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.
298px-Mfillmore

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! 

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3 thoughts on “Rare Name Round-Up!

  1. Pingback: August Name Sightings! | The Well-Informed Namer

  2. Pingback: September Name Sightings (and Babies!) | The Well-Informed Namer

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