Sunday SummaryEarlier this week, I called my doctor’s office. The assistant who answered the phone?


I had a moment of feeling rather old, because until that moment, Madison was always a child.

Except that the first wave of Madisons was born in the late 1980s and early 1990s – certainly old enough to be out in the working world and even having children of their own.

It might take us by surprise, but it’s true. Names catch up.

Once upon a time, I’m sure someone called Gary and Cynthia and Doris and Kevin names that were “too cute” for adulthood.

But all names age, as all people do.

Onto the name news:

  • Wishing a happy Easter and Passover to all who are celebrating today! Time for so many seasonal posts, from saints’ names to names of famous rabbits to Passover-inspired choices.
  • Namespotting: Railey. I’m certain it’s meant to rhyme with Bailey and Hailey. Only I see it and want to say it more like rail, as in railroad. Raylee, on the other hand, I’d happily rhyme with Kaylee. Curious how our brains read things …
  • Charlotte Mabel Ellesmere – that’s the kind of name that starts out quietly, but turns it up to eleven. Spotted in my weekly box of chocolates, the British Baby Names birth announcements.
  • I’m reading the Flavia de Luce mystery novels – I think I mentioned this on Twitter/Facebook a while back. But thanks to everyone who recommended them! They’re so much fun, and a fascinating look at a different world. And oh, yes, the names!
  • Anna explains Bunty! And lots of other rare names from the 1940s.
  • Now this is interesting. Did you see the tweets from Lara Bingle defending her son’s name? Bingle and husband Worthington named their son Rocket Zot, which is really different. And … well, you’ll need to read the story. I’m surprised the couple commented at all. But wow, it must be incredibly hurtful to have the media rip your child’s name to shreds.
  • I may have shared this before, but I’m fascinated by the idea of a baby naming ceremony. There is a Jewish ceremony, mainly for girls. (And it seems to be relatively modern – is that correct?) Kveller has tons of information on the practice, including this piece from an interfaith perspective. Our children were baptized – we’re Catholic – but the ceremony was religious, and not all of our friends and loved ones share our faith. So I’m really drawn to the idea of an inclusive ceremony to welcome a new baby to the community, however we define it.
  • Back to the idea of naming across cultures – there were some interesting tidbits in this name help post from Elea at British Baby Names. Interesting to know that Scandinavian names are trendy in Germany right now.
  • While I’m sharing random finds from the past – this list of the most beautiful words in English includes some daring baby name possibilities: Felicity, Dulcet, Talisman, Summery, Halcyon. Maybe some of those are better as middle names, but I love the sounds.
  • Speaking of Halcyon, what would you name a sister for Harvest?
  • Twig as a nickname for Thomas? I love it! Another great find from Nancy.
  • Kelli’s predictions for the US Top 100. Getting so close to the May data release … probably just about six weeks now!
  • Shalimar is all about the fragrance counter to me, but I didn’t know it had so much backstory. Does it work as a child’s name?
  • Are you planning to watch American Odyssey, the new NBC drama about an American soldier presumed dead who has to work her way to freedom? Or so I gleaned from the trailer I’ve seen twice. What intrigued me: the character, played by Anna Friel, is called Odelle. Is that a play on Odysseus? It’s not really my kind of series, but I’m curious to read more about the character.
  • Let’s end with the March Madness 2015 winners! Congratulations to Finn and Cora, and thanks to each and every person who voted. And, based on the poll results, I do think I’ll be retiring the winning names going forward.
  • During this upcoming week, all of the names featured will be choices that are either new to the US Top 1000 or returned to the US Top 1000 in 2013. There are some interesting names to ponder!

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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What do you think?


  1. I love Charlotte Mabel! One of my favorite writers Emily Rapp named her daughter Charlotte Mabel Elliott Black and I just love the combination of classic, vintage and tomboy.

  2. I had to giggle at your comment on Railey. Even if you pronounce the first syllable like “rail,” there’s no different between Railey and Raylee in my accent. :p

    1. I also wanted to add that Shalimar is a little town in Florida near the Destin/Ft. Walton Beach area.

  3. The Jewish naming ceremony girls in my family have is also religious, and boys have a brit milah. Religious names can be a Big Deal, either for meaning or honouring particular people. Sometimes its the name on the birth certificate but often not – my own family is full of ones where the English/secular name bears some minor tie of sound/alliteration/meaning to the religious name and is often not the English name of the person being named for, if they had one, as secular names are *much* more subject to style.

    One day once I’m finally pregnant you’ll get some horribly waffle-y email asking for help with both rhythm/flow/opinions on both legal names and Hebrew/Yiddish combos for my kids. Sorry in advance, lol.

    I know an early-20s Madison… he’s a guy.

    1. Madison Baumgartner is a major league pitcher. I think most of the earliest wave of 80s Madisons were boys.

  4. Jewish baby naming ceremonies are mainly for girls and they were created as an equivalent to the boys’ brit milah (the circumcision) which happens at 8 days old and at which point the boy receives his name. Since girls don’t have brit milahs, the baby naming ceremony was created as a way of celebrating and giving baby girls their names.

  5. That quote about Lara Bingle Worthington’s baby name is painful to read, especially after reading her response. I feel guilty about thinking snarky things about anyone’s baby name. 🙁

    1. Oh, Megan M. – I know! When I first started writing, I said snarky things about a few names. I almost thought I had to, because I read all of these advice columns saying that bloggers had to have a strong point-of-view. And on one occasion, the parent left a comment. And … well, I realized that my strong point-of-view was that no one deserves to see her child’s name ripped to shreds by a stranger. Now it really does bother me when I come across Gawker posts or similar that are just meant to criticize a celebrity baby name.

  6. Similar to your experience with an adult Madison, I was taken aback when the mom of my daughter’s classmate was named Savannah.