About A Name: Anden

January 13, 2012 § 22 Comments

(c) Michelle Wojdyla, 2005: Jennifer Wester, from Texas, and her Russian-born ice dance partner Daniil Barantsev recently welcomed a son with an ‘international’ name.

I spotted a name the other day that I just had to feature! Need a new moniker that is a cross between Anton and Aiden, sounds like Brandon, and provides the commonplace nickname Andy? We live in a creative naming society, to be sure (I’m looking at you, Miss The Blueprint 4!), and while that creativity can sometimes go further than some people are comfortable with – I, for one, love the idea of taking two names that mean something – maybe they’re family names – and making something new, unique to your new babe.

Former professional US ice dancing pair, Dallas-based Jennifer Wester and her Russian-born husband Daniil Barantsev, created a name recently that I fell in love with on sight! The couple, whose best international finish was winning the 2007 Nebelhorn Trophy, though Wester starred with Motley Crue’s Vince Neil on 2010′s Skating With the Stars, welcomed a son on December 29th in Texas – named Anden Daniel.

“Anden came from me having grown up with so many other ‘Jennifers’,” Wester wrote in an email to IceNetwork.com. “I wanted him to have a unique name, while both Daniil and I wanted it to sound confident and phonetically accessible to Americans, Texans (my family) and Russians (Daniil’s family).”

Wester said she and Barantsev considered both Andon, the Russian variant of Anton, and Aiden. “We really liked Aiden, but it didn’t fit my unique criteria, given that it’s really popular right now,” she said. “At some point, I decided to combine Andon and Aiden, and I got Anden. After many Google searches, I didn’t find any translations that seemed offensive or directly applicable, so we went with it!”

I thought this name especially fitting because it highlights a trend that doesn’t get discussed often. It’s a trend by today’s parents to, especially in international families, select a name that is easily pronounced no matter what your mother tongue. (Dutch footballer Boudewijn Zenden welcomed a son, named Boan, on January 6th, and he and girlfriend Nadine selected this name because, he said, it was “an international name. As a soccer player, the pronunciation of the name ‘Boudewijn’ meant trouble everywhere. The only countries where people are able to pronounce my name are Belgium and the Netherlands.” I hate to rain on his parade, but the English language doesn’t know whether to say his new son’s name as Bow-ann or Bone…)

Anden, though, there’s no trouble with that pronunciation. And though Jennifer grabbed the name from scratch, she’s not the first to use it – though all references I can find online of this name came from completely different places. One woman, somewhere in the US, has a son named Anden, named as a variation on her too-popular maiden surname, Landon. As a variation on Old German name Anton (from the Latin Antonius), Anden could mean “wealthy man,” and that would technically make it an offshoot of common, if dated, Anthony.

But Anthony doesn’t seem to be the primary inspiration behind anyone using this name, nor is it uncommon to see names grow from the most popular ones of the day. I get the impression that, for the few using this name, it felt accessible because of Aiden’s popularity. It’s why, especially with girls’ names, you have for example Kira/Kara/Kyra/Cora. Phonetically, you know what you want as a parent naming your kid, but you also know you don’t want something so popular your son will be known by their last initial at school or work. And today more than ever, in this global village in which we all live, “international” names are a growing requirement.

What do you think of Anden? Too weird, or just right?

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§ 22 Responses to About A Name: Anden

  • Not my style at all, and to me it sounds like, “And then?” Luckily his surname isn’t Watt.

    However, it’s obviously perfect for them, and it does have that exotic-yet-familiar sound to it that so many parents are aiming for.

  • Reina says:

    Our son, Anden Keith, was born on 11/2/10. We were looking for a spin off of my mom’s middle name, Ann, because she was diagnosed with cancer mid-way through my pregnancy. We wanted a name that was a little different, but not weird. We found the name Anden and fell in love with it! Our little Anden is such a blessing!

  • Jessica says:

    My son Anden Christopher was born 8/9/2005 I too used 2 names to get Anden, I love it!

  • Donna says:

    My Anden was born in 2008, and we got the name from my mom Ann, and father in law “Den” (Dennis) who both had serious health scares while we were expecting him. We didn’t know if they would be here to meet him. So thankful they were! We all love his name!

  • [...] – Name Station wrote about this compromise by a pair of figure skaters.  She’s from Texas and grew up as one of many girls sharing the name [...]

  • Jessica says:

    I found online a meaning for the name Anden – Means to be strong and Smart!

  • Laurie says:

    My son was born June 2012. He is my third boy and I needed a name that fit the “A” theme I had with my first two sons. My sister suggested Anden because she knew I liked the name Landen but I couldn’t use it since it didn’t fit the theme. I fell in love with it. Not only is it a version of my favorite name but it is my middle name Ann and then the first 3 letters of my sisters name. With that Anden Ray was born! :)

    • I love that name story! Thanks so much for sharing!

      • Laurie says:

        My Anden is turning 1! I am loving all the name stories of how they came to love the name Anden! It is a one of a kind name and I like that it isn’t over used. It seems to be picked for personal reasons and that is what a name is all about!

  • Anne says:

    My son’s dad Denis and I, Anne, decided on Anden when our son was born in 1990. He is now almost 23 and there has never been a day that any of us have regretted his unique name. When he was about 5 and everyone was discovering the “my name means …” web sites and books, he decided that it meant “One of great imagination!” We went onto some online sites and entered his name with his meaning then. He proudly announced that “No one has my name …. yet!” He’s still filled with imagination and confidence.

    • Jessica says:

      I named my son Anden and he is now 7 he started asking last year where the name came from and why no one else had the name in his school. So we looked it up and found one site that said the name Anden means to be Strong and Smart :) I love that!

  • pangiegrl says:

    My son Anden was born 9/9/03 and I got the name idea from a reality show, of all things. We were watching Paradise Hotel and there was a guy named Anden on there. I fell in love with the name. At the hospital when he was born, everybody thought we named him Anden because my name is Angie and his fathers was Brandon. Not the case, but it did work out well.

  • Trisha says:

    Anden is my sons name and I love it… He is 6

  • Darlene says:

    I named my son Anden 39 years ago. Anderson is a family name and I always loved the nickname “Andy.” I just contracted Anderson and loved the Anden name it made. He has grown up to be a magnificant man and now his nephew will be named for him. Another Anden in our family!

    • Jennifer Dutiel says:

      My little Anden Mitchell was born 12-06-13. I needed an AM intials because we have Austin Matthew and Ally Morgan. I had my Husband pick 10 A names from the internet and that was ine of them. As soon as i seen it i loved it. Everyone wants to call him Aiden. Has anyone dealt with that? Anyways I think its a awesome unigue name and goes welk with my other 2 kids names. Thanks for the stories of the rest on how you all came up with it.

      • Laurie says:

        I always deal with that!! I just smile and politely say it’s Anden not Aiden. You would think that it’s pretty easy to figure out how to pronounce but oh well just smile and keep moving!

      • Once it gains some traction and more people see it, or once Aiden/Aidan starts to fade, it will probably get easier!

  • Sean says:

    I think Anden is an awesome name, we named our first son Anden William. People do like to mis-pronounce it and call him Aiden, but my wife has no problem correcting them when it happens.

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