About Me

I'm an Anglo-American, recently returned from nine years in the States and living near London with my Californian husband, teaching and coaching musicians (students and pros). I'm a former concert pianist, who is dealing with myofascial pain syndrome. In 2006, we had a son, James Valentine, who only lived three days, and we have not succeeded in having another. We are now in the process of healing, and discovering ways to bring meaning to our lives through art, creativity, fun and being of service. I've been a Name Enthusiast since the age of 5, when I used to line up my 28 stuffed animals and play "Animal School" with my friends. Animal School consisted mainly of making a register of all the animals' names, by which time it was usually time for my friends to go home. The next time they came round, the old register had lost its shine and we of course had to start making a new one. As a teen, I pored daily over the London Times birth announcements, and made collated the results religiously. Meanwhile, my friend Keren (also a contributor to this awesome blog) was doing the same with the "Jewish Chronicle". We compared notes avidly, and many years later still relish some good old NE talk whenever possible. Now I've spent time on both sides of the Atlantic, I love to compare how Brits and Americans think about and use names, words and phrases. I really enjoy exchanging ideas with everyone here, and learning from you all.

My Favorite Names
My Recent Blog Comments
May 11, 2016 06:31 AM

Love this thread! 

One of mine is Mariah, as in "They call the wind Mariah" from "Paint Your Wagon". Which I heard at high school and have always remembered (totally agree about that period as being the most fertile for song data input!).

On a different note, one of my closest friends is a classical singer who used to sing "Jenny Rebecca" as an encore at concerts and named her daughter after the song. And I just looked up who wrote the song (Carol Hall), and discovered an article mentioning that Fredericka von Stade also used to sing it, and named HER daughter after the song too. 

OK, time to pull my head out of the rabbit hole!

April 22, 2016 02:01 PM

Thanks, Elizabeth T and HungarianNameGeek- I knew this was a safe place for me to turn to! ;) Thank God we have this forum and Laura to keep us sane.

I like that definition of Ryder- a bit more noble. Isabella Elizabeth, Jacob and James, the Mason-Dixon soundalikes... aargh!

I'll report back with more stories as they emerge, and I hope that you (and others) will too!

April 22, 2016 01:54 PM

Fascinating, booky! Florence is currently popular in the UK (#26), and I wonder also about Cleo, Fern and Maud, although they're not in the top 100. They have the current sensibility (nature names and Victorian revivals).

April 22, 2016 01:45 PM

Of course, this must apply to the US only- in the UK, Harry is currently ranked 3rd! Probably maily because of Harry Potter, but also Prince Harry.

Interesting idea, though- I taught a boy named John a few years ago, and was struck by how few Johns there are now. Likewise, Susan and Peter.

February 8, 2016 09:30 AM
In Response to Thoughts on Tycho?

I think it's a great name. Stands up well in the modern world, is unusual and yet with a great pedigree.

When I was living in California a decade ago, our neighbour had two boys named Tych0 Al0ysius and Rufu$ Inig0 (disguising names in case they look themselves up on Google)! I thought that was fantastic!

February 8, 2016 09:24 AM

Victoria Hope

Victoria May

Victoria Jane

Victoria Chloe

Victoria Daisy

Victoria Joy

Victoria Eve

Victoria Caroline

Victoria Maeve

Victoria Lily

Victoria Niamh

Victoria Adele

Victoria Zoe

Victoria Holly 

February 8, 2016 09:12 AM
In Response to Sofie

I agree that it's lovely! I think you would have to be prepared to keep correcting people- and so would she- all her life... that's the downside. It can get tedious (speaking as someone with a difficult last name).

February 8, 2016 09:08 AM
In Response to Valerie

I think Valerie Simone definitely flows best- try saying each combo repeatedly...

I'm a Valerie Rose, myself! :)

February 8, 2016 09:07 AM
In Response to Mirabel?

Definitely slightly fruity, as it's a type of plum found in France, spelled mirabelle- delicious! :)

February 3, 2016 10:47 AM


Thomas & Gabriel


Delphine & Marius


Clementine & Violet


February 3, 2016 10:07 AM

Some beautiful ones there, Laura! I have a friend with a daughter named Lake, and funnily, their last name is Reed, which makes for a bit of a geographical name!

Of your choices, I particularly like Sonnet, Silver, Ocean (Oceane is popular in France), Blue, Blithe and Amethyst, although I'm not sure I would use any of them myself. Do you see them as pretty unisex, or do you have a clear idea of which gender would use them?

Interestingly, the Welsh boys' name Osian is pronounced Ocean. 

February 3, 2016 05:47 AM

Marietta Georgia and Savannah Georgia? A bit geographical, maybe? ;)

February 3, 2016 05:39 AM
In Response to Walter or Arthur

I love both your choices- just thought you might like to know there's a composer named Arthur Benjamin!

January 20, 2015 09:34 AM

Thanks, Laura- there are some gems here.

Aha, I hoped Clarence would be on this list. I love Clarence. I'm past naming babies now, but maybe a cat some day?

I had a Great-Aunt Bernice, but for some reason it was pronounced BER-niss, to rhyme with furnace, which seems rather ugly. Is it normally pronounced ber-NEESE?

I know an Otis who is young, dashing and very successful, so that's changed my impression of the name.

How about Roland? That's another great favourite of mine that I haven't had chance to use. Also Arthur. Both heroes of legend.

I agree with Miriam about Melisande. Such a beautiful name... Of course everything sounds better in French, for example if you substitute Myrtille for Myrtle. Even Muriel sounds vastly better.


December 2, 2014 05:16 AM

When I saw this post, I thought I would create my own list before seeing what you had suggested. 

Here's my list:



























Not bad! There was definitely some overlap. And some of mine are not as fresh as they might be, admittedly. How about Zen and Quince though?! No idea where they came from, but I like them!

One thing I noticed is that although we like one syllable for the middle name, it's oftne a long vowel, eg. James, Eve, Rose, etc. 

A friend of mine just had a new nephew by the name of Wolf (Dutch background) and another friend has a new grandson, Fox. What next, Squirrel? ;)


I'd like to add Araceli too- "altar of heaven".

September 9, 2014 10:33 AM

I really like Roland and Penelope. Roland has been a favouirte of mine for a while now. I think Hugh, Hugo or Rhys could work well.

 How about Clarence, Christian, Louis, Tobias, Barnabas/Barnaby, Frederick, Raphael, Leopold, Julius?

August 26, 2014 07:48 AM
In Response to A name for a boy

How about Roland? He was a military leader under Charlemagne (and immortalised in the medieval Chanson de Roland). I'm very partial to the name, there aren't many of them about, and it' s very gentlemanly too!

June 8, 2014 10:12 AM

Brilliant, Laura!

Hurricane Voldemort, anyone? 

December 16, 2013 03:45 PM

You might be interested in this too, Laura- as a German-speaker, I was convinced it was Donner and Blitzen (Thunder and Lightning) but I see there's much more to the story than that!