Tuesday, June 7, 2016

California Namin'

What's up, readers?

I've made no secret in past posts about my state of choice - the Golden State, California. I'm a fifth-generation Californian on both sides of my family, and pleased as punch to be from the West Coast (Best Coast). In honor of today's Presidential Primary election, I'll be looking at some great choices that honor the place I know and love!

Place Names

With over 38 million people and 480+ cities, California has a lot of place names to choose from. Names from larger cities often show a distinct Spanish influence, named after saints and churches built by early Catholic settlers. These include Francisco, Diego, Barbara, Angel/Angela, Jose, Rosa, Ana, and Clara, to name a few. Cities with non-Latin names that offer moniker potential are Berkeley, Irvine, Carson, and Hawthorne. Looking for something more eco-friendly? National park names range from Sequoia to Joshua to Sierra, and bodies of water include Feather, Shasta, Trinity, and Isabella. Explore the terrain on Google Maps (or on a paper map), and see what other classic or unusual names you can find!

Historical Names

While many of the place names indicate complex histories, there are some names as Californian as, well, In N Out. Father Junipero Serra explored much of the coast and established tens of missions - both Junipero (a masculine equivalent to floral Juniper) and Serra (as a variant of Sarah) are rare in name records. Sutter's Mill in northern California was the first location at which gold was discovered, prompting the Gold Rush - not a bad occupational choice, Sutter. Only a few decades later, Hollywood's influence swept the nation, introducing us to stars like Shirley Temple, Gregory Peck, and Clint Eastwood (all native Californians). This state's role in American history cannot be overestimated, and offers dozens of inspiring namesakes!

Symbolic Names
Of course, there are some very state-oriented options here: Eureka, after the state motto; Goldie, after the state nickname; even California - eleven girls were named after the state last year. But looking at more subtle honorifics might please fans of classic namers. Names that mean "bear" include Bernard, Arthur, and Ursula; names that mean "sun" include Soleil, Elio, and Mehri; names from state symbols include Poppy, Joaquin, and Bodie. Unofficial motifs indicating California abound as well in name records - Summer, West, and Oceane, for instance. To get ideas for more symbolic names for this state and others, brainstorm the first images you think of for your region of choice!

I've got many options here that remind me of my favorite home - tell me your picks for California (or any of the other 49 states) in the comments!


  1. I like Monica and Summer. Poppy is also becoming a fast favorite on my list.

  2. I like Monica and Summer. Poppy is also becoming a fast favorite on my list.