Personal Favorites from the Top 1000 (Boys)

Earlier I posted my favorite girls’ names from the 2015 American top 1000.  Here are the boys’ names!  Within the parentheses are their respective ranks out of 1000 – not their ranks on my personal lists (admittedly, I don’t rank them that way at all).

  • Jacob (#4)
  • William (#5)
  • Ethan (#6)
  • James (#7)
  • Alexander (#8)
  • Michael (#9)
  • Benjamin (#10)
  • Daniel (#12)
  • Matthew (#15)
  • David (#18)
  • Oliver (#19)
  • Samuel (#23)
  • John (#26)
  • Luke (#28)
  • Henry (#29)
  • Andrew (#30)
  • Isaac (#31)
  • Christopher (#32)
  • Joshua (#33)
  • Sebastian (#35)
  • Julian (#45)
  • Jonathan (#48)
  • Charles (#50)
  • Thomas (#51)
  • Eli (#53)
  • Josiah (#57)
  • Adrian (#58)
  • Adam (#73)
  • Leo (#91)
  • Ezra (#92)
  • Nathaniel (#97)
  • Theodore (#99)
  • Elias (#100)
  • Tristan (#101)
  • Leonardo (#103) – Think this will start dropping in popularity now that Leo DiCaprio’s finally won an Oscar? 😉
  • Micah (#108)
  • Harrison (#119)
  • George (#135) – Easily in my top 10.  I’d go so far as to call a son George, though it might officially be in a middle spot. 
  • Emmett (#139)
  • Jonah (#143)
  • Timothy (#147)
  • Ezekiel (#148)
  • Emmanuel (#150)
  • Steven (#154)
  • Richard (#155)
  • Edward (#158)
  • Joel (#159)
  • Patrick (#164)
  • Alan (#167)
  • Abraham (#170)
  • August (#195)
  • Mark (#196)
  • Maximus (#197)
  • Dean (#204)
  • Peter (#206)
  • Jasper (#215)
  • Simon (#234)
  • Stephen (#246)
  • Francisco (#247)
  • Felix (#262)
  • Martin (#276)
  • Arthur (#292)
  • Hector (#303)
  • Tobias (#316)
  • Edgar (#317)
  • Joaquin (#321)
  • Gideon (#328)
  • Gregory (#346)
  • Atticus (#350)
  • Desmond (#351)
  • Fabian (#356)
  • Nehemiah (#362)
  • Orion (#368)
  • Noel (#373)
  • Solomon (#376)
  • Rory (#377)
  • Leland (#381)
  • Brendan (#388)
  • Finnegan (#405)
  • Armando (#413)
  • Zachariah (#422)
  • Enrique (#428)
  • Philip (#434)
  • Maximilian (#437)
  • Scott (#455)
  • Sullivan (#459)
  • Rodrigo (#460)
  • Pierce (#466)
  • Augustus (#467)
  • Moses (#471)
  • Francis (#482)
  • Atlas (#490)
  • Sterling (#495)
  • Lawrence (#497)
  • Rhys (#511)
  • Frederick (#517)
  • Leonidas (#519)
  • Winston (#524)
  • Asa (#531)
  • Otto (#543)
  • Matthias (#555)
  • Lewis (#569)
  • Roland (#586)
  • Byron (#597)
  • Quincy (#599)
  • Orlando (#614)
  • Samson (#622)
  • Lucian (#634)
  • Lionel (#643)
  • Cassius (#646)
  • Forrest (#659)
  • Zechariah (#662)
  • Morgan (#674)
  • Hezekiah (#678)
  • Lee (#679)
  • Thaddeus (#703)
  • Zeke (#704)
  • Jedidiah (#716)
  • Ares (#723)
  • Amos (#732)
  • Apollo (#751)
  • Elisha (#778)
  • Enoch (#788)
  • Alfonso (#792)
  • Felipe (#798)
  • Stefan (#800)
  • Blaise (#805)
  • Harold (#809)
  • Gordon (#812)
  • Augustine (#820)
  • Hugh (#849)
  • Cedric (#856)
  • Magnus (#860)
  • Justus (#866)
  • Reginald (#875)
  • Alfred (#920)
  • Ignacio (#925) – This is new to the top 1000!  I’d love to see an Ignatius even more, though…
  • Ephraim (#928)
  • Seamus (#948)
  • Ernest (#956)
  • Achilles (#968)
  • Robin (#973)

What do you think of these names?  I realize many of these are Biblical; many classic or traditional American boys’ names come from the Bible, saints, or theologians. There are also quite a few Greek and Roman historical and mythological names in this set.

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Personal Favorites from the Top 1000 (Girls)

Usually, I try to keep a neutral tone on my site.  Still, I have my own unique style and preference for names as much as everyone else does.  I’d like to share! 

Every year I comb through the American top 1000 and pick out my favorites.  Many names I love are still too rare to make it (Hermione and Horatio, for example), but Achilles is finally popular and so is Ariadne.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like very popular names; as a matter of fact, I love names like Emma and Benjamin.  Some people are completely turned off by top 100 or top 10 names, and that’s okay.  I personally tend to prefer rare names, though seeing a beloved name pick up heat excites me.  Ultimately, I think if you love a name enough, popularity shouldn’t matter. 

Here are my favorite girls’ names from the 2015 American top 1000, included with their ranks.  Now, I like plenty more top 1000 names that I didn’t list here, but I wanted to keep the list relatively short!  The boys’ list will go up soon enough.

Girls:

  • Emma (#1)
  • Sophia (#3)
  • Charlotte (#9)
  • Amelia (#12)
  • Elizabeth (#13)
  • Chloe (#17)
  • Lillian (#26)
  • Hannah (#28)
  • Penelope (#34)
  • Violet (#50)
  • Sarah (#58)
  • Eleanor (#60)
  • Caroline (#62)
  • Aurora (#79)
  • Lydia (#81)
  • Katherine (#84)
  • Alice (#87)
  • Julia (#89)
  • Isabelle (#94)
  • Clara (#98)
  • Alexandra (#101)
  • Luna (#110)
  • Valentina (#114)
  • Mary (#124) – Mary is probably my second-favorite name currently, after Hermione.
  • Josephine (#131)
  • Adeline (#135)
  • Emilia (#145)
  • Margaret (#154) – Margaret is also easily in my top 10
  • Athena (#157)
  • Rose (#166)
  • Rachel (#167)
  • Juliana (#168)
  • Valerie (#171)
  • Eliza (#175)
  • Catherine (#179)
  • Cecilia (#181)
  • Genevieve (#182)
  • Rebecca (#186)
  • Arabella (#194)
  • Esther (#203)
  • Anastasia (#216)
  • Iris (#217)
  • Juliette (#226)
  • Vivienne (#233)
  • Olive (#264)
  • Adelaide (#273)
  • Miranda (#278)
  • June (#280)
  • Lucille (#283)
  • Phoebe (#286)
  • Jane (#288)
  • Ruth (#293)
  • Miriam (#294)
  • Diana (#295)
  • Joanna (#305)
  • Camilla (#374)
  • Daphne (#378)
  • Annabella (#396)
  • Freya (#417)
  • Helen (#419)
  • Hattie (#488) – I’d love to see Harriet make a comeback as well as this nickname
  • Priscilla (#502)
  • Evie (#512)
  • Frances (#513)
  • Rosemary (#518)
  • Regina (#520)
  • Edith (#526) – Edie would be an adorable nickname.   I also like the spelling ‘Edythe.’
  • Helena (#534)
  • Matilda (#535)
  • Johanna (#541)
  • Adelina (#545)
  • Maia (#556)
  • Marie (#564)
  • Beatrice (#565)
  • Angelique (#568)
  • Anne (#569)
  • Mabel (#578)
  • Mae (#588)
  • Annabel (#621) – I used to prefer Annabelle, but lately I’ve grown to really love this version
  • Pearl (#628)
  • Magnolia (#633)
  • Renata (#636)
  • Zelda (#647) – I’m totally going through a 1920s phase…Hemingway, Fitzgerald, flapper outfits, etc.  (Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife and an author in her own right)
  • Adele (#652)
  • Aliza (#675) – I think a lot of people don’t realize that this is an entirely different name than Eliza.
  • Esme (#682)
  • Dorothy (#714)
  • Clare (#730)
  • Mina (#761)
  • Ariadne (#765)
  • Martha (#791)
  • Thalia (#792)
  • Marjorie (#799)
  • Aurelia (#802)
  • Emmeline (#809)
  • Clementine (#819)
  • Estelle (#823)
  • Paulina (#878)
  • Astrid (#890)
  • Louisa (#908)
  • Judith (#927)
  • Susan (#929)
  • Cordelia (#948)
  • Ingrid (#957)
  • Elora (#963)
  • Ophelia (#975)
  • Noor (#985)
  • Rhea (#989)

What do you think of these?  I realize my tastes veer rather heavily towards the traditional, though I do appreciate my fair share of modern names.  I adore Harper and Sutton, though I’d probably never actually use either of them.

Caitlin, Katelyn, KVIIIlyn…What?

The latest urban legend of the naming world is in the news: KVIIIlyn.  That’s right.  Kaitlyn, with Roman numerals representing the “eight” sound.  Perhaps it should be spelled “Keightlynn”…though at first glance it looks more like “Kevilyn,” or a modern honorific for Henry VIII.

Supposedly “KVIIIlyn” is the name of an Australian baby whose mother thought Kaitlyn was too popular.  According to her, it was the father who suggested the numeric substitution.

Look, I’ll be honest…Caitlin was never one of my favorite names growing because there were indeed a lot of them, and with a million spellings.  Plus, it came across as rather modern, and I tend to prefer traditional or ancient names.  Years later, though, Caitlin and variants have grown on me.  Caitlín is an Irish form of Catherine (though technically it should be pronounced more like Kathleen, not Kate-Lynn), and a lot of Katelyns are now in their 20s and probably pursuing grad degrees and even PhDs.  Then there’s literary Catelyn, which for recently-born babies there’s a namesake via Game of Thrones.  Ultimately, I think Caitlin and co. are kind of adorable.

Still, I’d thought that the Caitlin craze was over.  Caitlin is rapidly falling out of the top 1000 (ranked #605 in 2015), Kaitlyn is still a top 200 name but declining, Kaitlin (a top 100 name twenty years ago) left the top 1000 in 2013…you get the point.  They are flagging names, which although youngish, still suggest birth-years in the 80s and 90s.  Caitlyn Jenner only seems to have caused her spelling of the name to drop faster between 2014 and 2015.  Admittedly, these stats are for the U.S.; little KVIIIlyn was born in Australia.

So what about those Australian statistics?  According to McCrindle, the spelling Caitlin fell out of the Australian top 100 in 2015.  From what I can tell, there aren’t any other variants remaining popular.  Unless the parents live in a microcosm where baby Kaitlyns abound, they’ve already given their child a relatively rare name for her generation (strike #1 against her uniqueness argument).  Furthermore, even if it were still a popular name, changing the spelling of a name doesn’t really make it more unique since the pronunciation stays the same however characters are arranged.  In the prior couple of decades when this name was trendy, Caitlin, Katelyn, and Kaitlynn would likely all answer the teacher calling on one of them; that is, without distinctions like “Caitlin with a C,” Katelyn going by “Kate“, and “Kaitlynn with two N’s”).  On the off-chance this little lady runs into that problem, she’ll be KVIIIlyn with a “V-I-I-I.” 

My personal opinions on KVIIIlyn?  Cute-sounding name, atrocious spelling.  I hope this is indeed only an internet rumor and not legitimate; she’s probably in for a lifetime of inconveniences.  There’s nothing wrong with alternative or unusual spellings, but in a Latin alphabet numerals are illogical building blocks for names (though spelling out a number is theoretically fine.  Children named Seven or Decimus aren’t all that unheard of).  I’ll never call a name stupid, but I do think parents can be reckless in naming their children.  Still, I suppose it’s better to be named KVIIIlyn than Cyanide.

Sources:

 

The Name Shasta

Shasta was a somewhat popular girls’ name in the 70s and 80s.  It entered the top 1000 in 1976, peaked in 1978, and left in 1986.  Nowadays, it’s very rare.  Last year there were only 15 baby girls with this name. 

Sunrise,_Mt._Shasta,_California._Shasta_Route._S.P.R.R._(pcard-print-pub-pc-68a)

There are any number of categories that might inspire parents to bestow this name:

  • Flowers: Shasta Daisy
  • Topographical/Outdoorsy: Mt. Shasta, California
  • Beverages: Shasta is a soda brand

Those first two categories are highly appealing to many parents.  Flower-names are perennial favorites for girls’ names, and geographic naming is trendy for both genders.  River and Sky (more often, Skye) are very popular, and it’s not too unusual to see children named after mountains either (McKinley, Everest, Afton).  Shasta would fit right in. 

Still, there remains the fact that Shasta is also a soda.  Various alcoholic beverages have been extremely popular as names in the past century (i.e. Sherry, Brandy), so beverage-status itself is not an insurmountable obstacle.  I’m not sure that carbonated drinks perform so well on the playground.  Fanta did appear in the extended SSA data around the same time that Shasta was popular, but that was apparently due to the mini-series Roots; not because parents suddenly thought colas were great names. 

Another thing to consider is that Shasta is the name of a Native American people.  There are implications to naming children after indigenous groups, especially when a a group is still alive.  Some would call it appropriation.  You may think you’re honoring that group, but you could just be insulting someone. 

What do you think of Shasta?

Below the Top 1000, Part 4 (Boys)

Every week I am picking out and posting some of the names that were given to American babies in 2015 that were too rare to be in the top 1000 but common enough to appear in the Social Security Administration’s extended data.  This week, Part 4, focuses on baby boys’ names that registered between 120 and 149 uses last year.  Next week (Part 5) will zoom in on the girls’s names in the same range!

  • 145-149: Bernard, Elmer, Murphy, Aubrey, Brighton, Ishmael, Zyon, Alton, Ever, Yitzchok, Archie, Cael, Clifford, Marcellus
  • 140-144: Kruz, Noble, Andreas, Bastian, Destin, Elam, Amarion, Carver, Gray, Monroe, Nikola, Diesel, Eamon, Kaiser
  • 135-139: Perry, Salem, Caius, Ewan, Idris, Ruger, Abdulrahman, Coy, Graeme, Johann, Sheldon, Torin, Lev, Lucius, Tzvi
  • 130-134: Bear, Jakari, Atreyu, Avraham, Jarvis, Link, Wiley, Baron, Benicio, Boaz, Forest, Pranav, Rowdy, Cashton, Francesco, Xavi, Siddarth
  • 125-129: Cordell, Ramsey, Eliyahu, Marshawn, Oren, Presley, Zakaria, Creed, Eleazar, Nova, Tobin, Emil, Massimo, Sebastien, Zephyr, Antony, Kaine, Yandel
  • 120-124: Axle, Hoyt, Kiran, Nestor, Jeremih, Nikhil, Abdul, Azael, Kenji, Benaiah, Cillian, Eliel, Hans, Kurt, Watson, Reign

In this selection, I think you start to see some of the more unusual and interesting Bible names (Ishmael, for example), along with modern Hebrew or Jewish names (Tzvi).  There are some noticeably German names (Bastian), and a plethora of Roman names (Lucius).  There’s at least one weapon-name (Ruger).  There also appear to be several names with Arabic (Abdul) or Sanskrit (Pranav) origins. Celtic names (Cillian) and distinctly American ethnic names (Marshawn) can also be found.  I’ve also noticed a few Iberian or Latin American names (Xavi).  This isn’t a group with many so-called ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ English or American names, but this selection does, I think, somewhat represent a modern American naming style that is very diverse and self-aware of its naming freedom.

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