Friday, December 19, 2014

Winter Names for Girls

It isn't officially winter yet, but the snow is already starting to fall in many places. There is something so magical about the white snow.

If you're a fan of sipping hot cocoa in front of the fire and gazing out the window as the snowflakes flutter down from the night sky, you may find yourself in love with this list of wintery baby girl names.

There's also plenty of holiday-related choices for you as well if you're expecting a winter or Christmas baby!  Which of these are your favorite?


Adair                                        
Alaska
Amaryllis
Angelica
Aspen
Belle
Berry
Bianca
Camellia
Carol
Christabel
Christmas
Chrysanthemum
Clara
Coco
Crimson
Crystal
Dancer
December
Demi
Dorothea
Eira
Eirwen
Eliora
Epiphany
Estelle
Eve
February
Finola
Fire
Freesia
Frostine
Gabrielle
Garnet
Holiday
Holly
Hope
Icelyn
Imani
Ivy
January
Jenara
Josephine
Joy
Lucia
Lumi
Lux
Mary
Merry
Marcissa
Natalie
Neva
Neve
Nevada
Nia
Noelle
Noor
Olwen
Persephone
Primrose
Scarlett
Seren
Snow
Snowflake
Solstice
Stella
Valentina
Virginia
Winter
Wren
Can you think of any other winter or holiday names that should be included on the list? Don't forget to check out last week's post regarding Winter Boy Names too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter Names for Boys

Even if the first day of Winter doesn't officially arrive until December 21st, you're surely feeling a cold breeze or two by now. This magical, snowy time of year puts people in a rather festive mood. If you're expecting a baby this winter, you're sure to find this list useful for a timely name.

If you're expecting a baby boy towards the end of December, well, you'll probably really love this list for its holiday-related ideas!  Whether you like the chill in the air or the roaring heat of a fire, these baby names sure are wonderful.

Angel
Aster
Aubin
Balthasar
Blaze
Branch
Chill
Christian
Colden
Coldin
Cole
Crispin
Darke
Demitri
Douglas
Emmanuel
Felix
Frost
Gabriel
Glover
Hail
Jack
Joseph
March
Melchior
Nicholas
Noel
North
Oakley
Pax
Pine
Phelan
Quilo
Ralph
Robin
Rollo
Rory
Rudolph
Rufus
Snowden
Storm
Theodore
Valentine
Whittaker
Winterhawk
Yule
Zev
Zohar

Which of these are your favorites? Can you think of any more names relating to winter or the holidays?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What Are the Best Names Within the US Top 100?

Two polls were recently posted on our Facebook page and we've received quite a few votes, but we could always use more for the sake of the data!

 If you have a moment, vote for your favorite names within the US Top 100 chart. The polls are embedded below and your answers are completely anonymous!





It will take a bit of scrolling to view them all but don't give up!



Thanks for voting! Don't forget to share this with your poll-loving friends!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

10 Ways To Honor Someone Whose Name You Don't Like

You and your partner just found out that you're expecting a baby girl and you couldn't be happier. Immediately, baby names pop into your mind and you're determined to find one that will honor your beloved grandmother. The only problem is that you totally and completely hate her name. Oops!

It's difficult when you love someone so much that you want to honor them but, in your mind, their name leaves little to be desired. You simply cannot picture yourself yelling at little Thelma across the playground and you couldn't handle saying Dolores a hundred times a day. These names work beautifully on your grandmother but they are not right for your modern daughter. What can you do?

Here are ten exciting ways to reinvent, revamp and retrofit your loved one's name in order to fall in love with your choice while still honoring them. These will be in the order of most relevance to the person's actual name. The lower you go on the list, the less obvious the honor is.

1. The World Traveler
Perhaps you don't hate the name Elizabeth, but your sister and two cousins have already honored grandma Betsy by using Elizabeth and you'd like to find a name that will honor her in a different way. Take a step back and look at the international variations and diminutives of Elizabeth and you'll find that you could use nicknames such as Eliza, Elise or Beth as a given name, or you could go one step further and use the French Isabelle or the Spanish Liliana which come from Elizabeth. There's also Elsa and Lisette and Elspeth that catch your eye.  Don't be afraid to explore alternative origins of the same name.

2. The Cross-Gender Honor
If you love uncle Cecil but dislike his name, you could still honor him by naming a girl Cecily.  If grandpa Willard's name just won't do, you could go with Willa or Willow for a girl instead.  Or the other way around, name a son after great-aunt Phyllis by calling him Phillip. It's okay to name a girl after your grandpa or name a boy after your aunt. There are plenty of names that can be feminized or masculinized to honor someone even if you're having a baby of the opposite gender.

3. The Nickname Bond
Is your relative better known by a nickname rather than their proper given name? You could use that to your advantage by using that same nickname but applying a different given name to it for your child. For instance, you'd like to honor your father who goes by Harry. His real name is Harold which you don't like. Name your son Henry and let him go by Harry just like grandpa.  Or name your little girl Annabelle after grandma "Annie" whose real name is MaryAnn.

4. The Hidden Treasure
You've only ever known your great-grandmother as Dotty and later learned that it is short for Dorothy. You'd love to honor her but you just don't like either name. Finally, you think to ask if she ever had a middle name. To your surprise, her middle name was Grace. You and your partner are thrilled to discover this and immediately name your daughter Grace after your beloved great-grandmother. You never know when an excellent name could be tucked away in the middle name spot. Explore all of your options!

5. The Familial Mention
You could potentially honor an entire lineage of people simply by giving your child your maiden name or another surname in the family tree. There are many surnames being used as first names today from Parker to McKinley to Harrison to Stone. Explore your options and perhaps you'll find that you can honor your whole family this way!

6. The Monogram Replica
Another way to honor someone without actually using their exact name is to use their initials. Take their first and middle initials and come up with a different name that you love for your child. This is a subtle but sweet way to give your child his own identity while still allowing him to feel a connection to that beloved relative forever.

7. The Branch-out Method
If you're honoring someone on your family tree, explore their name's family tree too. That's right, find a different but related name. For example, did you know that you could honor grandma Heidi by using Alice, Alison, Alyssa, Alicia, Ada, Adelaide or Della? Most people won't see the connection, but all of these names come from the Ancient Germanic root name "Adalheidis".

8. The Beloved's Beloved
There is a way to honor a loved one without actually using their name. Maybe your mother's favorite flower is a lily. She even had lilies in her wedding bouquet. This would allow you to name your daughter Lily or even Lillian and still honor your mother because of the sentimental connection. You could even use the name that your mother would have used had she had another child. Or you could name your child after the city that your grandparents came from, or after your uncle's favorite song or sports team or fictional character. As long as it means something to you and your honoree, the sky's the limit!

9. The Meaningful Connection
Another subtle way to honor someone is to give your child a name that has the same meaning as their name. You'd like to honor your mother-in-law Glenda but you can't find a way to do so and you dislike her name. You see that Glenda means "pure" so you search by meaning and find that the lovely Katherine also means "pure." It doesn't seem connected at all but since they have the same meaning, it works as an honor name in that regard. There's plenty of names that mean something in another language, too, that could be played with. You just have to dig deeper but this method would probably be a last resort if you cannot find a better way to honor someone.

10. The Tuck Away
After exploring all of the above methods to honor someone even though you hate their name, you come to the conclusion that there is no good way to alter it. You'd rather use their exact name than creatively change it with a work-around, but you still don't like it enough for a first name. The answer is simple: put their name in your child's middle name spot. Choose a first name that you love that the child will answer to, but let their middle name serve as an honor for your family member or friend.

What do you think about these methods? Which have you used when you named your child after a loved one?

photo credit: Kels Photo Images via photopin cc

Friday, December 5, 2014

Elsa

Along with dozens of other names, Elsa comes from the name Elizabeth.  Of course, Elizabeth comes from the Greek form of the Hebrew name Elisheva. It means either "my God is an oath", "my God is abundance" or "pledged to God". Elizabeth has been extremely consistent in its popularity over the years, having always been in the Top 30 since 1880.


The lovely German Elsa is also very consistent in its popularity since 1880 in the US. Since the release of the wildly successful movie Disney's Frozen in November 2013 featuring a Queen Elsa, the baby name Elsa is expected to leap up the charts in 2014.  Before Frozen, Elsa originally gained popularity as a name among English speakers because of Wagner's romantic opera Lohengrin in 1848. Elsa was the name of the heroine in the opera.

I chose to feature Elsa as part of Scandinavian week because, while it is mostly used in Germany, it also has usage in the Scandinavian countries, particularly Sweden and Norway. Even Iceland has love for it!

Here in the US, Queen Elsa is everywhere these days so if you love the name Elsa but want to avoid trends and popularity, perhaps you should consider Elsie or Elise instead. In 2013, there were 560 baby girls named Elsa for a ranking of #528. Right now it isn't ranked too high but I expect this name to break into the 300s, at least, in 2014.

What do you think? Do you know any babies named Elsa? If so, what are their siblings named? What middle name did they receive? Here are some ideas if you're in need:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Annabelle, Charlotte, Grace, Hallie, Johanna, Olivia, Tilly
Brothers: Axel, Charles, Erik, Henry, Matthias, Miles, Sebastian

Middle Name Ideas:
Elsa Corinne
Elsa Juliet
Elsa Margaret
Elsa Violet

As a Middle Name:
Dagny Elsa
Harper Elsa
Kiersten Elsa
Maren Elsa

Elsa is a bit difficult to put in the middle name spot and also achieve good flow from first to middle to last, so it'd probably fit best in the first name spot.  What names would you suggest to go with Elsa?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

World-Wide Wednesday: Scandinavian Baby Names

This edition of World-Wide Wednesday focuses on the baby names of Scandinavia. This includes the three kingdoms of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. These three countries are also categorized as Nordic countries along with Finland, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe islands. There is plenty of overlapping influence between the countries that sometimes is translated into their baby names. Most baby name sites group all of these together as one overall "origin" called Scandinavian names.

In general, surnames, or "heritable family names", weren't used often in Scandinavia until rather recently in comparison with some other countries. In Denmark, an act was passed in 1526 that made families of nobility have to begin using a heritable name. High class people followed suit during the next few centuries and finally everyone else did later. They followed a patronymic naming tradition that gave the father's name to the children with the suffix "-sen" added to the end. For example, the son of a man named Jens would be given the surname Jensen. 


There have been many naming acts passed since 1771, that made citizens have to give up traditional primary patronymics in favor of choosing a single patronymic surname to use as their heritable family name. What resulted was an overwhelming dominance of a few specific surnames. About one-third of the Danish population have one of the ten most common surnames. More than two-thirds of people have a patronymic name that end with -sen. However, in 2005, Denmark ruled that people could once again use patronymic surnames as a replacement for or in addition to traditional surnames. 

In Norway, the most common surnames were also patronymic and usually ended with either "-ssen", "-sson", "-sdatter", or "-sdotter" with the first two referring to a son and the last two referring to a daughter. For example, the daughter of Jon would be given the surname Jonsdotter while her brother would be called Jonsson. In more recent times, the extra S is often dropped: Hansen instead of Hanssen. 

In 1923, a law was passed that made each Norwegian family choose a single, hereditary last name. Any surname that is derived from a place name usually originated as a farm name that was sometimes taken instead of a patronymic one. However today, place names are much more common than a patronymic name. The popular farm names tend to include either Bakke/Bakken meaning "hill or rise", Berg/Berge meaning "mountain or hill", Haugen/Daugan meaning "hill or mound", Dahl/Dal meaning "valley", Lie meaning "side of a valley", Moen meaning "meadow" or Rud meaning "clearing". Since 2002, the option of using patronymic surnames was once again available.

Swedish surnames are originally patronymic with the most common ending being "-sson". However, in 1901, an act was passed that abolished the practice of handing down patronymic names. Everyone one had to have a specific family surname that was inherited by each generation. Swedish families tend to like names that have to do with nature. A few examples include Lind meaning "linden", Berg meaning "mountain", Dahl/Dahlin meaning "valley" or Alström/Ahlström meaning "alder + stream".  They sometimes build into the family name information about where the family came from. For example, the Strindberg family came from Strinne. There are also some family names that have to do with war such as Skarpsvärd meaning "sharp sword" or Sköld meaning "shield". Since 1982, they've been allowed to use patronymic names again.

In Iceland, they still use patronymic surnames almost exclusively. There are a few heritable surnames passed down, but nearly all Icelanders follow the patronymic method of naming. This includes giving sons the suffix -son and daughters get the suffix -dóttir.  Iceland is very specific and picky about which names parents are allowed to use. There is a Naming Committee that must approve names, especially new ones that have never been used in the country before. The names must be easily used in the Icelandic language and use their alphabet, and they have to be gender specific. Nearly everyone has their father's name incorporated into their last name, but occasionally, matronymic names are used instead. This occurs when the child is to have no social tie to the father or if the mother wishes to make a social statement.

Now that we've covered how naming traditions generally work now and in the past, let's take a look at some examples of Scandinavian baby names.

The following names are somewhat anglicized and therefore a little easier for American children to wear:


Girls:
Annika                               
Annelise
Astrid
Axelia
Brigitta
Cilla
Dagny
Elin
Elsa
Erika
Freya
Greta
Heidi
Helga
Ingrid
Johanna
Kaia
Kirsten
Liv
Magda
Milla
Novalie
Oletta
Selma
Signy
Sigrid
Siri
Sylvi
Thora
Tilda
Tyra
Ulrika
Viveka
Boys:
Anders
Anton
Ari
Axel
Bo
Carl
Casper
Claus
Erik
Finn
Gunnar
Gustav
Hans
Hendrick
Ivor
Jannick
Jensen
Johan
Kai
Lars
Leif
Magnus
Odin
Otto
Ralph
Rasmus
Sander
Soren
Stellan
Thor
Torsten
Ulrik
Viggo
If you're looking for some names that are very heavily influenced by the countries and languages of Scandinavia, here is a nice collection starting with the girls first:

Abelone                             
Aili
Aira
Alfhild
Anneli
Arnhild
Arvida
Åse
Asta
Astri
Aura
Beata
Bryndis
Brynhild
Brynja
Dagmar
Dagrun
Ebba
Edda
Eila
Eira
Ellevi
Ellisif
Embla
Eydis
Fideli
Frigg
Gudrun
Gyda
Hallgjerd
Hedda
Hedvig
Henrika
Hildur
Hillevi
Hjordis
Hulda
Inari
Ingeborg
Ingegerd
Ingvild
Kaisa
Kajsa
Karelia
Katri
Kjersti
Lærke
Lemmitty
Lillevi
Liva
Lova
Lumi
Lykke
Mæja
Maiken
Maila
Merete
Meri
Metta
Mieli
Minea
Moa
Nemi
Pernilla
Ragna
Ragnhild
Saga
Salla
Sella
Senni
Sigrid
Sigrun
Silja
Sini
Sóley
Solveig
Sunniva
Suvi
Svea
Synnøve
Taina
Tarina
Tella
Tordis
Torny
Tova
Vanja
Veslemøy
Vigdis
Ylva
And the boy names:

Åke                                    
Albin
Alrik
Alvi
Andor
Ansgar
Arne
Arnfinn
Arni
Aro
Arvid
Asger
Asker
Audun
Auvo
Balder
Birger
Bjarte
Dagfinn
Eigil
Einar
Eivind
Elof
Emund
Erlend
Erling
Esben
Folke
Freystein
Geir
Greger
Gregers
Gudmund
Gunvor
Hakon
Haldor
Halsten
Halvar
Hemming
Henrik
Ingemar
Ingo
Ingvar
Jarl
Jens
Jerrik
Joar
Jokum
Karsten
Keld
Kjartan
Kjell
Kolben
Konsta
Magnar
Melker
Mika
Mio
Morten
Njord
Ordin
Orvar
Orvo
Øystein
Ragnar
Ravn
Reidar
Rein
Runar
Rune
Seved
Sigurd
Sigvid
Solen
Stein
Stig
Sven
Tage
Taran
Thorfinn
Thorvald
Toivo
Tollak
Torben
Torun
Tyke
Ulf
Valo
Vebjørn
Yngve
If you're wondering what the most popular names per country are, I have that information too! For the year 2012, these were the Top 10 names per gender per country:

Top 10 Girl Names in Scandinavia in 2012:

Denmark        
  1. Sofia
  2. Ida
  3. Freja
  4. Emma
  5. Isabella
  6. Sofie
  7. Maja
  8. Laura
  9. Clara
  10. Mathilde
Sweden          
  1. Alice
  2. Elsa
  3. Julia
  4. Ella
  5. Maja
  6. Ebba
  7. Emma
  8. Linnea
  9. Molly
  10. Alva
Finland  
  1. Ella
  2. Sofia
  3. Emma
  4. Aada
  5. Aino
  6. Venla
  7. Helmi
  8. Emilia
  9. Siiri
  10. Sara
Norway
  1. Nora
  2. Emma
  3. Sofie
  4. Linnea/Linea
  5. Sara
  6. Emilie
  7. Ingrid
  8. Thea
  9. Leah
  10. Sofia
Top 10 Boy Names in Scandinavia in 2012:

    Denmark   
  1. William
  2. Lucas
  3. Victor
  4. Noah
  5. Oscar
  6. Liam
  7. Frederik
  8. Emil
  9. Oliver
  10. Magnus
    Sweden
  1. William
  2. Oscar
  3. Lucas
  4. Hugo
  5. Elias
  6. Alexander
  7. Liam
  8. Charlie
  9. Oliver
  10. Filip
   Finland    
  1. Onni
  2. Elias
  3. Eetu
  4. Leo
  5. Aleksi
  6. Niilo
  7. Veeti
  8. Oliver
  9. Joona
  10. Eino
    Norway
  1. Lucas
  2. Emil
  3. Mathias
  4. Jonas
  5. Alexander
  6. William
  7. Oskar
  8. Magnus
  9. Markus
  10. Oliver
What do you think of Scandinavian names? Do you have a favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below!!

Source | Source | Source | Source | Source | Source | Source | Source | Source | Source


[Note:] I am not Scandinavian and I've never been to that part of the world. If any of this information is incorrect or lacking, contact me so I can adjust it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Magnus

Welcome to Scandinavian Week! You may have seen the polls that I made on the sidebar of the blog and maybe you even voted for your favorite Scandinavian names for each gender. After a tie-breaker, the winning male name was Magnus.


Magnus is a Late Latin name meaning "Great" but it is heavily used by Scandinavians, particularly those from Sweden, Norway and Denmark.  It became popular in those countries because of the 11th century King Magnus I of Norway.

It was said that King Magnus I may have been named after another ruler, Charlemagne, who was also known as Carolus Magnus, or Charles the Great.  Others who bore the name Magnus include a 7th century saint, 6 more kings of Norway, and 3 kings of Sweden.

In the middle ages, the name Magnus gained usage in Scotland and Ireland. Manus is an Irish variant of the name. There's also the Finnish variants Manu, Mauno and Maunu, and the Danish Mogens.

Interestingly, from Magnus sprang forth the Medieval English name Mack which then led to the name Maxwell, which is a Scottish place name then surname.

In the US, Magnus was used sporadically from 1890 until 1981 when it gained yearly regularity. However, it has always been rare. 2013 is the first year that the name has ever been in the Top 1000. With 206 births, Magnus ranked at #958.

In Iceland, Magnús (pronounced MAHG-noose) ranked at #7 for the year 2007. In recent years, Magnus has also ranked at #4 in Norway, #8 in Denmark, #180 in Scotland and #300 in British Columbia, Canada.

What do you think of the great Magnus as a baby name? It is a strong, bold choice that will stand out! Do you think it is too bold or would you use it? What's a good middle name?  Here are some middle name ideas and sibling name ideas;

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Astrid, Caroline, Elowen, Fiona, Freya, Ingrid, Liv, Maren, Onnika, Sorena, Thora
Brothers: Caspar, Erik, Felix, Henrik, Hugo, Lucius, Odin, Rex, Sebastian, Soren, Viggo

Middle Name Ideas:
Magnus Christopher
Magnus Gunnar
Magnus James
Magnus Thurston
Magnus Yorrick

As a Middle Name:
Axel Magnus
Dane Magnus
Henry Magnus
Levi Magnus
Samuel Magnus

Share your thoughts on the name in the comments below!

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