August Name Sightings!

These are all of the rare names I’ve “collected” during the month of August.  Amazingly, only one was a men’s name and only three even charted in the SSA extended data for 2016.  Remember, these are real people!

From Facebook:

  • Neileen – I wonder how it’s pronounced.  Nayleen?  Nyleen?
  • Mainie – German.  

I met:

  • Iryna – I mostly found this interesting because she transliterates it into English with a “y” instead of an “i.”  Iryna has never charted, but Irina is increasingly popular here (possibly due to Twilight).  In 2016, 96 girls were named Irina in the U.S.  Maybe we’ll start to see Iryna too?
  • Pia – in her 20s or 30s.  105 girls were named Pia in 2016, which is coincidentally the most Pia‘s born in the U.S. in a single year.  Feminine form of Pius
  • Titania – named after the fairy queen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream!  2010 was the last year Titania appeared in the extended data, but several girls were given this name every year between 1967 and 2002.  I reckon this one was born in the 80s. 
  • Coffee – Late 30s or early 40s.  Hilariously, she worked in hospitality!  Indeed, Coffee was the name on her name tag.  Whether or not it’s her real name is another story; this spelling’s never charted (though Coffy appeared in the 70s).  Anyways, now I need to update my “coffee-inspired baby names” post!
  • Halesha – 30s. 
  • Cheyney – female, mid-twenties.  For girls, the name Cheyney both debuted and peaked in 1989.

Seen in newspapers or advertisements:

  • Pepsi – yup, there are people named Pepsi.  In the U.S., it sporadically charted as a women’s name between 1970 and 1989.
  • Juvenal – 9 boys were named Juvenal in 2016.

Thoughts?  I can’t get over how apt Coffee’s name was…and if there’s a Pepsi out there, I really want to meet someone named Royal Crown.  Have you met or encountered anyone with a very unusual name this month?

Previous rare name round-ups:

  1. Name Spotting! (March/April 2017)
  2. Rare Name Round-Up! (May-July 2017)
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Interesting Names from Bruton Parish

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The belltower/entrance to Bruton Parish Church.  A few decades younger than the rest of the building, but still constructed in the 1700s

I’ve just returned from a short vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia.  While there, I went name-hunting at the Episcopal church!  Bruton Parish Church was built in 1715, replacing an even earlier church (only visible at the foundations) that existed just feet away.  The cemetery has been around since the late 1600s, making it perfect for anyone looking for historical (or unusual) names!

Unfortunately, the graves aren’t all still legible.  Weather, age, and other factors have worn down or broken many of the oldest stones.  The church understandably prioritizes preservation and has cordoned off large sections of the graveyard; you need to ask a guide for permission to enter those parts.  In more public areas close to the church doors (it’s still an active congregation; they hold services daily!), they’ve juxtaposed wooden benches around fragile upright stones to keep them from falling over.  Occasionally they also bring the most ancient markers (think 1690s) inside for even better protection.

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The wall surrounding (and protecting) the church and graveyard

Despite these challenges, I still managed to record a lot of names!  Some I found walking through more open areas, others through a book called A Guide to the Memorials of Bruton Parish Church.  Unfortunately it’s out of print, but the lovely ladies in the parish shop (thank you!) let me use their store copy to record the strangest names I could find!  One day, I hope to acquire my own copy so I can conduct a more thorough analysis. 

The names that seemed to appear the most (i.e., the most popular, if you will) were Henry, John, Frances, etc.  I saw surprisingly few Mary‘s, but that might be because those graves have faded or broken…that, and I was short on time.

One last note before I continue on to the names – I don’t think everyone mentioned in the cemetery or church is actually buried there; sometimes the markers serve as memorials or genealogical references.  Regardless, name-spotting is name-spotting.  If I see it, and it’s interesting, I list it!

Names:

  • Reuben – Early 19th century.
  • St. George – Yes, that’s really his name.  I wonder if how it was pronounced, since the name St. John is said like “Sinjin.”  “Sin-George,” maybe?
  • Nathaniel BeverleyBeverley is his middle name.
  • Lauretta Anne – married to a Thomas Lyttleton
  • Thomas Lyttleton (2x; father and son) –  Lyttleton is their middle name.
  • Letitia (2x; daughter and mother) – Bonus points: Letitiathe-Younger was the daughter of U.S. President John Tyler! As of 2016/7, the name Letitia no longer appears in extended SSA birth data.  However, 148 girls were named Leticia last year.
  • Archer – I think he was born in the 1600s.  Definitely one of the earlier mentions
  • Sydney (male)
  • Delia Adalaide* (early-to-mid 1800s)
  • Josiah Nelson* (born and died 1836)
  • Richard Maning*
  • Horatio Nelson* (born 1840s, died 1850s) – Josiah Nelson and Richard Maning were his older brothers; Delia Adalaide was their mother.  All three boys died as children.
  • Goodrich
  • Altazera – Goodrich’s daughter.  Google turns up just a few other people with the name, and sometimes it’s rendered Alta Zera.  Another version, Altazerah, appears once in the Social Security Death Index; SSDI also turns up quite a few women named Alta Z. or Zera A, along with an Aldesira (is that even related?)  Finally, I found mention of an English Rhoda Altazera born in 1864, via the amazing British Baby Names!
  • Annabelle
  • Coleman Charles
  • Truxtun or Truxton – born in the 1850s, died in the 1930s.  I think I saw both spellings for the same person.  This name occasionally pops up today – 6 boys were named Truxton last year, and apparently there were a few in the 1910s (possibly) due to a book.  Just accounting for first names, SSDI also counts 5 Truxtuns and over 80 Truxtons, mostly born in the early 20th century (but some older).  Others bore Truxtun/Truxton as a middle.
  • Mordecai Talbot
  • Singleton Peabody
  • Dabney – 6 girls in 2016.  This Dabney was probably male, though. 
  • Archibald
  • Dudley
  • Gideon
  • Horace John
  • Anne Contesse – sister of President John Tyler.  I’ve heard of women named Contessa, but never Contesse.  Hmm…
  • Louisianna 
  • Blair
  • Christo – 7 boys in 2016
  • Susan Comfort – Can’t tell if Comfort is her maiden or middle name
  • Blumfield
  • Norborne – as in, Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt (18th century)
  • Ellsworth
  • Rowland
  • Orlando – the grandfather of Martha Washington
  • Beverley Dandridge – Might be the son of the Nathaniel Beverley listed above.  Remember: Beverly used to be a boys’ name!  To be fair, I think Beverley was a family surname.
  • Lion Tyler – fought in WWII.  Considering that John Tyler had both a son *and* grandson named Lyon Gardiner Tyler, I’m inclined to believe this Lion Tyler is somehow related.  Otherwise, I can see how Lion might be a nickname for Lionel.
  • Byam Kerby
  • Ebenezer – Byam’s grandfather
  • Cotesworth (late 19th century?)
  • Jacquelin – What makes this interesting is that unless the church had a female rector before 1900 (unlikely), this Jacquelin was a man!
  • Armistead

Thoughts?  Do you like these names?  Do you ever ponder about the names in cemeteries, or names from earlier centuries?  Personally, I can’t wait to embark on my next name safari!  

P.S. Does anyone else know anything about the name Altazera

Source:

Godson, Susan H., ed.  A Guide to the Memorials of Bruton Parish Church. Williamsburg: Bruton Parish Church, 2006. 

Rare ‘B’ Names for Boys

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 12.05.58 PMHere is my list of interesting rare ‘B’ names for boys!  You can read the girls’ list here.  All these were real baby names in the U.S. last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration.  Remember, just because a name isn’t popular doesn’t mean nobody’s using it! 

When I say a name is ‘interesting,’ I don’t mean that it’s good or bad; merely, that it caught my eye.  I’m far more likely to endorse a name than denounce it, but there are a few names in this list that I think are rather heinous.  If you read all the way to the bottom of the list, you’ll find my commentary.

  • 150-202 usage range: Bishop, Bastian, Bear, Barry, Beck, Bilal, Brenton, Bernard, Boaz, Baker, Broderick, Benedict, Bjorn
  • 100-149: Brogan, Baron, Bowie, Banks, Bronx, Benaiah, Brighton, Brigham, Bailey, Britton
  • 50-99: Boyd, Barron, Braulio, Brant, Benito, Branch, Bane, Bram, Bradford, Basil, Baxter, Booker, Burke, Bradlee, Braven
  • 25-49: Boris, Banner, Baruch, Bauer, Bowman, Beauregard, Brenner, Boe, Bill, Buck, Brando, Bladen, Breccan, Bowden, Bashir, Braddock, Brewer, Britain, Blade, Brave, Bladimir, Buddy, Boubacar, Bakari, Becker, Bruin, Burton
  • 15-24: Bosco, Blessing, Blue, Bogdan, Banyan, Brazos, Berl, Bernie, Bray, Barack, Boy, Bao, Bravery, Buckley, Bartholomew, Barton, Bless, Bora, Brockton, Bannon, Baraka, Barrington, Bohannon, Bryn, Benuel
  • 10-14: Baden, Bader, Bentzion, Bert, Boss, Baldemar, Balian, Barnabas, Bingham, Bob, Boyce, Bran, Breyer, Brick, Buster, Baylon, Bento, Biruk, Bolton, Bond, Boomer, Bow, Battal, Behruz, Benigno, Bertrand, Birch, Blessed, Bowe, Breaker, Brigg, Balthazar, Baxley, Beaumont, Bernabe, Berry, Betzalel, Bexton, Bijan, Bretton, Brighten, Briton, Bud, Burhan
  • 5-9: Basel, Bhargav, Bhavik, Borja, Boyan, Bryshere, Bach, Bates, Bay, Benoit, Benz, Beowulf, Bhuvan, Bonham, Brazen, Breeze, Brink, Babyboy, Balin, Bankston, Barney, Barren, Basilio, Bautista, Benning, Beorn, Bolin, Bonifacio, Boyer, Bright, Baldwin, Balraj, Barnaby, Bartolo, Bashar, Bela, Benno, Bertram, Biagio, Biel, Bocephus, Brahms, Breton, Browning, Burns, Baby, Badi, Baird, Barclay, Barnes, Bart, Bb, Beasley, Bernardino, Bezaleel, Bhavesh, Blanton, Bomani, Brace, Brand, Bravo, Brockman, Brolin, Bromley, Buchanan, Buford, Burley, Burnell, Butch

Comments:

  • I would like to point out the terrible irony of naming a baby “Barren.”
  • Who else saw a horror flick called The Boy last year?  6 boys were named Brahms in 2016, probably because of that movie.  In The Boy, an American woman moves to England to be the nanny/governess for a boy named Brahms, whom she discovers is actually a very creepy doll.  Another possibility is that the rise of a similar rare name, Brahm, gave Brahms a boost.*
  • Speaking of composers, Bach returned to the data in 2016.  Composers!
  • I wonder if any of the boys named Bond have James for a middle name.  Somehow, “Bond – Bond James” doesn’t sound as effective as “Bond – James Bond.”
  • As a name writer, two things I try to avoid are politics (not that kind of blog) and name-bashing.  That said; parents, stop naming your kids Bannon!  I shouldn’t even have to explain that racists are terrible namesakes.
  • Also avoid using Benito and Bashar since they’re the first names of dictators.

What do you think?  Do you have any other strong associations with some of these names?  Let me know in the comments!  

*For the record, I don’t think Brahms, Brahm, Bach, and Bond are necessarily bad baby names like the others I commented on, but they evoked strong mental images.  Brahms is probably an obscure reference, anyway.

Rare ‘B’ Names For Girls

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In the U.S., there were close to 3,000 rare ‘A’ names for girls in 2016.  ‘B’ boasts only around 600.  This time, it means I can fit all the interesting ones into just one post of reasonable length!  Still, I couldn’t get the list as short as I’d have liked.  With fewer unusual names to comb through, everything is that much more interesting!  Or, maybe ‘B’ is better because every other name doesn’t feel like a variation of Adelyn…I digress.

Here is my selection of rare ‘B’ names for girls!  They are listed from most common to least common (in 2016) according to data from the Social Security Administration.  

  • 150-250 usage range: Bellamy, Baylor, Beatrix, Blessing, Belinda, Betty, Blythe, Beverly
  • 50-149: Bernadette, Blanca, Berkeley, Betsy, Brighton, Billie, Brigitte, Berenice, Brissa, Birdie, Brandy, Bethel, Batsheva, Berlin, Bowie, Brie, Bracha, Briseida, Becca, Briseis, Beautiful, Blima, Bernice, Bronwyn
  • 25-49: Bea, Bexlee, Becky, Bayan, Britta, Bliss, Blossom, Beth, Brayla, Bradleigh, Bushra, Basya, Brenna, Bertha, Bay, Bobbie, Betsabe, Betsaida, Blimy, Brienne, Blessyn, Barbie, Basma, Bintou, Bo, Briasia, Bahar, Brianda, Bindi, Brexley, Britain
  • 15-24: Bellatrix,* Breeze, Brecklynn, Basil, Belladonna, Brazil, Beretta, Blen, Brocha, Baker, Baya, Betania, Bonita, Bruchy, Bralyn, Breindy, Briarrose, Bhavya, Bibi, Bluma, Berit, Bethania, Bless, Blue, Brinsley, Beulah, Bina, Bora, Bowen, British
  • 10-14: Bana, Bassy, Benita, Bette, Breezy, Beauty, Bettina, Blaze, Blessed, Bruna, Bemnet, Benelli, Bennie, Bergen, Betselot, Blessings, Baani, Bethlehem, Bijou, Briona, Bellina, Betul, Bronte
  • 9: Baby,** Baxley, Beata, Beautifull, Belia, Believe, Beryl, Bhavika, Bianey, Blanche, Bray, Breslin, Brita, Bronwen
  • 8: Beckley, Belem, Benedicta, Bessie, Bethsaida, Briseidy, Brissia
  • 7: Babygirl,** Bali, BehatiBelize, Bellaluna, Bettie, Beverley, Bexli, Biak, Breck, Breindel, Brice, Brindley, Bronx
  • 6: Bareera, Bawi, Bess, Bethsy, Betzabeth, Beyonce, Bijoux, Biviana, Blessy, Bravery, Breeland, Brilliance, Brindle, Briony, Brynja, Bryony, Byrdie
  • 5: Bahja, Baisley, Bakhita, Bambi, Banner, Basha, Bathsheba, Bayoleth, Bernadine, Berta, Bhakti, Bilan, Bisharo, Bithiah, Blessence, Bleu, Bralee, Braniya, Brees, Bridie, Brightly, Briyith, Burkleigh

*Bellatrix rose from 5 uses in 2015 to 24 uses in 2016.  I assume Cursed Child takes part of the credit, but even within the play, Bellatrix Lestrange had long since died, serving as a mention or genealogical footnote.  If any of you have other ideas why the name Bellatrix jumped last year, please let me know. 

**Baby and Babygirl might not be their actual names so much as birth certificate placeholders for otherwise nameless infants.  That said – if they’re listed with the other names, and SSA doesn’t go out of its way to explain their purpose, I’ll continue noting them as ‘official’ names.  (To be fair, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone actually is named Baby

What do you think of these names?  Any you love, hate, or feel like roasting?  Let me know in the comments!  And stay tuned for the boys’ names!   

Rare ‘A’ Names For Boys

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And finally, a list of rare ‘A’ names for boys used in 2016!  This follows up on Parts 1 and 2 of “Rare ‘A’ Names for Girls.”  Next up – ‘B’ names!

If you haven’t already read the girls’ lists or want a refresher: this post is part of a series where I select especially interesting rare names used in 2016 that begin with a particular letter and compile them into a list organized by raw usage!  The data comes from the Social Security Administration, which publishes America’s most popular baby names every year (and then some).  Enjoy!

  • 150-202 usage range: Abner, Antoine, Aarush, Alaric, Aksel, Aries, Adler, Adiel, Andreas, Aedan, Aston, Ansel, Aditya, Abdulrahman, Addison, Ander
  • 100-150: Alton, Atreyu, Aven, Ash, Avraham, Adolfo, Archie, Axle, Arham, Aubrey, Advik, Atharv, Arrow, Amias, Aurelio, Azrael, Azael, Antony, Auden, Alexavier
  • 75-99: Alister, Abdullahi, Arnold, Ambrose, Alexandre, Aspen, Aziel, Akiva, Avian, Ames, Alessio, Aris, Amin, Arvin, Azaiah, Aharon, Angus
  • 50-74: Abelardo, Alder, Ashwin, Adnan, Amadeus, Abiel, Ammon, Asaiah, Abe, Alpha, Alston, Aramis, Avett, Adonai, Abbott, Atom, Augustin, Alain, Aceson, Archibald
  • 25-49: Akhil, Alastair, Aslan, Abdias, Arius, Aurelius, Aviel, Akshay, Alphonse, Anwar, Abimael, Amaziah, Anibal, Armand, Ayrton, Arnulfo, Ayce, Able, Asael, Abir, Amadou, Ananias, Abriel, Ascher, Avyukth, Aayansh, Adil, Alexei, Ashley, Adair, Adham, Ajani, Ajax, Amadeo, Amaury, Amor, Adael, Aking, Alphonso, Aquiles, Aristotle, Ashby, Abisai, Aero, Audric, Aviv, Alias, Amaru, Azazel, Arath, Artemis, Azarias, Aldon, Alfie, Amador, Avenir, Alanzo, Alexandros
  • 15-24: Ahnaf, Aleister, Amory, Antonino, Artemio, Athanasios, Adalberto, Alasdair, Amogh, Antwone, Alp, Arun, Amore, Adams, Aengus, Arsalan, Arush, Asaph, Ashe, Atley, Auguste, Avigdor, Abijah, Aboubacar, Aleck, Anchor, Art, Asiah, Axtyn, Azim, Aeon, Afton, Alastor, Alhassan, Almir, Anias, Apollos, Argenis, Ashdon, Aws, Afnan, Aldrin, Aloysius, Anastasios, Athanasius, Avner, Azure
  • 10-14: Arsenio, Arslan, Asser, Avon, Azaria, Azul, Abenezer, Addis, Adonias, Aemon, Aizik, Akoni, Aldous, Aldrich, Alric, Amelio, Andriel, Anselmo, Ansen, Aodhan, Arlington, Aseel, Ashraf, Auggie, Aureliano, Adonijah, Altair, Alucard, Alvis, Amun, Anselm, Antonius, Arafat, Archimedes, Archivaldo, Aristides, Artez, Axiel, Akbar, Alazar, Aniket, Arbor, Archit, Arnaldo, Artyom, Augie, Avante, Axeton, Ayomikun, Acheron, Adal, Agasthya, Alvino, Andrej, Aoi, Aquila, Arcangel, Arinze, Arno, Arrington, Arson, Arwin, Ashford, Augusten
  • 9: Adlai, Adorian, Aladdin, Alban, Albeiro, Albin, Aldahir, Aldric, Alva, Alwin, Amando, Americo, Anduin, Antonios, Arlie, Arlis, Attila, Augustino, Avelino, Avis, Ayodeji, Ayotunde
  • 8: Abdulkhaliq, Abimelec, Adebayo, Adedayo, Ademola, Adewale, Adrick, Agrim, Alano, Albion, Albus, Alcides, Alma, Amante, Andrzej, Angelus, Anthem, Aristotelis, Arran, Artist, Arvid, Aulden, Avetis, Avishai, Awesome
  • 7: Abie, Abshir, Acelin, Acie, Ackley, Adefolarin, Adeyemi, Adolph, Adolphus, Aeneas, Akhilles, Alameen, Alby, Alejo, Alioune, Alisher, Amaro, Amirali, Amitai, Amius, Angelino, Antonin, Arinzechukwu, Arne, Arnie, Aroyal, Asadbek, Astor, Athens, Augusta, Autry, Avelardo, Axis, Ayo, Azrael
  • 6: Abednego, Adaiah, Adetokunbo, Adilson, Adoniyah, Adore, Aesop, Agamveer, Agostino, Ahmednur, Akhilleus, Akiem, Albino, Aleph, Alexanderjames, Alexus, Alireza, Alphonzo, Amish, Ammiel, Amour, Amyas, Anagh, Anant, Anatole, Antares, Ante,* Antron, Aqeel, Aristeo, Armstrong, Arseny, Artavious, Artemiy, Ase, Astro, Aten, Auburn, Avander, Ayinde, Ayombami, Ayotomi, Azarel
  • 5: Aabid, Abba, Abbot, Aceion, Aceton, Achyuth, Adagio, Adedoyin, Adelino, Adeoluwa, Adoniah, Agapito, Akachi, Akachukwu, Akito, Aland, Alante, Albaro, Alborz, Alduin, Aldwin, Alegend, Alexie, Alexius, Algernon, Alikhan, Amarious, Amedeo, Amichai, Amillion, Ananda, Anfernee,** Aniceto, Antonello, Aquarius, Aragorn, Arcadio, Arlando, Arly, Armor, Asahel, Ashland, Aster, Astraeus, Attilio, Atul, Aubin, Audi, Aurick, Averett, Avighna, Avinoam, Avriel, Axon, Aztlan

*I wonder how many “Up the Ante” jokes they’ll encounter

**Anfernee, a rather distinctive variant of Anthony, was briefly popular in the mid-1990s.  Nowadays, it mostly reminds people of a certain line from Mean Girls (2004).

What do you think?  Do you have any favorites?  Least-favorites?  General thoughts?  Let me know in the comments, and keep an eye out for the ‘B’ names!

 

Odo

With the increasing popularity of Otto in the U.S. (currently ranked #527), will some parents start choosing Odo for their baby’s name?  The two names are related (deriving from a Germanic word meaning “wealth” or “fortune,” though Odo is pronounced more like Oh-doe than Ought-o or Odd-o.  A relative’s Star Trek binge-watching planted this obscure name in my mind.  To me, Odo evokes images of handsome medieval knights and polite, stern space aliens.

Odo has never appeared in the Social Security Administration‘s extended name data.  In order for that to happen, a name has to be given to at least five same-gendered babies in a year.  Thankfully, the SSA’s “Popular Baby Names” isn’t the only database available to search for baby name histories.  You can also glance at the Social Security Death Index* for clues.  The SSDI is especially useful for researching names in the late 19th century and early 20th century, because it doesn’t seem to have minimal popularity restrictions (which are in place for the birth data to protect the privacy of presumably living citizens).  Also, sometimes if you see a “popular” 19th century name in the birth data, you’ll find a higher number of them in the death data.  No idea why *that* is, but it is another reason why the SSDI is such a valuable tool.  Finally, you can sometimes see the names of people born before 1880 in the death index; the birth index starts at 1880.

While I never found Odo in the birth data, I did find over sixty Odo‘s in the death index.  The earliest two were born in 1874 (in Wisconsin and Texas), and the last in 1946 (South Carolina).  The youngest was probably the son of another Odo who was born in 1915 in the same SC town; overall, the last Odo born before the youngest (that has died, anyway) was born in 1938.  According to the death index, no more than three Odo‘s were born each year nationally.  While there might be a handful still living, this paucity suggests the possibility that Odo never reached SSA’s minimal popularity threshold of 5 uses even accounting for incomplete/inaccurate name info before 1937.  The other possibility is that even if five Odo‘s were born in a single year after 1879, at least two weren’t recorded because they died early or worked in the wrong employment sector.

Despite Odo‘s status as an extremely rare name in 21st century America, it isn’t exactly obscure.  Nowadays, Odo mostly appears in pop culture and video games.  The book Fellowship of the Ring mentions a minor character named Odo Proudfoot, who is a cousin to Bilbo Baggins.  An Odo is also referenced in Harry Potter through song.  Star Trek’s Odo is probably better known than the examples above, though.  In Deep Space Nine, Odo is the station’s shape-shifting, Quark-hating security guard.  That Odo is a major character, and I’m honestly surprised the name didn’t breach the extended data at least once during the show’s run in the 1990s.  Odo isn’t exactly a sci-fi creation; it’s a historical name!

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From left: Bishop Odo, King William, and their brother Robert

Did I mention history?  Famous early bearers include King Odo of France (also known as Eudes) and Saint Odo of Cluny.  William the Conqueror also had a maternal half-brother named Odo who was Earl of Kent and Bishop of Bayeux.  If you’ve ever played “Crusader Kings II” as I have, you may have interacted with this character (whose surname is “de Conteville”).  In real life, he wasn’t the only Odo in England.  The 1086 Domesday Book records several individuals named Odo and even one Odolina.

What do you think of Odo?  Is it too weird or pretentious for modern usage, or is it like a book just waiting to be dusted off and read?  Would *you* use it?  Let me know in the comments! 

*If you’d like to access the SSDI and don’t have a subscription to Ancestry.com, you can do as I did and go on Family Search, which offers it for free. 

 

Rare Name Round-Up!

Between May and July,* I spotted tons of awesome, rare names on real people.  I’ve checked the names against publicly-available popularity data from the SSA, but some are too rare to appear which makes them even more amazing!

Seen on Facebook:

  • Zacchaeus – A rare New Testament Biblical name only appearing in the U.S. birth data since the 1970s.  Last year, only 41 boys were registered under Zacchaeus, though there are other spellings.  I don’t know how old FB Zacchaeus was; I spotted his name in passing.
  • Schakeline – presumably, a phonetic German spelling of Jacqueline.  To my knowledge, this is the only name from this entire that doesn’t belong to somebody in the United States.

I met:

  • MillardMike – older gentleman.  Kudos for the unexpected formal name!  Only 10 boys were named Millard in 2016, which was a top 1000 baby name until 1970.  One namesake is America’s 13th President, Millard Fillmore.
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Millard Fillmore

  • Eihmear – teenager or young woman.  Pronounced “Ee-mer,” this is an extremely rare Irish or Scottish Gaelic name that’s usually spelled Éimhear, Eimhir, or Emer.  Now, when I asked Eihmear about her unique rendition, she told me her parents didn’t check the spelling first!  Bonus points: Emer was the name of Cúchulainn’s wife in Irish Mythology.
  • Sabina, a twenty-something.  This is certainly an unusual name, but if you know how to say Sabrina, you know how to say Sabina.  2016 usage: 106 girls.
  • Lourdes, a teenage male!  For the unfamiliar, Lourdes is typically associated as a Catholic feminine name honoring the Virgin Mary.  As a men’s name, this hasn’t appeared in the SSA data since 1990.  That doesn’t mean there haven’t been any American men named Lourdes since then (he’s the obvious evidence to the contrary); it just means there hasn’t been a year after 1990 when there were more than 5 of them born.  He may be the only guy Lourdes his age, though.  In 2016, 99 girls were named Lourdes.

Read in local newspapers and lists:

  • Concerto (teenager).  I don’t think Concerto has ever entered the SSA data for either gender!
  • Beaux – (late teens or early 20s).  Beaux caught my eye for several reasons.  First, over 2000 boys were named Beau 2016, compared to only around 120 boys who were named Beaux.  Second, ‘x’ is a distinctive letter for any name that isn’t some form of Max or Alexander.  Third, Beaux is a plural adjective in French; Beau is a masculine singular form, and Belle is the feminine singular (they mean “beautiful”). Finally, this Beaux‘s last name ended in -Beau; unless they call him “Box,” his first name rhymed with his last name!  Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was from Louisiana.  Now I’m curious as to what constitutes a Cajun baby name.
  • Langston – I encountered two Langstons!  This name entered the U.S. top 1000 in 2013, but both were older than that by probably a decade at least.  So although this isn’t exactly a rare baby name, it’s rare for people of older generations.
  • Lois – (middle or high school age).  Lois is fairly popular in the U.K., but she hasn’t been in the U.S. top 1000 since 1983.  It’s rather distinctive for a young woman here!  Just 118 girls were named Lois in 2016.
  • Onassis (college age).  This actually has shown up in SSA birth data a few times.  You might be familiar with Onassis as Jacqueline Kennedy’s other married name!
  • Trevin (college age).  Trevin‘s been in the top 1000 a few times (the last year was 2009).  Only 38 boys were named Trevin in 2016, and based on the name’s fast downward trajectory I wouldn’t be surprised if parents stop using it altogether within a few years.
  • Cavan (middle or high school age).  Cavan is rare but fairly steady.  Last year, 44 boys were given this name.
  • Taimiar (unknown)

Miscellaneous/Elsewhere:

  • Tiernan (2 years old).  Only 35 American boys were named Tiernan in 2016, down from 46 in 2015 when this one was born.  5 girls were also given this Irish name in both of those years.
  • Beckwith (unknown age and gender).  Beckwith is usually a surname, and associates with some fantastic first names like Abijah, Asahel, Athelstan, and Corydon.

What do you think of these names?  Have you spotted any rare names lately that you’re dying to discuss?  Let me know in the comments! 

*I also collected my March/April name sightings in an earlier post.  Already started paying attention for August and or September!