Saturday, May 30, 2015

Two Whole Years at The Art Of Naming!

Today marks 2 years since I began writing about names on The Art of Naming! I want to thank you all for accompanying me on my journey!

I have had a wonderful time researching and writing about names to share with you! I can assure you that I have plenty more to write about and I hope you will continue to come visit me here on my little blog and share your comments and thoughts with me when you can!

For those of you kind enough to follow me on my social media accounts as well (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google Plus...) I want to give you a huge thank you!

It is the more interactive moments that I love the most! When you share your thoughts or your favorite names with me on my various posts, it brightens my day and gives me more motivation to continue researching and writing!

If you ever have a request, a suggestion, a question or even a complaint, feel free to reach out to me either on one of the above platforms or by email.  If you just feel like chatting about names with me, I'm always here to make a new name-nerd friend!

Thanks for the good times! I look forward to the year to come!

-Kara @ The Art Of Naming

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To Honor or Not to Honor: 7 Instances When You Should NOT Use a Family Name

For many years all around the world, it was the norm to hand names down generation after generation. In many cultures, it was traditional to use family names. Sometimes there were even patterns laid out for determining which child gets which relative's name.

Times have changed a bit but even modern parents find themselves considering whether or not they'll honor a relative.

There are times when the honoree is a wonderful role model for the child and passing down their name is natural for the parents. The child gets the chance to feel a connection to their family's past and no doubt that honored relative is thrilled!

However, there are other instances when honoring someone just doesn't feel right. How do you know when you should and when you shouldn't honor a relative? It isn't easy when familial pressure sets in, especially when there are traditions in place that you're expected to follow like if your husband is the fourth, do you have to make your son the fifth or could you break tradition?

I previously described how you could honor a relative even if you hate their name, but this article will help you figure out if you should even bother trying to honor someone at all.

Here are a few reasons why you should NOT use a family name for your child:

Because... it's just... ugly...

You've tried to find a way to twist your relative's terrible name around to become something beautiful but no matter what you try, you still cannot find something that you love that would still honor that person. Now what?

Well, there are some names that are just too odd, unattractive or out-of-fashion to consider. It isn't a bad thing to dislike them. Some names may end up being burdensome on a modern child. It is okay to avoid those ones even if it means that you won't be honoring anyone.

If you were to really discuss this with your relatives, you may be surprised to find that they may agree with your decision to skip using Grandma Bertha's name. Don't fret!

Because they don't even like it...

Imagine that you've decided to name your daughter after your mother. When you tell her about it, you're surprised at her negative reaction and she urges you not to do that because she has always hated her own name. You try to explain your reasons but she stands firmly against having a namesake.

Ouch. What can you do?  Since you clearly don't have her blessing on using her name, it may be best to respect her wishes and find another name.  Perhaps mom has a few good ideas and you can involve her in the naming process another way.

Because you only like the one...

You've always loved your grandmother Alice's name and for as long as you can remember you've planned on naming a daughter after her. However, your other grandmother's name is Eunice and your husband's grandmothers are Alberta and Gladys. You love these women just as much as Grandma Alice but you don't quite love their names as much.

Is it better to skip using Alice in order to avoid feeling obligated to consider the names of the other grandmothers? After all, you only love that one name and you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by seemingly choosing favorites.

Think about how your family would react. If they wouldn't mind that you only use the one name, great! If aunts and uncles start casting in votes for their own names too, perhaps it's time to reconsider.

Because you don't... get along...

Typically when you decide to use a family name, it is because you love and respect that relative and want to honor them in this special way. Unfortunately, some families just don't get along due to private issues like dysfunction or various painful circumstances.

It stands to reason that if you've never been very close to your family, you probably wouldn't consider naming a child after them.  If this is the case, it's probably best to avoid using an honor name and choose something that would instead bring love and happiness to your new little family.

Because it's hard to be fair... 

You crave symmetry and fairness. If you use a name from your side, you feel obligated to use a name from your partner's side for the next child. You've had your heart set on naming your first son after your grandfather but when you began to ponder names for a future baby #2, you realized that your partner's side of the family doesn't have any decent options that aren't already taken.

The only name you could see yourself settling for belongs to a relative that really gets on your nerves and you don't want your child named after them.  You've searched through middle names, nicknames, maiden names and still you're coming up short.  At this point, it might be better to avoid family names altogether so there are no hurt feelings on either side and you won't end up settling.

Because you want to choose what you want to choose...

There comes a point when relatives begin to offer their ideas about what the baby should be called. There may be old family traditions in place that you're expected to follow and these are never easy to sidestep. It doesn't help that your sister already gave in and named her daughter after your grandmother. Now all eyes are on you.

You wrestle with the idea but you really don't want to follow suit. This is your baby and you want to name it whatever you want! It may be hard to take a stand against tradition and familial expectations but you'll regret it more if you don't.

Because it just doesn't feel right...

You've somehow ended up agreeing on making your son a junior after your husband. At the time, you were happy that your husband was happy but now you're not so sure. Something about it just doesn't feel right. You feel like you're just clicking copy and paste rather than actually giving a name to your child.

Now is the time to speak up. If the name that has been chosen doesn't settle right with you, you can absolutely say something and work toward a compromise that will make you and your partner happy. It is your child! You deserve to love the name you choose!


Have you encountered any issues during your own naming processes? Were you expected to honor a relative? Why did you decide against it? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Friday, May 22, 2015


The list of The Very Best I Names for Boys and Girls offered plenty of interesting choices.  This week is the boys turn for a featured name and the options were hard to choose from. In the end, Ignatius was the victor.

The name Ignatius comes from the Roman family name Egnatius. Originally, Egnatius had an unknown meaning from the ancient Etruscan origin. As time went on, the spelling was altered so it would be similar to the Latin word ignis which means "fire". Because of this, the Etruscan Egnatius became the Latin Ignatius and inherited itself a meaning.

There were several saints named Ignatius. The most well-known St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) was the founder of the Jesuits. Interestingly, his birth name was Íñigo which is sometimes regarded as a form of Ignatius, but it is probably just because of its association with this saint.  (Inigo was also one of our featured I names that I nearly chose. It is Spanish but comes from the name Eneko which is derived from Basque elements. It doesn't seem to actually relate to Ignatius.) Inigo is a great alternative, though, if you like Ignatius but think it is a bit too big of a name for your tastes.

Now that Ignatius means fire, it is certainly a red-hot choice for bold namers. It has several variants in other languages including the Spanish Ignacio, the Italian Ignazio, the German Ignatz, the Portuguese Inácio, the Dutch Ignaas, the Russian Ignatiy and more.  Iggy, Nate or Natius (nay-shus) seem to be popular nicknames for Ignatius while the Spanish Ignacios can sometimes be called Nacio or Nacho for short.  There's also Ignacia for a girl who could potentially go by Nancy.

How does this international name rank in the US? Ignatius has been steadily in use since 1885.  It had the most usage in terms of births per year in 1920 when the name was given to 97 boys. It declined in usage after that, not even ranking in 1980 at all.

However, Ignatius is slowly climbing back up the charts, possibly receiving a tiny revival along with other more popular Latin -us names like Atticus or Maximus. Ignatius was given to 40 boys in 2014 for a ranking of #2896. So it isn't in the Top 1000 names but it is being used. It would be a unique choice for a modern boy!

What do you think of this name? Do you like Ignatius or one of the variants better?  If you're considering this name, here are some ideas for siblings and middle names:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Aurelia, Clementina, Juliana, Olympia, Serena, Sybil, Valentina
Brothers: Augustus, Casimir, Dominic, Florian, Octavian, Roman, Virgil

Middle Name Ideas:
Ignatius Benedict
Ignatius Joseph
Ignatius Matthew
Ignatius Vincent

As a Middle Name:
Arlo Ignatius
Henry Ignatius
Jonathan Ignatius
Robert Ignatius

This name is a bit difficult to pair up but it seems to work best as a middle name with a 2 syllable more-traditional first name. Henry Ignatius and Robert Ignatius are my favorites. However I couldn't resist going with Ignatius Benedict despite how very saint/pope it is. What would you pair Ignatius with?  Share your thoughts below!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Very Best I Names for Boys and Girls

The letter I  is an interesting letter. Since it is a vowel, it feels like there should be plenty of popular options like the letters A and E seem to have, but it is actually home to a number of unusual and under-the-radar choices.

Sure there's the popular Isabella which has graced the #1 spot in years past, and there's the constant and traditional Isaac and Isaiah, but many of the names below are rather unheard of and rarely used.

Do you agree with my assessment or do you feel that many of these names are more commonplace than I gave them credit for? How many people do you know that have names starting with I? 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below... but for now, here are 25 of the best names for girls and 25 of the best names for boys that start with the letter I!

  1. Ianthe                                
  2. Ida
  3. Ignacia
  4. Iliana
  5. Imogen
  6. India
  7. Indira
  8. Inez
  9. Ingrid
  10. Iolanthe
  11. Ione
  12. Ireland
  13. Iris
  14. Isabeau
  15. Isabella
  16. Isadora
  17. Isla
  18. Ismene
  19. Isobel
  20. Isolde
  21. Italia
  22. Ithaca
  23. Ivana
  24. Ivette
  25. Ivy
  1. Iago
  2. Ian
  3. Ichabod
  4. Idris
  5. Ifan
  6. Ignacio
  7. Ignatius
  8. Ike
  9. Immanuel
  10. Indiana
  11. Indigo
  12. Indy
  13. Inigo
  14. Ira
  15. Irving
  16. Irwin
  17. Isaac
  18. Isaiah
  19. Isidore
  20. Isidro
  21. Ismael
  22. Israel
  23. Ivan
  24. Ives
  25. Ivo
Which of the above I names do you like most? Did I leave any of your favorites off the list? Don't forget to check out the other articles in this series by clicking the links below!

<-- The Very Best H Names for Boys and Girls ||| The Very Best J Names for Boys and Girls -->

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wyatt Arthur - (Birth Announcements!)

Birth announcements are a great way to discover what names other parents are using. You can use this knowledge for your own baby naming efforts and let yourself be inspired! Whether you view these as names that you'd never use or names that you'd love to use, lists like these can be helpful in the naming process.

If you were expecting a baby today and had to choose a name from this list, which would it be? Tell me your one favorite girl name and one favorite boy name from the following list. Share your picks in the comment section below! My choices are at the bottom of the page!


Ada June

Adalyn Ruth
Amira Renee
Annelise Elizabeth
Ansley Michelle
Ashlyn Olivia
Ava Chelsea
Aviana Rose
Cassidy Olivia
Ciara Elizabeth
Emma Grace
Evelyn Fae
Jessica Ann
Juliana Deborah
Kaitlyn Sophia
Kelly Lee
Khloe Marianne
Lauren Elizabeth
Lauryn Elaine
Lolah Marie
Luz Isabella
Morgan Serenity
Norah Eve
Olivia Faith
Paige Marie
Paislee Margaret Rose
Riley Marie
Serena Marie
Sophia Lynn
Violet Evelyn

Aiden Scott
Andrew William
Anthony Frank
Avery James
Bentley Michael
Bryan Rodrigo
Bryce William
Carter Bryce
Chase Charles
Christopher David
Coen James
Eli Nigel
Evan Jameson
Gage William
Jeffrey Cornelius James
Jeter Patrick
Jordan James
Josiah Levi
King Fredrick
Levi Edison
Logan Christopher
Michael Anthony
Noah Fiore
Parker Lee
Paul David
Roman Frederick James
Titus Timothy
Vince James
Wyatt Arthur
Zayne Charles

My top two picks from the above lists are:
Kaitlyn Sophia & Wyatt Arthur

What would you choose?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Noah & Emma: The Top Names of 2014

The brand new Social Security Administration list of the most popular baby names in 2014 is here! For the first time since 2008, Emma has reclaimed the throne, surpassing both Sophia and Olivia! On the boy's side, Noah has held onto his popularity another year even though many were speculating that #2 Liam would take it.

Here are the new Top 10 for each gender!

I thought Sophia would have continued her streak at #1 again this year, only possibly being unseated by Olivia. I was right about Olivia surpassing Sophia, but I didn't see Emma coming to claim the throne again after only being #1 once in 2008.  Charlotte made her way into the Top 10 by knocking Elizabeth out of the ring. With the birth of the new princess, Charlotte will probably continue to rise, potentially being #1 within the next 5 years! Any thoughts?

My guess was that Liam would take #1 but Noah holds on to the throne another year! Mason surpasses Jacob, and James takes Jayden's place! The names this year are all rather classic and traditional. These are solid names. I've seen some people complaining that they're all a bit boring. For example, Elijah was #11 again, so close to cracking the Top 10 for the first time and mixing things up. Maybe next year!

Here is the official list for the Top 100 Names in 2014 and their Number of Births:

1 Noah 19,144 Emma 20,799
2 Liam 18,342 Olivia 19,674
3 Mason 17,092 Sophia 18,490
4 Jacob 16,712 Isabella 16,950
5 William 16,687 Ava 15,586
6 Ethan 15,619 Mia 13,442
7 Michael 15,323 Emily 12,562
8 Alexander 15,293 Abigail 11,985
9 James 14,301 Madison 10,247
10 Daniel 13,829 Charlotte 10,048
11 Elijah 13,694 Harper 9,564
12 Benjamin 13,687 Sofia 9,542
13 Logan 13,579 Avery 9,517
14 Aiden 13,296 Elizabeth 9,492
15 Jayden 12,878 Amelia 8,727
16 Matthew 12,809 Evelyn 8,692
17 Jackson 12,121 Ella 8,489
18 David 12,078 Chloe 8,469
19 Lucas 12,078 Victoria 7,955
20 Joseph 11,995 Aubrey 7,589
21 Anthony 11,490 Grace 7,554
22 Andrew 11,069 Zoey 7,358
23 Samuel 10,859 Natalie 7,061
24 Gabriel 10,826 Addison 6,950
25 Joshua 10,764 Lillian 6,869
26 John 10,600 Brooklyn 6,767
27 Carter 10,599 Lily 6,727
28 Luke 10,431 Hannah 6,512
29 Dylan 10,350 Layla 6,428
30 Christopher 10,278 Scarlett 5,965
31 Isaac 9,868 Aria 5,893
32 Oliver 9,365 Zoe 5,828
33 Henry 9,350 Samantha 5,680
34 Sebastian 9,237 Anna 5,639
35 Caleb 9,143 Leah 5,563
36 Owen 9,100 Audrey 5,531
37 Ryan 9,026 Ariana 5,461
38 Nathan 8,902 Allison 5,440
39 Wyatt 8,812 Savannah 5,433
40 Hunter 8,759 Arianna 5,240
41 Jack 8,685 Camila 5,194
42 Christian 8,388 Penelope 5,062
43 Landon 8,180 Gabriella 5,051
44 Jonathan 8,035 Claire 4,991
45 Levi 7,958 Aaliyah 4,850
46 Jaxon 7,635 Sadie 4,823
47 Julian 7,611 Riley 4,761
48 Isaiah 7,530 Skylar 4,732
49 Eli 7,428 Nora 4,708
50 Aaron 7,334 Sarah 4,647
51 Charles 7,269 Hailey 4,595
52 Connor 7,195 Kaylee 4,513
53 Cameron 7,013 Paisley 4,473
54 Thomas 6,972 Kennedy 4,459
55 Jordan 6,810 Ellie 4,442
56 Jeremiah 6,780 Peyton 4,426
57 Nicholas 6,713 Annabelle 4,324
58 Evan 6,667 Caroline 4,307
59 Adrian 6,659 Madelyn 4,289
60 Gavin 6,582 Serenity 4,284
61 Robert 6,572 Aubree 4,258
62 Brayden 6,539 Lucy 4,257
63 Grayson 6,532 Alexa 4,227
64 Josiah 6,376 Alexis 4,188
65 Colton 6,339 Nevaeh 4,188
66 Austin 6,263 Stella 4,165
67 Angel 6,255 Violet 4,156
68 Jace 6,254 Genesis 4,144
69 Dominic 6,205 Mackenzie 4,122
70 Kevin 5,859 Bella 4,050
71 Brandon 5,804 Autumn 4,034
72 Tyler 5,785 Mila 4,033
73 Parker 5,677 Kylie 3,928
74 Ayden 5,586 Maya 3,904
75 Jason 5,510 Piper 3,840
76 Jose 5,442 Alyssa 3,798
77 Ian 5,422 Taylor 3,782
78 Chase 5,322 Eleanor 3,704
79 Adam 5,293 Melanie 3,681
80 Hudson 5,199 Naomi 3,677
81 Nolan 5,181 Faith 3,664
82 Zachary 5,137 Eva 3,651
83 Easton 4,961 Katherine 3,651
84 Blake 4,913 Lydia 3,609
85 Jaxson 4,900 Brianna 3,582
86 Cooper 4,803 Julia 3,578
87 Lincoln 4,785 Ashley 3,539
88 Xavier 4,726 Khloe 3,518
89 Bentley 4,722 Madeline 3,409
90 Kayden 4,691 Ruby 3,383
91 Carson 4,580 Sophie 3,364
92 Brody 4,297 Alexandra 3,288
93 Asher 4,279 London 3,264
94 Nathaniel 4,257 Lauren 3,072
95 Ryder 4,073 Gianna 3,061
96 Justin 3,991 Isabelle 3,044
97 Leo 3,936 Alice 3,042
98 Juan 3,887 Vivian 3,040
99 Luis 3,879 Hadley 2,992
100 Camden 3,872 Jasmine 2,988

What are your thoughts on this year's list?  Are you surprised by the popularity of any of these names?  Be sure to check out the Social Security Administration's full list of the Top 1000 names! 

As for the whole of the Top 1000, there's a lot of names there but here are some observations I made:

Noteworthy girl names new to the top 1000 this year: 
Emmeline (#1026 to 907)
Antonia  (#1030 to 975)
Clementine (#1100 to 943)
Magdalena  (#1138 to 976)
Maisie (#1124 to 658!!)
Cordelia (#1194 to 993)
Ariadne (#1224 to 801)

Maisie has really climbed up the charts in a big way!  Emmeline has been close to joining the Top 1000 for a while now and since Emma is #1, it makes sense.  I'm happy to see Antonia and Clementine have more usage! Magdalena, Cordelia and Ariadne are pleasant surprises!

Noteworthy boy names new to the top 1000 this year: 
Leif (#1006 to 998)
Agustin  (#1008 to 879)
Eliseo (#1013 to 952)
Anton  (#1021 to 897)
Dimitri (#1028 to 882)
Leighton (#1045 to 893)
Ford (#1050 to 883)

None of these boy names made huge strides but they did join the Top 1000 after not ranking in it for 2013.  They're all unique options that are gaining more familiarity! Would you use any of these?

Any thoughts on names in the Top 1000?


To complement our list of The Very Best H Names for Boys and Girls, we will further examine the feminine name Honora.

It was the Normans who introduced the name Honora to England and Ireland. Honora is a variant of the name Honoria which is the feminine form of Honorius.

Honorius is a Late Latin name meaning "honor". It has been worn by a few saints and popes as well as an emperor.

In addition to the lovely Honora, there is also the Irish Onóra and the English Annora. Nora is an excellent nickname for all of these, and diminutives include the similar Norene, Noreen, Norah and Nóirín.

While some parents like the shorter and simpler name Honor to reflect its virtuous meaning, others opt for a bit more of an elaboration with Honora or Honoria. These types of abstract virtue names were popular with the Puritans after having been introduced to Britain by the Normans.

Today in modern America, Honora is very under-the-radar. It has been used quietly but consistently since records were first kept in 1880 but it has never been popular. The year 1919 received the most usage for this name in a single year but that only accounted for 28 births. In 2013, there were only 20 baby girls given the name Honora in the US for a ranking of #6282.

The name Honor was a bit more popular. There were 133 girls named Honor in 2013 and there weren't any births on record for the name Honoria.  On the flipside, 64 boys were also named Honor which proves that this virtue name could work for either gender.

If you are considering using Honora, here are some ideas for sibling and middle names:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Annaliese, Cordelia, Laurel, Leonie, Matilda, Octavia, Sabrina
Brothers: August, Henry, Lucius, Miles, Rafferty, Sebastian, William

Middle Name Ideas:
Honora Claire
Honora Gabrielle
Honora Juliet
Honora Rosalind

As a Middle Name:
Bridget Honora
Maeve Honora
Phoebe Honora
Violet Honora

What do you think about the name Honora? Is it on your list? Don't forget to vote for your favorite variant below:

Which name do you like best?


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Very Best H Names for Boys and Girls

Imagine for a moment that you've got a situation like the Duggar Family but your favorite letter is H. It can be difficult to find one name that you like, but to find many names that all start with one letter? That would be quite the challenge!

You may not end up with 19 kids like the Duggars, but if you were to opt for using all H names, this list happens to contain the 50 best H-Names around!

With 25 girl names and 25 boy names, this list should offer more than enough options for your family of Hs.

In the comments below, be sure to share which names you like most that start with the letter H. Did your favorites make the list?

  1. Hadassah                            
  2. Hadley
  3. Hailey
  4. Halle