American Names · Analysis

November Name Spotting!

It’s the last day of November! Let’s see the most interesting, unusual names I’ve encountered over the past 30 days.

I met:

Rigby (female, late 20s) – I should have asked if her parents were Beatles fans. Rigby didn’t enter SSA birth data at all until 1999, and not until 2011 for girls. This one was born in the 80s…talk about avant-garde!

Newspaper Sightings:

  • Benefrida (deceased) – Here’s an intriguing name I can’t find any information on. It kind of looks like a mash up between Benedicta and Frida.
  • Joetter (deceased) – In the old days (mainly before widespread TV), popular girls’ names ending in -a were sometimes spelled with an -er ending instead. ‘Old’ and ‘forgotten’ choices like Anner, Emmer, and Etter are really just variations of Anna, Emma, and Etta. Joetter is probably a variation of Joetta, which was slightly popular in the 1930s through 1950s.
  • Elnora (deceased) – Vintage form of Eleanor that peaked in the early 20th century. 19 girls were named Elnora in 2016.
  • Baker – His or her siblings both have top 10 baby names. Maybe it’s a family name? 156 boys and 19 girls were named Baker last year.
  • Maryblair – Fun compound name!
  • Shaughnessy (African-American, possibly child or young adult) – Shaughnessy is a variation of the Irish surname O’Shaughnessy, and last appeared in the birth data circa 2009.
  • Imgard – looks like variation of Irmgard, which is contracted from Irmingard…and related to Ermengarde.
  • McKenzie (boy) – As a girls’ name McKenzie ranks #156. Still, a few boys are given the name every year. 17 boys were given this name in 2016.
  • Essence – Like Baker, Essence‘s siblings had extremely popular names from their generation. I’m guessing they were born in the 80s, maybe early 90s at the latest. Essence entered the top 1000 in 1991, peaked in 1998, and left after 2008. Last year, 135 girls received the name.
  • Decima – Ooh, Latin! Decima is a very rare ordinal name which means “tenth” … I wonder if she’s one of ten kids? Decima hasn’t appeared in SSA birth data since 1973, though it’s always possible that this one was born in a year where there weren’t enough (minimum of five) to appear. The masculine form of Decima is Decimus.


Cyne-burh – Cyneburh is already rare enough…no idea why she wrote her name with a hyphen unless it’s meant as a pronunciation marker? What an amazing sighting! Cyneburh is a variation of Cyneburg, Cyneburga, or Kyneburga, and is an Anglo-Saxon saint’s name.  It means “royal fortress.” Elated that I got to see this one…it was hiding in broad daylight on a list where other women with mid-century standards like Kay and Cheryl had also written their names! For all I know, Cyneburg could have born a Kimberly and wanted something more exciting. Could it even be a confirmation name?

Have you spotted any unusual names lately? What do you think of the ones I’ve found? Let me know!

Previous rare name round-ups in 2017:

6 thoughts on “November Name Spotting!

  1. I thought it was time I said hello rather than reading your posts, looking for name inspiration… so hello! I love this blog. It’s so interesting! I’m not after baby names though, I’m just starting to run out of fake names to conceal the identities of those featuring in my teenage diary (which I’m now blogging). I’m running out of names so maybe the next new person to crop up will have to be Essence or Imgard…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m English but one of my grandmothers is Welsh (she has the very Welsh name of Olwen) so I’ve nicked some names from our family tree! We grew up pretty close to the Welsh border too so there were a fair few Gareths, Sians, Rhiannons etc. in our school too. Well spotted! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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