Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday #4: Unusual (but Established) Baby Names from 1885

130 years ago, the first skyscraper was built in the USA. Dr. Pepper was served for the first time. The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City. And these names were at the bottom of the top 1000!

I've selected a few of my favorites from the 1885 list that I think could work 130 years later. The Statue of Liberty is still standing, right?

The number next to the name refers to its popularity in 1885 - none of these names are currently on the 2015 top 1000!


Leda - #992
A lovely name for those who like Lily or Jada, but want something less popular. In Greek myth, Leda was the mother of Helen of Troy, after a tryst with Zeus. Leda means "happy" in Greek. This name hasn't been on the top 1000 since 1920, so it's recognizable but definitely unique.

Euphemia - #965
Another name of Greek origin, Euphemia is the source for the nickname-turned-name Effie. It means "to use words of good omen", and has a feminine, melodic sound. Popular Mia could also work as a nickname, but any of the three monikers would be beautiful on a little girl.

Delta - #948
This name burst into the celeb-baby spotlight in 2014, when Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd named their baby Delta Bell. Delta can either refer to the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet or a triangular piece of land at the mouth of a river. It's bright, spunky and sweet - a definite win.

Avie - #931
With Ava, Eve and Evelyn getting popular, why not Avie? Another form of Avi, the extra E at the end gives it a bit more femininity. It comes from the Hebrew origin word meaning "my father", but aurally connects to Aves, like the bird genus. Another odd connection - Dolly Parton's mother was named Avie.

Zadie - #920
A lively alternative to Sadie, Zadie keeps the pretty meaning - "princess" - but adds more personality and a great first initial. Zadie Smith is a British novelist, and Zadié (with the accent) refers to a river in western Africa.


Domingo - #976
A haunting name with a pleasant meaning - "born on a Sunday". It's the Spanish version of Dominic, and a nice option next to Diego or Damian. I'd especially suggest it for those looking for an unique religious name.

Bernie - #950
Continuing the growing trend of "so out that it's in", Bernie is a cute way to honor a grandfather Bernard while avoiding the St Bernard jokes. It's meaning is "strong as a bear", but the ie-ending makes it more wearable. And progressive politician Bernie Sanders isn't a bad namesake!

Albion - #937
Mythological and way too cool, Albion was historically inspired by the White Cliffs of Dover. Albion is also the oldest known name for the island of Great Britain, which could make it a great heritage choice. For you Harry Potter fans, it's related to the name Albus.

Zenas - #934
A short form of Zenodoros (which would be a bit much for a child), Zenas means "gift of Zeus". It's got the trendy as-ending, like Lucas or Jonas, and the cool Z-beginning, like Zac or Zane. Powerful, but also edgy and unusual - perhaps Zee or ZZ as a nickname?

Nim - #904
Simple and complete, Nim could be a cool alternative to Sam or Ben. It comes from the Hebrew word for "hunter". It was originally short for Nimrod, which is a definite drawback, but gained popularity on the female side with the release of the book and film, Nim's Island.

Looking back on this list, I'm seeing a lot of Greek roots and Zeus connections. Any comments on how you think these names would fly on the playground?

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