Why Not, indeed?
One of the most popular sections of The Baby Name Wizard book is the "Why Not?" list. To describe it, I'll quote myself:
"The names below are a hodgepodge of different sounds and styles, with only two things in common: they’re perfectly good, and hardly anybody uses them."
I recently sat down to update the list, hoping to find more underused names that could be pleasant surprises. I've added quite a few, but I've had to delete some too. Some I simply thought better of, but others have outgrown the category. In the three years since I wrote the original list, nine of the names have been "discovered." They're not necessarily common yet, but rising fast enough that they can no longer be considered hidden gems. So I prepared to discard those names...and then I stopped. The more I looked at them, the more they started looking like a whole category of their own. See what you think:
The nine names are all ranked between #200 and #400. They're traditional but have never been truly popular. They're on the way up, but still sound interesting. In short, this is a group of names captured at the brink of popularity, the ultimate fashion peak.
So based on these examples, what are the next hit names? For girls, the pattern is crystal clear. Name like Lana, Lena, Lyra and Lydia are good bets to rise. For boys, look for names balanced equally between first name and surname like Graham, Finley and Pierce.