Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Emerald is May's birthstone. There were 124 baby girls named Emerald in 2011. Esmeralda, which means "emerald," has been popular, with 942 births in 2011, while Emeraude, a variant with the same meaning, has seen no love. Jade, another green gemstone, is also very popular, with 2,655 births in 2011. Both Esmeralda and Jade ranked in the top 1000, along with Ruby, Pearl and Diamond. An obvious nickname for Emerald is Emmy. Emerald is the green variant of Beryl, which was a popular name decades ago and is now considered vintage. Emerald was considered the stone of the goddess Venus, which just so happens to be the ruling planet of May's astrological sign, Taurus, the bull. It was also thought to be the fourth foundation in the Kingdom of Heaven in Revelations. (FYI, another great May name is Tauria.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Were these baby names used?

Last year I posted a list of names that either had less than five uses during the year or were not used at all. This year (for last year) I am checking to see if that changed. I think I was wrong about one or two of them, so I left those out. Also, there were a lot more names that were not used in 2010 and 2011, but I didn't get to them.

Here's the list, and how many times the name was used in 2011.

Araminta, 0
Amaranta, 5

Amarantha, 0
Anatolia, 0
Arianwen, 0
Atalanta, 0 (the goddess, not the city)
Beria, 0
Branwen, 5
Capucine, 0
Celandine, 0
Celesta, 0 (Celestia, Celestine 7, Celestina 19)
Ceridwen, 0
Chrysanthe, 0
Coriander, 0
Crisanta, 0
Cymbeline & Cymbelina, 0
Cypriana & Cyprienne, 0 (Cipriana 7)
Delphina, 0
Desdemona, 0
Diantha, 0
Dove, 8
Doveva, 0
Elowen, 10
Endrina, 0
Eulalie, 0 (Eulalia 25)
Fairuza,0 (Faiza 23)
Fenella, 0 (Fiorella 36)
Fifer, 0
Fiorentina, 0 (Florentina 5, Florence 73)
Fiorenza, 0 (Florencia 14)
Fortuna, 0
Fortunata, 0
Freesia, 0
Galadriel, 0
Galatea, 0
Galila, 0 (18 Gelila, 20 Galilee, 251 Galilea)
Garland, 6
Godiva, 0
Gregoria, 6
Gwyneira, 0
Isolda, 0 (Isolde 19)
Kasienka, 0
Laureline, 0 (Lauriana 10)
Lionella, 0 (Leonela 8, Leonella 6, Liona 5)
Lumina, 0
Maetel, 0
Megaera, 0
Miaka, 0
Myfanwy, 0
Nausicaa, 0 (Nautica 22)
Nerine, 0 (as in nerine lily)
Orlena, 0 (Orla 28)
Ostara, 5 (Wiccan holiday similar to Easter)
Raja, 9
Rudolpha, 0
Salvia, 0
Sendra, (Senna 18)
Severa, 0 (Sevana 5)
Silveria, 0
Tauria, 0 (Taura 5, Toria 8)
Thalassa, 0
Theria, 0
Ursa, 0
Verbena, 0
Vespera, 0 (Vesper, 33)
Zephyra, 9

So, what made people use Amaranta, Zephyra, Raja, Ostara, Gregoria, Garland, Branwen, Dove and Elowen? Well, Elowen is a recently coined Cornish name meaning "elm," Ostara appeals to Wiccans and Pagans in search of a distinct name, Zephyra could be noticed due to the male name Zephyr, Raja was the name of the tiger in Aladdin, Bronwen (with an O instead of an A) has had some love in the past, and Garland is likely for Judy Garland. As for Gregoria, Amaranta, and Dove...well, I have no clue.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Baby Names to Watch Part 2

I am done with my Rare 2011 Girls Names list, and have found quite a few interesting names I thought I'd talk about. I don't exactly remember what it was like compiling the 2010 list I made, but I do remember it being shorter, although I can't say if it really was. But overall I was very impressed with some of the names I saw.

Gregoria - didn't make the 2010 list, but there were 6 births in 2011. I find this an excellent alternative to Greer/Grier for those who still want to honor a Gregory. Grey would make for a nickname, or Oria.

Aradia - this is the name of a Tuscan pagan witch goddess, supposedly the daughter of Diana and Apollo. She was the subject of Aradia: Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland, which Bewitching Names covered here. She is also the subject of another book: Tales of Aradia, The Last Witch, by L.A. Jones. By the way, if for some reason I was trying to name the baby of Apollo and Diana, Aradia seems utterly perfect.

Quirky/eccentric names like Snow (13 births), Rue (13 births), Whisper (16 births), Apple (25), Bliss (57), Arrow (5), Sonnet (7), Starling (8),  Fable (8), that I see mention of on message boards, but not in real life. I wish there was an SSA list for middle names (separate, of course) so that you could see what middle names were given per year, because I have the feeling these uncommon first names are a lot more popular for middle names.

Viridiana (62 births) - a lesser known saint which I covered here, along with other rare saint names Belina (8 births), Sunniva (6), and Attalia (5 births), although I'm sure there were more that I can't track down at the moment.

There were also a few ancient Greek and Roman names, which always pleases me. Artemisia (5), Apolline (5), Apollonia (8), Astraea (5), Amaranta (5), Accalia (7), Anthea (8), and Aphrodite (11) were at the bottom of the A names. Many more throughout the alphabet, though, worth digging up.

Lots of "new" nature names (in comparison to the oldies - Rose, Lily, Fern, Violet). Basil (7), Sequoia (62), Briar-Rose (6), Lavender (34), Berry (5), Cassia (33), Lotus (47), Maple (28), Cataleya (28), Kataleya (10), Cedar (28), Sparrow (31), Cypress (25), Lilac (9), Clover (109), Tigerlily (16), Cayenne (18), Jessamine (8) and Jessamyn (7). I think we were all rooting for Jessamine.

Month names beyond April, May and June - January (24), December (33), September (28), October (54), November. I think these are great, because you can have the nicknames Jana, Ember, Tova, and Nova, respectively.

Ostara - also covered here by Bewitching Names, this is the name of a Wiccan holiday similar to Easter that did not have any births in 2010, but 5 in 2011.

TV & movie names - Khaleesi (27), Kaleesi (7) from the TV series Game of Thrones (as well as a rise in Aria and Arya), Lumen from the TV show Dexter, Kataleya (10), Cataleya (28) from the movie Columbiana, Cricket (8) from the TV show GCB, and Quorra (25) from Tron, just as a small sampling. Also, Twyla (28) and Twila (27) could have easily been inspired by the Twilight series. There were 30 Twyla's born in 2010 and 15 Twila's, so overall the numbers went up. There's also Evoleth (14), Evoleht (8), Evolet (103), Evolette (19), and Evolett (18), which came from the movie 10,000 BC.

Phillipa, from which we get the nickname Pippa, only made it to 10 births, despite the super-popularity of Pippa Middleton, sister of the now-princess of England.

Lastly, although I could go on much longer, are gemstone names, such as Amethyst (61), Emerald (124), Garnet (11), Turquoise (5), and Sapphire (98), but I don't recall any Citrine or Topaz, and gemstone names are nothing new, although I suspect Garnet and Turquoise are.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Baby names to watch

Here are some names I think are either worth watching or worth mentioning. First I'd like to point out that Destiny happens to be the number one girls name starting with the letter D, although if Daniela, Danielle and Daniella were combined, that would have won. Here are D names that made the top 1000 in 2011 and how many girls were given the name. I always find names starting with A, D and L the most interesting when reading the lists. You can decide for yourself if by "interesting" I mean "aggravating."

Destiny 3222
Daisy 1883
Daniela 1860
Delilah 1817
Diana 1535
Danielle 1482
Delaney 1330
Daniella 1135
Dakota 1056
Danna 873
Dulce 758
Dayana 689
Daphne 671
Danica 638
Dylan 595
Dahlia 536
Desiree 477
Denise 471
Danika 469
Dana 468
Destinee 381
Diamond 357
Deborah 331
Deanna 323
Demi 321
Dixie 309
Diya 287
Dorothy 273
Dalia 266
Damaris 250

I find some of the choices outdated (Deborah, Denise) and think there are some D names I would rather have seen on the list, as in Diantha, Daria, Demetra/Demitria, Desdemona, Darina, Delta, Dinah, December, Dionne, Damia, Deirdre, Dharma, Donatella, Drucilla/Drusilla, Dulcinea and Delphine/Delphina.

These are all names I think will rise more...

Charlotte #46 to #27
Harper #118 to #54
Lila #155 to #163
Scarlett #114 to #80
Ruby #113 to #109
Lily #17 to #15
Sofia #26 to #19
Zoe #31 in both 2010 and 2011
Freya will rank in 2012 if it can get another 20 more births than it has now, give or take a few, and I don't think that will be hard to do. I believe it's a top 20 or so name in the UK. In 2011 there were 204 baby girls named Freya, and 222 named Frida, which ranked at #930.

And these are just names I like to keep an eye on...

Maple, 26 births in 2010, 28 in 2011
Clover, 99 births in 2010, 109 in 2011
Sunniva, 0 births in 2010, 6 in 2011
Zenobia, 18 births in 2010, 22 in 2011
Ursula, 32 births in 2010, 25 in 2011
Andromeda, 20 births in 2010, 31 in 2011
Cassia, 27 births in 2010, 33 in 2011
Guinevere, 57 births in 2010, 91 in 2011
Rowena, 7 births in 2010, 15 in 2011
Elowen, 0 births in 2010, 10 in 2011
Garnet, 5 births in 2010, 11 in 2011
Emmanuelle, 47 births in 2010, 37 in 2011
Ekaterina, 37 births in 2010, 40 in 2011
Khaleesi, not sure about 2010 but 27 in 2011

And these were names I just couldn't believe I saw. It definitely wasn't a happy surprise.
Mahkaden, Kashley, Kaomi, Joydan, Geisha, Calvalry, Shadiamond, Remmington. I'm sure there were lots more. Lots, lot more.

Friday, May 18, 2012

SSA Extended List 200-250 births in 2011

Before I get back to posting on individual names, as I do, I'd like to revel in the happiness that is the Social Security Administration's extended list, which means beyond the top 1000 most popular names. If you've read any of my previous posts you know how much I love rare (legitimate) names that are sorely underused, and that I believe there are so, so many great names out there that it's not exactly necessary to use one in the top 10, 100 or 1000. Not bad, but not necessary, not unique. I have an old friend right now expecting a baby girl she intends to name Isabella, despite the fact that she'll live her life as one of several (if not myriad) other Isabella's. It's a perfectly fine name, just not as attractive once you know there were over 21,000 babies born with that name just last year, and a few thousand more than that in 2010. I have my top 1000 favorites (Claudia, Raina, Luciana, Elena and Sophie) but I don't think I could bring myself to ever use them, as there are so many other options that are, as I said, sorely underused. I've always imagined how great it would be to go pretty much anywhere, say your name, and people know you're the only one. Example: If I said Oprah, Aretha, or Madonna, you'd immediately know who I was talking about, and in part just due to their names being so rare. And while I'm partly ranting, I might as well say, you can reach a level of "unique" or individualize a name by choosing something rare and beautiful instead of picking something common and changing something about it, like its spelling or pronunciation. There's no need to spell Sophie as Sofee, or Emily as Emmaleigh. No need, and you are certainly not the first person to do so.

Anywho... Until I summon the energy to do individual names again and can tear myself away from the new list, I will try to pick a few names which were given to under, say, 200 babies in 2011 to talk about here. The people have the right to know these rare beauties!

On to some girl names...
I thought it might be worth mentioning some from a previous post. I came across quite a few M- names: Milania, which was very surprising, Milana, Mina, Mira, Mara, Millie, Maritza, Meadow. Maybe there's something to this? Feminine M names in vogue?

Another one that intrigued me was #1000, Damaris. What brought this on? It's a Greek/Latin/Graeco-Celtic, Biblical/historical name, a few namesakes and companies/charities, but it also happens to be similar to Daenerys, a character from Game of Thrones, whose nickname is Dany, which makes me wonder what nickname Damaris could have. There were 250 baby girls named Damaris in 2011, so anything under 250 births means it did not rank, although it won out against Reina and India, which also had 250 births. Somehow I think Reina should have been #1000.

It just so happens that Jacquelyn got bumped off the chart for the first time ever, since its first appearance in 1919.

Here's what I found noteworthy: Charlize with 243 births, Monserrate with 242 births and Montserrate with 171, Lyra with 240, Aurelia with 239 (I think both Lyra and Aurelia have the potential to break into the top 1000), Colette and Winter with 237, Belinda with 236 (fun fact: Belinda was a Babylonian goddess), Estella with 233, Antonia and Astrid with 231, Milena and Noa with 230, Aubriana with 227, Emmaline with 225, Coraline with 224, Frida with 222, Vienna with 220, Theresa with 211, Magdalena with 210, Calista with 207, Wren with 206,  Freya with 204, Rhea with 202, Veda with 201, Fallon with 200. (I think Winter, Wren, Estella, Emmaline, Freya, Aubriana and possibly Noa could all break into the top 1000 as well, so watch out.)

I'll do more tomorrow on names with 100 to 199 births in 2011.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boys 2011 Baby Name Newcomers

Well, I mentioned how there were quite a few newcomers on the girls side of the top 1000, or second-timers, but I hadn't gotten around to the boys yesterday. To be honest, I spend 90% of my time with girls names, because I don't really like boys names. I have my list of boys names that I like, let's say about 40, and the rest I don't really care for. I won't list them all, but here's an example: I like Gregory, Arthur, Orion, Forest, Archer, Auberon, Oberon, Remy, August, and Dean. I wouldn't say they all fit together, but I do think they're all sturdy names. I actually even like Gavin, Anthony and Mason, which are quite popular. But when I hear/see names like Brayden, Jayden, Bentlee, Jagger, and Sincere...I cringe. My list of boy names I like is much shorter than girls, and I have a very low tolerance for creatively spelled, trendy names in general.

Anyways, enough of that. I'll get on to the lowest part of the 2011 SSA list on the boys side. We have a few unexpected names, not that I know a lot about this side. Cortez surprised me, as did Pierre, Dimitri, Cristiano, Elian, Franco, Anders, Alfred, Stefan, Remy, Darien, Heath, Salvatore and Maksim. I am very accepting of cultural names. Then of course there were the ones I don't like - Princeton, Dangelo, Cayson, Major, Bridger, and Jaydin, to name a few.

So here are the newcomers, which have not made it to the top 1000 ever or at least in the past 12 years. I have not gone through every name, just until the 700s. Also, I was not as pleased with these newcomers as I was with the girls.

Cristiano #975
Maksim #973
Princeton #978
Cayson #991
Kohen #995
Corben #986
Hendrix #976
Zeke #971
Brecken #962 (read this for my two cents)
Maxton #949
Flynn #946 (YAY!)
Otto #930
Crew #943
Greysen #940
Vihaan #932
Benton #938
Enoch #933
Miller #925 (Should've seen this one coming, and be warned that this will be on the girls list some day)
Arian #922 (Wow...)
Braylin #919
Arlo #918 (Should've seen the one coming too, I've seen it everywhere)
Nixon #901
Brysen #900
Callan #885
Rylen #849
Crosby #747
Bowen #723
Raylan #701

And Harvey, which was #999 in 2000 then dropped off the charts, came back at #862. I like Harvey. I wonder if the comeback is Batman related?

Well, that's as far as I go, since I'm thoroughly sick of names ending in N. So, you tell me - are you happy with these newcomers, or would you have preferred to see some other names make the top 1000? Oh, and by the way, did you know Gauge ranks at #754. Yup. And Kale, the leafy green vegetable, ranks at #589. I think half might have been named for the veggie, and half will never know their name is a veggie.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interesting 2011 Baby Girl Names

I was thinking just before the new list came out that 2010 trends had a lot of surname, masculine names, including unisex and male names on girls, as well as names with history or those that just appeared to have history. I noticed that not a whole lots of parents really research a name's meaning and history. A lot just go with what sounds good. But thankfully there has been interest in some rare gems as well, such as Cordelia, Thalia and Juniper. When the extended list comes out (the one that shows names beyond the top 1000) I will be very excited to see it. One of the names I've been watching, Audriana, ranked for the first time in 2010 at #944 and rose to #773 in 2011. Aubriana did not rank.

As I go through the 2011 list I think I'll see a lot of rarities. #1000 happens to be Damaris, and some of the other gems I saw so far were Galilea, Gwyneth, Blair, Azaria, Lilia, Chana, Ingrid, Lina, Mara, Jemma, Paloma, Araceli, Pearl, Mina, Hadassah, Taraji, Myra, Mira, Giovanna, Tegan, Giada, Emmy, Pamela (I love this one for some reason), the Japanese beauties Akira and Kairi, Cambria, Jewel, Alannah, Matilda, Emelia, Beatrice, Greta, and Meadow. These have all either remained low on the charts, or have only listed for one or two years.

I was delighted to see Nova (#884) for the first time on the charts, and I wonder what inspired it to appear, as well as Juniper at #970. Same with Milana, appearing for the first time at #998, Amalia, appearing for the first time at #992, and Rivka at #976. Temperance, which I assume is at least in part due to the TV show Bones, also appeared for the first time last year at #941. Adelina, which appeared for the first time in 2010 at #910, rose to #885 in 2011. Lilith also appeared for the first time in 2010 at #993 and rose to #923 in 2011. I think Lilith in particular is a sign that namers are getting more bold. Milania, quite the rarity, ranked at #813, not ranking before, and Blake (for girls) beat it at #815. Aubrianna, which I don't exactly like, also appeared for the first time at  #867, which was quite the jump for never being in the top 1000 before, but Avianna went even further at #831, not ranking before, and the more correct spelling Aviana went even higher at #762, not ranking before. However, I believe Renata, a traditional Italian name, gets the prize for rising to #757 without ranking before. I haven't checked all the names to see if there are any others that ranked higher than Renata without ranking in the years before. Bryn would have beat Renata, but it ranked in 2000.

I also saw Yesenia on the list at #881 thinking it was new, but it turns out it has decreased in popularity over the years. In 2000 it was #248. I was also shocked to find that Princess has ranked at least since 2000, ranking as high as #686 in 2003. Ick. Overall I was impressed by a lot of the names that appeared for the first or second time. But, as usual, there were disappointments - Destinee, Journee, Armani, Sawyer, Emersyn, Braelynn, etc. I also like the rankings of Wendy and Tabitha.

Monday, May 14, 2012

2011 Top 10 Baby Names Plus

Well, it finally came out, and the rankings did not change as much as I thought they would.

1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Madison
9. Mia
10. Chloe

I am disappointed that Abigail and Chloe are in the top ten. I really don't like these names. But I am happy that Emma and Olivia are in the top ten, because although they're really popular, I think they're pretty. I really thought Addison would make it into the top ten. Addison represents a lot of naming trends at the moment - starts with an A, ends in -son, has the nickname Addy, sounds like Allison. Oh well. I also should have stuck with my first guess that Emma and Isabella would rank higher than what I predicted.

1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. William
4. Jayden
5. Noah
6. Michael
7. Ethan
8. Alexander
9. Aiden
10. Daniel

I was only right about the ranks of Michael, Alexander and Daniel. I think a lot of us are fed up with Jayden, and a lot of us are probably frustrated that Twilight has made such a big impact in baby name trends. I think that's part of the reason why I also dislike the popularity of Mason, Chloe/Khloe, due to the Khardasians. The celebrity world influences naming to such an extent that the names don't seem original, substantial, or inspired. To elaborate, if I were to name my daughter Domenica, regardless of popularity (but its rarity being a plus), it would be after someone important and carry with it generations of rich history - an important part of her life. It would be substantial and valuable. However, if I were to name a daughter Isabella because of my love for Twilight (which I hate, by the way), it would only ever carry the importance of the story. The name might be pretty (which it is), but she may not like the book, and she'll share her name with some twenty thousands others, which a large portion was probably also named due to the book. I just feel like some of today's popular names are rather flimsy. Rant over.

I was right about Sophia topping the chart. A lot of name lovers thought that would happen. I predicted that Harper, Charlotte, Lila, Scarlett and Ruby would raise in popularity. Harper jumped from #118 to #54, Lila went down from #155 to #163, Charlotte went from #46 to #27, Scarlett jumped from #114 to #80, Scarlet went from #414 to #370, and Ruby only rose from #113 to #109. So I was only wrong about Lila, however, Lily only rose two places as well.

As for the boys, I said Jack, Jackson, Connor, Luke, Lucas, Caleb, Elijah, Brayden and Evan would rise in popularity. Here are the stats:

Jack 2010 - #45, 2011 #45
Jackson 2010 - #25, 2011 #23
Connor 2010 - #49, 2011 #54
Luke 2010 - #41, 2011 #39
Lucas 2010 - #35, 2011 #29
Caleb 2010 - #33, 2011 #32
Elijah 2010 - #18, 2011 #13
Brayden 2010 - #40, 2011 #37
Evan 2010 - #36, 2011 #40

So, as you can see, I placed some of my bets on the wrong horses. I had also been watching a few other names, though, further down the charts or not on them at all. I'll be talking about those in my next post.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

SSA Top 10 Baby Names in 2010

I'm back from my Google Chrome and Blogger break. First Blogger changed things, then it said I had to use Google Chrome, and if you know me, you know how stubborn I am when I'm comfortable. Anyway, apologies.

The Social Security Administration will release the 2011 top baby names tomorrow. Here are my predictions as to what the new list will look like. This is the first time I've made any predictions, so tomorrow we'll see how wrong I am. Also, this is just a wild guess. I have no clue.

1.      Sophia
2.      Olivia
3.      Isabella
4.      Emma
5.      Addison
6.      Ava
7.      Lily
8.      Grace
9.      Emily
10.  Madison

Also, Charlotte, Harper, Lila, Scarlett and Ruby will go up on the list.

1.      Jayden
2.      William
3.      Aiden
4.      Mason
5.      Ethan
6.      Michael
7.      James
8.      Alexander
9.      Noah
10. Daniel

Also, Jack, Jackson, Connor, Luke, Lucas, Caleb, Elijah, Brayden and Evan will probably go up in ranking as well.