Cubs Win, Spark Baby Name Trends?

November 13, 2016 § 1 Comment


(c) 2016 Katie Stam/Pinterest (via Wrigley Oliver Irk, named in honour of the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 World Series win.

Baseball, considered by many America’s favourite game, has long inspired baby names. Loyalty for sports teams can run deep, with multiple generations of families finding common interest, bonded through cheering on their favourite team.

This year’s Cubs run, and subsequent victory, inspired plenty of new parents.

Seattle-based former Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock welcomed her first child with husband Chris Siegfried on October 19, a son they named Asher Wrigley, in honour of the Cubs’ well-known ivy-covered home diamond. For these two, the connection is extra personal, as Siegfried was drafted by the Cubs in the 11th round of the 2007 MLB draft, though he spent his career pitching in the minor leagues. Then, on October 31, when the Cubs were just days away from ending a 108-year-old title drought (the longest in US professional sports), Miss America 2009 Katie Stam welcomed a son with her husband Brian Irk. Months before she gave birth, she made a playful bet with her husband that if the Cubs won the World Series, she’d let him name the baby Wrigley Oliver, but if they lost, his name would be Oliver Wrigley. Oliver would honour her grandfather. Their son went unnamed for two days, until the Cubs Game 7 extra-inning win sealed the deal.

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About A Name: Bowie

January 24, 2016 § 2 Comments

(c) Masayoshi Sukita, 1977/David Bowie Archive: David Bowie from the Heroes album cover shoot, among my favourite incarnations of Bowie's sound.

(c) Masayoshi Sukita, 1977/David Bowie Archive: David Bowie from the Heroes album cover shoot, among my favourite incarnations of Bowie’s sound.

The death of iconic musical journeyman David Bowie earlier this month caught most of the world by surprise, and the long line of tributes for the artist who helped bring down the Berlin Wall, who changed the face (and sound!) of popular music, the conversation around gender and sexual identity, and even the digital accessibility of music, inspired me to wake up from a three-year slumber, so imposed by a long list of incredibly non-interesting reasons (that I can’t guarantee are entirely in the past). So, now that we’ve established that I don’t know if I’m back back, let’s get back into things with a look at a unique baby name that trended just under the radar for years before Bowie’s death, and will probably trend higher in tribute to a man whose mere existence inspired so many. I’ve had this post in the draft folder for years (and yes, I know Abby at Appellation Mountain has already done this name better than I could possibly – twice, and I digress), but it’s well past time to write it now.

The name Bowie is said to mean “yellow/fair-haired” in Gaelic. It’s believed to derive from the Old Irish buidhe, meaning “yellow”, and from this derived the surname Bowie. Bowie himself (born David Robert Jones) was inspired by 19th Century American frontiersman Jim Bowie and his popular ‘Bowie knife’ when he changed his stage name in 1965. Then known as Davy Jones, he was frustrated by confusion with The Monkees frontman, and wanted something more unique. In 1976, he called his use of Bowie as a show name “the medium for a conglomerate of statements and illusions.”

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About A (Not-So-Bad) Name: Ryker

January 9, 2013 § 9 Comments

Star Trek: TNG's Commander Riker is one of few modern references to trendy, modern boys name Ryker.

Star Trek: TNG‘s Commander Riker is one of few pop culture references to trendy, modern boys name Ryker.

Following my last post regarding name negativity, I’ve decided to take things a step further by going out of my way to highlight the positives in the names singled out in the aforementioned Deadspin article as evidence that American baby names are “getting even worse.”

The Not-So-Bad series of posts will no doubt feature names you’ve probably balked at before, but let’s keep one thing in mind, here. These aren’t hypothetical names, names from books, or lists of interesting choices – these are names that people out there actually wear. Real people. With feelings.

The first one I’ll cover is a name that’s actually been gaining massively in popularity, and isn’t just a unique selection by one adventurous parent. Ryker is, as far as I’m concerned, a true name of the future with a long Low Country heritage. It’s already nearly inside the US Top 300, after beginning it’s climb from 1000 in just 2003. The name Ryan is commonplace and has been for decades. Tucker, Parker, etc. had their biggest moments in the late-90s and early 2000s, and from those trends modern usage of Ryker was born.

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About A Name: Wynn

January 2, 2013 § 6 Comments

(c) Randy Risling/Toronto Star, January 1, 2013: Casey Laforet and girlfriend Jane Maggs with their son Wynn, whose timeliness, and baby name, are especially notable.

(c) Randy Risling/Toronto Star, Jan. 1, 2013: Casey Laforet and girlfriend Jane Maggs with their son Wynn, whose punctuality, and baby name, are especially notable.

There always has to be a ‘first baby,’ born in every city and celebrated for their timeliness every New Year’s Day. This year, the first baby born in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, was a bit of a celebrity bub (well, I certainly enjoy his father’s music, it’s my thing). Not only was he the first baby born in Toronto, but his timing was so impeccable that he arrived at midnight, to the second.

Casey Laforet is one-third of Ontario-based alt-country indie rock band Elliott Brood (pronounced broad), and his girlfriend, screenwriter Jane Maggs, delivered their son, Wynn Christopher Laforet, at the exact moment the great big ball dropped in New York’s Times Square (yes, even Canadians know it’s a new year when the ball drops. We even watch it on time delay on the west coast). Laforet had to cancel his band’s annual New Year’s Eve gig to get Maggs to the hospital.

The couple chose the name from a book of “Rock N Roll Baby Names” that they received as a gift from Maggs’ sister. And while Wynn isn’t the most obvious rock n’ roll name I’ve ever heard, it certainly fits for the musically inclined. Wynn Stewart, born Winford (his mother, Cleo’s, maiden name), was a 20th Century country music singer-songwriter of the ’50s and ’60s, an early influence on country music legends like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, and alt-country stars from Dwight Yoakum to k.d. lang. Raised primarily in California, Stewart initially balked at the growth of rock n’ roll and his fellow country artists earning crossover success, though by the late-1950s he had stopped fighting the future and released a series of rockabilly singles. But despite making music until his death in 1985, he never achieved mainstream success.

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My Favourite Names of 2012

January 1, 2013 § 10 Comments


I may have failed myself with blogging this year (so many real life changes!) but it’s one of my resolutions for 2013 to be better. Much better. I owe it to myself, because I truly enjoy maintaining this blog. Of little credit to me, my blog’s popularity grew this year with many thanks to the lovely ladies at Nameberry for hosting my political names guest post in the spring, with great appreciation to Abby at Appellation Mountain for highlighting my post on Malala this fall, which proved to be my biggest post of the year, and with ongoing affection for Anna at Waltzing More Than Matilda, whose site continues to be my most consistent referral source, links wise, and she is far and away my top commenter. And of course, I’m grateful to each and every one of you who reads, comments, and shares the posts you love. You guys inspire me, full on, and your support is not taken for granted.

To close out 2011, I compiled my favourite names from overall trends of the year, and though I haven’t blogged as much as I should have, I’ve paid attention in 2012. A few of these names earned posts of their own this year, but many didn’t, so bear with me. And you know the drill – please don’t leave without sharing your own favourites from the past twelve months.

Happy New Year to you and yours, and let’s all look forward to a big year of names in 2013. What traditional names will be bestowed upon the royal baby? Will baby Kimye get a K name? Will Biblical boy names make a comeback or fall even further out of favour? So many questions, so bring it on!

This year’s list of names looks nothing like last year’s (well it might, if you’ve read enough of this blog to catch on to the name biases I try not to have):

Koa. I love to travel, but this year I only made it to one place – Hawaii. So it seems fitting that the first name on my 2012 year end list is a Hawaiian name-on-fire. Simple enough to feel familiar, yet exotic enough to stand out, nature name Koa, which sounds like Biblically “unfashionable” Noah, kept trending for boys in 2012. Australian marathon swimmer Ky Hurst welcomed a son named Koa in November.

Aoife. This Irish name, pronounced EE-fah, was bestowed upon the daughter of Irish-born pop singer Una Healy of The Saturdays, and her English rugby star boyfriend Ben Foden in March. It means “beautiful,” and was suggested to the couple by Healy’s father. (Adorable Aoife’s middle name is the Latin name, Belle, which means her parents gave her a name that means “beautiful beauty.”)

I find Irish Gaelic names to be too challenging to use, personally, despite some Irish heritage in my family tree, but this one stood out this year in a crowded pack of selections more easily read by my North American sensibilities. And Healy wasn’t the only celeb to honour her Irish heritage with her baby name – How I Met Your Mother star Alyson Hannigan welcomed her second daughter in May, and named her Keeva Jane (an Americanized spelling of Caoimhe). Alternately pronounced Kev-ah, it means “gentle, beautiful beloved,” the feminine form of Kevin.

(more after the jump)

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About A Name: Camden – the ‘It’ name in America?

September 23, 2012 § 6 Comments

(c) Jordan Strauss/; Kevin Mazur/ via Is Camden America’s hottest new baby name?

Just as his ex-wife, Jessica Simpson, chose a trendy new baby name for her daughter, Maxwell, born in May, singer and TV presenter Nick Lachey has gone the trendy, of-the-moment route for his new son, if nothing else affirming that super-hot Camden is probably here to stay, at least for a while.

Just over a month after reality TV star Kristin Cavallari welcomed Camden Jack with her fiance, Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears, on August 8th, Lachey welcomed Camden John with model and TV presenter Vanessa Minnillo on September 12th. The birth caused Cavallari to tweet, “Apparently Camden is a popular name! I obviously love the name and I’m glad other people do too.”

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About Two Names: Weston & Easton

November 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

Opposite names are both attracting major attention these days.

Both these names have been on a big rise of late, appealing to various sensibilities among parents. Weston and Easton both carry a whole lot of history, but feel cool and modern, plus they play on our senses of nature since the wind can blow in from the west, or the east, and they can honour a place or a family name.

There’s been a long love affair with directional names as middle names, with West the most common, as it’s the most common surname over North, South, and East. David Duchovny and Téa Leoni’s daughter Madelaine West, born April 1999, actually goes by her middle name. In a fan chat in 2001, Duchovny explained, “I think West is a family name of my wife’s, a surname that she likes as a first name. We called her Madelaine West and knew we’d call her West, my wife being Elizabeth Téa.”

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