Reader Q&A: Naming Boy #4!

Boy #4

Anytime a new reader signs up to become part of the UBN email community, I ask the reader to share their biggest baby name challenges.

I was intrigued when reader Britney shared the following:

The most difficult aspect is naming multiple of the same gender! I am expecting my 4th son. :)

I asked Britney if I could offer some suggestions and share her predicament with all of you. She graciously agreed and added more information:

I actually found your blog because of your post on Nameberry where you mentioned all 3 of my boys’ names as names that could become Modern Classics. My boys are named Jacob, Colin, and Maxwell (nn Max). This was the post:

http://nameberry.com/blog/modern-classic-baby-names-cecilia-calvin-and-colin

Many of the other names you mentioned in that post are names we have considered. My husband is also a 4th son, and out of the 12 grandkids on his side so far, 10 are boys! It must be something genetic to have sons in this family.

Do you want to know some of the names we are currently considering? Or would you like a blank slate? Our last name starts with R and rhymes with Tool, so names with a heavy R don’t seem to have as good of flow.

I would like each boy to have their own initial and sound of name. There are a lot of names we’ve thought about that feel too similar to another. I like Oliver, but we call Colin Collie, and an Ollie and Collie would be confusing. Dylan has been another name we like, but I wonder if it’s too close having 2 names that end in the sound -lin. I’ve also liked Caleb, but it’s almost a letter for letter exchange of Jacob and Colin. Owen and Colin also feel too similar.

That’s one of the reasons we are struggling, beyond just the normal trying-to-get-two-parents-to-agree problem. Thankfully, my husband and I have similar taste.

My response:

The first name that popped into my head was Simon. To me it flows well with your other boys’ names and your last name.

  • Jacob
  • Colin
  • Maxwell/Max and
  • Simon

Simon “Tool with an R”

The next name that comes to mind is Felix:

  • Jacob
  • Colin
  • Maxwell/Max and
  • Felix

Felix “Tool with an R”

Simon and Felix do share the same endings as Colin and Max, however, that isn’t a drawback in my opinion. Colin and Simon do sound a little more repetitious than Max and Felix, and may have the same concerns you had with Colin and Owen. But Colin and Simon do not seem as confusing as your Collie and Ollie example.

This just shows that once you get to the point of naming your fourth kid, especially when all four kids are the same gender, there is bound to be some repetition. In this situation, I would only avoid the repetition if it’s excessive.

Thankfully Simon and Felix don’t share the same first initial as your older sons’ names and don’t have the strong R sound that conflicts with your last name.

I think you can’t go wrong with either one of these names, however, I did some digging to come up with other ideas:

Henry (I totally overlooked the R! My oversight.)

Isaac

Ivan

Kyle

Liam

Logan

Noah

Nolan

This is a good example of how older kids’ names eliminate other options. I considered Adrian, but nope, it has the R. I thought of Martin, but again it repeats the first initial M with Maxwell. (And again, Martin has that pesky R.) After doing some digging, I’m starting to really like Isaac from my second list. It doesn’t repeat initials, has no R, and even has a different ending than your other sons’ names.

I look forward to hearing what readers suggest.

Good Luck!

I got some more feedback from Britney that really drove home how personal preferences can really paint parents like her into a corner when naming the fourth baby:

Thank you so much for spending time to get us some ideas! You have some really good options here. I think my favorite of the list is Henry. Even with the R, this is a name we keep coming back to. It could be a name we would go with!

Issac would be a great fit with our boys, but my husband has a cousin with the same name. We both come from large, well-named families, so that is a further difficulty. :) Logan is also the name of a cousin of my boys. But they are both fantastic names. I also think Nolan is a little close to Colin, but it’s a great name, and one we’ve thrown around.

I think Simon is a name that could fit with our current sib set. I’ve never considered it, but I think it could grow on me. Felix is a name I’ve been hearing a lot more of lately, and it’s growing on me as well. This is why I’ve been trying to find out an answer early–some names take a little time to simmer! :)

Again, thank you so much for the suggestions! You did a great job nailing our style.

Thanks again Britney for sharing your story.

And if you find a name you really like that breaks your no-R rule, I encourage you to use the name anyway. I don’t think R always causes any problems with your last name. I would only avoid names that end in R to prevent run-on.

Readers: What is your favorite name for Britney’s fourth boy?

 

Emma: The Comeback Queen – Video

A couple of years ago, I wrote about Emma, and what makes it different from other top 5 names.

Fast forward to 2014 and my brother and sister-in-law name their daughter Emma.

Now seemed like the perfect time to remake Emma The Comeback Queen into a video presentation and dedicate it to our newest family member: Emma Winifred.

Winifred is our 96-year-old grandmother’s name.

The charts show visually what makes Emma different from other top vintage revival names. You can see where Emma ranked when different pop culture events from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s help propel Emma back to the top.

Some people might think that I, someone who likes finding uncommon names, wouldn’t be excited about my brother and sister-in-law’s name pick. Those people would be wrong. Emma has been a top 3 names for along time for good reason. Emma is cute and smart. It pairs nicely with longer middle names, like my grandmother’s name, Winifred. I would only discourage Emma if it didn’t go well with the baby’s last names, and Emma goes well with most last names.

Having a niece named Emma has helped me rediscover what’s great about the name.

And as you will learn by watching the video, Emma has so many wonderful namesakes.

 

Name Spotting: Oceana

OceanaLast week I took Fiona to the hair salon for her back-to-school hair cut. While waiting for Fiona’s turn in the chair, I started looking at the hairstyle books in the waiting area.

In a book of children’s hair styles titled Passion Kids Volume 8, one of the models stuck out. All of the kiddies were adorable, but this girl was striking with dark hair, long dark eyelashes and blue-grey eyes.

And then I was pleasantly surprised to see that she had an equally striking name: Oceana.

No name seemed more fitting for this beautiful child with eyes that could almost be described as aquatic-colored.

Oceana is a feminine form of Oceanus, a name featured in UBN’s Names from the Mayflower. According to Nameberry, the variation Oceane (oh-she-ANN) is very fashionable in France.

Oceana has always been rare. It has never been in the US top 1000. There were only 25 newborn girls named Oceana last year.

The more literal Ocean is slightly more popular, but still uncommon, given to 62 girls and 85 boys last year.

This nautical name might seem whimsical, but when compared to names like Brook and River, it is a real possibility on a modern child.

 

Updated for 2013: Top 22 in 2022

Updated for 2013: Top 22 in 2022Predictions are based on assumptions, the big assumption being that trends from the past will continue today.

Someone from the ‘80s making predictions about the top boys’ names for 2014, might assume that boy trends wouldn’t turn over that often because historically up until that point, they hadn’t.

Take a look at the table below and see how long each top boy name since 1880 had held on to the top spot in the past.

In 2012 I wrote the Top 22 in 2022, a list of the 22 boy and girl names I predicted would be among the top 22 U.S. baby names 10 years from the time I made my predictions.

Top U.S. Boy Names from 1880 - 2012

In the Top 22 in 2022: Revised for 2013, I share some updates on which predictions I feel were spot-on and which ones I feel totally missed the mark–as of 2013 that is…

And with eight years being a long time into the future, at least as far as name trends go, I wouldn’t be surprised if predictions that I doubt now based on 2013 numbers start to look good again based on 2021 numbers. The opposite could also be true. Predictions that look good based on 2013 numbers could look bad in 2021.

If you already signed up for the original Top 22 in 2022, you should have already gotten the 2013 version in your email. If you haven’t signed up yet, enter your email below.

In addition to The Top 22 in 2022: Revised for 2013, you will get email updates for UBN and occasionally stuff I don’t share on the blog. Emails are sent every couple of weeks and you can unsubscribe at any time.

To get the Top 22 in 2022: Revised for 2013, enter you email:

 






Watch List Names Update & The Newest Watch List

Upswing Baby Names Watch List 2013

The UBN Watch List was born when I found myself mentioning in posts that I was adding certain names to my personal watch list. From there I decided to make my personal watch list public.

Here’s what the UBN Watch List names have in common:

  1. They are mostly outside the U.S. top 300 (most are outside the top 1000)
  2. They all have a special style.

Beyond what these names have in common, there are a three types of Watch List names:

1. Names that are obviously going places.

First Year Example: Atticus

Between 2010 and 2013, the birth numbers for Atticus have grown almost 65% from 442 to 727. Its growth in the past year has slowed down some, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Atticus.

Second Year Example: Hattie

This powerhouse name has seen its birth numbers nearly double in just two years between 2011 and 2013 from 253 to 502.

2. Names that seem like they should be more popular.

First Year Example: Effie

Surprisingly, its birth numbers have remained steady each year since 2010. There have been 145 Effie’s born in total from 2010 to 2013.

Second Year Example: Lachlan

Lachlan is doing better than Effie in terms of birth numbers and has even seen a slight increase in births since being added to the Watch List.

However, Lachlan has a style that suggests it should have Atticus-level success, and its birth numbers don’t even come close. In 2013, there were 199 Lachlan’s born, which places Lachlan in the U.S. top 1000 for the first time at #991.

3. Names that don’t have obvious appeal, but have potential.

In other words, names I like that no one else does. : )

First Year Example: Ferdinand

There were only 87 Ferdinand’s born between 2010 and 2013, and this isn’t surprising. But Ferdinand has historic significance, familiarity, and a cute nickname: Ferdie. All of these qualities combine to make Ferdinand a great choice for a modern baby.

Second Year Example: Geraldine

Yes, Geraldine may seem a bit clunky to some, but underneath that clunky exterior, I see an artsy glamour.

I see Geraldine as an unexpected alternative to fashion-favorite, Josephine. Or even a more subtle alternative to another favorite, Madeline because of the shared a, d, and line-ending. However, I admit, Josephine and Madeline have some cute nicknames while Geraldine does not.

The lack of nicknames may explain why Geraldine’s revisit to the top 1000 in 2011 was short. In 2013 Geraldine saw a decrease in births and left the top 1000. The mainstream may not be ready for Geraldine.

This year there are a whole new list of names, some of them expected, some of them unexpected, and all of them stylish in their own way. For the first time, some Watch List names were submitted by UBN email followers who signed up for the report.

The Third Year Watch List also gives an update on Watch List names for the past, including the examples above.

And here’s another surprising outcome for a First Year Watch List name:

Philippa should have gone places. It was a 2011 “Name of the Year” due to Philippa (Pippa) Middleton, and one of Freakonoimcs predicted top names of 2015 (that list was created in 2005).

Philippa’s birth numbers more than doubled in 2011 but, when there were only 25 births the year before, the increase is hardly significant. After 2012, Philippa’s growth stagnated, and even went down slightly in 2013.

Philippa is an example of how high expectations can backfire or—in this case—lead to a related name’s success.

The real winner is the diminutive, Pippa, which more parents are using as a given name. Here are Pippa’s birth numbers for the past few years:

  • 2010: 16
  • 2011: 69
  • 2012: 105
  • 2013: 78

Pippa’s births multiplied between 2010 and 2012 and then dipped a little in 2013. Perhaps 2013 could signal a decline for Pippa or perhaps the drop is only a temporary retreat. Only time will tell. Either way, Pippa’s birth numbers surpassed Philippa’s in 2013. There were only 43 Philippa’s—just a little over half the number of Pippa’s.

UBN email followers who signed up for the Watch List report get to see which names could be the next Atticus, Hattie, Effie, Lachlan, Ferdinand, Geraldine or Philippa.

If you already signed up for one of the earlier Watch List Reports, you should have already received the Third Year report in your email.

If you aren’t signed up, submit your email address below to get updates, and share some names you are watching. Your personal watch list names could end up in the next Watch List Report. As a Watch List subscriber, you will automatically get future Watch List Reports, unless you unsubscribe.

Happy name watching!

*Update: As Paige pointed out, I misspelled the Little Mermaid’s name, Ariel. It seems I confused it with the font. Oops. Ariel is not one of the Watch List names; it is used as a comparison to one of the names. I have fixed the spelling and slightly revised the conclusion. If you sign up for the report now, you will get the correct spelling. If you signed up earlier, you should have gotten a link with the corrected spelling.