In high school I had a list of surnames for characters in my short stories. I used names like Carrington and Barrett as last names for families in my tales, but what about using these as first names? The use of surnames as first names is not a new trend, although we are now hearing them used more and more. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to meet a little Carrington or Barrett today. The nickname lover in me loves that both these names lend themselves to familiar first names like “Carrie” or “Barry”. I also think “Bear” would make an adorable nickname for Barrett.
Here are 10 cool surnames worthy of the first name spot:
Crosby – Doesn’t Crosby just sound like a cool guy? Crosby is an Irish surname climbing the charts. In 2011 Crosby first entered the top 1,000 in the U.S. I suspect the sudden increase in Crosby, currently #649, may be in part due to Crosby Braverman, the name of a character on the show Parenthood. This name may also remind you of the folk rock group Crosby, Stills & Nash or the old Hollywood actor Bing Crosby.
Merritt – Merritt has a crisp vintage charm. Although I added Merritt to the boys list for this post, Merritt, like many surnames, is also a unisex name. If you change the spelling to Merrit (just one “t’) then Merrit is also a virtue name. An English name meaning, “boundary gate”, Merritt would be a cool name choice to honor a Mary or Meredith.
Hayes – With a cool, laid back country sound, Hayes resurfaced as a first name five years ago. Currently #608, Hayes hasn’t been this popular since 1909. How about that for a comeback? Kevin Costner and wife Christine Baumgartner used the name Hayes Logan for one of their sons. I think Hayes makes for a cool first or middle name!
Beckett – Beckett entered the U.S. top 1,000 in 2006 at spot #750. In the past seven years this name has climbed 471 spots to #279! Beckett is definitely a name to watch. English and Irish in it’s origins, Beckett means “bee cottage”. Tons of celebrities have chosen this rising name for their sons. Fans of the TV show Castle will also find it familiar.
Remington – A rather sophisticated, large name that lends itself to more child-friendly nicknames like “Rem” or “Remy”. I’ve consistently received good feedback when I mention this name in a crowd of baby name lovers. Remington is English meaning, “place on a riverbank”. Currently #363, Remington is another name rising in the charts.
Blythe – Calling all Anne of Green Gables fans! Blythe would be the perfect name choice to honor your love of the Anne series. A no-nonsense, one syllable name, Blythe can also help anchor a long frilly first name. Blythe is an English name meaning, “happy, cheerful”. An uncommon and underused virtue name, Blythe has never been in the top 1,000 in the U.S.
Waverly – Waverly has a whimsical and melodic sound to me. It will remind a younger crowd of the TV show Wizards of Waverly Place, but it reminds me of a character from the book and film The Joy Luck Club. An English name, Waverly’s meaning, “meadow of quivering aspens”, only adds to it’s charm.
Ellison– Ellison makes a great Addison alternative (Addison is currently #19). Ellison just jumped into the top 1,000 for the first time ever last year at #946. An English name meaning “son of Ellis”, Ellison is a unisex name. I suspect it’s more popular for girls because it lends it’s to the popular nicknames “Elle” and “Ellie”.
Tierney – Everyone loves an Irish name… well at least I sure do! Tierney has a unique sound and was the surname of the beautiful actress, Gene Tierney. An anglicized Irish name, Tierney means, “descendant of a Lord”. If you like the name Delaney, you might also consider Tierney.
Bell – I love the name Belle and I certainly know many people with the surname Bell. Bell is a word name meaning “bell” or “bell ringer”. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard used Bell as a middle name for their daughter. Although I prefer the Belle spelling, if my maiden name was Bell, I just might skip out on the last “e” if I were to use it for a child.
Check out my favorite surnames here: