Sunday Summary 11.1.20We all want the same thing, which means we (probably) can’t have it.

A name that our child won’t have to share, but isn’t too weird or out-there. Easy to spell and pronounce, except not so familiar that she goes through life as one in a crowd.

By definition, the very thing we want is tough to have. Because it pushes us all towards the same small group of names. In turn, those names rise in popularity, and the cycle repeats.

But, but, but … here’s a secret:

If you’re willing to go just slightly deeper into history books, hidden gems await.

This list of Victorian-era baby names illustrates that point perfectly.

Some, like Violet and Oscar, sound familiar. Even popular – maybe too popular to hit that sweet spot.

But names like Horatio and Millicent are immediately familiar … but rare on children.

Why don’t we use them? I suppose they’re so rare that they surprise. And we worry that they’ll be dismissed as weird – which is what we’re trying to avoid.

But it’s worth consideration, especially if you feel like all of your favorite names are taken.

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Not only did Nancy feature Belgium’s Top Ten, she has some rarities from the bottom of their data set, too. Cerise, Nellia, and Lilo for girls, plus Ivar and Odilon for boys. So interesting!

Think you’ve heard the wildest word names already? Namerology highlights the latest development: phrase names. Instead of Unique or Royal, how ’bout Imunique and Sirroyal?

UK birth announcements are chock full of double middles. How amazing is Susanna Charlotte Maud? I would love to know what percentage of American children receive more than one middle name. And is it growing? My gut sense is that it must be, but maybe I’m wrong?

On a serious note: this CBC column about choosing to use traditional Chinese names is fascinating. Also painful, because of the author’s primary hesitations is around racism and discrimination.

I found the above article on the amazing site, Name News, run by Clare. If you’re still looking for more name chatter, it’s the place to go.

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

Boy Names 11.1.20 Girl Names 11.1.20


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. Those Victorian boy names though I didn’t see Ethelyn on the girls list, I think that’s ripe for revival. I also think you’re right about two middle names; I recently read an article decrying the practice as uppity, classist/elitist, and too British.

    1. Interesting. I often think that if someone takes the time to notice it + complain about it, that’s often a sure signal that it’s going mainstream …