October 15, 2012

Finn, Asher, Henry, Milo, Jasper, James, Jude, Atticus, Rowan, Owen.

The first 10 of the top 100 boys' names for 2012, from Nameberry, which is "geared to non-traditional but deeply-rooted boys' names":
Celebrities and pop culture are important, but not as important as for girls. We see Finn, partially inspired by "Glee," at No. 1 and Atticus in the Top 10 thanks to "To Kill A Mockingbird." While other names - Jude, Liam, Emmett, Hudson, Arlo - have risen on the heels of popular stars, celebrity babies, and movie and TV characters - we see this influence on boys' names less pronounced than on girls'.
Boys' names are getting softer. The whole badass boys' name - Stryker, Wilder, Maverick - thing aside, we see a softening of boys' names, with vowel endings (Milo, Levi, Ezra), sibilant sounds (Asher, Dashiell, Sebastian), and choices that are derived from girls' names or can also be used for girls (Rowan, Emerson, Elliot).

137 comments:

Methadras said...

Dumb names are dumb.

SarcastiCarrie said...

Henry and James - the only good names on the list.

phx said...

It's only your government.

campy said...

There was also a boy named Finn in Army Wives.

Nonapod said...

Henry and James are extremely traditional. Both are the most common names for English Kings. James has been the most popular male name in the US for a long time and Henry is in the top 30 or 40 I believe.

SeanF said...

My kid's name is Jasper, but she ain't no boy.

Skookum John said...

I told my wife she could have any name for our son she wanted, as long as it belonged to an English king or came from the New Testament.

virgil xenophon said...

The Chickification of America..

Lem said...

A nominative determinism of Finn...

Underwater cameraman?

I'm so failing this class.

AF said...

Please. If the kid's got juice, you can name him Carrie and he'll be fine. If he doesn't, you can name him Biff and it won't make a difference.

Chip S. said...

Not enough people are named Fyvush.

Kit said...

We've got a brand new grand nephew, born Saturday, named Albert (Albie) Magnus. His older sister is Emery. So, there you go.

Balfegor said...

I told my wife she could have any name for our son she wanted, as long as it belonged to an English king or came from the New Testament.

So . . . Aethelstan, Aethelred and Canute all work?

DADvocate said...

Never knew a female named Rowan, Emerson, or Elliot. Rowan and Elliot are counties in Kentucky. Emerson has a manufacturing plant in KY.

My sons are William (the Conqueror) and Alexander (the Great). Milo makes me think of Milo Minderbinder in "Catch 22." Levi will be called Strauss all his life. Parents need to think more about what baggage some names carry. Dashiell, sheesh.

Shanna said...

Owen is a great name. It seems bad ass to me but maybe that's because of Nikita.

Jana said...

James and Owen were on my list, and Owen won. I notice it has really rocketed in popularity since he was born.

Balfegor said...

Re: Kit:

We've got a brand new grand nephew, born Saturday, named Albert (Albie) Magnus.

Not Albertus Magnus? Also, I note that August -- not even Auguste -- has apparently beat out Augustus into the top-100. How did that happen?

Jana said...

DADvocate, there is an Owen County as well.

Lem said...

Architect Atticus..

traditionalguy said...

The upscale names do run in certain decades and they are very important is signalling that the child is a part of the upper middle class of his'her decade.

GBS was very serious about Pygmalian. The higher classes want to be identified by the words they use and by the child names they enter life with.

James is a safe bet, but avoid Jimmy.

gerry said...

Soft names may have hard histories. Levi was a pretty bad dude for a Hebrew priest. Ezra wasn't as brutal, but he enforced the Mosaic law upon the return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile and forced the end to many "mixed" marriages (Jewish men to non-Jewish women).

Chip S. said...

Nothin' soft about Milo.

Big Mike said...

"Mike" is the only proper name for a boy.

Lem said...

Owen is a predatory lender..

MadisonMan said...

The only name not used among my kids' acquaintances is Atticus.

Franklin said...

A couple of them are also traditional Jewish names...

ndspinelli said...

Gee, I wonder if many attorneys name their sons, Atticus.

Curious George said...

These must be the top ten white names.

The top ten black names are all those that have been used twice.

DADvocate said...

DADvocate, there is an Owen County as well.

True. Don't think I've ever actually be in Owen County, just very, very close.

the wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the wolf said...

A bad personal association can kill an otherwise good name. I have a bad association with the name "Owen" due to a previous job and it can never be rehabilitated as a result.

Chip S. said...

Lem said...
Owen is a predatory lender..

Yep. A real meany.

rcommal said...

Wow, I see that my son's name has risen about a couple hundred places over the last year and is now in the Top 100. We rarely run across a kid near his age with his name, and yet it's not in the slightest an odd one (it's very old, very classic, and he has it because it's a family surname plus I've always liked it). Now I can tell him that he's ahead of a trend! LOL.

ndspinelli said...

Milo Hamilton was the Cubs announcer but was jealous when they hired Harry Caray. Milo went to Houston and was still hanging on as of 2011 when I heard him doing a game on XM radio. Milo started his career w/ the Braves and called the 715 by The Hammer. I just sit in my car sometimes listening to games around the country on XM. All my life I have listened to baseball games on AM radio on summer nights. XM never fades in and out like AM.

SteveR said...

Ezra? Really? He might go from High School Yearbook editor to thinking he had something important to say.

rcommal said...

Well, I mean the name we call him, which is actually the second of his three, not counting his last name. His first name is sort of always in the top 100, I think, and it's also not striking or unusual--but way too common within our immediate families (my husband, brother and father-in-law share it, for example), which is why he's called by his second name.

Mitch H. said...

Who would name a girl "Emerson"? My paternal grandfather's name, btw. He married Thalia, which is a great girl's name.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I baptize babies, and sometimes I wonder where some names come from. I don't understand choosing a name merely on how it sounds. But, I think the idea of naming a child "after" someone, whether a saint, a hero, or a relative, is becoming passé.

Too bad!

I met a boy at mass yesterday, about six years old, whose name was Archimedes. Archimedes!

I asked if he knew he was named after a philosopher; he said he did, but maybe he was just agreeing. I told him Archimedes' comment that with a long enough lever, he could move the world.

Now, what do I say when I meet six-year-old Finn that compares with that?

Fr Martin Fox said...

And I also suggested he could be Archbishop someday, and tell his older brother, who would be a priest, what to do. He liked that idea.

Scott said...

A big shout-out to Christian Lightning, Thunder Watso, and Wanbli Ishnala Red Shirt. And also to Vincent Joseph, a fine guy whose name looks backward.

Bryan C said...

Jude? Seems rather obscure.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Good heavens. I haven't run across an Asher since Chaim Potok's My Name Is Asher Lev in middle school. Or a Milo since The Phantom Tollbooth. Or an Atticus since Finch. Or a Rowan who wasn't a girl, for that matter.

That's a mighty strange lineup there.

john said...

Father -

Like all boys, Archemedes is only looking for a long enough lever to have some fun with.

Of course, you can deal with that later, in the confessional.

rcommal said...

Horrific thought: Do you think anyone's had twins and named them Milo and Otis?

The name "Milo" always makes me think of that orange cat.

Scott said...

Archimedes. What a cool name to give a boy!

David said...

What ever happened to Hay-Sus?

Conserve Liberty said...

"and choices that are derived from girls' names or can also be used for girls (Rowan, Emerson, Elliot)."

Rowan, Emerson and Elliot(t) are Anglo-Saxon surnames that should never be given a child not from the named family, lest the parents be thought inaapropriately "assumptive."

My children were all given "three last names" - but they're entitled to them.

Baron Zemo said...

Why aren't more children being named Barack Hussien?

It would stand to reason that would be the case.

Or is that too foreign sounding?
Un-American? Alien? Wrong?

Saint Croix said...

The whole badass boys' name - Stryker, Wilder, Maverick

Go with Sue if you want a badass.

John Wayne's dad called him Marion. That works.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mitch H.,

Who would name a girl "Emerson"? My paternal grandfather's name, btw. He married Thalia, which is a great girl's name.

There used to be a tradition of using relations' maiden names as surnames, both in England and in the American South, but that wouldn't explain a pile of girl-baby Emersons. Weird.

Thalia -- yes, a great name. Probably the only one of the Muses you could name a girl after without her being mercilessly mocked. (OK, you could spell Clio "Cleo," but then no one would get the point, would they? I'd pity the kid who had to go through junior high as Urania.)

Saint Croix said...

I like Han Solo.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Scott,

Archimedes. What a cool name to give a boy!

Well, it ought to make bath time really fun. Until the baby gets tired of the nightly cry of "Eureka!"

Actually, you could do worse. At least it shortens easily to Archy/Archie.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mitch H.,

[me:] There used to be a tradition of using relations' maiden names as surnames, both in England and in the American South, but that wouldn't explain a pile of girl-baby Emersons. Weird.

Obviously I meant "Christian names," front-names, not surnames. Sorry.

Shanna said...

Thalia -- yes, a great name.

There is a thalia in the southern vampire series (sookie stackhouse books).

Astro said...

Except for James (and maybe 'Hank/Henry') names that would have gotten your kid beat-up on the playground, back in the 60s.

Nomennovum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbp said...

We have a little nephew named Rowan. I thought it was pretty unique without being bizarre, so it is kind of a shock seeing it in the top 10.

Kit said...

Balfegor - I don't know, though his dad posted a Facebook link to Albertus' wiki. I haven't heard the whole story yet.

LarsPorsena said...

I play a game with the obits in my local paper. Just by the first name I can usually tell when the deceased was born. (give or take a decade)

Chip Ahoy said...

The Welsh names in my line are carried through to nephews middle names, Gwen, Whyndam, I'm glad my parents avoided that silliness and gave me the proper regular Christian English king name Chip Ahoy The Chocolate Biscuit Sailor Boy.

Old RPM Daddy said...

Finn? Maybe somebody'd been reading some John Knowles.

Hard to say what are the popular names are around here -- lots and lots of immigrants. My kids' classmate's names are a real alphabet soup. Among babies born to friends and co-workers the last few years, I've noticed a couple of Sophias, the odd Lucas, and the like.

LordSomber said...

I think most of the odd naming is just meaningless pretentiousness on part of the parent, unless it's a family name.

One I might consider is Zenas, a great-grandfather (and five previous generations of Zenas going back to pre-Revolution).

I'm guessing the origin is from Titus 3:13 (Zenas the Lawyer).

edutcher said...

Once you get past the first dozen or so, most aren't that bad.

Going with Biblical names, names of the Saints, or names traditional to a particular culture (Russian, English, German, Greek, etc.) is a good idea because the names usually carry a meaning. And, of course, names from the Classics (Jason, Diana, Hector, Ulysses, etc.) have always been popular.

Saint Croix said...

The whole badass boys' name - Stryker, Wilder, Maverick

Go with Sue if you want a badass.

John Wayne's dad called him Marion. That works.


After Francis Marion, a very popular tradition after the American Revolution for a century or so (Marian was for girls, I believe). The Duke was hardly unique.

Similar to a lot of families with roots in Virginia naming sons Randolph after John Randolph.

sydney said...

My children all have unusual names, and they are all named after someone. They are so unusual that I won't tell you, because anyone who knows us would immediately know who I really am just by seeing those four names grouped together in the same family.

deepelemblues said...

I hope the professor doesn't get the vapors - the Tea Party released an ad today featuring the Obamaphone Lady Whose Race Shall Not Be Named.

Freeman Hunt said...

A lot of people seem to think that "Freeman" is a libertarian statement. While I sympathize with the ideology, Freeman is a family name. The relative it comes from said, "What a shame that no one uses this name." So I said I'd write under it, and that was that, an agreement made in my liberal days.

Synova said...

Freeman is my husband's first name.

LarsPorsena said...

Whatever were Galusha Pennypacker's parents thinking of?

Chip Ahoy said...

Archemedes, you and your two brothers change out of your school clothes, Euripedes, Eumenides.

Synova said...

"Please. If the kid's got juice, you can name him Carrie and he'll be fine.

Carey. No?

Chip Ahoy said...

Tell me about your homeworld, Usul.

He knew she was going to say that.

Jamie Irons said...

Glad to see my own name, "James" (I go by "Jamie") has made a comeback.

My wife and I had -- and named! -- four boys, all about 30 years ago, more or less: Elijah, Alexander, Hart, and Gavan.

The latter two (identical twins) have their birthday today.

When the latter two were about to emerge into the world, I was acting as an expert witness in the Napa Superior Court. My wife went into labor, so I had to be excused, and the case was continued.

When I returned, the judge (now deceased, but he was the only superior court judge who had served in all of California's counties at the time) asked me if my wife had successfully delivered what he thought would be a single baby boy or girl.

I said, "We had twin boys, your honor."

"Twin boys, eh?" he replied. "Congratulations! What are their names?"

"Hart and Gavan, your honor."

"Hmm, Hart and Gavan.... Sounds like a law firm."

:-)

Well, as it turned out, Hart is an electrical engineer, and Gavan a computer engineer.

Jamie Irons

ALP said...

I love old cemeteries because people had such cool, unusual names way back when.

My favorite old-timey female name:

Electa

Carol said...

Some dumbass relatives named their kid "Addicus." They saw "To Kill a Mockingbird" but never read the book.

Carnifex said...

My wife's son and daughter inlaw went non traditional for out grandson. I have a hard time yelling at "Doddlesquat" when he's being bad at the restaraunt.

"Doddlesquat! Use your napkin!"
"Doodlesquat! Use your fork!"
"Doddlesquat! Don't doddlesquat here!"

Baron Zemo said...

It appears that new information has come to light about Jason Thompson that will force Garage Mahal to change his screen name to Sloppy Seconds.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Owen is a traditional name in my family for generations. It is Welsh. Other traditional names of uncles and grandparents: Rhys, Evan, David.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Now, what do I say when I meet six-year-old Finn that compares with that?

I'll be your huckleberry?

Chip Ahoy said...

I heard a tale of Cheyenne naming but I didn't believe it. I still don't believe it because it's a too unbelievable but the indian guy insisted it's true and he had a turquoise and silver thing around his neck. He goes, he asked his mom how his brother got his name and she said the day he was born they opened the flaps of the teepee and saw a deer and the deer looked at them and then ran off so that's why he's named Startled Deer. Well how 'bout my sister, how'd she get her name? Similar thing. The day she was born they opened the flaps to the teepee and noticed a marmot by the trees so she was named Morning Marmot. Now tell me, why so many name-related questions, Two Dogs Fucking?

John said...

When I was a kid, I thought my name was boring, but now I thank my lucky stars that my grandfather's name was John. (Well, Johannes, actually, but close enough.)

Erika said...

The badass trend is far from over in some places; I know a family that has a kid named Ruger.

Patrick said...

My wife and I came very close to using a name from a relative of hers 4 generations back. Determined to use it if we had a girl. We had a boy (again) and didn't.

Since that time, whenever we have told people, the reaction has been uniform: Good thing you had a boy.

That's among the reasons we never disclosed our name choices in advance. Once the deed is done, no one really says anything bad.

Erika said...

My first name really is Erika, but I'm considering legally changing it to Lennox after a character in my favorite novel. It's a wild and crazy an irrational thing to do, but I'm generally extremely straitlaced, and sometimes you gotta surprise yourself.

It's either that or get a Mike Tyson tattoo on my face.

phx said...

I like Hero for a girl. I named my german shephard Hero. She was a good friend. Fool dog up and died on me though. It is there wont I suppose.

The male german shephard I had before Hero was Phoenix. These are reasonable names for humans as well.

phx said...

Erika go with the name change.

ricpic said...

I thought William is always in the top ten, but apparently not. Of course Richard is far and away the greatest name of all.

The Godfather said...

You have to consider how the first name goes with the last name, or with the middle name.

I understand that the guy who founded Lear Jet named his daughter Chanda Lear. I hope she has a sense of humor.

My favorite boy's name (and it's also common in my maternal family) is Michael. If my first wife and I had had a son, we might have named him Michael, but that wouldn't have worked with using her mother's maiden name, Hunt, as a middle name. Would it?

Carnifex said...

Best fictional name I ever saw was Alacrity Fitzhugh. Second best was Slartibartfast. Third, Eccentrica Gallumbits the triple breasted whore from Eroticon Six. Lot's o' science fiction.

Carnifex said...

Zaphod Beeblebrox!! President of the Galaxy!!!

SteveR said...

I was named after a maternal great grandfather (and uncle), first name and my middle name, which I'm totally okay with.

Carnifex said...

Magnus Hungwell the third(not gonna look it up)

George Foreman, Jr.
" " II-VI(real)

God ShamGod(real)

Rince Priebus(real)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Some older generation female names. People I know

Myrtle, Marvel, Violet, Ivy, Georgia, Hazel, Palmyra, Twila ....plants seem to have been pretty popular in the olden days for female names.

Male names of the older generation: Hiram, Royal, Jasper, Manfred, Cornelius and Shirley (yes...really and he is a Junior so his dad was Shirley too)

Old names are interesting.

Erika said...

Oh, one other thing. My husband always told me we could name any sons anything I wanted, as long as it sounded good followed by Private Eye. That's his masculinity test.

Carnifex said...

"This is my brother Darrel, and my other brother Darryl."

Baron Zemo said...

Hey I think I know your son Canute!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Zaphod Beeblebrox!! President of the Galaxy!!!

YES! My personal favorite. I'm writing him in on my California ballot. Zaphod is pretty much qualified according to this excerpt from his bio:

He was briefly the President of the Galaxy (a role that involves no power whatsoever, and merely requires the incumbent to attract attention so no one wonders who's really in charge, a role for which Zaphod was perfectly suited

Hmmmmm.....Actually, he sounds quite like Obama except without two heads.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

No one else posted this? about baby names.

Sorry about the annoying commercial in the beginning

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...

Oh so now Obama has two heads. I can't believe the smears you wingers will stoop to next.

edutcher said...

LarsPorsena said...

Whatever were Galusha Pennypacker's parents thinking of?

The only US Army General to be mustered out still too young to vote?

Probably a middle name. It was the thing at the time.

Thus Hiram Grant was known as Ulysses, William Sherman as Tecumseh, George Custer as Armstrong.

phx said...

I like Hero for a girl.

Again from the Classics. If you had boy and girl twins, they could be Hero and Leander.

Or Abelard and Heloise.

Carnifex said...

Best fictional name I ever saw was Alacrity Fitzhugh.

I'll see your Alacrity and raise you Redemption McNally (a girl, no less).

In "Captain Blood", one of his confederates is Honesty Nutall.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Some older generation female names. People I know
Myrtle, Marvel, Violet, Ivy,
Georgia, Hazel, Palmyra, Twila ....plants seem to have been pretty popular in the olden days for female names.


When women were allowed to be women.

Male names of the older generation: Hiram, Royal, Jasper, Manfred, Cornelius and Shirley (yes...really and he is a Junior so his dad was Shirley too)

Shirley is an old Irish surname.

Cornelius, of course, was the centurion at the Cross.

Balfegor said...

Georgia, Hazel, Palmyra, Twila ....plants seem to have been pretty popular in the olden days for female names.

Is Palmyra a plant? I've always thought of it as a place, as in Zenobia, Queen Of ________.

Titus said...

The rare clumber's name is Wilbur.

tits.

Steven said...

My wife had a great grandmother who was named Eudochia, as had been several of her relatives. Her dying request was that nobody be named Eudochia after her.

Though her nickname was "Dolly," which is on our list, though I don't think really high on our list.

Steven said...

Other fun name issue from our families: my grandfathers are Dean and Wayne; hers are John and James. She noticed at some point that if we had twin boys and wanted to name them after their great grandfathers, they could be John Wayne and James Dean.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Is Palmyra a plant?

No. It is a place. Just like Georgia is a place.

:-)

Balfegor said...

No. It is a place. Just like Georgia is a place.

Ah right you are (my mind filled in Georgia peaches automatically). But checking, I guess Twila is not a plant either? (I had never heard the name, but I don't know the names of many plants).

ricpic said...

When the Jews came to America at the turn of the century they gave all their first generation American children WASP names. In no particular order here are the names of my uncles: George; Joseph; Carl; Robert. My aunts: Rose; Flora; Sadie; Mary. My Father: Chester. My Mother: Ann.

It's almost touching how much they wanted to fit in. Today the more exotic the better. Schmucks.

Raphael Ordoñez said...

To me Dashiell is masculine, because it makes me think of the author of Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon.

Synova said...

"Eudokia (...)was a very beautiful pagan, and garnered her wealth by attracting wealthy lovers. (...converted to Christianity...)
Eudokia persuaded many pagans to convert to Christianity. Syrian officials were angered by her actions, and had her beheaded on March 1, 107 AD.
In Romanian folklore, the figure of Baba Dochia is thought to have taken her name from Eudokia.[1]
"

The Baba Dochia character refers to a sort of old crabby Spring goddess... not of fertility but of late killing frosts, always trying to do-in her daughter-in-laws.

Maybe that's why they took the "Eu" off the front of the name.

bearing said...

My second son is named Milo. It suits him really well, and I have never regretted it.

Synova said...

I can't really see the connection, though, between a beautiful and wealthy martyr and an old woman in mortal conflict with her son's wives.

I'm pretty sure that Steven's great granny was named after the Saint... unless they're Romanian.

exiledonmainst said...

When I lived in the South, I was told it was quite common to use the mother's maiden name as a first name. That only works with short, crisp Anglo Saxon names, however. I doubt we'll see many kids running around named Zemplinski or Goldstein.

I recall reading an article about baby names which said they apparently have a 100 year old cycle. Certain names become wildly popular, then they are overused, and then nobody uses them for a couple of generations until they sound fresh and different again. There's something to that. Sophie, Nora, Isabella and Max would have sounded like senior citizen names to me in the '70's, when every second baby girl seemed to be named Jennifer. Or Nicole...

Do you know any women under the age of, say, 50 named Marianne, Cheryl, Julie, Donna or Cynthia?

Synova said...

"Do you know any women under the age of, say, 50 named Marianne, Cheryl, Julie, Donna or Cynthia?"

I'm 48. :)

There were three Julie's in my grade though, out of only 20 girls. (Small school.)

I was trying to pick out an unusual name and called my first born Zack.

*sigh*

John Lynch said...

Women naming men.

I'd guess unmarried women.

Joe Schmoe said...

Lem
Owen is a predatory lender..

Chip
Yep. A real meany.


Probably my favorite book of all-time. God, I get chills still thinking about that book. I haven't thought about it in awhile. Thanks Chip. I mean that.

Skookum John said...

"Male names of the older generation: Hiram, Royal, Jasper, Manfred, Cornelius and Shirley (yes...really and he is a Junior so his dad was Shirley too)"

The usual trend for this kind of name is last name --> boy's first name --> girl's first name, separated by one or two generations at each step. I once got in a heap of trouble for assuming that a person named "Beverley" was a woman.

Others in this category are Leslie, Courtney, Ashley, Florence, Jocelyn, Vivian, Shannon, Kim/Kimberly, Carol, Meredith, Evelyn, Hilary, Tracy, Robin, Lindsey, Jody, Valerie, Stacy, Lynn, Cary/Kerry, Madison, Aubrey, and Sydney, each of which used to be a perfectly respectable and masculine name for a boy.

Kelly, Riley, Harper, Avery, Bailey, Devon, Dana, Casey, Rory, Morgan, and Jordan are well on the way to making the jump to being girls' names only.

Farther down the road, I could see Dylan, Tyler, Kyle, Taylor, Logan, Hayden, Ryan, and Toby becoming unisex girls' names.

Skookum John said...

"When the Jews came to America at the turn of the century they gave all their first generation American children WASP names. "

Interesting how some of the more common ones became rather deprecated among the general American population, and even stereotypically Jewish: Stanley, Harvey, Bernard, Norman, Sidney, Marvin...

This seems most advanced with "Irving" and "Murray". Both are grand old Scottish surnames, which became boys' forenames, and as such are nowadays found almost exclusively among older Jewish men.

exiledonmainst said...

"I was trying to pick out an unusual name and called my first born Zack."

Ha! My brother and his wife did the same thing with Olivia. There's 6 other Olivias in her class.

Neither Zack nor Olivia are as common as Mary and all its' variations (Mary Jane, Mary Lou, Mary Beth) were when I was a kid. But then I went to a Catholic school.

ganderson said...

A couple comments from a HS History teacher:

Nicknames are far less common these days- gym teachers don't bestow them anymore- I do, and some of them even stick!

NE WASPS often do the "last name as a first name" thing with the oldest boy getting his mom's maiden name.

A story (possibly or even probably apocryphal) in my family is that my grandfather wanted to name my mom( in 1917)'Elmer' after the first guy in their southern MN town to volunteer for WW I. The priest refused- and settled for 'Elmira', only marginally better. Perhaps Fr. Fox can verify if that was common practice.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Ganderson:

Sorry to say, I don't know what the old rules used to be, but the current rules in the Church are that almost any name is OK, as long as its not scandalous: "Stalin" let's say.

I think, in the old days, babies were supposed to have a saint's or Bible name and priests supposedly would insist, but I've never checked it out. And of course, there will always be stories about priests who do odd things--because that's what people do.

wyo sis said...

I almost had a grandson named Jasper. We would have used it happily, but we're glad we don't have to.
As a school librarian I hear lots of unusual names. Lots more in the past few years. We have a Kannen, pronounced cannon, and a Thelonius. The former is a girl the latter a boy. The one I always think is the most red neck is Eyezak pronounced Isaac.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Do you know any women under the age of, say, 50 named Marianne, Cheryl, Julie, Donna or Cynthia?"

The problem with what was supposed to be common names, but because of popularity, is that your kid ends up with the name that everyone has. Back in the early 50's if you yelled "LINDA" in the hallways 30% of the girls would go "Wutt??.

Nicknames can be nice or mean.

Nice: We had a girlfriend in 4th grade who always had a lot of really GOOD cookies in her lunch. [drool] Her fond nickname all the way through Elementary and High school and even in the yearbook was Cookie.

I hope that she is still called Cookie.

mojavehicular said...

Most of them are great names . . . for a dog.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

LordSomber,

Re: Zenas, anyone who can play the violin like Zenas Hsu can call himself whatever he likes, so far as I'm concerned. (I was a judge at the Junior Bach Festival when Hsu, who was then eleven years old, came in and played the living bejeezus out of the E-major Partita. No surprise at all that he was shortly thereafter at Curtis; the guy's a monster.)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

The problem with what was supposed to be common names, but because of popularity, is that your kid ends up with the name that everyone has. Back in the early 50's if you yelled "LINDA" in the hallways 30% of the girls would go "Wutt??.

That's hilarious. My mom is a Linda, born early 40s, and in her rural WI school there were not only two Lindas in her class, but two with the same surname, so that they had to be differentiated by middle names.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Fr. Martin Fox,

Have you come across anything like this? Briefly, the Nigerian immigrant family wanted to change their surname to ChristIsKing, with forenames like "Rejoice" and "JesusIsLord." The court rejected the request on the grounds that if, say, s/he were ever in a courtroom, someone would have to call "JesusIsLord ChristIsKing" to testify, and some people would not to want to repeat those syllables in that order in front of an audience.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Michelle:

First I've heard of it.

Henry said...

It is disconcerting to hear one's name shouted about the playground in seemingly random application. Perhaps the Jameses are used to it, but it's new to me.

Henry said...

As context: In high school, back in the '80s, there was only one other Henry. And he went by Hankie. Then he dropped out. So there wasn't much confusion.

The Godfather said...

I was in Army basic training at Fort Bliss TX in 1969. Most of the trainees were Texans, and one of the things I learned was that if a Texan couple wanted their son to be called "Bob", that's what they named him -- not Robert. If he was named Robert, you called him "Robert". Same with Jack and John, Bill and William, etc. It makes sense.

But I grew up in New England, and the guy you called "Biff", or "Chip", or "Trey" etc. was not christened that way.

rcommal said...

Titus:

Of course!

rcommal said...

Godfather:

That comment of yours might be the most insightful one in this thread. It sure as heck has set me to thinking. Thanks for that!

Levi Starks said...

Do you have any Idea how long I've waited to be in the top 10?

Dante said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dante said...

There was a study on "Am I hot or not." The study took the same picture, but renamed the woman/man.

What they found is that those with soft vowels (back of the throat vowels) who were women (julie, etc.) got higher "hot" scores than those with hard vowels (sorry, Ann, Melanie, Jill), whereas male scores were influenced by the opposite. I suppose Dante has both. Oh, no, I'm too old to be a metro-sexual.

ken in sc said...

One of my ancestors fought under the command of Andrew Jackson, twice. For several generations, boys in the family were named Andrew.

BTW, I had a boy in my class named Freeman who was one of the biggest trouble makers in the school. He got engaged before he got out of middle school. He was old enough to get engaged at that time.

LordSomber said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson:

RE: Zenas -- Interesting. I thought mine might have been named for a famous contemporary Zenas at the time but he predates all the ones I could find (b. 1750's).

On another note, I had a great-uncle Al (short for Allison, once a boy's name.)