Category Archives: place names

Alaska Baby Names

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Baby, it may be cold outside in Alaska, but these names inspired by the state of are hot and ready to be used! Alaska has an expansive and diverse terrain which yields to many great Native names and nature names. Let’s look at some great names from America’s last frontier.

Alaska
It seems only fitting that we start with this dynamic place name. Alaska comes from a Native American word meaning great land. Not very common as a first name, only 51 little girls were given the first name Alaska last year. Alaska Young is the title character in John Green’s popular novel Looking for Alaska. Alaska may also remind you of Alaska Matthews the pint sized beauty queen from the show Toddlers and Tiaras.

Benson
In 1927 13-year-old John Ben “Benny” Benson Jr. won a contest for designing the flag of the then territory of Alaska. Benson is an English name that as you may have guessed means son of Ben. Much less popular than Benjamin, which ranks at Number 6, Benson comes in at Number 428. If you love Ben names you may also consider Benedict, Bennett, Bentley, or Benton.

Denali
Denali is a National Park in Alaska that has the highest mountain peak in North America. Denali is a Native American name meaning great one or tall one. 62 girls and 24 boys were named Denali last year. You may also recognize Denali as the name of one of the vampire covens in the Twilight saga.
Name nerds like me will appreciate that Denali is an anagram for Daniel.

Frontier
Alaska has been nicknamed “The Last Frontier.” Frontier definitely brings to mind images of cowboys and unsettled regions. A bold and uncommon word name, Frontier is two syllables and ends in “r” like Fletcher, Carter, and many more popular boys names. As you may have guessed Frontier is so uncommon as a name that less than 5 babies were named it last year.

Jade
Alaska designated Jade as its state gemstone in 1968. Jade is a beautiful precious green stone. As a name Jade has Spanish roots meaning stone of flank. One of the most popular names on our list today, Jade is currently Number 117 for girls. Though this name has clearly gone to the girls, it was still used by 53 boys last year. I’ve also seen Jade commonly used as a middle name in recent years.

Juneau
Juneau is the capital of Alaska and comes from a french word meaning young. If you do have a connection to Alaska, Juneau is a distinctive place name. The spelling Juno may be assumed when this name is said out loud, in part due to the popular 2007 film Juno. A rarely used name, 10 girls were named Juneau last year.

Kodiak
Kodiak is Alaska’s largest island and the second largest island in the United States. Fittingly, Kodiak is a Russian name meaning island. In addition to being a place name Kodiak is also the name of a species of bear. 25 boys were named Kodiak last year. Nicknames like Koda or Kody may make this untapped place name feel more usable.

McKinley
Denali was once called Mount McKinley. There is some naming controversy surrounding the highest point in North America. Native’s called the mountain Denali then later William Dickey began calling it McKinley after President William McKinley. Both names are still used interchangeably though locals will call it Denali. In 2015 Obama approved officially restoring the name to Denali. McKinley is a Scottish name meaning son of the fair warrior. Currently more popular with girls were it ranks at Number 428, McKinley was used by 68 boys last year as well.

North
Alaska’s motto is “North to the future.” This directional name made waves when Kim Kardashian and Kanye West used it for their daughter in 2013. I still associate North with Elijah Wood in the 90’s film North. I think North would make a handsome middle name choice. 11 boys were given the first name North last year.

Winter
A land of winter, many people associate Alaska with ice, snow, cold, and a seemingly endless winter.  A beautiful seasonal word name, Winter is rising in popularity, currently coming in at Number 506. Winter can also work on the fellas, 45 boys were named Winter last year. I love Winter as a middle name, it yields a clean, crisp (pun intended) sound. I also think Snow and Frost would make for fun cold weather middle names.

The most popular names in Alaska last year were:

1 Liam (#2 in the US)
2 Oliver (#12 in the US)
3 James (#5 in the US)
4 William (#3 in the US)
5 Joseph (#20 in the US)
6 Lucas (#14 in the US)
7 Noah (#1 in the US)
8 Owen (#23 in the US)
9 Logan (#18 in the US)
10 Mason (#4 in the US)

1 Emma(#1 in the US)
2 Olivia (#2 in the US)
3 Amelia (#11 in the US)
4 Charlotte (#7 in the US)
5 Sophia (#4 in the US)
6 Abigail (#8 in the US)
7 Ava (#3 in the US)
8 Elizabeth (#13 in the US)
9 Aurora (#66 in the US)
10 Chloe (#20 in the US)

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Alabama Baby Names

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Do you find yourself looking at place names when you travel? I recently moved to a new state and I love taking in all the potential local baby names. My love of the U.S., travel, and names has come together in this new series where I’ll be talking about some great names inspired by each state. Let’s look at some great names from the heart of Dixie inspired by the state of Alabama.

Alabama
Why not pull inspiration from the state itself? Alabama comes from a Choctaw Native American name which when broken down means plant-cutters and to clear. Celebs Travis Barker Shanna Moakler named their daughter Alabama Louella. Writer William Faulker also used Alabama for his daughter. Alabama would be a cool way to get to the nickname Ally/Allie. Only 14 girls were named Alabama last year.

Auburn
Auburn is a college town, home of Auburn University. One of Alabama’s largest cities, Auburn’s nickname is ,“The Loveliest Village On The Plains.” Auburn is also a lovely red-brown color name and lends itself easily to the nickname Aubrey. Auburn has never ranked in the US Top 1,000 and was only used by 34 girls and 6 boys last year.

Birmingham
Birmingham may be suited best as a middle name or a name reserved for a brave namer. You could get creative with nicknames like Bing or Barry for Birmingham. One of the most recognizable cities in Alabama, Birmingham is packed full of history. Birmingham comes from an Old English surname meaning homestead of the people. Birmingham is so rarely used that less than 5 babies were named Birmingham last year.

Camelllia
Camellia became the state flower of Alabama in 1927. If you like the rising name Amelia, you may enjoy Camellia. Camellia is a rarely used “Cam” name that was only given to 78 baby girls last year. Camellia is an uncommon name with lovable recognizable nicknames like Cam, Cami, Mellie, Mia, and Millie.

Cotton
Located right in the center of the Cotton belt, one of Alabama’s nicknames is fittingly “the Cotton state.” Cotton played a huge role in Alabama’s history and economy. A word name, Cotton was more popular among Puritans and early settlers. 18 baby boys were named Cotton last year. Cotton may also remind you of the folk song “Cotton-eyed-Joe” or the 2014 film Cotton.

Crimson
“Roll Tide!” The Alabama Crimson Tide refers to the 21 beloved sports teams at the University of Alabama. Crimson is a cool color name for a brilliant deep red hue. 69 girls and 44 boys were given the first name Crimson last year. A recognizable but rare name choice, Crimson could be an alternative to Scarlett which continues to rise.

Dixie
Alabama is known as the “heart of Dixie.” Dixie is a nickname for the South which is derived from the Latin word “dix” meaning ten. Dixie peaked in the late 1930s when it reached spot Number 167.  Last year 254 girls were named Dixie. When I think of Dixie I think of actor Dixie Carter who played Julia Sugarbaker on the TV show Designing Women or the musical trio The Dixie Chicks.

Harper
Writer Harper Lee who is remembered for her iconic book, To Kill A Mockingbird, was born in Monroeville, Alabama. One of Alabama’s most celebrated residents, Lee was born Nelle Harper Lee.  Harper first entered the Top 1,000 in 2004 and has quickly rose to the Number 10 spot where it has been the past two years. Harper is a English surname and occupational name for a harp player.

Montgomery
Montgomery is the Capital city of Alabama. The second largest city in Alabama, Montgomery was named after Richard Montgomery. Montgomery is a distinguished sounding Norman name meaning man power. 14 girls and 115 boys were given the first name Montgomery last year. I have a soft spot for Montgomery because of author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Rocket
Brave parents may take a page from Pharell Williams who has a son named Rocket. Alabama is known as the rocket capital of the world. Hunstville, Alabama is home of the US space and rocket center. A fun word name with equally fun nicknames like Rock or Rocky, only 23 boys were named Rocket last year.

The most popular names in Alabama last year were:

1 William (#3 in the US)
2 James (#5 in the US)
3 John (#28 in the US)
4 Mason (#4 in the US)
5 Elijah (#9 in the US)
6 Noah (#1 in the US)
7 Jackson (#17 in the US)
8 Michael (#8 in the US)
9 Liam (#2 in the US)
10 Samuel (#21 in the US)

1 Ava (#3 in the US)
2 Emma (#1 in the US)
3 Olivia (#2 in the US)
4 Elizabeth (#13 in the US)
5 Harper (#10 in the US)
6 Madison (#15 in the US)
7 Amelia (#11 in the US)
8 Caroline (#56 in the US)
9 Isabella (#5 in the US)
10 Ella (#17 in the US)