Named after Grandma

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The baby in this picture is so adorable but Grandma’s today are much more stylish and hip than the old-school Granny cliches! Grandma’s today are typically in their 50’s or 60’s so let’s look at some of the most popular names from that generation. I plucked names from 58 years ago in 1960, since most of these names held popularity for several years making them now Grandma-aged names!

Mary
Mary, a Hebrew name meaning bitter, was the Number 1 name in 1960 and today ranks and Number 126. Mary was a Top 10 name from 1900-1971 so chances are you have a Grandma, Great-Grandma, Aunt, or other female relative named Mary. My favorite modern Mary alternative is Maren. I love how familar yet unique Maren is. Maren has Latin roots meaning sea. There are probably 1,000 variations and diminutives of Mary, but a few I think make nice modern way to honor include Mara, Meryl, and Molly. And for you more adventurous namers, how about Marietta? Etta sure would be a sweet nickname.

Susan
My Dad is the eldest of seven children and he has five younger sisters. I just had to chuckle seeing that four of my five Aunt’s names are on this list, including Susan. Susan was ranked at Number 2 in 1960 and comes in at Number 963 today. Susan is a Hebrew form of Susannah, meaning Lily, which is my top pick for honoring. I love that the meaning and think that would be a lovely bond between grandmother and granddaughter. Of course it’s root name Susannah would make a lovely choice, as would Suzette (again that Etta nickname, or the upbeat Sookie. If you want something with a clear sound connection that is distinctive you may like Sioux.

Linda
Linda was all the rage in the 1940’s-1960’s. Ranked at Number 3 in 1960, today Linda is Number 708, the lowest it has ever ranked. Linda is still popular among Spanish speakers as it is a Spanish and Portuguese name meaning pretty. A friend of mine had a daughter named Linden last year and I remember loving the nature tie but also thinking it would be a great Linda alternative! My other ideas for honoring a Linda include Lindley, Lydia, or Lindy. If you’re craving something more bold you may consider Linnora.

Karen
In 1960 Karen was Number 4 but today this Dutch variation of Katherine is all the way down at Number 556. I could see Karen coming back into fashion, is it just old enough to sound fresh? Karen does share the pattern of being a two syllable name ending in N that many popular names also have.  I think Kieran would be the perfect Karen alternative. There are tons of great Karen alternatives including Karina, Kara, and Karys. I also think Kerensa would be a great showstopper!

Donna
Donna peaked in the 1960’s, reaching spot 5 in 1960 and then decreeased steadily there after.  Donna fell out of the Top 1,000 in 2010.  Truly a generational name, Donna also reminds many of use of the character Donna Martin in the TV show 90210. Donna is Italian meaning lady but I really like male alternatives for this one! My top pick would be Donovan. I also think Dante, Donnelly, and Donal would make cool choices for a grandson. If you’d like a bold name that is also female Domina shares the same meaning and has a ton of flare!

Lisa
Lisa is totally a modern Grandma name. It ranked at Number 6 in 1960 but Lisa was a Top 10 name from the late fifties through the mid-seventies. Still, Lisa doesn’t feel as old or dated as some names on this list and today it ranks at 884. Lisa is one of the several variations of Elizabeth meaning God is my oath. I have always loved the name Lisette so that will be my pick for a Lisa alternative. You might also consider Liesel, Elise, or Elisa. My favorite creative way to honor a Lisa though is to scramble the letters and use Isla.

Patricia
Patricia was fashionable for a number of years and ranked in the Top 10 from 1929-1966! In 1960 Patricia was Number 7 and today it comes in at spot Number 889.  A Latin feminine form of Patrick, Patricia means noble or patrician. Unless you go the Trisha/Tricia route then you’re a bit limited in P names with a similar vibe, but I’m going for that sound and so my top pick would be the similar sounding unisex Pax. I also think the more exotic Petra, Patrice, or Patrika could be fun, particiularly in the middle name spot. Want to go out on a limb? Then I’d vote for Adelaide which shares a similar meaning as Patricia.

Debra & Deborah
In 1960 Debra ranked at Number 8 and Deborah was Number 10. There were a whole generation of Debbie’s as you can imagine with two spelling variations in the Top 10. A name close to my own heart (it’s My Mom’s name), Debra is not currently in the Top 1,000 while Deborah is holding on at Number 774. A Hebrew name meaning bee, I thought Bee would be a cute nickname to honor a Debra or Deborah. Devorah which both names stem from would be another cool choice and you get Dev or Devi as nicknames. Most Debra/Deborah’s go by Debbie so why not consider similar sounding Darby or Libbie? Devra one final alternative I wanted to add to the mix. I still think Bee would be a cute middle name to honor.  Matilda Bee? Lucy Bee? I think so.

Cynthia
The Greek name Cynthia peaked in the 1950’s and 1960’s and ranked at Number 9 in 1960. Today Cynthia has a sophisticated era and comes in at Number 637. I love the name Thea so I’d chop off the end of Cynthia and use Thea as a name to honor. Kynthia (kin-thee-uh) is a very cool bold alternative or you could run with the beiginning letters and get Cypress or Cyan. Many Cynthia’s go by Cindy so if your Mom was more of a Cindy than a Cynthia you may also get away with honoring through names like Sidney or Lindy.

What’s your Mom’s name and what name would you consider using to honor her?

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The Best Mid-Popular Names!

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It’s been an exciting week in the Name World as the United States Social Security Administration just released the list of the most popular baby names. I’ll add a link to my video chatting about the popularity at the end of this video. So like any dedicated name nut I’ve been combing the list and I must say I’m pleasantly surprised by many mid-popular names. What’s a mid-popular name? These are names that rank in the sweet spot, right around the middle of the Top 1,000 in spots 475 to 575. The great thing about a mid-popular name is that it’s usually familiar without being overly used. Here are a few name gems that rank right in the middle!

Benson – ranked at #474

Benson is an English surname meaning son of Ben. Of course you get the nickanames Ben, Benny, and Benji, without the popularity of Benjamin, the Number 6 most popular name. At 474 Benson dipped nearly 50 spots last year. Law & Order fans may be reminded of character Detective Olivia Benson when they hear this usable yet not overly used choice.

Blair – ranked at #511

Allow me to show my age in saying Blair will forever remind me of the character Blair Warner from the TV show The Facts of Life. Younger generations will recognize the name Blair from the show Gossip Girl. Blair took a small jump last year on the girls list rising ten spots to spot Number 511. Blair is a Scottish unisex name meaning dweller on the plain. It is not currently in the Top 1,000 for boys.

Colette – ranked at #531

Colette is one of the few names my partner and I both agree on and so it’s been on my personal name list for a few years. Colette is a chic, French feminine form of Nicholas meaning victory of the people. I love the nickname potential from Coco to Lettie or even Lottie. Colette decreased in popularity last year from 469 to 531.

Hattie – ranked at #480

If you love vintage old-timey diminutive names that Hattie is your girl. Originally a nickname for Harriet, meaning estate ruler, Hattie is slowly rising sitting today at Number 480. Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for her performance in the epic film Gone with the Wind.

Leonidas – ranked at #498

I’m seeing lots of little Leo’s lately as Leo is now in the Top 100 and up over 70 spots in the last five years. If you love Leo and are looking for a large and unique show-stopper of a name, you may consider Leonidas! A Greek name meaning lion, Leonidas has a very strong, masculine sound. If Leo isn’t your bag of tea, Lee and Leon are other nickname contenders.

Liberty – ranked at #568

Word names are all the rage right now and Liberty is one of my favorites in the bunch. If I had a daughter born on the fourth of July I may be tempted to use Liberty. The nickname Libby is equally appealing as is Birdie. Liberty has never ranked higher than 406 and today ranks at 568.

Matilda – ranked at #521

I would use the name Matilda in a heartbeat if I could convince my partner. I love the nickname Tilly and the character in the Roald Dahl book and film. A German name meaning battle-worthy Matilda dropped almost 30 spots last year to 521. Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger chose the name Milda Rose for their daughter born in 2005.

Otto – ranked at # 478

I recently met a baby named Otto which really endeared me to this old-timey little palindrome name. A German name meaning wealthy, Otto dipped in popularity after the second World War, but has steadily been climbing the past five years. Currently ranked at Nmber 478, Otto hasn’t been this popular since 1946.

Rhys – ranked at #477

Rhys is another long-time favorite of mine. Rhys is a handsome Welsh name meaning ardor. Jonathan Rhys Meyers helped introduce this name to American audiences. Joey McIntyre chose the name Rhys Edward for his son born in 2009.

Wilder – ranker at #573

Are you wild about Wilder? I’ll be honest, it isn’t my style but I’m warming up to it and I do love the Laura Ingalls Wilder association. Many a name lover has Wilder on their list. Wilder is a rapidly rising name and will likely be too popular for my mid-popular names list in the years to come. Wilder first entered the Top 1,000 in 2015 and jumped nearly 400 spots to 573 just in two years!

What are your favorite mid-popular names?
Hear all about the New Most popular baby names in the US here:

 

Seven C’s

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Calling all lovers of exotic Princess-worthy names! Feast your name eyes and ears on these seven grand, gorgeous, and glorious C names for girls!

Camellia
Camellia has an exotic flare though it shares a similar sound to the much more popular Amelia. Camellia is a flowering plant was named for botanist Georg Josef Kamel. What little girl wouldn’t love a flower name? The nickname possibilities are endless, but a few you may enjoy include Cam, Cammie, Mel, Mellie, Mia, and Lia.

Cataleya
Cataleya is a variant of cattleya which is a genus of orchids – can you tell I love a good flower name? Zoe Saldana played Cataleya in the film Colombiana, giving this name a boost, though its not too popular currently ranked at Number 510. Cataleya would be a great way to honor a Catherine, Kathleen, or even a Lee or Leah.

Celestia
A name written in the stars Celestia has Latin roots meaning heavenly or of the sky. Celestia is hardly a name one would forget as it is both striking and ethereal. Little House on the Praire writer Laura Ingalls Wilder’s younger sister Carrie was born Caroline Celestia “Carrie” Ingalls. Celestia peaked in the late nintenth century.

Christiana
A whole generation of Christian, Christine, and Christina’s are now becoming parents. Refresh these beloved names with the brilliantly opulant Christiana, a variation which shares the meaning follower of Christ. Feminine with an exotic twist, Christiana could skip nicknames like Chris and Christy and opt for Tiana.

Clementine
Oh, my darlin’s Clementine just recently re-entered the US Top 1,000.  A Frecnch feminine form of Clement, meaning merciful, Clementine has a very wholesome and country vibe. Several stars from Claudia Schiffer, Kate Winslet, and Ethan Hawke have all picked the name Clementine for their daughters. In France Clementine ranks within the Top 100.

Cornelia
I’m such a big Cordelia fan that I often overlook Cornelia. A Latin name meaning horn, Cornelia easily lends itself to very user friendly nicknames like Cory, Cora, Nell, and Nellie. A name rich is history and literature there are a load of assocations to this name from a Christian saint to Julius Caesar’s first wife.

Cressida
A former college classmate recently had a little Cressida making my name-loving heart swoon. Cressida is the name of a Shakepearean heroine and has Greek rooks meaning golden. Cressida was also used in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, giving it life to a younger generation Cressida is equal parts strong and feminine.

Please share your favorite from this list! xo

Soft Boys Names

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I love names that are easy to say and seem to glide right off the tongue. Max and Milo, while both darling, have different vibes. There is a trend right now of handsome, powerful, Roman-warrior sounding names for boys. Today I thought we’d explore the other side of the spectrum with some equally handsome soft sounding male names. You’ll notice that many names ending in vowels and that have strong vowel sounds tend to be more melodic and soft. These are my Top 10 Soft Boys Names:

Bodhi
Bodhi is a hot celebrity baby name used by Megan Fox, Oliver Hudson, and Amy Brenneman just to name a few. Bodhi has a playful and soft sound coupled with the wonderful Sanskrit meaning of awakening and enlightenment.

Callum
Many “Cal” names lend themselves to a sweet softer sound.  For more “Cal” names check out my article, “Call me Cal” https://tulipbyanyname.com/2017/05/15/call-me-cal/ .  Callum also ends with the lullaby “-lum” sound making it one of the first names that came to mind when building this list. Need another reason to love Callum? It’s a Scottish name meaning dove, a beautiful symbol of peace to bestow on your little one.

Hayes
I love how soft Hayes is to the ear while still conveying a very masculine cowboy vibe. This name is the perfect example of how soft can still be handsome and manly. Hayes is an English name meaning hedged area. Jessica Alba recently used the name Hayes for her first son born at the end of 2017.

Henley
Names ending in “y,” particularly “ley” really draw out a softer sound in a name. Henley is one of those names I think more people would use if they knew of it and if the henley shirt association didn’t bother them.  Henley is also a great Henry alternative and much less popular too!

Jude
“Hey Jude,” you straight-forward, one-syllable, soft but powerful name, I sure do love you. Jude is a little name getting quite a bit of love lately. A diminutive of the Latin Judah, Jude means praised. Jude is also a widely recognized saint name for Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.

Luca
Speaking of names people are mad about right now, Luca is also climbing the charts with rapid speed. I’m a sucker for “Luke names” and Luca has such a romantic, smooth, and soft sound with it’s “a” ending. Luca is an Italian form of Luke meaning from Luciana.

Milo
Milo has been a personal favorite for the last few years, though I’ve yet to sell my partner on it. Milo has Latin and German roots meaning soldier or merciful, strong meanings for such a soft little name. Actor Milo Ventimiglia has helped make this whispering name a household name.

Owen
I recently met a darling little girl named Owen and so I wanted to address the elephant in the name article – yes, many of these names work well on either sex – names can be both pretty and handsome, as can people ((grin)). I love that strong soft “O” sound in Owen, a Welsh name meaning well-born or youthful warrior.

Shiloh
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie made headlines when they named their daughter Shiloh in 2006. Many biblical names ending in the soft “ah” or “oh” have a sweet, soft ending sound.  Shiloh is a Hebrew name with the lovely meaning tranquil, I love how the meaning mirrors the sound.

Wesley
Both syllables of this melodic name have a soft, subdued sound but pack a great punch when paired together. Wesley is an English name meaning western meadow that has long been popular in the United States.

Even more great soft names for boys include:

Arlo
Asher
Elian
Elliott
Ethan
Finley
Hugh
Joel
Julian
Liam
Micah
Noah
Remy
Riley
Rowan
Sean
Seth
Simon
Theo
Wiley

What names would you add to this list?

The Best Celeb Baby Names of the Year (so far)

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Doesn’t it seem like we we’re just ringing in the New Year? Spring is in bloom and we’re already four months into 2018, so let’s see what names celebrities treated us to in the first quarter!

Classy Choices
When you think of celebrity baby names often the weird and the wacky come to mind. These are some more popular and classic names that are lovely and wearable. Tabitha Simmons & Robert Livingston “Topper” Mortimer went for a classy combo for their daughter Violet Elizabeth. Eddie and Hannah Redmayne picked the timeless name Luke Richard for their little leading man.

Showstopper
Christina Perri and Paul Costabile wowed us with the rare and grand name Carmella.

Double The Name Fun
2018 has given us two sets of twins so far! Hillary Scott and Chris Tyrell welcomed sweet country cuties Betsy Mack and Emory Joann. AJ Buckley and Abby Ochse dazzled us with twin boys named Bodhi Robert and Ranger Joseph.

Vintage Delights
Jack & Lisa Osbourne welcomed third daughter Minnie Theodora in February. She joins older sisters Pearl Clementine and Andy Rose. These two truly are namers at heart!

A Touch of Whimsy
Aaron Paul and Danielle Hart chose Story Annabelle for their first daughter. I sweet word name anchored with a sensable and equally lovely middle name.

Kardashian Korner
Love em’ or hate em’ the Kardashian’s have had a big pull on names in recent years. Two new little ones have recently joined the family! Kim & Kanye West welcomed daughter Chicago in January followed by little sister Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott’s first child, Stormi born in February.

You can watch me chat about these names and more here:

Irish Saints Names

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I’ve heard it said that we’ve all got a little Irish in us. It’s true, that many American’s have some Irish blood running through us. The month of March is home to Saint Patrick’s Day, and while Patrick makes a fine name and one we will delve into, let’s look at a total of five Irish Saint’s for lucky Name-spiration!

Saint Aidanaidan
Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne was a monk who founded a monastic chapel in Lindisfarne. St. Aiden traveled endlessly through the countryside spreading the gospel. Aidan boomed in popularity in the early 2000’s, peaking at Number 39 in 2003. Today Aidan is still well loved and used at Number 190. Alternative spelling Aiden is more popular at Number 16, while Ayden is Number 92, and Adan comes in at Number 443. Aidan is an Irish name meaning little and fiery which perfectly fits the little Aidan’s I’ve encountered.

Saint Brendanst.brendan
Saint Brendan of Clonfert is often reffered to as the “Navigator” or the “Voyager”, as he was one of the early Irish monastic saints who voyaged by sea on legendary quests. Brendan is an Irish name meaning prince that ranks right about in the middle of the Top 1,000 at Number 451. Brendan peaked in the late 1990’s but still wears well today. Actors James McAvoy and Mark Wahlberg each have sons named Brendan.

Saint BrigidSaintBrigid
Saint Brigid of Kildare is one of the patron saints of Ireland, along with Columba and Patrick. One of the first nuns, Brigid founded many monasteries and is also the patron saint of scholars. Brigid is a variation of the Irish fire goddess name Brighid meaning strength or exaulted one. The alternative spelling, Bridget became popular in the early 1970’s and currently ranks at Number 594. Brigid or Bridget also lends itself to many fun, quirky nicknames, like Biddy or Birdie.

Saint Columbacolumba
Saint Columba, one of the three patron saints of Ireland, was an abbot and a missionary who is credited with spreading Christianity to what is modern day Scotland. Saint Columba was male, with a Latin name meaning dove. The Irish translation Colm and Scottish translation Callum make for handsome alternatives and ways to honor St. Columba. Columba as never ranked in the US Top 1,000 for either sex, though I think it would work well for a girl.

Saint Patricksaintpatrick
The most popular patron saint of Ireland, St.Patrick is one of the world’s most recognizable saints. A Romano-British missionary he is credited with converting Ireland to Christianity. Patrick has become a quintessential Irish name though like St. Patrick himself, Patrick is of Latin origins and means noble or patrician. Patrick peaked in 1968 and was a Top 50 name from 1948-1997. Today Patrick ranks at Number 170 and is one I commonly see in the middle name spot.

What are your favorite Irish Saints Names?

Literary Sisters – Add one!

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There are many delightfully named literary sisters. I love looking at sibling sets in novels and crawling into the author’s name-nerd brain. Let’s look at four wonderful, well-loved sibling sets of sisters and imagine what we would name another sister to each literary family.

The March Sisters
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
Margaret “Meg”, Josephine “Jo”, Elizabeth “Beth”, Amy
How classy are the March sister’s names? It is widely assumed that Amy is short for Amelia, though never explicitly stated in the novel. I love a good nickname and Margaret, Josephine, and Elizabeth all lend themselves beautifully to an array of nicknames. So for fun, what would I name a fifth March sister? I would choose Samantha “Sam.” Samantha is another long and lovely classic name that can easily be shortened to Sam. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, and Sam it is for me. What name would you add? Other names I considered that I think would fit in well with this set include Catherine, Charlotte, and the author’s own name, Louisa.

The Ingalls Sisters
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Series
Mary, Laura, Caroline “Carrie”, and Grace
The Little House sister’s are unique to this list as the books were based off of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s real life sisters. Mary, Laura, Caroline “Carrie”, and Grace all have very wholesome, sweet sounds to them. So, what would I name a fifth Ingalls girl? Anna was the first name that popped into my mind. Anna is simple, sweet, and could potentially be shortened to Annie, which I think would suit this set well. What would you name a fifth sister? Other names I think would work well are Emily, Hannah, or Susanna.

The Bennet Sisters
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine “Kitty”, and Lydia
I could (and may) do a blogpost on Austen’s sibling sets. The five Bennet sisters, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine “Kitty”, and Lydia all have very classic names. Austen loved repeating names in her novels and so I pulled name inspiration from her in choosing Anne to be the sixth Bennet sister. My mind races to imagine what she would be like. Other names repeated in Austen novels that could work in this sibling set for me would be Louisa, Margaret, and Marianne. I’d love to read your pick for this set of iconic sisters!

The O’Hara Sisters
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind
Katie Scarlett “Scarlett”, Susan Elinor “Suellen”, Caroline Irene “Carreen”
Frankly, my dears, the O’Hara sisters have some pretty fun names! I think its neat that none of them go by their given names, but rather their middle name or a smoosh name. So we have Katie Scarlett “Scarlett”, Susan Elinor “Suellen”, and Caroline Irene “Carreen”. I looked at Scarlett, Suellen, and Carreen and immediately wanted another C name to balance out the two S’s. So my choice would be Cora Isobel “Corabelle.” I also considered the given first names; Katie, Susan, Caroline and thought Eliza, Rebecca, and Julia would work well as well. What name would you add to this fiery sibling set?

I’d love to hear you weigh in on these sister names and add your own additions to these timeless sets!