Sunday SummaryHello from St. Alban’s, a stone’s throw from London, England.  We’re lucky enough to have friends and family in this part of the world.  We arrived via Dublin a few days ago, and still have a few days left on our visit.  We’re immersed in all things British – rugby, pubs, and history, history, history.

I’m on the alert for names, as usual – and the language is just downright intoxicating.  So much to listen for!  And while I’ve listened to the English speak English before, being immersed in it makes me realize how much it changes names.  My favorite example?  Harry.  It’s a name that always struck me as meh.  Then along came Harry Potter, and it added a certain magical luster.  But hearing Harry pronounced by the English?  The name is transformed – he becomes absolutely charming.

I imagine the same thing would happen if I spent time in New Orleans or Atlanta or Montreal, or any place where things are familiar – but very different in significant ways at the same time.

Enough about my travels!  Let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing name news from around the ‘verse:

  • I love the idea that stage names are no longer necessary in Hollywood.  And yet, I like the idea that they’re still possible.
  • Choosing baby names is tough, but this post at Swistle reminds us that before we name a single child, we’re often faced with determining our family name.  I cheerfully adopted my husband’s surname because a) my maiden name was my stepgrandfather’s surname – complicated situation – and I never felt attached to it as a family name; and b) my maiden name was an awkward mouthful, forever butchered at significant life events.  But we talked over a few options before defaulting to the obvious.  I imagine it gets even more complicated with remarriages, same-sex couples, couples with incompatible cultural traditions.
  • Fox, Caius, Ledger, and Wilder all make Laura Wattenberg’s 100 Club, and I agree – definitely names on the verge.
  • How fun to read more about Nancy!
  • Elea digs up Romany names from the Victorian era – fascinating to see names like Trafalgar and Greenleaf in use.
  • Is Hazel the new Jennifer?  Nick Turner makes the case.
  • This might be my favorite name combination of the week: Barbara Vale.  It sounds like Batgirl’s alter ego, or some fabulous Mad Men character, I think.
  • An interesting lament – and reasonable explanation – at the NameLady for the shortage of traditional, but rare, names for boys.  She has some good suggestions, and let me add mine: Kenelm.  Incredibly rare, but really deserves more use, doesn’t he?
  • This is a problem that does not plague baby names.  On the contrary, the emergence of data has pushed us away from the baby name equivalent of the Top 40.  But isn’t that interesting?  Because I do see it happening in so many other aspects of modern life.
  • Hmmm … I’ve seen headlines declaring that a five month old baby has been removed from his home because his parents declined to give him a name.  But that’s really not quite what’s happening here, is it?  It sounds like you could lose custody for being indecisive, but it is really an incredibly sad story …
  • On a happier note, I met a lovely baby Albert, and lots of very nice British men with names like Nigel, Simon, and Barney.  I’ve yet to hear a really stand-out British women’s name – no Pippa or Gemma yet.
  • Another Atalanta!  I thrill every time I see this name in use.
  • Congratulations to the Art of Naming on one year – and best wishes for a fabulous future!

That’s all for this now.  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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  1. I agree with British American. Jealous that you’re in England. I went once and had the best time. I would love to go back.

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of Barbara, but I thought Barbara Vale was fantastic.

    Have fun and enjoy the rest of your trip!


  2. Super jealous that you’re in England!!!!! Harry is very much better in an English accent. It doesn’t sound at all like “hairy”, which I often read is a problem in the US. Nigel is very British. 🙂 Trevor is too, though I don’t think it’s given to babies anymore. Clive is another good one. Which reminds me of a blog that I’m following, since the writer is pregnant and has a daughter named Fern. The new baby is due any day now and she already is calling him Clive on the blog. 🙂

    Just checked out the 100 club post. We covered the book of Ruth in our Kindergarten Sunday School class today, so talked about Boaz. It seemed easy enough for the kids to remember his name. And since he was such a good guy, that gives the name bonus points. Certainly more naming appeal than his son Obed. I guess my only reservation would whether the ending -az syllable would lead to teasing due to the similarity of the “z” and “ss” sound.

    1. Totally agree about Harry in a British accent. I would never name my kid that in America as it sounds so terrible, but it’s so nice and name-sounding in England. Funny how a slight change in vowel sound can do that.

      I’ve never thought about Boaz before, but I kind of like it. To me, the z is hard sounding–nothing like an s. Could also be nicknamed to Bo, which seems to be a nickname I’ve been seeing around lately.