Sunday Summary: 3.28.21Names matter.

A good reminder came via this Instagram post. Thanks to Meg for sharing it!

I’m a little late to the party, true. Lettie’s post talks about her given name – handed down from her grandmother – in the context of Black History Month. “I think about what it meant to decide on your own name and the humanity in that.”

While I don’t want to take away anything from the purpose of her post – there is a unique and painful legacy that she’s describing – I do want to celebrate the power of family names. They can keep history alive in ways that we might not recognize at the moment of our child’s birth.

So much of our family history slips away when we’re not paying attention. It’s moving to see a capable, intelligent woman thinking and writing about her name so deeply.

Of course, names can resonate with purpose and meaning even when they don’t honor loved ones. The stories behind why choose the names? Those can be powerful.


Of course, a great many family names seem downright un-stylish right now. Laura Wattenberg asks if there is there any hope for 1940s and 50s names? Happily, she finds some intriguing hints that a few of them are early-stage revival … and might point the way to reinventing midcentury favorites for this generation.

Have you voted in March Madness baby names yet? The girls’ final is down to Maisie or Magnolia. And on the boys’ side, it’s Raphael or Reid. So curious to see which names win, and it’s your vote that decides!

Bring on the boys named Ragnarok, Ethelred, Endeavour, and Nicabar! Or maybe not. The names on this list of extravagant boy names at Nameberry are just that. And yet … even as I’d be stunned to meet a Hiawatha or a Halifax, some of my personal favorites – like Caradoc + Nicanor make the list. And I just wrote about Campion and totally talked myself into it.

Speaking of boy names … I’m fascinated by these Edwardian choices. Baxter, Bascom, and hey, a shout-out for Sylvester, as in Emily Ratajkowski’s new baby.

But my favorite bit of name news this week is Bindi’s baby! Welcome to the world, Grace Warrior Irwin Powell.  I stumbled on the family’s reality show a few weeks ago, and was completely captivated by the Irwins. Bindi seems like a mix of devoted zookeeper and Disney princess come to life. And now I’m wondering how crazy it would be to travel to the Australia Zoo in some future moment. You might recognize Warrior as a shout-out to Bindi’s late father, Steve Irwin. But Grace is also a family name, on both sides of the family.

Which, of course, takes us back full circle. Family names aren’t always the right direction, but when they work, they can be amazing.

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That’s all for this week. Thinking of you!

Boy Names 3.28.21 Girl Names 3.28.21

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. As a teacher, I noticed a huge uptick in students taking on nicknames their friends (not parents) bestowed on them. These are nicknames they’re now asking to be called by everyone. I wonder if it’s because of Zoom and how they see their name displayed daily and have thought more about their names?

    1. That’s a really interesting insight, Em. My 12 y.o. + her friends were doing Zoom hangouts last spring and were SO into changing their names to outrageous things – think Petronella Agave Worthington! I definitely see the appeal of spontaneous and well-considered name changes facilitated by ALL of those tempting buttons. (Oh, really, HOW did you keep them on task when they could change their digital backgrounds every two minutes?)