B. really says things like “You’re family, and family is always welcome here.” And completely means it.  As a jaded urbanite who fears deer and darkness, I completely love every minute here.)  Her daughter is Emerson – “I know, we chose a weird name.  But we’re both teachers, and wanted to use something that we hadn’t heard before.”  Then I got to introduce her to my daughter, Clio.  Too bad we didn’t have more time to visit – I think we could have talked about names for hours.
  • I’m also reading a historical novel involving the Tudors, and remembering how great some of their names were – Jasper, Owen.  That’s a family tree I need to dig into sometime soon …

Spotted any interesting names?

Even if you’ve been locked in a closet, there are plenty online:

  • This sibset at For Real is astonishing!  Baby Virgil joins Wilma, Delbert, Margaret, Lewis, Martin, and Edith.
  • Nameberry’s data on their site’s top names led to headlines about Django and Katniss being the hot new baby names.  I like this analysis from Lisa: “viewed doesn’t necessarily mean used.”  Seems like the disclaimer the world needs to hear.
  • While we’re talking Nameberry, I loved their list of Blue Jean Baby NamesEllie, Matthew, Alex – they are comfortable, wearable choices that “are suited to real modern life.”
  • The Shirley Club, and other name clubs, profiled in The Wall Street Journal.  Will there be clubs for kids with -aiden names in a few more decades? (Found via the sharp-eyed Clare at!)
  • I haven’t been following the talk about new Star Wars movies closely, but Histornamia has.  She points out that Jaina – daughter of Han and Leia – could potentially be a major character.  And, yes, a popular given name, a mix of Jane, Jada, and all of those popular picks with the bright ay sound, a sister for Kayden.
  • Baby Name Wizard speculates on the next wave of retro revivalsBruno, Jules, Estelle, Corinne, and Reva, anyone?
  • British Baby Names rounds up the Slim Softies – boys’ names that are “masculine but not butch.”  Rory, Finn, Willem, Asa, Beau, Jude, Lloyd, Levi.  Yup, I could happily name a houseful of boys from her list.

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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  1. I’m watching Atticus. It feels so much more popular to me than it really is because I hear it all the time online.

    Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I have become… not jaded exactly… but perhaps mistaken as jaded because a name must be pretty obscure for me to get that “Wow! That’s new! Different! Exciting! Fresh!” reaction from a name.

    1. Ah, the perils of baby name blogging! 🙂

      I know what you mean. On the one hand, I’ve found that I like MANY baby names, many more than I liked just a few years ago. But I am MUCH harder to impress by something “different.”

  2. When we were compiling a list of names to consider, my husband, who rarely made a serious contribution, suggested Emerson. Because it was an actual name it took me a minute to realize he was just reading the brand of our microwave…for that minute, I was impressed (though sceptical) because it was a far cry from his typical “fart muffin” suggestions. smh

    I know of a little Atticus, who goes by Atty. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

    Also, about living in the DC area…it’s so much fun to see the names in my daughter’s day care and on my street. She’s starting a new day care soon and I’m eager to see what her classmates’ names are.

  3. Welcome baby Atticus! 🙂 And I believe it is time to say happy birthday Abby too!

    I’ve already seen quite a few Jainas and Estelles, several Corinnes and one or two Brunos – but in birth notices, not in real life.

    Can relate to the Emerson phenomenon! To be fair, in my actual life, baby Emerson is indeed unique, because I don’t personally know any others (although I know an Emmerson and a Emmysyn …).

  4. You have a baby cousin named Atticus? Swoon…. We tend to “normal names” in my family.

  5. I really prefer Emerson for a boy and Everly for a girl. I don’t understand naming girls Emerson….so masculine!

    1. Just out of curiosity, is there a connection between Everly and Emerson or do you just like those two names?

  6. Jaina is also the name of a major lore character in World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore. She’s probably named after Jaina in the Star Wars series, though. They use a lot of pop culture references in the game.

  7. I feel like such a snob having these thoughts but “We know, we picked a weird named..” gave me that terrible smug/amused feeling I get when the millionth person tells me that Sophia “means wisdom”. I know more Emersons under 5 than any other name, including Sophia! Oh well, as long as we keep these things on the inside…
    I met an Althea and an Aleta in the same day not too long ago. That was pretty interesting! Also had a similar moment with a family member who said “Do you know who I met today?? A little girl named Amelia! How beautiful and unusual!” *cue terrible smug/amused feeling*

    1. I feel that way a lot too, but I think a lot of it has to do with age. Sophia and Amelia have not always been at the height of popularity, so if you do not familiarize yourself with naming data, those names would be rare to a lot of people. I am pretty sure that is how I ended up with my name. A waitress actually recently told me that she was going to name her unborn daughter Olivia because she thought it was so pretty and even went on to say that ” you just do not hear it nearly enough.” I do get pretty annoyed though with people who love to rave about how meaning was so important to them when naming. Sound and history of usage are the most important for me, but you can keep telling your story about how you named your daughter Isabella because she was the most beautiful thing you had ever seen.

    2. I think it’s also where you live. There are a kajillion Sophias and Ava’s in my east coast urban town but it took me going to a family reunion in rural Rhode Island to meet my first Jayden, even though I hear about it being so popular.

      And even though my daughter has one of those elegant “revival” names that’s “so unusual!” to all the folks my parent’s age but actually in the top 50 in my state, I’ve yet to meet another under 60.

      And her name means nothing at all, despite what baby name books will tell you.

      1. The revival names are a million times more pleasant to me than the “tryndy” ones we get in my neck of the woods. If I’m being honest with myself, I can’t deny the appeal of names like Amelia. And imagine if we didn’t follow name data! I’d be right there with people touting the beauty and distinction of it. Because you don’t hear even the more popular names nearly as much as you’d expect.

        1. I totally second what you said about the revival names being superior to the trendy and often made up names. I honestly am sometimes ashamed of my reaction when I hear names like Kaylee and Kaylin. I am also very critical of these gender neutral and surname first names that are totally unrelated to the wearer’s ancestry in many cases like Taylor and Ashley, and now names like Emerson and Collins. I also cannot stand this trend of using luxury items as names (although that is a bit of a dated phenomenon) like Tiffany, Amber, Crystal, Chanel, etc. The value of the item rarely transfers to the perception of the name. My somewhat restrained rant is now over. I feel a bit too strongly about this, and I sometimes need to remind myself that the wearer was not responsible in the choosing of his or her name.

      2. That’s a nice point, Diana. I hear a little bit of everything where we live, right outside Washington DC. From school rosters to the names I hear parents shouting on the playground and in Target, it’s a rich and varied list. But I don’t know a single Jacob … I know of a baby named Jake, but just Jake.

        1. I’m outside DC too.

          I think it’s really interesting how some of the “gem” names have a lovely old fashioned quality (Ruby, Pearl, Beryl, etc) similar to flower names, and some have a Stripper quality (Sapphire, Diamond). A little girl named Ruby is adorable, one named Sapphire might make my eyebrows raise, but chemically, they are the same substance (Corundum).

          I do know a little baby Amber. I don’t think of it as being a “luxury” name as much as a color name.

          1. That’s right – it’s a great place for names, isn’t it?

            And now that you’ve pointed out how Ruby and Sapphire are so similar and yet our perceptions of the gemstones as names so different, I’m fascinated …

  8. My cousin’s daughter’s new baby girl is D’rei. I believe they’re pronouncing it as Dray, but all I call think about is that drei is three in German (and pronounced like dry.)

    Over vacation we met siblings named:
    Lydia and Byron
    Kimberly, Diana, Robert and Francis (all under 7!)
    Divinity and Memphis

    1. I love the Slim Softies list! A lot of my favorites are on there, and a lot of names that aren’t necessarily favorites but that I’ve been contemplating lately.