Promising Newcomers: 2011 Top 1000 Baby Names

The Boys

Last week we featured names new to the top 1000 for girls. This week the boys get their turn. This wasn’t mentioned last week, but if you are wondering, both the boy’s and girl’s lists don’t include every name new to the top 1000, only the promising ones, names that show a continuing or new trend. Names that are a different spelling of an already popular name were not included.

The newcomers on the boy’s side were a bit formulaic, following obvious fashion patterns. The n-ending, the o-ending, and the surname-name are well represented in this list.

Arlo – Debuted at #916. Arlo Gutherie was born in 1947, three years after Arlo was last in the top 1000. Now Arlo’s back. The name’s been under the radar for years, never ranking higher than #667 in 1915. Beginning with the popular initial A and ending with the now fashionable O, this name packs on the trends, which could be its downfall. Also making Arlo potentially risky to the purist is its gender-crossover potential, being similar to mostly feminine Marlo (which has also been given to a few boys). Regardless, what makes this name iffy to the name-nerd, makes it hot to the public. I wouldn’t be surprised if this name soared up the chart.

Benton – Debuted at #938. Last charted in 1968. This name’s biggest selling-point is probably as an alternative path to Ben. Like other no-fail classics, Benjamin is too ubiquitous for some, and Benedict has baggage (I predict Benedict’s baggage will soon fade). In fact, Benedict spent much time in the top 1000 as recently as 1968 but never ranked higher than #446 nearly a century ago. Amazingly Benedict seemed more prevalent back when Benedict Arnold’s betrayal was fresher in the country’s collective memory. But back to Benton. Benton’s a surname and has the super popular n-ending. Benton is perfectly pleasant and doesn’t rock the boat.

Brecken – Debuted at #962. First Time charter. Sure this is yet another surname. Sure I can see how this name might sound hip to some. But I suspected there had to be a pop culture reference. I had to dig just a little to find one. Thirteen-year-old Brecken Palmer is a young actor. He appeared in the Suite Life of Zack and Cody, which I’m only somewhat familiar with through my nearly 10-year-old niece. Of course there is also Breckin Meyer of my generation, but that spelling is different and he seems to be a low-profile character actor. I’ve seen him in a few things, but off the top of my head only remember him as the stoner skater in Clueless. The Breckin Meyer spelling is not in the top 1000. Neither actor seems huge enough to generate any buzz around his name. Perhaps this is one of those names where parents remember hearing the name somewhere, decide they like it enough to use it, but can’t remember exactly where they first heard it.

Cristiano – Debuted at #974. First time charter. This name is an enigma. Yes, it has that o-ending. But it is also a member of the stale Chris family as the Italian and Portuguese form of Christian. This is also what Rob’s sister and husband would have named their second child born in 2005 had she been a boy. The name’s Portuguese roots appealed to my second generation Portuguese-American brother-in-law. I’m very curious to see whether this name will soar or fizzle.

Crosby – Debuted at #747. First time charter. This is one of the most impressive debuts, and I can see why. Crosby is a fun surname and a place-name. The name is familiar through Bing Crosby and David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (or Crosby, Stills & Nash). The fictional character Crosby Braverman from the T.V. show Parenthood may have inspired this choice and explain the sudden huge leaps in popularity.

Enoch – Debuted at #933. Last charted in 1976 but had faded since 1956, spending a few years on and off the chart. This Hebrew Old Testament name was a lot more popular over a century ago, and is perfect for the modern parent looking to revive a long-dormant Biblical name.

Maksim – Debuted at #972. First time charter. The sexy Ukrainian born Dancing With The Stars choreographer, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, may have helped this name, but the similarity to Max #96, Maxwell #134, Maximus #212 and Maximilian #433 couldn’t have hurt. Maksim is part of the same family, being the Russian form of Maximus. For years X has been the fresh alternative to K, but as X becomes overexposed, K could reclaim some attention. Maks could be the Max of the future.

Maxton – Debuted at #943. First time charter. Perhaps soon parents will tire of all things Max (see above).  If the public soon gets sick of Max, Maxton will die out. Or perhaps Maxton is proof that parents’ love affair with Max hasn’t died down; they are just looking to shake things up – but not too much. If that’s the case, Maxton will stick around awhile.

Miller – Debuted at #924. Last charted in 1943. Here’s another surname that peaked over a century ago; this time with the -er ending instead of the n-ending. But I like it. Maybe there’s just something comfortable about these names that are newly discovered, but don’t scream out “Hey! Look over here. I’m different.” I’m also partial to the er-ending found in other surname-names like Fletcher, Porter, and Spencer. I suspect I’m not alone.

Otto – Debuted at #928. First time charter. Of course Otto’s special. Otto’s a palindrome. This was the reason many of my friends loved Hannah 10 years ago. Otto Frank was also the father of the late Anne Frank and the only member of his family to survive Nazi concentration camps. Otto is the perfect hipster name.

Zeke – Debuted at #967. While Zeke hasn’t visited the top 1000 often, this is not Zeke’s first time there. Zeke charted four earlier years: 1880, 1883, 1895, and 1898. This is a diminutive of Ezekiel #195, the previously unthinkable Old Testament name that has taken off in recent years due to its eye-catching style and funky nickname Zeke. Naturally Zeke can piggyback off Ezekiel’s popularity.

Which of these names will appear on our 2011-2012 Watch List? That will be revealed after the U.S. Social Security Administration makes the 2012 top 1000 baby names public next year. If you sign-up for our 2010-2011 Watch List now you will get that report right away and the 2011-2012 Watch List later.

Both reports are free. Each Watch List name is profiled in-depth. If you enter your email address below you will get your report and updates on name news, tips, and trends delivered to your in-box.

Readers: Which new top 1000 boy name do you like best?


  1. I voted for Enoch, but I also like Otto and Zeke. In the end I’m just a sucker for a clunky, old-fashioned Biblical name.

    • I like the clunky, old-fashioned Biblical names too. Enoch was suggested by Nymbler when you enter Amos as an inspiration name. I like Amos and Enoch as brothers. That’s one of my imaginary brother sets.


  1. […] of these names are on the upswing. For example, Zeke and Otto hit the top 1000 for the first time in decades, and show signs of staying […]

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