American Girl Redux

Jan 21st 2010

In August, I wrote about the names of the American Girl doll series with a focus on their latest historical character, Rebecca Rubin. Her name, I concluded, was a reasonable choice but not really representative of the early-20th Century period. I suggested Sadie as an alternative that would "hit the quadruple-bullseye of Jewish heritage, period feel, informal style and modern appeal."

Fast forward to this week. My eight-year-old daughter just read Meet Rebecca, the doll's accompanying storybook. She eagerly related the highlights, including Rebecca's struggles with her annoying older sisters Sophie and...Sadie.

I tip my cap. You can't put anything over on those American Girl folks. In fact, the book's gallery of Rebecca's family and friends reads like a sibling set from the Baby Name Wizard book. Sophie, Sadie, Leo, Benny and Max sit right at the fashionable intersection of "Antique Charm" and "Guys and Dolls."

For girls, further options abound -- Lillie, Ruby, Lena, Lucy, Ella, Molly, Nell, and on and on. For boys, though, it's slimmer pickings. If you're looking for a dark horse candidate, there's just one more name in the Rebecca gallery: Victor. In America today, Victor is usually heard as a Spanish name. Back in fictional Rebecca Rubin's time, though, it sounded more like Sophie, a multi-ethnic classic with Mitteleuropa gravitas but a twinkle in its eye.


By Marc (not verified)
January 21, 2010 2:17 PM

Have you contacted the editors at all? I'd love to read an account of a conversation between you and them.

January 21, 2010 2:32 PM

That's so funny, Laura- that must have given you a kick!

Victor is also great for those seeking a pan-European name- I've mentioned before my Belgian-Swiss-Indian friends who have a baby named Victor Sebastian.

By jenjen (not verified)
January 21, 2010 4:11 PM

Excellent call, Laura. And did you notice that they retired Kirsten at Christmas time? I couldn't help but remember her as the one doll you called out for having a historically a particularly unlikely name.

By Jenjenjen (not verified)
January 21, 2010 4:15 PM

The name Victor has grown on me since watching "Dollhouse." It's funny how my opinion shifted after seeing it on a character played by someone as handsome as Enver Gjokaj. Too bad for me -- it doesn't go so well with our last name, so it will probably remain a guilty pleasure or be used on a pet.

By daisy_kay (not verified)
January 21, 2010 4:25 PM

Ha! That's great, Laura. I use to work in a bookstore, and I remember that when I tidied up the shelves in the mornings, I liked to look at the names on the American Girl series and just kind of think about them. I, too, was a little bewildered about Kirsten.

Right now I'm torn between two girl names:
Louisa Bess
Mabel Adeline (mn for Mabel may change)

As many of you know, I have a son named Solomon, and my husband and I are TTC, so I have baby names on my mind all the time! I personally like Edmund best for a boy, though I wonder if the endings of SoloMON and EdMUNd are too close? My husband likes William best as of now, but he does like Edmund a lot, too. As for Louisa and Mabel, I love both of them for different reasons. I find Louisa to be warm, intelligent, literary, and a charming, very underused antique. I find Mabel just plain adorable! She's cute, sassy, and I can easily picture the name on a sweet little girl and an adult as well. When it comes right down to it, I think I like the style of Louisa a little more, but when I picture my daughter in my head, she's a Mabel. Aaah! What are your opinions?

By sarahg (not verified)
January 21, 2010 5:05 PM

I was watching the show Millionaire Matchmaker the other night. Two of the people on the show had a child (I believe it was a boy) and the name was Sin Halo. I was fairly shocked by that one.

January 21, 2010 5:46 PM

Way to go Laura and American Girl! Nice to know that they're paying attention over there. I always felt like the names of the girls that were around when I was a kid really perfectly fit them (even if they weren't all historically accurate), but Samantha seemed like a Samantha, ditto Molly, Kirsten, and Addy when she joined. I can see how Kirsten isn't necessarily accurate, but the feel for her personality seems right to me still:)

Just got back from a conference so I'm behind but I did want to say,

Alizarin, another minority shout-out for Juniper Hero- just such a great name and I'm not a fan of Hero as a fn on a girl but in the middle here it's great!

Also a friend of mine reports interesting names she finds and she reported a child name Lancelot the other day. Now it's not exactly my style, but it surprises me it's NEVER been in the top 1000. It has the nn Lance which I can see being appealing. Anyone thoughts? I'm really curious!

By val_vh (not verified)
January 21, 2010 5:46 PM

Mabel is a great name, and the Heroine in Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. A wonderful association.

By LEW (not verified)
January 21, 2010 5:48 PM

Way to go, Laura, on calling Sadie! I do wonder why the editors were brave enough to keep the friends and family fairly tied to the period, but not the main character. I wonder how much the name sells the book? I would love to see the focus groups where they tested main characters named Sophie, Sadie and Rebecca...and ended up with Rebecca!

@Jenjenjen- I know what you mean about being more comfortable with names after seeing favorite tv/movie characters with them. Though I'm worried about how recent movies will effect the popularity of Alice (see below), I also have to admit that Alice from Twilight is my favorite character...and her strong, spunky vibe, in part, made the name much more accessible to me than before.

So, I'm a longtime lurker and have posted a few times. DH and I are now expecting our first child in August. Quite the miracle surprise! We had been told that our odds of getting pregnant on our own were less than 1% and were planning to start IVF this month! Feeling very blessed here!

We're big fans of family names and had long ago decided on a boys name...
Harris Martin
Harris is my husbands mn, his grandpa's fn, and his great grandmother's maiden name. Martin is a middle name passed through 5 generations on my side of the family.

Girls names proved a bit more difficult because we were all over the map. When we sat down with family trees, we realized that we both had great- or great-great grandmothers named Alice. Felt pretty meant to me. Our current girls name choice...
Alice Ellen
Ellen is mine and my mom's middle name.

Welcome thoughts on both Harris Martin and Alice Ellen. However, I was also hoping to get your opinions on Alice's growing popularity. That's my only concern at this point. I'm not a fan of overly popular names and I'm a bit concerned that the Alice in Wonderland movie coming out this year may tip the scales. Then again, I am beginning to feel that the personal connections trump popularity.

It seems to me that if the Twilight series hasn't caused a giant surge in baby girls named Alice, that the Alice in Wonderland movie probably want cause the name to move from the 300s to the 100s overnight. And, then again, I have to ask myself if I really care if it's name #99 on the SSA list next year. What do you think?

By LEW (not verified)
January 21, 2010 5:50 PM

@daisy_kay- forgot to comment on your names! Sorry! I love Louisa! It was on my short list, but DH wouldn't go for it. Louisa Bess is very sweet!

I'm not a huge fan of Mabel, but I couldn't tell you why. Hazel was a favorite of mine, but DH hated it for being too much of an "old lady name." I don't hear that in Hazel at all, but Mabel still feels that way to me. Not sure why. Adeline is gorgeous, though!

By another Laura (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:10 PM

daisy_kay: like LEW I'm not sure why exactly but Mabel doesn't do it for me - some reason I think Aunt Mabel. But Louisa is very, very nice name.

LEW - for some reason I have a hard time saying Alice Ellen - a little too "vowelly". On there own they are both nice names though.

By daisy_kay (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:15 PM

LEW, congratulations! What an amazing blessing! I just love hearing stories like yours. :) As for your names, I love the name Harris, and Martin makes a good mn for it. How wonderful that such a great name also has a family history! I've really been liking the nickname Harry recently. I don't know how you feel about it, but it would certainly be an option with Harris. I like the name Alice a lot - simple, classic, and yet underused. I like the name Ellen, too, and while the flow of Alice Ellen feels a little off to me, family history/meaning ALWAYS trumps flow in my opinion. As for Alice having a surge in popularity, I can see that happening. We're still in the Twilight craze with all the movies coming out, and there's Alice in Wonderland like you mentioned. But the thing with Alice is it's such a classic name that if you name a daughter Alice, no one is going to think, "Oh, there's another Twilight fan," or "She got that name from Alice in Wonderland." If it's solely the popularity that could potentially put you off, I'm not much help. I'd say if chosing a name that's not popular is important to you, do some research on the name. Check the SSA popularity charts when they come out in May and see if the name has taken a big jump up. Also, you could join a baby name board (I could recommend one if you're interested), and see how many people have the name Alice on their list. That could give you a clue as to how popular the name may become in the future. I hope that helps. Congratulations!

By Guest (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:17 PM

Off topic but has anyone seen the Facebook group "If 500,000 people join I'll name my son Batman"? He currently has 350,000+ people who seemingly think that's a great idea.

By another Laura (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:18 PM

LEW- in terms of popularity, I think Allison's (and all it's spelling variants) popularity would be more of a worry for me b/c Alice is so similar in sound...

By Jane, Mother of Five (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:23 PM

I really like Louisa. It IS quite underused, isn't it? And such a classic. It immediately makes me think of Louisa May Alcott.

Mabel is a name I loved for a while and now don't care for as much, which I think is the risk you run with Mabel... it's a very strong flavor. Like painting your dining room red. You might get tired of it - though I can CERTAINLY see the appeal. It is a spunky, splashy, adorable name.

By Jane, Mother of Five (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:33 PM

I also really like Alice. It has such a pretty, delicate sound. I wouldn't worry about it exploding in popularity, a la Ava or Emma. I can't, off the top of my head, think of another really popular girl's name with that distinctive "is" ending (though I'm sure I'm missing one or two). It just isn't the sound of the times, though it is a great sound. (I love girl names that don't end in vowel sounds!)

The only consideration is that you probably don't want to end up with BOTH a Harris (also a great name - love the Harry nickname), AND an Alice (because of that "is" ending). So choosing one means that if you end up with another miracle:), you can't use the other.

By LEW (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:37 PM

@another Laura- I agree with you on the vowel-y nature of Alice Ellen, but it doesn't bother me. My bigger problem with Alice Ellen at first was that it was 2 syllable, 2 syllable, but the combo grew on me (probably because I love the family connections so much).

@daisy_kay- The possibility popularity of Alice is becoming less of an issue for me by the day, I think. And, I think your right that it's a classic enough name that people are already comfortable with that people won't think we named her after a movie character...while a Bella born today might have that assumption made. I would love your recommendation on the name board, though!

By moll (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:37 PM

daisy_kay, last year I named my cat Mabel. After months of saying the name every day, I really regret that choice ... because now I wish I had saved it for a daughter! Such a friendly and sweet name.
Of course, if she doesn't like it as she gets older, she has Mae or Maybe or even Bel as nickname options.
Then again, Louisa's a long-term favorite of mine, too... I can't actually pick a favorite of those two! Louisa might have broader appeal and may travel better: it has loads of cognates that are/were pretty popular internationally. Sorry that I'm not more helpful, but both names are wonderful, and "Solomon and Louisa" and "Solomon and Mabel" are both spirited sib duos!

By Jane, Mother of Five (not verified)
January 21, 2010 6:46 PM

Just checked and the only top-200 girl names ending in an "is" sound are Alexis and Genesis. But I would guess those names are so high despite that ending sound (which again, I love) rather than because of it. Genesis obviously has lots of religious connotations plus the nickname Genny, and Alexis is probably chosen mostly for the "x" in the middle rather than the "is" at the end. In fact, I noticed that Alexa is catching up to it in popularity, probably because it preserves the popular "x" but has a more trendy ending.

It's really too bad the "is" ending isn't more popular. I really love the name Lois, for instance, but I don't see it catching on I guess.

By scuba22 nli (not verified)
January 21, 2010 7:21 PM

I love both Louisa and Mabel--tough choice there!

There are several young Victors at my elementary school that are hispanic. Along with a few Ivans ('ee-VAHN') and Humbertos. I agree that the more you hear a name and have a positive association with it, the better it sounds. All of the above kiddos I mentioned are sweet boys:)

From the previous thread:
I just came across an adult 'Sh@rl0tte' that I definitely see as different from Charlotte.

January 21, 2010 9:25 PM

Re the Alice discussion -- man, this is a tough audience! I have a column on that name planned for next month, but you all beat me to the punch. :-)

January 21, 2010 9:32 PM

@ daisy_kay - funnily, I was just discussing this with you on another board! Louisa Bess sounds great with Solomon's full name. On its own I feel that it travels better, too.

I'm just commenting to thank you, Laura, for your book. I bought it only the other day and read it all in one sitting. I wish it were longer, but how could I not? :)

January 21, 2010 9:39 PM

Also, jumping into the Alice talk - Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' is coming to cinemas very shortly, I dare say the name Alice is more closely tied to the Lewis Carroll character than anything else.

By Amy3
January 21, 2010 9:56 PM

@daisy_kay, it's so hard for me to choose between your names, but iirc Louisa Bess has a family connection, and I'm a total sucker for those. Either is a lovely choice, though.

@LEW, I don't think you need to worry about Alice skyrocketing. It seems the type of name that enjoys a quiet, steady level of use that will always keep it on the radar, but I agree that it's not likely to be the next Ava. I see that Harris and Alice share the /is/ ending so that's something to consider if you'll plan to have more than one kid. Although if Harris were more frequently Harry, maybe it wouldn't matter.

By ClaireP (not verified)
January 21, 2010 11:32 PM

"Off topic but has anyone seen the Facebook group "If 500,000 people join I'll name my son Batman"? He currently has 350,000+ people who seemingly think that's a great idea."

Look, my daughter has a facebook group, if a million people join this group, I will legally change my name to Spock (, and she has a thousand members, including me. Doesn't mean I want her really to change her name to Spock - it's the joke that counts.

January 22, 2010 12:00 AM

LEW: Love both Harris Martin and Alice Ellen! I think Martin is a great name, although I can see that it can be a bit dorky and is thus better in the middle name spot like you have it. Harris strikes me as dignified, classic, and fresh all at the same time. Alice Ellen is also gorgeous. I've barely heard of the new Alice in Wonderland and I'm online like 24/7... maybe not in the right places? The movie seems unmemorable to me though; the couple times I have heard references to it (e.g. seen a preview) I was like Didn't this come out already? I guess these sorts of things make me feel that the movie will not be that big?

January 22, 2010 12:33 AM

for whatever reason, i don't love louisa, but it's your opinion that counts not mine! most "old names" sound fresh to me, but for some reason i still can't shake the idea that louisa is an old woman. i adore mabel; it's spunky and fun and i think it will age well. (for some reason, mabel is very young in my mind. i can't explain it. maybe because the couple on mad about you named their daughter mabel? bonus: mabel stands for "mothers always bring extra love" :] )

harris martin and alice ellen are great! though whoever said that you maybe wouldn't want both a harris and an alice (unless you just don't care about that sort of thing, which is fine) has a point, so maybe keep that i mind.

i don't think alice will explode in popularity in the way that ava or emma did. even if it did, to me names you love and family ties trump popularity. however, i will have to disagree that the alice in wonderland movie won't be big. it's a tim burton movie and it has a lot of big names (johnny depp, anne hathaway) and, at least in my circle, it's been hyped for the past year. everyone i know is really looking forward to it.

By Kristin W. (not verified)
January 22, 2010 2:58 AM

I think Alice Ellen is lovely! Alice is one of the names we considered for our daughter (due in June), and the association with Alice in Wonderland is one of the primary reasons I like it so much.

Which brings me to a dilemma of my own for the NEs out there ... I asked for advice in another post about the name Ruby, which my DH refused to use at the time b/c of family reasons. Now it's back on the table, but I'm worried about the name's popularity (as a Kristin born in the '80s, I'd prefer to avoid mega-popularity). Laura predicts Ruby will be a top 10 name by 2019, and it's clearly on the rise.

But I looked at NameMapper, and it's still off the top 100 in the entire Southeast (where I live). My theory is that the name Ruby remained popular the first time around in the South longer than in other places (NameMapper confirms that Alabama and Mississippi were two of the last hold-out states), so here it hasn't yet made the leap to grandparents'-generation cool.

And if you look at the example of my name, it took 15 years after it became popular in the rest of the country for the South to wake up to its charms. Could happen again, right?

Or maybe I'm just making up excuses because I love this name so much ...

By SP (not verified)
January 22, 2010 3:15 AM

I love the name Ruby but here in New Zealand, they're everywhere! It's very popular in the UK and Australia as well. If you don't mind about the high popularity overseas, a name out of the top 100 in the year of birth is probably not TOO popular. If it turns out there are lots of Rubys in your area a few years later, you can at least say that you set the trend!

January 22, 2010 4:10 AM

@daisy_kay - I love both your Louisa Bess and Mabel Adeline combos. They have a slightly different feel to each other but both are great. If I were you I would wait and make the decision after the baby is born.

@LEW - Harris Martin is very very nice. I particularly like Harris and it's got great nn potential. I am a lover of Alice and as others have said Alice Ellen is very vowel heavy but it's sweet nonetheless. If flow doesn't bother you then go for it. I always associate Alice with Alice in Wonderland. I think it's a classic name and might get a slight surge in popularity every now and then but I don't think it's ever going to be mega popular. FWIW I've known only 1 Alice in my entire life, so it's not that common.

@Kristen W - I'm going to back up what SP said and let you know that Ruby has hit top 10 here in Australia. It is everywhere! I would put money on it getting to top 20 in the US at some point. It's been popular in the UK for awhile and is not going anywhere in a hurry in Aus and NZ. You would probably be ahead of the curve if you used in now in the US, but it may just be too popular for you. I do love Ruby but it's popularity is a bit too much for me.

By piccarah (not verified)
January 22, 2010 4:56 AM

funny, i have a Sadie and a Max! I've always loved the "guys and dolls" names of Laura's book :) Sadie and Max are my 3rd and 4th kids :)

By Amy3
January 22, 2010 7:47 AM

New baby born to a friend, Audrey J@ne (weren't there just a bunch of new babies mentioned with this mn?). Big brother is Henry. I think it's a charming sibset.

By knp (not verified)
January 22, 2010 10:09 AM

@emilyrae-- do you live in Nebraska? Because I have a friend there who had a baby in early Dec. named Matilda Jane!

January 22, 2010 10:15 AM

Laura-I've always thought that the AG dolls have had names that were perfectly suited to their personalities even if they were not spot on to the time period. Good call though with the sibset! You are the BabyName Wizard!

daisy_kay: I love both combos that you have on the plate. I think I am loving Louisa a bit more though. Mabel is just not my cup of tea, but Louisa sounds perfectly studious with just the right amount of spunk for me. A toned down Astrid if you will. How about Mabel Louisa (or do the L's run together too much)?

LEW:Congrats! I think the whole thing was meant to be-names and all! I love the stories behind the names, it makes them even better. Harris Martin sounds distinguished but not at all nerdy to me. Alice Ellen is a soft, quiet kind of name but has strong elements behind it. It sounds like she could stand up for herself just fine. The L's do run together a bit but I like it anyway. Btw, there are many other associations to Alice besides the AIW character.

Laura-How about a Valentine's Day theme for a future post? Much like you did with Christmas-type names.

Kristin W: I have not heard of ANY Ruby's here in Central PA. It has the feel of a Southern name for me and I'm not sure of it's popularity through the years here. It has the elements of popularity in its similarities to Lucy and other U names but I think the R is holing it back.

**Just double checked my local results for the year-2 Ruby's for the year!

January 22, 2010 10:22 AM

that would be an amazing coincidence! but i'm actually in indiana. it's a sweet name though.

By Bue (not verified)
January 22, 2010 10:23 AM

LOL, Victor is my boss's name! I've always thought it a surprising name on a 50ish Englishman, but at least I can imagine it on a real person now. Before I would have thought it was so terribly formal that you couldn't possibly have a real person called that.

daisy_kay, I adore Louisa, and Bess is very sweet with it. I've never been a Mabel fan, so my vote is clear!

LEW, I also adore Alice Ellen. The vowel-heaviness is actually a plus for me - it gives the name a lovely, soft, lilting quality. It reminds me a lot of my cousin's name, Evelyn Alice. Yes, I'm sure Alice will be going up in popularity (it's a top 50 name in England) but it wouldn't bother me because it's such a gorgeous classic. And I don't think it will be an Ava or Emma, as others have pointed out.

January 22, 2010 10:29 AM

LEW --

Congrats on your very exciting news! If you like the idea of Alice but are concerned about it's popularity, what about the very feminine Alicia? You have two pronounciation options -- Uh-LEE-Shuh or Uh-LEE-SEE-uh -- both reminincent of the original name your two families share.

Or I might just be biased because Alicia rhymes with Felicia. Take all of my advice wiht a grain of salt, please!

By Bue (not verified)
January 22, 2010 10:34 AM

Jane, Mother of Five, I meant to say that I've heard of three Loises born this year. I just read over at Name Candy that Fatboy Slim and his wife had Nelly May Lois, and I know of two babies with it as a first name. Surprising, but I guess it's a hip, 'out there' choice. If I can dissociate it from my mother's best childhood friend, who's 60, it's actually a really nice sounding name.

January 22, 2010 10:48 AM

Kristin W., I think you raise an important point about popularity. We used to call this the "Ethel Mae Postulate" on this site--the idea that names are popular within certain pockets (geographic or socioeconomic). That means that your future Ruby might attend school with three other girls with her name, or might be 27 before she meets someone else with her name, even if nationally the name is ranked in the top 20. To predict what's happening among your circle (gosh, that sounds like a cell phone ad!), pay close attention to what your friends and neighbors are naming their children.

A story to illustrate: last weekend as we were driving through a strip mall, we passed the furniture store Jennifer Convertibles. My seven-year-old daughter read the store's name aloud and said, "What does that mean?" So I explained what convertibles were in terms of cars and then in terms of furniture. She then said, "No, not that. What does 'Jennifer' mean?" My husband and I both burst out laughing. Despite the fact that at least five percent of her friends' mothers are named Jennifer and that the name was still ranked 28 the year she was born, she had no clue that Jennifer was a name. We are not in a Jennifer pocket.

January 22, 2010 11:35 AM

Regarding Ruby:

I suspect it will be like Fiona, catching on in the US in 15-20 years.

Here's what I'm thinking:

British baby names aren't necessarily advertised in America--the babies have to grow up, first. Americans discover names through meeting people, actors, politicians, sportsmen, models, etc.

For the rest of the world, however, American baby names are exported more quickly, through Hollywood and TV shows. American baby names appear as character names, and so the world is exposed to them more quickly than the reverse.

Might this help explain why America seems to "lag" the rest of the Anglosphere, namewise?

(And, by golly, Alice. I wrote papers on Alice in Wonderland in my Psychology in Literature class. I could talk at length about that character...)

January 22, 2010 11:44 AM

I had never really thought of Louisa as a name option before, but I am suddenly LOVING it after all this discussion about it! Uhoh, here I thought I'd settled my mind for sure about our girl name...

And I agree with Linnaeus about the exchange of American names -->Britain v. British names -->America. Most people I know (who aren't obsessed with British culture like I am) don't know anything about British names. I mentioned liking the name Nigel recently, and several people had never even heard of it!

January 22, 2010 11:49 AM

Kristin W-Just as a comparison, we have no baby Alice's on the chart for last year. Lots of Aliyah and Annalise and the like though so I'm sure it's only a matter of time with the sound elements but maybe there is another factor that is holding it back such as the "old lady" or AIW character. Who knows.

By Kristin W. (not verified)
January 22, 2010 11:59 AM

I did originally prefer the thought of a name that could travel well across borders, as I love to travel and hope to do more in the future with the little one in tow. So Ruby's mega-popularity in the UK, Australia and Canada is a little perturbing to me, though I guess it would make the name easily recognizable in several countries.

Through Facebook, I have heard of one brother-of-a-high-school-friend who recently named his baby girl Ruby. Other than that, seems like every kid in this town is named Anna Kate, Kaylee/Kiley/Kayla, Olivia, or Isabella. Which are the only names anyone has suggested to me, either, even after I tell them specifically I don't want popular names. Sigh. That is why I come here for advice - people in the real world seem to have to clue!

I might go to the hospital where I'll be delivering and chat up the nurses to see if they've seen an uptick in Ruby in the last year or two. According to Baby Namescape, the top names at that hospital are Emma, Isabella, Chloe, Abigail, Ava, Jada, Morgan, Caroline, Elizabeth and Lydia. But the top 10 can only tell you so much ...

By moll (not verified)
January 22, 2010 12:00 PM

I would not be surprised if Alice became popular (old-timey, letters A and L, cozy and familiar), but I would be disappointed. I think the only reason it might not hit top 50-100 this decade is because its popularity extended longer than some of the old-fashioned/Victorian-Edwardian/ old lady names. Maybe, just maybe, enough parents will consider Alice to be too much of a mom/grandma name? know of many women born in the 40s-70s named Alice, so its a possibility.

For what its worth, I see Alice as a contemporary of Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Catherine, and Charlotte - however popular it gets, it's never "trendy" like the revivals of Sophie and Ella feel.

Or, maybe I'm just grasping at straws because I don't want Alice to get popular like Charlotte did.

Elizabeth T., I love the Ethel Mae postulate. My name is Molly and one of my friends is named Tara - none of my friends believed me when I said that, in our birth year, Tara was ranked far ahead of Molly - I live in a "Molly pocket". The phenomenon makes it so much fun to play around with the NameMapper!

January 22, 2010 12:10 PM

Hi! I just found this blog and absolutely LOVE it. The reason for my coming here in the first place was to look for some name advice, and I think I've come to the right place! My husband and I have two sons and are expecting a baby girl this summer (yay!). I'm super excited but we've hit a road-block of sorts when it comes to girl names. Our two sons- Judah Elias and Levi Samuel, have old-testament/hebrew names, and it is important to us that our daughter have a name of the same style. We both come religious jewish families (though we are not quite as religious) and like to honor our heritage with hebrew names. We like to stay away from names that are extremely popular (i.e Noah, Jacob, Hannah) and names that are too obscure (Eleazar, Jezebel), which (hopefully) is reflected in our sons' names, other names we considered were Gideon, Samson and Asher. Also because our last name starts with an "H" we'd like to stay away from names like Chai/Chava/etc. We're also open to hebrew/israeli names that don't come from the old-testament directly (such as Tovah, Lilah, etc.).

The main problem with girls' names is that there just aren't nearly as many in the old-testament as there are boy's names. I'd love some suggestions as well as opinions on names we are considering at the moment, most of which I haven't heard much recently though may just not be being used in our area.

Our list so far includes names that we like but don't yet love, though that might change:

Sarai: pronounced sur-eye, i feel like there might be a lot of pronunciation issues, especially with it's closeness to Sara(h).

Michal: pronounced mee-chal, i like this name a lot but i'm scared it might get seen as Michael and seeing as we have two sons i dont want that to be confusing.

Shira: means "song" is hebrew. My husband really likes it though I'm just not sure it goes as well with our son's names as another name might.

Zipporah: my favorite at the moment, i like the nickname Zippy.

Avigail: usually pronounced Avi-gall, so could be spelled Avigal to diffuse spelling issues. nickname would most likely be Avi.

Devorah: hebrew version of Deborah, another one of my current favorites. i like the nickname Dev but i know of a few little Devons (female and male)...

I'd love some suggestions and feedback! Thanks in advance.

By another Laura (not verified)
January 22, 2010 12:26 PM

Not sure if these spellings are the Hebrew versions but I've always really liked the names Ruth, Naomi, Miriam, Rebekah, and Leah.

By another Laura (not verified)
January 22, 2010 12:34 PM

Kristin W. - Wow, I had never seen baby namescape. Victoria (a name on my list) was #5 at the local hospital compared to #27 nationally.

January 22, 2010 12:38 PM

I think Shira and Zipporah would be fine. Shira would fit and slide in with a list of other names without problem. Zipporah would stand out. I think either name goes well with Judah and Levi, so I wouldn't worry there.

The other names, I suspect, will have confusion potential. Avigail -> Abigail, Sarai -> Sarah, Michal -> Michael, and for me, Dev is a male Indian name.

January 22, 2010 12:41 PM

@another Laura- i like those names too, the only thing is since both our families are jewish and it's traditional not to name after the living, there are people in our families with most of those names, including me (Rebekah), which we want to stay away from. I do like Naomi though. Thanks!

January 22, 2010 12:43 PM

@Becky--I knew a Devorah who went by Devo for short (pronounced Dee-vo), which I thought was fun.

Another less-used OT name that I like is Dinah, although granted the namesake story is not a pleasant one.