Highclere Castle

Lately I’ve been binge-watching Downton Abbey. I had previously stopped watching sometime during Season Three, and you can watch all the way up through the end of Season Five on Amazon Prime. There are dozens of reasons to watch, of course, but the names are definitely a bonus!

Season five introduces an Atticus, but it’s really the women’s names that delight.

Which is your favorite group?

  • The grand dames: Violet, Isobel, Cora, Rosamund, Martha
  • The younger generation: Mary, Edith, Sybil, Rose, Marigold
  • The faithful servants: Daisy, Anna, Elsie (Mrs. Hughes), Beryl (Mrs. Patmore), Gwen, Ethel, Ivy


And which name is your favorite of all?

Elsewhere online:

  • Is Prince George getting a sister? Here’s a rock solid analysis of potential names for Windsor baby #2! The boys’ name post is here.
  • Yesterday, I gave some thought to Grey in the first-ever Mailbag post. But I hadn’t really thought about Dakota, as in Dakota Johnson, daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, now famous (infamous) for her first big role as Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades of Grey. Brooke thinks we’ll be hearing more of the name Dakota. I think we’ll be seeing more of Ms. Johnson. I haven’t – and probably won’t – see the movie, but I’ve heard lots of praise for her performance.
  • Which reminds me, thank you for your warm reception to the Mailbag post! I’ll definitely be working more of those into the calendar … somehow!
  • Broadway’s Celia Keenan-Bolger is expecting her first with husband John Ellison Conlee. When asked if their child would have the last name “Keenan-Bolger-Ellison-Conlee,” she admitted that she’d asked her father if he’d considered the pitfalls his double-surnamed kids might face when naming future generations. His reply? I thought we would raise kids that were smart and strong enough to make their own decisions. Exactly! We make the best decisions for our children, and trust that our children will do the same when it’s their turn.
  • There’s a new cartoon on Nick Jr. featuring the adventures of three young witches: Hazel, Lavender, and Posie. I like all three names!
  • Remember Ben Ten? Now there’s Penn Zero. I think Penn really works as a boy’s name, a successor to Finn.
  • The middle name of the moment in France? Charlie.
  • There are some gorgeous names on this list of designs from Claire Pettibone. Including Clio!
  • Now that my Living with Kids obsession is out in the open, I can keep sharing names from those posts, right? This week’s installment included a daughter named Lena! Love that name.
  • Spotted: Rayn Hazel Rose Blessed at Names for Real. Now that double middles have gone mainstream, will we start seeing more children with three middle names? And is three middles too many?
  • I enjoy hearing Swistle answer the same questions that we tackle here on Name Help! When I last checked, Theodore Henry was in the lead as a brother for William August, but I think there are lots of great possibilities here.
  • Isn’t Florence lovely? If Alice and Eleanor can be popular in the US, why not Florence?
  • Nancy’s comments on urban legend names are really important. “The main issue is the overt racism/classism that made these names infamous in the first place.”
  • Lastly, did you notice the new site design? I’ll admit – it’s a little unnerving to see my face on the homepage! But I’m thrilled with the cleaner, brighter look. It was done by the lovely and talented Heather Moritz of Moritz Fine Designs. She has some great printables and recipes on her blog, too!

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a fabulous 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. Yeah, Dakota is an absolute no. If a culture says that taking the name of their people is wrong (go figure), then white people should really leave it alone.

  2. I find Dakota a bit of a dated 90s names. It was top100 for boys during that decade, I think it has had its day.

    1. Totally agree. I’m not a fan of it for boys or girls either. I would rather that it didn’t become popular.

  3. Thanks for the shout out Abby – people seem pretty keen on an Alice!

    I love your new site design, by the way.

  4. I know some Lakota people feel quite strongly that Dakota is rather offensive or unthinking as a given name; at one time I quite liked the rhythm of it, but I could not possibly use it anymore because I have a friend who would be terribly hurt. .)

    Is the soft ‘-ul’ sound ending of Sibyl/Hazel/Opal/Mabel on the way up? I really like it.

  5. I’ve always admired Florence Nightingale, and as the shorter turn-of-the-century names have begun to rise in popularity, Flora has really begun to appeal. Alas, my husband’s last name includes the syllable “flor” and means flower, so I think all the “Flor” names, as well as the floral names, are out. Rose [Flower] just seems a little cutesy to me, and Flora [Flower] is right out.