Traditional Scottish Names are New Trendsetters

Scottish names symbolized by bagpipes playerMy great-grandmother, who died many years before I was born, was Scottish. Her family hailed from the city of Dumfries, and her name was Rose, though she went by Annie. I know very little about her, but I have always felt an affinity for that side of my family, and I found myself wondering recently about Scottish baby names, and whether parents in Scotland still favor them, or whether baby names in Scotland today are interchangeable with those in many other English-speaking countries. Continue reading

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Biblical Boys’ Names Making a Comeback

Traditional names on a scrollFollowing on from last Friday’s post about the revival of classic girls’ names, today’s post looks at boys’ names that fit the same category — traditional or classic names that were popular about a century ago, lost their luster mid-century, but have since staged an impressive comeback. Continue reading

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A Weekend Name Story…The Meaning of Michael

Image of Michael, the nameIn the United States, it was the 4th most popular boy’s name of the 20th Century. In its various forms in different languages, it is one of the best-loved names in the world. It currently ranks # 3 in the U. S. for boys’ names. It has been in the Top 100 names for at least 130 years, and a Top 10 name for seven decades. It has been the # 1 boy’s name in America forty-four times. By any measure, the name Michael is one of the best-loved boy’s names of all time. Continue reading

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Classic Revivals: Traditional Girls’ Names Back in Vogue

crocuses, symbol of revivalIn the world of baby names, there are at least three types of “classic” or traditional baby names: those that never went out of style (think Elizabeth, or Katherine); names that used to be wildly popular, but are now out of favor (Mary, Helen), and names that used to be the height of fashion, then vanished, only to return in full force in recent years. I call this last group of names the “classic revivals.” This post is about “classic revival” names for girls, and on Monday I’ll look at the same topic for boys. Continue reading

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The Unique Names of H. L. Mencken

H. L. MenckenWith all the buzz about “unique baby names” in the media and on the web, you might be forgiven for thinking that the trend began in the last few decades. Baby Name Wizard author Laura Wattenberg, for example,  pegs the explosion of unique names to the increased sense of individuality that emerged in the 1960s.

While it’s obvious that the prevalence of unique names has increased dramatically in the last few decades, it’s important to remember that this is hardly a new phenomenon. Continue reading

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The Hottest Names of the Decade

top ten baby namesNow that the first decade of the 21st century is in the record books, I wanted to see what the top ten names are so far, for the new century . Thanks to the U. S. Social Security Administration, the data is readily available. Continue reading

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