American Names

December Name Sightings

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had wonderful holidays. 🙂

Something interesting was pointed out to me earlier. As of today – December 31, 2017 – there are no more children who were born in the 20th century. Tomorrow, people born in 2000 can purchase cigarettes legally. Everybody born in the 1900s is now (or would be) an adult. All I can say is…wow! And maybe, yikes?

That in mind, it does bring me back to the topic of names. Most of the time, I talk about baby names – names of children who were recently born. Once a month, though, I write about the interesting names I’ve spotted among all ages in that time. Babies aren’t the only ones with unique names! Indeed, sometimes adults (even ones who’ve passed away) are the bearers of names so unusual that you’d almost never find them in data-sets. If there’s ever a way for name-enthusiasts to discover new and uncharted appellations, this is it.

I met:

Doucette – She told me her family was from southern France.

Presumably children’s names, seen in newspapers:

  • Arrow – Increasingly popular for both boys and girls. According to the latest numbers, 71 girls and 119 boys were named Arrow in 2016.
  • Kourtlyn – 22 girls were named Kourtlyn in 2016. A little surprisingly, this trendier, more modern take on Courtney first appeared in SSA birth data in 1992. Other spellings include Courtlyn and Courtlynn.
  • PhinehasPhineas is a better-known form of this Biblical name. 25 boys were named Phinehas in 2016, compared to 139 named Phineas.
  • Hosanna – Biblical, but not traditionally a name (though it sounds like one!). It’s a word that commonly pops up in church hymns. 76 girls were named Hosanna in 2016.

Adults in newspapers:

  • Avelina – This is a name we’re all going to start hearing more often. Avelina tails on the trendiness of Aveline, which has more than quintupled in usage since 2012! 179 girls were named Aveline in 2016 (up from 100 in 2015), and 64 girls were named Avelina in ’16 (up from 48 in ’15). 
  • Cinderella (deceased) – Most of her siblings had ordinary names, making this an especially odd sighting! Cinderella last appeared in SSA birth data in 2010.
  • Stanwyn (deceased, male) – looks like someone tried to Welsh-ify Stanley.
  • Shirley Sr. (deceased, male) – I think this is the second time this year I’ve encountered a man named Shirley. A reminder that many “women’s” names didn’t start out that way.


Aphroditi-Marilena – At least, I think it’s Aphroditi-Marilena. I’m not 100% sure that Marilena was the name after the hyphen, but I definitely saw Aphroditi before the dash! Spotted in the credits of Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4. Aphroditi is a variant of Aphrodite, name of the Ancient Greek goddess of love. Although Aphroditi doesn’t show up in SSA birth data, Aphrodite does, and was given to 12 girls in 2016.

And that’s it for 2017! I can’t wait to see what goodies 2018 brings. Maybe I’ll meet a real-life Champagne or something…speaking of which, time to open a bottle! 

P.S. What did you think of the names I spotted in December? Did you spot any unusual names of your own? Let me know in the comments!

Previous rare-name round-ups of 2017:

2 thoughts on “December Name Sightings

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