When I was 7-years-old I had it all figured out. I’d decided I’d have five children, all one year apart in age, and of course I’d already named them all! Needless to say my plans have changed a bit. Many of us started loving names at an early age. My love of names began with naming and renaming my dolls and daydreaming about what I would name my five imaginary children.
My list of favorite names is fluid and constantly changing. I’ve had a few steady favorites over the years though. What were some of your first favorite names? How have your favorites changed? While some may seem silly now, often there are a few old name loves that have a way of creeping back into name-lover’s heart.
Here are some of my favorite names over the years:
Childhood name loves:
Samantha – If I had to rename myself as a child, I definitely would have picked the name Samantha. I often used this alias while playing “house”. A lover of nicknames from the start, I imagined that I would be “Sam” while playing sports, and “Sammie” at tea parties. I had the beautiful Victorian American Girl doll, Samantha Parkington, which only heightened my love for this name. Samantha is a feminine form of the name Samuel, meaning “told by God”. It was in the top 10 from 1988-2006 in the United States. Although Samantha has dipped, it still remains fairly popular at #29. I definitely still see the appeal and beauty of this name. Although Samantha is no longer on my favorites list, it is a name I’d consider if my partner loved it.
Stacey – Stacey was the ultimate cool teenage girl name to me. I named a ton of my Barbie dolls Stacey. This name only in doubled in coolness once I started reading The Baby-Sitters Club. Stacey was a nickname from the character Anastasia “Stacey” McGill. I much prefer the name Anastasia now, which Stacey is a diminutive of. Anastasia is Greek, meaning “resurrection”. There are so many great nicknames that can come from Anastasia, my favorite now being “Anya”. I’ve met some wonderful Stacey’s in my life, but it’s no longer a name that I love.
Jeffrey – When I was little I knew one Jeffrey that never went by “Jeff”. I had a cabbage patch doll that I named Jeffrey with the nickname Jeff. At the time I thought that I was pretty creative. I really used to love “J” names for boys. Jeffrey means “pledge of peace” and is currently #256 in the U.S. I don’t know why I fell out of love with this name. I still think it’s a nice, solid name, I just can’t picture myself using it.
Patrick – That cabbage patch doll named Jeffrey that I just mentioned, he often went by Patrick as well. I was the master of renaming dolls. I was very particular about him not being called “Pat” though I did like the nickname “Patch”. Often thought of as an Irish name because of Saint Patrick, Patrick is actually a Latin name meaning “nobleman”. I like Patrick now as a middle name.
My teenage favorites:
Maren – As a teenager I really liked the idea of using a name like Maren that was easy to say and spell, but wasn’t too popular. Maren has only been in the U.S. top 1,000 briefly. A Latin name meaning “sea”, Maren is the perfect way to honor someone named Mary. I still enjoy the name Maren but I don’t adore it like I once did. Maren easily makes my long list, but not quite my top 10 favorite names.
Hope – Hope is one of my favorite middle name options. Years ago I loved this name as a first or a middle name. Hope is an uplifting word and virtue name. I love the sound and the meaning. A new baby represents a huge sense of hope to me. Hope is currently #233 for girls in the U.S. It’s migrated from my favorite names list to my favorite middle names list.
Braden – Before the rhyming Braden, Caden, Jayden names took off, I really liked the name Braden. Braden comes from an English or Irish surname. I’ve always really loved Irish names for boys. I also really liked the idea of using the nickname “Brady”. I still like the sound of this name although it’s lost some of it’s charm. Perhaps I’ve just heard it too much?
Connor – Connor has such a great, hearty sound to me. An Irish name meaning, “lover of hounds”. As a dog lover, the meaning of this name is an added bonus. Connor has been floating in and out of my favorite names the past few years. It’s pretty popular at #56 in the U.S. I know an adorable little boy named Connor.
Names I’ve loved for most of my life:
Elizabeth – Elizabeth is one of my tried and true favorites. It’s my middle name and a name that I’ve always loved. The nickname lover in me squeals in delight of the many nickname possibilities that Elizabeth has to offer. A Hebrew name meaning, “pledged to God”, Elizabeth is currently #10 in the U.S. The epitome of a classic name, Elizabeth has never been lower that #26 in the U.S. A name with true staying power.
Emmeline – chances are if you watch my YouTube channel you’ve heard me
talk obsess over the name Emmeline. I have always loved the nickname “Emmie” for Emmeline. I first fell in love with this name watching the movie Anne of Avonlea. Emmeline is a French name meaning “work”. I love many names that begin with the letters “Em”. Emmeline has been my favorite girls name since I was 11-years-old.
Benjamin – I teeter back and forth between the name Benjamin and Bennett, but one thing is for sure, I love Ben names! Right before my brother was born I was given a stuffed bear that I named Benjamin. I slept with “Ben bear” every night and even took him with me to college. Benjamin has a familiar and inviting sound to me. A Hebrew name meaning, “son of the right hand”, Benjamin is pretty popular at #14 in the U.S. The popularity of Benjamin does not change how much I love it.
Gabriel – Gabriel is another classic male name that I’ve loved for ages.A Hebrew name meaning, “God is my strength”, Gabriel is currently #24 in the U.S. I met a little baby named Gabriel when I was about 5-years-old and I’ve liked the name ever since. I like the nickname “Gabe”, but I think I prefer Gabriel slightly more as a middle name. I also think Gabriel sounds good with many male names that I love.
What are your old name loves?