Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Look Back At The Art of Naming's 2015 - A Year End Summary

We're at the end of the year 2015. Before we step into 2016, let's take a moment to look back at the names and articles we've discussed this year.

The main name series of the year took us on an alphabetical adventure. The plan was to fit all 26 letters into 12 months but it was a bit too jam-packed. As a result, the letter Z has been stretched out to March, but we have been able to explore most of the letters already. Below are all of the available links to view the Top 50 names per letter according to The Art of Naming:

A | B | C D E | F | G | H | I | J K | L | M N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

The featured name articles that have accompanied the alphabetical posts were originally meant to complement each other as if they were part of a big sibset of 26 kids from A-Z but there may be a few outliers that don't quite "fit" in the traditional sense of what one may perceive a sibset to be. Here are links to those articles:

The letters V-Z will be arriving shortly. I hope you've enjoyed this series so far.

Also in 2015, we explored the following name lists:

As always, if you are expecting a child soon and find yourself at a loss for names, I have naming services available to help you! You can visit my Private Naming Services page to learn more about how I can help you find the perfect name in a professional, private and personalized manner.

Thank you for following my articles this year. Next year will bring several new series of name articles. I look forward to sharing more names with you in 2016 and beyond!

Happy New Year!

-Kara @ The Art of Naming

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I Want To Change My Name! Where Do I Start?

Changing your name can be tough. It requires that you really know yourself and what you want. 
You would need to browse through name lists and pick out the ones that jump at you. Maybe you’ll find something that instantly speaks to you, but most likely it’ll take a while and names will need to grow on you. You’ll need to try them on and wear them to see if they’re a fit.

You could go about it in many different ways but it would depend on if you want to keep a connection to your old name or abandon it completely. Here are a few of the many possible methods for choosing a different name for yourself:

1. Stick to similar sounds: Maybe you dislike your name Carolyn but you find yourself liking the similar sounding Coraline instead.

2. Find a related name: You don't want to stray too far but Heidi just isn't you. Try sister name Adelaide from the same root name Adalheidis.

3.  Do the complete opposite:  If you have a common name, go for something unusual like Rafferty or Xenia. If you already have an odd name that gives you trouble, you might opt for a more classic choice like James or Elizabeth.

4. Simplify it: If your name is needlessly complicated, you could find a simpler spelling. For instance, change Abbygayle to Abigail or Xzayvier to Xavier.

5. Scramble the old, create the new: You could rearrange the letters in your old name to come up with something else:  Alice -> Celia. Include your middle name and even your maiden name or surname if you're changing the entire thing.

6. Meanings are everything: You could find a name with the same meaning as your old one to subtly link your new self to a piece of your old self.

7. Borrow from the past:  You could pick something from your family tree like your great grandmother’s maiden name or an uncle's middle name. Explore your ancestral options, maybe you'll find something you like more than your own. Honoring a late relative would be a great bonus!

8. Random name generator:  You could look up name popularity statistics for your birth year and see where your name ranked, then choose whatever name ranked the same for 2014. Or 1920. Or 1957. Whatever year means something to you.

9. Swap it out: You could look at your birth year and find a different name that ranks within the Top 1000 so you would still fit in with your age group. (Some names that are popular and appealing now were not used at all until recently so you’d seem out-of-time if you used it.)

10. Find something shiny and new: The most likely option will be that you simply find something that feels right with no strings attached to your old name. Only you can know if the name will suit you. Trust your instincts and don't be afraid to be bold with your choice if need be. Being happy with your name is very important for your self identity.

No matter what approach you take to finding a new name for yourself, it takes research, self-meditation and trial and error. Introduce yourself with a name you like and see how it feels. Practice writing it and see if it seems natural or odd. It’s a complicated process but it is completely possible with enough thought and determination!

If you've ever changed your name or if you're considering it, share your story with us in the comment section below! 

Friday, December 18, 2015


Names that start with the letter U aren't always favored very highly but Ulysses is a great exception that deserves more usage.

The masculine name Ulysses is the Latin form of the excellent Greek mythological name Odysseus. Odysseus is said to be derived from the Greek οδυσσομαι (odyssomai) which means "to hate, wrathful". While that isn't the greatest meaning ever, both of these names are strong and interesting.

In Greek legend, Odysseus was a hero of the Trojan War. Homer's The Odyssey, follows Odysseus's journey back to his kingdom and his wife Penelope.

As for the name Ulysses, it was used as the title of a book written in 1920 by Irish author James Joyce. This story was loosely based on The Odyssey and was adapted into a movie in 1967.

The most famous man named Ulysses in American history is Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the commander of the Union forces during the American Civil War. He later became the 18th President of the United States from 1869-1877. His full name was actually Hiram Ulysses Grant.

This was also the name of George Clooney's character name in the Coen brothers' film O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Other forms of the name include the feminine Ulyssa, the French Ulysse, the Italian Ulisse, the Portuguese Ulisses and the Spanish Ulises.

Ulysses has been used as a name in the US since records began in 1880. It has always ranked within the Top 1000 up until the mid-2000s. It received the most amount of births in a single year in 1999 which was 272. Currently, Ulysses ranks at #1109 in 2014 with 171 births.

If you're considering this handsome, strong name, here are some middle name ideas and sibling name ideas that you may enjoy:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Antonia, Athena, Aurora, Eugenie, Lavinia, Octavia, Xanthia
Brothers: Fabian, Felix, Horatio, Octavian, Percival, Titus, Virgil

Middle Name Ideas:
Ulysses Benedict
Ulysses Clark
Ulysses Matthew
Ulysses Theodore
Ulysses Raphael

As a Middle Name:
Barnaby Ulysses
Dominic Ulysses
Henry Ulysses
Julian Ulysses
Victor Ulysses

What do you think of the name Ulysses? Does it deserve to rejoin the Top 1000? Or should it remain uncommon?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Very Best U Names for Boys and Girls

Imagine an alternate universe where the alphabet was arranged differently. I surmise that people love the letter A so much because it is #1, but what if it wasn't?  What if the letter U came first?

What if there were an abundance of favorable baby names that began with the letter U? What if common A names had their spellings changed to start with U and everyone loved them?

If that is hard to imagine, perhaps you should take a moment to stop and smell the U-scented roses. There is a surprising amount of lovely names that begin with this under-appreciated letter. I narrowed it down to the best I could find.

Here are the 50 best boy and girl names that start with the letter U:

  1. Ujana
  2. Ulani
  3. Ulla
  4. Ulyana
  5. Ulyciana
  6. Uma
  7. Umay
  8. Umeko
  9. Umi
  10. Umika
  11. Ummi
  12. Una
  13. Unique
  14. Unity
  15. Ura
  16. Urania
  17. Uriela
  18. Urja
  19. Ursa
  20. Ursula
  21. Usra
  22. Utari
  23. Uttara
  24. Uva
  25. Uzuri
  1. Uba
  2. Uchenna
  3. Uday
  4. Udell
  5. Ugo
  6. Ulmer
  7. Ulrich
  8. Ulysses
  9. Umberto
  10. Umed
  11. Umi
  12. Unique
  13. Uorsin
  14. Upton
  15. Urbain
  16. Urban
  17. Urbano
  18. Uri
  19. Uriah
  20. Urian
  21. Uriel
  22. Urijah
  23. Usher
  24. Usman
  25. Uttam
Which of these do you like best? If U isn't your letter, use the links below to explore 25 others.

<-- The Very Best T Names for Boys and Girls  |||  The Very Best V Names for Boys and Girls -->

Friday, December 11, 2015

Surname Names for Girls

Surname names aren't anything new. There are countless surnames that could work as a given name for a boy, but did you know that there is also an increasing amount of surname names for girls?

This list ranges from the more unisex options like Morgan, Parker and Carson that are also popular for boys to the interesting, feminine ones like Ayala, Miranda and Valencia.

Do you have a favorite surname to use as a girl's given name? Perhaps you'd use your maiden name or your grandmother's maiden name for a daughter.

Browse the list below and let me know in the comments if there are any other surname names that you can think of that I've missed.

  • Adair
  • Addison
  • Ainsley
  • Aniston
  • Arden
  • Arlington
  • Ashley
  • Astor
  • Avery
  • Avila
  • Ayala
  • Bailey
  • Bardot
  • Bell
  • Bellamy
  • Bettany
  • Blair
  • Blakely
  • Caldwell
  • Callan
  • Cameron
  • Campbell
  • Carlisle
  • Carrigan
  • Carrington
  • Carroll
  • Carson
  • Carter
  • Chandler
  • Connelly
  • Darby
  • Darcy
  • Delaney
  • Ellery
  • Ellington
  • Elliott
  • Ellis
  • Ellison
  • Embry
  • Emerson
  • Emery
  • Everly
  • Fifer
  • Finley
  • Garcia
  • Gracen
  • Greer
  • Hadley
  • Haley
  • Hanna
  • Harlow
  • Harper
  • Hayden
  • Holland
  • Hollis
  • Hollister
  • Hope
  • Jordan
  • Karter
  • Kelly
  • Kennedy
  • Kensington
  • Kerrington
  • Kim
  • Landry
  • Lane
  • Lara
  • Larkin
  • Lexington
  • Lindsey
  • Luna
  • Mackenzie
  • Madden
  • Madigan
  • Madison
  • Mara
  • Marley
  • Matlin
  • May
  • Mckenna
  • Mckinley
  • Miranda
  • Monroe
  • Mora
  • Morgan
  • Paige
  • Parker
  • Phoenix
  • Presley
  • Quinn
  • Reese
  • Riley
  • Rivera
  • Rose
  • Sailor
  • Santana
  • Sawyer
  • Sayer
  • Sheridan
  • Sinclair
  • Sloane
  • Sutton
  • Taylor
  • Tierney
  • Valencia
  • Valentine
  • Whitney
  • Windsor
  • Winslet
  • Winslow
  • Wylie
Do you know any girls with any of these names? Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Surname Names for Boys

Surname names for boys is one of the largest trends in baby names today, so much so that it is sometimes happening under the radar. Many of the names on this list have become so well-used and well-known as first names over the years that we don't really think about them also being surnames, we know that they are but the connection may not be immediately made.

That isn't always the case though. Some names are obviously more reminiscent of a surname than others like Smith or Nicholson or Campbell but many parents are increasingly using these surnames for first names.

This especially occurs in relation to maiden names. Mothers like to pass down their surnames by giving them to their sons as firsts or middles. This can also happen through wanting to honor a whole branch of the family tree.

Whatever the reason, many of the following names are hot these days while others are waiting to be discovered. Which of these do you like most?

  • Anderson
  • Bauer
  • Baxter
  • Bennett
  • Blaine
  • Brady
  • Brando
  • Brennan
  • Brooks
  • Bryant
  • Bryson
  • Callahan
  • Camden
  • Cameron
  • Campbell
  • Carlisle
  • Carter
  • Carson
  • Channing
  • Charlton
  • Clancy
  • Clark
  • Clinton
  • Cohen
  • Connor
  • Cooper
  • Crosby
  • Cruz
  • Cullen
  • Curran
  • Cyrus
  • Davis
  • Dawson
  • Dillon
  • Donovan
  • Elliott
  • Emerson
  • Emmett
  • Evans
  • Everett
  • Farrell
  • Finnigan
  • Finnegan
  • Fitzgerald
  • Fletcher
  • Flynn
  • Frazier
  • Ford
  • Gable
  • Gallagher
  • Garner
  • Gordon
  • Grady
  • Grant
  • Gray
  • Guthrie
  • Harper
  • Harrison
  • Hayes
  • Hendrix
  • Heston
  • Holden
  • Holland
  • Hollis
  • Hollister
  • Hudson
  • Hunter
  • Huxley
  • Jackson
  • Jacoby
  • Jameson
  • Jefferson
  • Jensen
  • Jones
  • Keagan
  • Keaton
  • Kennedy
  • Kiernan
  • Larkin
  • Lawson
  • Ledger
  • Lennon
  • Lennox
  • Levitt
  • Lincoln
  • Madigan
  • Mason
  • Mckinley
  • Miller
  • Monroe
  • Morgan
  • Morrison
  • Morrissey
  • Murphy
  • Murray
  • Nicholson
  • Nolan
  • Parker
  • Penn
  • Phoenix
  • Pierce
  • Porter
  • Quinn
  • Rafferty
  • Ramsey
  • Reagan
  • Reid
  • Rooney
  • Ross
  • Russell
  • Ryan
  • Ryder
  • Sawyer
  • Seeley
  • Shepherd
  • Sloan
  • Smith
  • Stewart
  • Sullivan
  • Sutton
  • Taylor
  • Theron
  • Theroux
  • Tiernan
  • Truman
  • Tucker
  • Turner
  • Tyler
  • Tyson
  • Walker
  • Ward
  • Wayne
  • West
  • Whitaker
  • Wilder
  • Wilson
  • Wiley
  • Winston
There are no doubt plenty more names that could be added to this list. Did I miss any of your favorites? Share your thoughts in the comments or follow the links to learn more about the handful of names already featured.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Inspired by our list of The Very Best T Names for Boys and Girls is the beautiful and unique name Tallulah.

Tallulah is a Native American name but there is a bit of discrepancy about its true origin and meaning. It is typically said to mean "leaping waters" in the Choctaw language but some argue that it actually means "town" in the Creek language. Perhaps both of them are accurate. This name is pronounced tə-LOO-lə.

The alternative spelling Talulla is actually a different name. Talulla is Irish and comes from the Gaelic name Tailelaith. It is derived from the Irish elements tuile meaning "abundance" and flaith meaning "princess". There are two early Irish saints by the name Talulla.

Neither name is popular or even common. The Irish Talulla has only been given to 10 girls total according to the SSA's records: 5 births in 2011 and 5 in 2013 in the US.

As for Tallulah, the name has been on record since 1917 in the US but it was only occasionally used until 1956 when it took a hiatus. It regained usage in 1979 but it was still spotty until 1995.

Now the name is gaining a following and climbing the charts. It has yet to rank within the Top 1000 names but with 139 female births in 2014, it is getting close. It also ranked recently at #265 in England and Wales.

As for famous namesakes, there was an American actress by the name of Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968) who was named after her grandmother. Her grandmother may have been named after the beautiful waterfall at Tallulah Falls in Georgia.

Tallulah strikes an interesting chord as a name. Its Native American roots give it an earthy yet whimsical vibe, but it also seems sweet, sassy and elegant in other lights. This name seems rather versatile and definitely unique. If you're considering it, you could go many different directions when it comes to finding middle names and sibling names that would pair well. Here are a few ideas I came up with:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Augusta, Delilah, Francesca, Jemima, Lorelei, Ophelia, Penelope, Theodora
Brothers: Ambrose, Benedict, Heathcliff, Horatio, Matthias, Maximilian, Stellan, Tristan

Middle Name Ideas:
Tallulah Belle
Tallulah Jane
Tallulah Noelle
Tallulah Scarlett
Tallulah Vivienne

As a Middle Name:
Audrey Tallulah
Emme Tallulah
Ivy Tallulah
Margaret Tallulah
Sophie Tallulah

What would you pair with Tallulah? What do you think of it?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Very Best T Names for Boys and Girls

The process of tracking down the right name for your child can be tricky. Sometimes there are just too many options to sift through and you find yourself overwhelmed by the possibilities.

Allow me to make it easier for you. If you are fond of the letter T or if you're searching for a T name to honor someone in particular, you've found the right place.

Below are 25 of the best T names for girls, and 25 for boys too. I took the time to sift through the hundreds of T names so I could bring you only the best of the best.

Here you may very well find the perfect, fashionable T name for your child.

Which of these do you like most?

  1. Tabitha
  2. Tallulah
  3. Tamsin
  4. Tanya
  5. Tara
  6. Tatiana
  7. Tatum
  8. Tavia
  9. Tawny
  10. Taylor
  11. Teagan
  12. Temperance       
  13. Tessa
  14. Thalia
  15. Thea
  16. Theodora
  17. Theresa
  18. Thisbe
  19. Thora
  20. Tiana
  21. Tiffany
  22. Trinity
  23. Trista
  24. Trudy
  25. Tyra
  1. Tate
  2. Tavish
  3. Taylor
  4. Teague
  5. Tennyson
  6. Thaddeus
  7. Thatcher
  8. Theodore
  9. Theron
  10. Thomas
  11. Tiberius
  12. Timothy
  13. Titus
  14. Tobias
  15. Todd
  16. Tolliver
  17. Torsten
  18. Travis
  19. Trenton
  20. Trevor
  21. Trey
  22. Tristan
  23. Troy
  24. Tucker
  25. Tyler
If you had to, which name would you remove from this list and what would you replace it with?   If T isn't your letter after all, be sure to follow the links below to browse names starting with other letters.

<-- The Very Best S Names for Boys and Girls  |||  The Very Best U Names for Boys and Girls -->


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