Timeless Yet Trendy Baby Names

Vintage Portrait of two Babies in an Old Fashioned Antique Baby Carriage Buggy
Fashionable yet personal. Appealing yet unique. These are the golden means for baby names. What about timeless yet trendy?

One might think timeless and trendy are opposites that can never co-exist, but often the term “trendy” is used interchangeably with “faddish”. There is a subtle difference between trendy and faddish.

Many parents will insist they don’t want a trendy name, but most people are influenced by the trends. And that’s not always a bad thing. A trendy name isn’t necessarily a bad name. When parents say they don’t want a trendy name, what they really mean is they don’t want a fad name.

Semantics aside, I could think of a few timeless-trendy names off the top of my head. I made it my mission to find more timeless-trendy names. These names are more plentiful than one might realize.

Names that are timeless yet trendy fit current trends, such as popular vowels, letter-endings and themes, but were used occasionally before they followed a popular trend. Some are on the rise and others are on the decline. Either way, timeless-trendy names were familiar long before they followed the trends.

When deciding how familiar names were at any given time, I check the Social Security top 1000 baby names from 1880 (the earliest year data is available) to 2012. Timeless names don’t see a lot of dramatic peaks and troughs in popularity; their rankings remain relatively steady. Most timeless names have never left top 500 since 1880, but ideally the name should have never dipped below the top 300. (This is the same criteria I used to decide what I consider an underused classic name.) Fad names, however, come and go. Fad names were obscure, most likely outside the top 1000, and then suddenly skyrocket in popularity or go through dramatic changes in popularity.

None of the timeless-trendy names on this list have had any dramatic popularity spikes since 1880, (but some may have had some gentle peaks and troughs, as most names do). Girls are coded pink, boys are coded blue, and unisex names are coded green.

Name Trend(s) Highest Rank Lowest Rank 2012 Rank
Adrian Ends in N #56 in 2011 #663 in 1884 #60
Alexander Letter X #4 in 2009 #233 in 1959 #9
Antonio Ends in O #71 in 1976 #976 in 1894 #118
Calvin Letters L & V / Ends in N #44 in 1924 #231 in 2009 #189
Carmen Ends in N #141 in 1968 (on girls*) #752 in 1882 (on girls) #331 (on girls)
Evelyn Letters L & V / Ends in N #10 in 1915 #289 in 1977 #27
Faith Word Name #48 in 2002 Below #1000 in 1883 & 1887 #75
Felix Letter X / Vintage #137 in 1884 #394 in 2002 #316
Hope Word Name #144 in 1999 Below #1000 in 1888 #220
Ivan Letter V / Ends in N #113 in 2012 #404 in 1881 #113
Julia Long U #26 in 1880 #142 in 1977 #65
Julian Ends in N / Long U #50 in 2011 #367 in 1962 #53
Laura Letter L / Vintage #10 in 1969 #280 in 2012 #280
Leo Letter L / Ends in O #38 in 1903 #486 in 1995 #134
Lillian Letter L / Ends in N #10 in 1889-91 #486 in 1978 #25
Lorenzo Letter L / Ends in O #240 in 1880 #459 in 1919 #307
Lucia Letter L / Long U #240 in 2011 #729 in 1974 #248
Lucy Letter L / Long U / Vintage #44 in 1880-81 #588 in 1978 #66
Martin Ends in N / Vintage #45 in 1818 #265 in 2012 #265
Max Letter X #96 in 2011 #419 in 1969 #105
Molly Nickname Names #74 in 1991 #499 in 1898 #90
Naomi Vowel Dominant #81 in 2012 #421 in 1969 #81
Nathan Ends in N #20 in 2004-05 #273 in 1947 #29
Olivia Letters O, L & V / 4 syllables #3 in 2009 #543 in 1971 #4
Owen Letter O, Ends in N #38 in 2012 #520 in 1970 #38
Simon Ends in N / Vintage #142 in 1886 & 1888 #556 in 1965 #255
Veronica Letter V / 4 syllables #68 in 1983 #465 in 1880 #316
Victoria Letter V / 4 syllables #16 in 1998-99 #269 in 1936 #28

* Carmen has historically been a lot less popular on boys than girls. Carmen on boys has spent the past few decades outside the top 1000. It peaked on boys at #308 in 1928.

Many of these names rank in the top 50 now, which might be too popular for those seeking something different. Three of these names appear on the upswing and peaked just last year: Ivan, Naomi, and Owen.

But what these names lack in uniqueness, they make up for in staying power. These names have other selling points besides following a trend. The names on the list that are popular now, are more likely to endure over time long after the trend has run its course.

Not all names on this list are common. Some are even on the way down, such as Veronica and Victoria, despite their current trend appeal. There are two names from this list that hit their lowest rank in 2012: Laura and Martin.

Regardless of where these names fall on a numbered list, they all suit a person through every stage of life and as a bonus happen to be very current.

Readers: Which timeless yet trendy name is your favorite? Are there any other names you would add to this list?

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Mary: The Ultimate Name

Mary-lambThere’s something about Mary (to quote the 90s movie title). Mary had been the steady favorite for generations, making Mary the greatest cross-generational name.

Now at an all time popularity low, Mary is often dismissed as “too boring” or “too common” in an age where commonality has become almost like a disease with some parents.

And for a while Mary did signify a lack of originality. How could it not? Mary held the number one spot longer than any other girl name, from 1880 (the earliest year data is available) to 1946, and then returned to number one from 1953 to 1961.

But more telling than a prolonged number one rank are the percentages of babies that were named Mary each year, which averaged a little over 5% during most of Mary’s (recorded) height. The percentages were even higher in the late 19th century when around 7% of baby girls each year were named Mary.

Compare this to the approximately 3% of baby girls per year named Jennifer during the 70s or the less than 1% given the most recent number one girl name, Sophia, in 2011. (2011 is the most recent year name data is available.)

Perhaps in light of these numbers, Mary deserves a rest. Mary has been in decline since the late 60s. In 2009 Mary left the top 100 and ranked at #112 in 2011. There’s no sign that Mary’s decline will soon reverse or level-out.

Yet I theorize most people would be pleasantly surprised to meet a baby Mary in 2013. In 2011 Mary was surpassed by fashion favorites Ruby (#109) and Piper (#110) both of which are trending upwards, and in the case of Piper—dramatically. Somehow Mary seems a lot less popular than those names.

Mary is so notorious that even the name that finally knocked Mary off the top spot earned a distinction. Yet the name that earned that distinction, Linda, is a young grandmother name now, while Mary remains ageless.

And I believe when Piper becomes a grandmother name (and it will) Mary will still be ageless. By the time Piper is a grandmother (around 2075) Mary could finally rebound. I can’t picture Mary returning to the top spot, but I can’t picture Mary dipping below #450 either. Like Emma Mary could become a “comeback queen” that returns to the top 10 after a few decades on the down low.

If you like Mary, the next couple of decades are a great time to use it. The name is more underused than ever. But people who like Mary may not be overly concerned with uniqueness. The appeal with Mary might lie in its religious significance. Mary is used several times in the New Testament.

Like many names, Mary has an uncertain meaning. Mary’s roots go back to Maria and Miriam. This family of names is large and complex and includes Marie, Malia, Mia, and Mariah.

Modern classic Molly originated as a derivative of Mary and so did quirky homespun Polly, a medieval variant of Molly. The Mary/Molly/Polly transition is historical, but the exact reasons for the M-to-P switch are a mystery.

And then there are masculine variations on Mary. Marion can be unisex and Marius is the masculine form of Maria, and has a fashion-forward suffix: us.

A few years ago I, like many other people, dismissed Mary as dull and overused. But then I realized just about every name in the Mary family has an endearing quality. In time, I grew to appreciate Mary.

Considering that many expectant parents try so very hard to find that different name, possibly turning to Ada as a substitute for Ava or Sylvia for Sophia, Mary seems almost like an ironically rebellious choice. (One of Mary’s possible meanings is “rebelliousness”).

My great-grandmother was named Mary, but I didn’t consider her name for our great-grandparent series because Mary doesn’t seem like a great-grandmother name. But perhaps Mary is the ultimate great-grandmother name. I estimate about 25% of my readers have a great-grandmother named Mary. That’s today’s poll question: Do you have a great-grandmother named Mary?

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Baby Names That Go Back To 1066

A Plaque from Norwich Castle, built by the Normans after the conquest.

A couple of weeks ago we featured names of the Pilgrims. Today we are featuring names of another group of travelers that go back even farther than the Pilgrims. I am talking about vikings. Most of their names will be familiar.

The pivotal year was 1066. This is the year the Normans, a group of Vikings, conquered England. They were led by Duke William (later known as “William the Conqueror”) who defeated the king Harold at the Battle of Hastings. King Harold died by an arrow shot through his eye.

The impact of this event was profound and far-reaching. The modern British monarchy are descended from these people. The Normans legacy survives today in the Modern English vocabulary and given names.

Many Old English names were replaced with Norman names. However, not all Old English names disappeared. Edith is an example of an Old English name common among the Anglo-Saxon royalty that survived the Norman conquest.

Consequently, I was unable to confirm other medieval names, such as Amable, Eleanor and Griselda, names I would have loved to include, came from the Normans. Nevertheless, Norman names are extremely prevalent in English-speaking countries. If you are from an English-speaking country, chances are someone you know or even you have a Norman name (or a name that was derived from a Norman name).

These names have long been associated with royalty. There is a good chance Prince William and Kate will use a Norman name for their first child. Or maybe they will break with tradition if allowed (I’ve heard the Queen traditionally approves royal baby names).

Most authentic classics that are not Biblical originate from the Normans, such as Robert and William. (Fun Fact: Robert is the only former top U.S. boy name that was not Biblical.) Up-and-coming revival names, Alice and Matilda, which have already become very popular in other English-speaking countries also belong to this group. But even among these established favorites are some surprises.

Take a look (boys are blue, girls are pink and unisex are green):

Albert
Alice
Adela
Archibald
Aubrey
Aveline
Avery
Bernadine – the feminine form of Bernard
Bernard
Bertram
Cecily
Claire
Constance
Darcie – from the Norman place-name “from Arcy”
Eileen
Emeline
Eustace
Geoffrey
Guy
Harvey
Henrietta – a feminine form of Henry
Henry
Herbert
Herman
Humphrey
Jocelyn
Joyce – from the Norman male name Josce or Josse
Lacey
Lawrence
Matilda
Millicent
Norman
Quentin
Raymond
Richard
Robert
Roger
Roland
Rose
Seymour
Sidney – possibly from the Norman place-name “Saint Denis”, but was not used as a given name until the 18th century
Stephen
Thomas
Troy
Walter
William

Most of these names are reassuringly familiar with a stately style. For the newest heir to the British throne, I would love to see a compromise between traditional and daring with one of the less common but still familiar Norman inspired names such as Bertram or Millicent. Cecily is in my top 5 (and fights for the top spot with Opal). A Princess Cecily would be sweet. Time will tell.

One thing is almost certain: Many of these names will still be stylish in 2066.

Readers: Would you pick any of these names for William and Kate’s baby? Which Norman names are your favorites? (multiple answers are allowed)

Sources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-10776581
http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/eng1066to1300.shtml
http://www.gaminggeeks.org/Resources/KateMonk/England-Medieval/Norman.htm
http://life.familyeducation.com/baby/baby-names/45500.html

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3 Signs Of A Future Fad Name

What do baby names and mullets (the out-of-date hairstyle shown in the picture) have in common?

This comparison came into my head when I read this article on The Baby Name Wizard blog, What Can Middle School Teach Us About Baby Naming.

This article compares middle-school students’ desire to fit yet also stand-out to modern parent’s desire to name baby something universally appealing and yet unique. The analogy really resonated with me. Laura Wattenberg, the author, lists three middle-school lessons that can be applied to baby-naming, with the last lesson resonating the most with me: Smart is Cooler Than You Think.

This lesson concludes that life is not a 24-7 party, but rather there is time to be fun and carefree and time to be smart and serious. Ms. Wattenberg explains how as an adult she has grown to appreciate “situational style”, that’s sexy on the weekend and smart come Monday. She closes her observations with these words:

Rather than choosing a party-all-night name, or going crazy with the spelling, why not give your child the flexibility of a smart, serious name with a nickname that walks on the wild side?

These words reminded me of “business in the front, party in the back”, the catch phrase used to describe mullets, the hairstyle hugely popular in the late 80s/ early 90s, The front is short (business); the back is long (party).

I doubt mullets were what Ms. Wattenberg had in mind when she wrote those words, especially considering Lesson 2 is: Don’t Be A Slave To Trends. How many men (and possibly women) do you know who regret their mullets? Somewhere in a landfill are ditched middle school portraits from 20 years ago. People are praying these ditched photos aren’t resurrected by some old classmate with a scanner and a Facebook account.

Changing a mullet is as simple as a haircut, yet changing a name isn’t that easy. The problem is knowing if you have stumbled upon a “baby name mullet” before you give it to your offspring. Compounding this problem is that few names are trend-proof, except for authentic classics like Elizabeth.

Unfortunately for those of us whose tastes don’t include the authentic classics, there’s always the risk of becoming a slave to trends. Being someone who embraces new names, I’m not immune. I’m sure I would really like Madison if it hadn’t become so overused.

While there is no foolproof approach, here are some signs you might love a “baby name mullet”:

1. Until recently the name had been obscure and then it suddenly surged in popularity

This is when a name had never been in the top 1000 (since 1880 the earliest year data is available) and then debuts highly in the top 1000, usually above the #700 rank.

There are always exceptions, but here are some names that debuted highly, that many people either consider dated or will consider dated soon.

Here is an example of a name that recently debuted highly in the top 1000, that is in danger of going the way of the mullet:

  • Isla debuted at #622 in 2008. It ranked at #268 in 2011. For what its worth, I love this one too.

While a lot of parents try hard to find a name that has never been in the top 1000, that can be risky, as the above examples show. At least with a name in the top 1000, you have some past trends to go on. Past trends can be invaluable for spotting fad names.

With that said, a popular name is not necessarily a fad name. The advantage of many top 10 names is that they got there gradually, and have a solid history. For example, Olivia (#4) has always been in the top 1000, and while Olivia is popular, it is not a fad name.

This isn’t to suggest all top 10 names are safe. One of the above examples, Madison, reached the top 10 and is still there. Other than a high top 1000 debut, Madison exhibits another characteristic of a fad name; its popularity can be traced to one event, which leads us to the next sign of a future fad name:

2. The name’s popularity is directly linked to a prominent pop culture event.

For Madison that event was the fantasy movie, Splash, of course. Splash came out within a year of Madison’s debut in the top 1000. But the event doesn’t have to be a movie.

The event could be a famous person using an unusual name for their offspring. Such was the case with Nevaeh, which was invented by a Christian rock musician within a year of its debut in the top 1000. Or the event might be a newly famous person with an unusual name.

Besides a high debut in the top 1000 triggered by one event, what Madison and Nevaeh have in common is once they got to the top 1000, they zoomed up the charts. But what about names that debuted highly and never zoomed up the charts. I found one example:

  • Ainsley debuted at #481 in 2001 and over the past decade has plateaued in the 300-400s. It ranked at #363 in 2011.

Whether or not Ainsley becomes a fad name depends on how quickly the name climbs in coming years. Based on past performance, Ainsley could continue its gentle climb, but names have been known to gently climb and then suddenly skyrocket. This could happen to Ainsley considering Ainsley’s trendy style as a Scottish surname, and similarity to past hit name Ashley. And this leads us to the last sign of a future fad name:

3. The name has a trendy style.

There are some styles that are susceptible to becoming fads. Some of these styles include: Irish/Scottish/Celtic surnames, names with certain vowels, and modern creative names. This isn’t an all-encompassing list, and not all names with these styles are doomed to go the way of the mullet.

A rule of thumb is if you found a name with a trendy style that also exhibits at least one of the other two signs, this is a red flag. Generally speaking a fad name will exhibit at least two out the three.

When These Signs Come Together

A name that just entered the top 1000 a couple of years ago and exhibits at least three, possibly four of these signs is Iker.

About ten years ago, most American parents probably couldn’t imagine a little Iker. This statement isn’t completely irrefutable, but consider that in 2002 there were only 21 boys named Iker, and the similar sounding Ike is still overlooked by most American parents. And consider that it meets all three signs of a fad name:

Sign 1. Until recently it had been obscure and then it surged in popularity.

Iker entered the top 1000 only a couple of years ago at #646 in 2010. The following year, it rose to #379.

Sign 2. Its popularity can be traced to a single pop culture event.

Iker Casillas led Spain to a World Cup victory in the summer of 2010 (in Soccer or Football if you are outside the U.S.).

Sign 3. It has a trendy style.

Names with the long I sound, such as Isaac are popular now. Boy names with the -er ending, like Archer, are also becoming more popular.

Please don’t hate me if you love Iker.

As with any other set of name rules, these aren’t hard and fast rules, only guidelines. You can ignore these rules if you find that name that exhibits these signs, but you know the name suits your style, and feels like your baby.

And there are some exceptions. Samantha is a big one. It exhibits at least two of the three signs. It had been absent from the top 1000 for decades, and then returned at #473 in 1964, the year the show Bewitched premiered on TV.

But few would consider Samantha a fad name. Samantha has been around awhile and has become a modern classic. One thing that differentiates Samantha from names like Isla and Iker is that it had been at the bottom of the top 1000 before, from 1880 to 1902. Another thing helping Samantha is that after a few years of rapid growth, its growth slowed down and it gradually hit the top 10 in 1988, twenty years after its top 1000 debut, and its decline has been slow, still ranking at #17 in 2011.

Samantha’s previous history in the top 1000 is something it has in common with Archer. For this reason, Archer could avoid going the way of the mullet. Archer returned to the top 1000 at #681 in 2009 after a long absence. In 2011 it ranked at #447. It had spent some time at the bottom of the top 1000 from 1880 to 1889.  Whether or not Archer becomes a fad name depends on how quickly Archer climbs (and then falls) and how long Archer sticks around.

These rules were designed for parents who would regret inadvertently giving their child a fad name. If you are one of those people and you happen to like Isla and/or Iker, you have been forewarned.

Readers: What names do you feel are in danger of becoming fad names? These signs are nebulous with names like Ainsley and Archer. Will Ainsley and Archer go the way of the mullet or become modern classics like Samantha?

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Baby Name Inspiration? Hurricanes

Are you ready for a meteorology lesson on baby names? Get out your pen and paper (or laptop or smart phone or whatever) and take some notes.

At the time of writing, there is a little over a month left of the hurricane season. The season runs from:

  • The beginning of June to the end of November in the Atlantic U.S. and
  • The middle of May to the end of November in the Pacific U.S.

This is good information for planning a vacation, but could this also be good information for picking a baby name?

Hurricane names are an eclectic lot, representing every generation. There is great-grandmother Helene (one of my readers submitted the story of her great-grandmother’s name Helen), grandfather Richard, moms, Amanda and Melissa, and children Olivia and Isaac. Some of these are great picks and others… not so much.

Take a look:

List the Hurricane Names

Atlantic Names

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Alberto

Beryl

Chris

Debby

Ernesto

Florence

Gordon

Helene

Isaac

Joyce

Kirk

Leslie

Michael

Nadine

Oscar

Patty

Rafael

Sandy

Tony

Valerie

William

Andrea

Barry

Chantal

Dorian

Erin

Fernand

Gabrielle

Humberto

Ingrid

Jerry

Karen

Lorenzo

Melissa

Nestor

Olga

Pablo

Rebekah

Sebastien

Tanya

Van

Wendy

Arthur

Bertha

Cristobal

Dolly

Edouard

Fay

Gonzalo

Hanna

Isaias

Josephine

Kyle

Laura

Marco

Nana

Omar

Paulette

Rene

Sally

Teddy

Vicky

Wilfred

Ana

Bill

Claudette

Danny

Erika

Fred

Grace

Henri

Ida

Joaquin

Kate

Larry

Mindy

Nicholas

Odette

Peter

Rose

Sam

Teresa

Victor

Wanda

Alex

Bonnie

Colin

Danielle

Earl

Fiona

Gaston

Hermine

Ian

Julia

Karl

Lisa

Matthew

Nicole

Otto

Paula

Richard

Shary

Tobias

Virginie

Walter

Arlene

Bret

Cindy

Don

Emily

Franklin

Gert

Harvey

Irma

Jose

Katia

Lee

Maria

Nate

Ophelia

Philippe

Rina

Sean

Tammy

Vince

Whitney

Eastern North Pacific Names

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Aletta

Bud

Carlotta

Daniel

Emilia

Fabio

Gilma

Hector

Ileana

John

Kristy

Lane

Miriam

Norman

Olivia

Paul

Rosa

Sergio

Tara

Vicente

Willa

Xavier

Yolanda

Zeke

Alvin

Barbara

Cosme

Dalila

Erick

Flossie

Gil

Henriette

Ivo

Juliette

Kiko

Lorena

Manuel

Narda

Octave

Priscilla

Raymond

Sonia

Tico

Velma

Wallis

Xina

York

Zelda

Amanda

Boris

Cristina

Douglas

Elida

Fausto

Genevieve

Hernan

Iselle

Julio

Karina

Lowell

Marie

Norbert

Odile

Polo

Rachel

Simon

Trudy

Vance

Winnie

Xavier

Yolanda

Zeke

Andres

Blanca

Carlos

Dolores

Enrique

Felicia

Guillermo

Hilda

Ignacio

Jimena

Kevin

Linda

Marty

Nora

Olaf

Patricia

Rick

Sandra

Terry

Vivian

Waldo

Xina

York

Zelda

Agatha

Blas

Celia

Darby

Estelle

Frank

Georgette

Howard

Isis

Javier

Kay

Lester

Madeline

Newton

Orlene

Paine

Roslyn

Seymour

Tina

Virgil

Winifred

Xavier

Yolanda

Zeke

Adrian

Beatriz

Calvin

Dora

Eugene

Fernanda

Greg

Hilary

Irwin

Jova

Kenneth

Lidia

Max

Norma

Otis

Pilar

Ramon

Selma

Todd

Veronica

Wiley

Xina

York

Zelda

Source: National Hurricane Center

Some 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 there.

I base my conclusions on Zeke and Otto’s long-term potential on how they rank on BabyCenter, a large parenting and pregnancy site, which often predicts which names will go up on the Social Security list. Both names have been on BabyCenter’s top 1000 for a few years. Zeke has been there since 1995 (the earliest year data is available) and Otto since 2009.

Some fashion-forward names include Flossie, Ida, Isis, and Ophelia. There are a few obscure choices that might appeal like Aletta and Ivo. Wallis was one of our Failure to Launch names, which are names that never got as popular as they could have. Lastly, both of my kids’ names are on the list (Fiona and Paul).

Should I be nervous about my kids sharing names with Hurricanes? Is being named after a Hurricane a stigma? Should names on these lists be avoided?

If your child’s name is on this list, I wouldn’t worry.

First of all, most of these storms come and go with very little fanfare. In fact, these names are recycled every six years (2012 names will be reused in 2018), and notice how names near the end of the alphabet (Y & Z) are recycled every other year. The names at the end of the alphabet are less likely to even get used, unless the hurricane season is a particularly active one. Names are only removed from rotation when the storm is extremely deadly and high-profile. Notice that Katrina, Ike, and Irene are missing from the list.

Second of all, fashion cycles seem to have more impact on names than deadly storms. For example, hurricane Katrina hit in late August 2005. That year Katrina was already in decline after peaking at #90 in 1980. The storm may have even helped the name slightly. There was a small increase in babies named Katrina in 2005, but then there was a drop in 2006, and the name continued its decline. Last year Katrina left the top 1000.

The hurricane seems to have had little effect on Ike’s already low popularity. Hurricane Ike made landfall in early September 2008. The name has been outside the top 1000 since 1957. The year before hurricane Ike (2007), there were 55 newborn boys given the name. The year of the hurricane (2008), there was a slight increase to 73 boys named Ike, followed by a slight decrease to 69 boys named Ike the next year (2009).

As a baby name, Irene is an interesting case, because it could be due for a revival. The name was big in the early 20th century, peaking at #16 in 1918 and 1919. After its peak, Irene began a gradual decline and then an accelerate declined around World War II. Last year Irene ranked at #689, a slight increase from #696 the year before. Since the hurricane happened just last year, we will have to wait until the top 1000 baby names for 2012 come out in May to see if there has been a drop in babies named Irene.

Based on the findings for Katrina, and Ike, I predict there will be little change in Irene’s popularity for 2012. I can even see Irene making a slight comeback in a few years, but not returning to the top 20.

Also, as with any other potential stigma, authentic classics seem immune. For example, hurricane Andrew was a huge storm in 1992. Andrew ranked #5 that year, and dropped to #10 the following year, recovered slightly, and has been gradually declining since its peak in the late 1980s/ early 1990s. Andrew still ranked high last year at #16. This decline is too gradual to blame on the hurricane.

The conclusion is deadly storms may taint an unusual name for a short time, but the impact is negligible. Many of these would make great baby names, and I would use this list as inspiration, not as a list of names to avoid.

Readers: Which hurricane names are your favorites?