Happy Halloween! Since November starts tomorrow, it’s time to review the most interesting and unusual names I spotted in October.
- Everly – Adult female, 20s. This was certainly a surprising encounter! The vast majority of people named Everly are under the age of 5, considering the name only officially became popular in 2012. Current U.S. rank: #107.
- Wallis “Wallie” – adult female, probably in her 70s. I didn’t get a chance to ask, but I wonder if she was named after Wallis Simpson, who was the American wife of King Edward VIII…and the main reason why Elizabeth II is queen, since Edward was forced to abdicate to his brother Albert (King George VI) for marrying a two-time divorcée. 8 girls were named Wallis last year in the U.S.
- Benita – adult. I don’t remember how old she was, but I was surprised to learn that Benita spent much of the 20th century in the top 1000. Peak usage was in the early 1960s. 14 girls were named Benita (the Spanish form of Benedicta) in 2016
- Blair – teenage boy. This was popular for both sexes between 1980 and 1995. Blair was last in the top 1000 for boys in ’95, and then dropped out for girls after 2000. It has since returned for girls. Current rank: #521, representing 594 girls. There were also 83 boys given the name last year.
- Breandan – teenager. Interesting spelling of Brendan; sounds slightly drawled. Maybe his parents are Brendan and Breanna and decided to smash their names together? Anyway, 9 boys were given this spelling in 2016.
Mentioned in Newspapers:
- Daugherty – Unsure of gender. Probably long deceased as was mentioned in an obit as a parent of decedent.
- Unity – probably a child or young adult. 30 girls were named Unity in 2016.
- Aonika – early teens. Variant of Annika?
- Ada-Marie – adult. Since double-barrels aren’t a thing in SSA data, we have to look to Adamarie, which was in fact used 6 times last year.
- Helge – male. This hasn’t appeared in extended birth data since 1930!!! Helge is the masculine form of Helga.
I also spotted an amazing couple of names last night during the starting credits for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a 1921 film which made actor Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) a household name. Since it’s in the public domain, you can watch it anywhere online for free – here’s a link. Incidentally, Four Horseman was the top-grossing movie of its year.
The starting credits of this movie had a few absolutely eye-catching rare names!
- Pomeroy – Pomeroy Cannon (1870-1928) was listed *before* Valentino in the credits. Not much seems to be known about him.
- Brodwitch – Bowditch Turner (1877-1933). Yes, there’s a slight difference between his name and credit.
There’s also a Bridgetta listed in the credits. It wasn’t her real name, and Four Horseman was her first movie. Judging by the SSDI, it’s improbable that her stage name affected baby naming at all. However, Rudolph Valentino most definitely did have an effect. When he died in 1926, Valentino entered the top 1000 for the first time (staying until 1928) and already-popular Rudolph was temporarily boosted.
What do you think of these names? Did you spot any interesting names this month? Let me know in the comments!
Previous name round-ups from this year:
Happy Halloween! I don’t think there are many things scarier this year than the looming election or killer clowns, but that doesn’t stop me from reminiscing about simpler times when the scariest item was the friendly neighborhood Grim Reaper, who’d still give you candy.
Here is an eerie selection of Halloween-themed baby names, mostly from movies or the bounties of trick-or-treating! Almost all were used in the U.S. in 2015; data comes from the Social Security Administration.
Candy – 52 girls.
- Kit – 40 boys, 28 girls. Kit-Kats, anyone?
- Mars – 27 boys. Mars is a delicious British chocolate bar not very well known in the U.S., but some groceries carry them in the international aisle.
- Reese – #173 for girls, #701 among boys. Reese is an anglicized spelling of original Rhys, which is Welsh. Reese also gives its name to the peanut butter cup and Reese Witherspoon.
- Ruth – 293rd most popular girls’ name in the U.S. The Goonies puts it best: “Baby Rooooth?”
The Addams Family (1991) inspires a line of scary names. Can you believe the movie is leaving Netflix on the 1st? 😦
- Morticia – Under 5 in 2015, but 5 were born in 2014.
- Tully – 8 boys. Tully was the family’s lawyer.
- Wednesday – 60 girls.
I’d love to meet a Gomez, though I doubt that will happen anytime soon.
I finally saw Dracula (1931) this weekend. Bela Lugosi had a serious troll-face going on; someone get him a Guy Fawkes mask!
- Bela – 16 girls, 7 boys. Actor Bela Lugosi was *the* stereotypical Dracula. Bela is an Eastern European men’s name. When given to girls, it’s more likely a variant of Bella.
- Mina – #761 among girls, plus 20 boys.
- Harker – 5 boys.
And what’s Halloween without a little Hocus Pocus (1993)?
- Thackery – 8 boys. For the longest time I thought Binx’s first name was Zachary, but in fact it’s Thackery! How fantastic!
- Winifred – 156 girls. Winifred Sanderson is sister to Mary and Sarah and very much the head witch of their group.
Since I’m writing this on the eve of Halloween, I must also mention The Crow (1994). That movie gave us the name Draven, which still ranks in the top 1000 (currently #861) over twenty years later.
- Apple – 14 girls. Whether you’re bobbing for apples, imbibing cider, or Snow White on her way to bed, your Halloween festivities may include this fruit.
- Arachne – Chances are you’ll never meet someone called Arachne, but according to Greek mythology, she was transformed into a spider after a weaving competition against Athena. Hence, the word “arachnid.”
- Jack – #40 for boys. Have you ever made a Jack O’Lantern?
Like any of these names? Are there any I’m missing? Let me know in the comments!
As we near the weekend, how about some rare baby names? These are just some of the names that were each bestowed upon only 70-89 baby boys in the U.S. last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration. Next week’s post will be about girls’ names in the same range!
- 85-89: Auden, Dyland, Triston, Angus, Obed, Aspen, Benito, Charleston, Job, Lazaro, Shalom, Casper, Lenox, Nehemias, Om, Chancellor, Jamarcus, Miguelangel
- 80-84: Baker, Hamilton, Paris, Stuart, Aharon, Callahan, Carsten, Jairus, Omarion, Clive, Orrin, Rafe, Rivers, Anish, Brant, Ezio, Shannon, Sky, Boyd, Kipton, Morrison, Neo, Ocean
- 75-79: Abe, Cadence, Luc, Sire, Amen, Braelyn, Calder, Geoffrey, Herbert, Warner, Gerson, Marion, Olivier, Raleigh, Valor, Arius, Hampton, Knowledge, Michelangelo, Sanjay, Ammon, Augustin, Giorgio
F. Scott Fitzgerald, very likely namesake!
- 70-74: Barron, Eben, Flint, Johnson, Juanpablo, Kharter, Wylie, Zacharias, Ciaran, Dyson, Fitzgerald, Indiana, Leander, Shiv, Sylvester, Willis, Ashwin, Dempsey, Gracen, Lemuel, Madison, Mahmoud, Sunny, Zavian, Abiel, Marquez, Roscoe, Dixon, Kekoa, Ozzy, Patton, Shia, Zylen
What do you think of these names?
Side note – I personally noticed a lot of movie-related names, like Marion (Marion Morrison, a.k.a. John Wayne), (Laurence) Olivier, Shia (LeBoeuf) Clive (Owen), Indiana (Jones), (Patrick) Dempsey, Sylvester (Stallone), (Bruce) Willis, Casper (as in the Ghost) and Neo (from the Matrix). Honorable mentions: Johnson (there’s an old movie called Jeremiah Johnson), Patton (also a movie, about the general), Hamilton (Broadway musical about Alexander Hamilton), and Fitzgerald (if you really love Midnight in Paris and a certain writer).
Earlier posts in this series:
Lightly updated May 7, 2017