Harry has his year, too!

January 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

(c) Apr. 27, 2011 – Chris Jackson/Getty Images: Prince Harry’s name was top of the charts in Britain this year. Can he take all the credit for this name’s popularity?

News out of Britain to close out 2011 seems to be that Harry has had his day, just like William – perhaps not at all surprising considering the way in which the British royal family was at the forefront of many a headline this year. While William claimed a perhaps surprising top spot in Canada and raised it’s profile Down Under, Harry is the nom du jour in Britain. Reports suggest that, while Olivia retained top spot for girls in the UK, Harry has overtaken Oliver as the most popular boys’ name in Britain.

Prince Harry notwithstanding, there’s been a few celebrity baby Harrys born in Britain (and Australia!) over the past few years: two-year-old Harry James Baldwin, son of morning TV host Holly Willoughby, and Harry James MacDonald, born to Aussie Rules Footballer James MacDonald. There’s six-month-old Harry James O’Hara, son of Danielle Lloyd – whose other son, Archie, was given an equally trendy old-fashioned boy’s name, Harry James Vince, son of Olympic badminton star Gail Emms, nearly two, five-year-old Harry Alexander Jack Beck, son of Coronation Street‘s Jane Danson. Former Atomic Kitten pop star Natasha Hamilton’s son, seven-year-old Harry Hatcher-Hamilton, is yet another.

All of that is nice, but there’s one British Harry that has proven far more universally endearing over the past decade, to have inspired such a bump in the proud, enamoured home country of his creator – and the affection seems to be spreading beyond British shores. JK Rowling’s boy wizard, Harry Potter, is this name’s sincerest idol today, embodying the spirit of goodness, bravery, and heroism that are divine qualities to wish for in a son. You don’t need to be naming your child after the character itself, but we’ve certainly seen a jump in baby Hermiones since Potter Mania broke out, too – a recent post at Appellation Mountain cited parents being inspired to use it after seeing it in the books, and embodied by Emma Watson on screen.

Harry Potter could actually, probably, claim the lion’s share of the credit for the name’s popularity today.

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Welcome Back, William

January 2, 2012 § 6 Comments

This year, William eclipsed Kate by a long shot in the realm of baby names.

Though it’s not like you went very far.

Canada Vital Statistics released the top names for 2011 last week, with Olivia retaining top spot for the girls – and Maya, Mia, and Mya perhaps surprisingly splitting second place. Other popular choices like Emma, Sophia, and Chloe/Khloe remained in the Top 10, with little change on the boys’ side, as well. Selections like Jacob (#2) and Ethan (the top boys name in Ontario, our most populous province) sit in the top 10 for boys. The most progressive province or territory when it comes to names? Easily the youngest northern territory, Nunavut, where Aqpakuluk (obviously an Inuit name, I have no clue what it means) and Phoenix are both near the top of the girls’ list.

News outlets in Australia have been noting an upswing in baby Williams (but not Kates – the name may have grown all it was going to, and the Duchess is known by Catherine now, anyway), and the same trend proved true here in Canada when the list was released. Kate didn’t make the list, but Catherine/Katherine, Katie, and Cate each did. William jumped from eighth place on the CVS list in 2010 to grab the top spot on the heels of the royal wedding and the couple’s highly publicized tour of Canada in July, while nickname-name Liam was counted separately and sits at #4 nationwide. Considering a fair number of the boys named William will go by Liam throughout their life, the name is likely to be as prominent and commonplace among boys as John was for our parents’ generation, Mike and Dave are for our own, and Jack has been for the past decade of babies!

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My Favourite Names of 2011

December 22, 2011 § 5 Comments

Trends are always changing. Names you love might fall out of favour, you might have loved a name so long it’s actually lost it’s meaning – or the importance of that meaning has been overshadowed by something else. No matter what we’d like to think about our ability to name beyond trends, as our own lives change we, too, are changing. When I was younger I loved the name Jacob. I wasn’t sure why – I just saw the name everywhere, I liked how it sounded. But from affections like these grew my interest in names, and now Jacob just wouldn’t cut it. Why? It means nothing to me, and it’s been everywhere for a while.

We might also hear a name as we go through our lives that we’ve never heard before, for one reason or another, and we fall in love with it. Maybe it’s connected to something else we love, however fleeting, and we embrace it.

The trendy names this year that I was especially digging (and please don’t leave without sharing your own faves!):

Arlo. Easy. I’ve loved this name a while. It’s one of my names. This year, it entered into unisex territory as the son of Toni Collette, born in April, and daughter of Johnny Knoxville, born in October.

Willow. When Pink and Carey Hart named their daughter Willow Sage in June, this long-appreciated name stepped even further into the spotlight. I’ve always loved the nature qualities of this name, and have always been into names like River, but I’m only lately having a true appreciation of Willow. It’s such a pretty name. I may never use it, but I like it a lot!

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