The Name of the Olympic Hockey Team

Feb 18th 2010

At the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, 23 American professional hockey players are taking time off from the NHL to play for their national team. If you were to meet one of these men, what would you call him?

Your best bet: Ryan.

The name Ryan may not scream "hockey" to you, but the numbers don't lie. As reader Ian pointed out to me, 6 of the 23 players on the Team USA roster are named Ryan. That's a whopping 26% Ryan rate. For perspective, at its peak popularity the name Ryan accounted for only 1.5% of American boys born.

Of course, this sort of statistical anomaly can easily pop up with small sample sizes like 23 players. If you expand the pool to all of the American players in the NHL, though, you still come up with an impressive 7% Ryan rate. In fact, Ryan is the 2nd most common name in the NHL, trailing only the perennial powerhouse Michael. Many names that are more common for young men in the rest of the country, and the world -- Dave, Matt, Jason, Josh, Chris -- trail Ryan in the NHL.

Again, statistical anomalies happen, but there's a reason this particular distinction falls to Ryan. The key is that hockey players aren't a random sample of American athletes; they're Northerners. Of the 23 Olympic players, 21 hail from New England or Great Lakes states. Even within those states, the players skew Northern. The three New York natives, for instance, were born in Buffalo, Ithaca and Rochester.

Take a look at the NameMapper map of Ryan popularity from 1979, the year Team USA Left Wing Ryan Malone was born:

That's a hockey-country name for you: a high rank of #4 among all boys' names in Wisconsin and North Dakota, a low of #47-48 in Alabama and Mississippi. (In case you're wondering, Ryan does skew white as well, but not dramatically within a geographic area.) Now compare the Ryan map to the William map from the same year:

Sure enough, there are only 2 Williams, Willies, Bills or Billies in the National Hockey League, compared to 19 Ryans. In the National Football League, which draws more heavily from the Southern U.S., the ratio is 23:29.

So what can we expect the U.S. hockey team to look like at the 2034 Olympics? Keep an eye out for new Northern names like Owen, Evan and Jack. But don't expect 26% of any of them. No name in America is as popular today as Ryan was -- ranked #14 --  back in 1979.

<p><strong>#1: <a href="/baby-name/girl/simone"><strong>Simone</strong></a>.</strong>


By knp
February 19, 2010 12:12 AM

namedaftermygrandmother: I actually like Kai with Orion. (I really like Orion by the way, dh and I have considered it)
I don't think Kai is androgynous,(for example, Orion is listed as a girls and boys name in namipedia, but Kai is not!!)
Kai may be a little trendy but I'm not sure-- it got popular pretty fast in early 2000's but has stayed popular.

From you choices (with Orion and your last name), I also like with Russell. Other ideas-- I'm trying to be really creative to spark some juices, so bear with me: Cadvan, Taran, Gideon, Leander, Zephyr, Tariq (means morning star!), Ari, Everest, Indigo, Jasper, Leo, Leon, Aspen, Ellis..

I agree a name from western mythology, and nature/season would be great!

By Telle (not verified)
February 19, 2010 12:25 AM

We moved to the Pacific Northwest a few years back, and it's been striking to me how many adult Heidi's I now run across who are my age (mid 30s). Until moving here, I don't think I had ever met a Heidi, and now I can name 4 or 5 of them in my circle of friends. I had just been thinking about that fact when I read Laura's post about Ryans.

So, I just checked on NameMapper, and, sure enough, Heidi peaked at about #11 in Idaho in about 1975. Here in Washington State, it was also in the top 20 for years. Meanwhile, in Texas where we moved from, it never caught on.

I'm wondering why--was it the alpine scenery (evoked by the novel "Heidi"), the preponderance of northern European ancestry around here, or just the sound?

February 19, 2010 12:34 AM

@namedaftermygrandmother - Kai is definitely male to me. I've never known any female Kai's, only Kaia's.

Re Ryan - I've only ever known male Ryan's so it's definitely still a male name to me. Interestingly Ryan wasn't that popular when I was growing up. I can only remember 1 or 2 Ryan's (I was born late 70s). However, Ryan seems to be exploding in the baby/toddler set here in Australia. It has become quite popular in the last few years. As a previous poster has pointed out it matches well with a few name catgories.

@Empathy - I still love Louisa Bess (and also Mabel Adeline). Of the other suggestions I think I like either Eloise, Rosaline/Rosalind or Agnes (yes I'm an Agnes fan!). I do like Gwendolen too for you but it depends on whether the slightly matchy endings would bother you or not. They don't sound too similar to me and I think it's ok.

February 19, 2010 12:58 AM

Thank you all for the info about female Ryan's. I've just never come across one. Btw RobynT, Tiffany Starr sounds like a porn name so no wonder she changed it-I would've too!

Empathy-None of your names sound like porn names to me though so that's a good thing! I like the following in no particular order:
*Mabel (DH's favorite)
*Louisa (my favorite)
*Rosaline (we also like the nn "Rosie/Rosy")
Edith (we also like nn "Edie")
Combos maybe:
Beatrice Rosalind
Beatrice Eloise
Mabel Louisa
Gwendolen Mabel
Edith Rosalind
Edith Agnes
Louisa Bess

Elsa=seems different style-wise than Solomon to me
Like Roseline over Rosemary
Bessie/Agnes/Olive might use in mn but too old-ladyish for me to use in FN spot
Rosaline=Ro-suh-leen vs. Rosalind=Roz-uh-lind is that right?

By Catherinetoo (not verified)
February 19, 2010 1:15 AM

I grew up in California in the 70s and still live near San Francisco.

Ryan: I knew a few at various stages in school but sounds rare. I do now know 2 under 5.

Jill: Very common growing up (I can think of 7). I now have 2 close friends named Jill. Oddly both are Jewish but I don't think it is a Jewish name (someone please tell me if I'm wrong).

Eleanor: Gaining in popularity here but somewhat hidden by nns Ella, Ellie, Nora...

February 19, 2010 2:08 AM

@ Catherinetoo: Jill is not a Jewish name and neither of the Jills I know are Jewish.

@ zoerhenne/Empathy: I thought Rosaline was Ro-za-line (like Rosa-line, not leen) or can it be pronounced both ways?

By Holly (not verified)
February 19, 2010 2:46 AM

I'm in Vancouver and was at the USA-SUI hockey game on Tuesday. While listening to the teams being announced I noticed the preponderance of Ryans and was joking with my family that everyone on the team was named Ryan. "Ryan passes to Ryan who shoots the puck to Ryan who scores!"

February 19, 2010 2:59 AM

holly, wow, super jealous of your presence at the olympics! funny story, by the way. :]

By Qwen
February 19, 2010 3:07 AM

Why am I always behind! I don't have time to catch up on everyone's comments right now but I HAD to come and tell you guys about two names I saw on Babycenter posts today. Flair Elise and Kansas Jane/Linda (they hadn't picked a middle name for sure yet).

People's reactions to both names were massively negative including one woman who commented that if she knew someone who was going to name a little girl 'Kansas' she'd have to stage an intervention.

By Mirnada (not verified)
February 19, 2010 3:19 AM


You're right, it's Ty, not Kai. I guess I imagine a guy like Ty being named Kai then.

Re: the show...Yes, there is the part of it that's about the community banding together to help people who have in many situations been giving of themselves or dealing with really difficult situations. That part is moving and certainly much more laudable than many reality shows. There's something about the dramatization of it, though, the turning their misfortune into entertainment...I can't put my finger on it exactly...but it doesn't sit quite right with me. And then they inevitably build them a house as big as a city block and there's a lot of product placement involved. It's just the commodification of these people's lives that bothers me, I guess. I don't know if I'm articulating this well. I probably shouldn't have inserted that comment- so totally off topic.

Back to names.


I've starred the ones I like best and think work best with Solomon.

Elsa: Feels a little less sophisticated than some of your other choices, though it's sweet.

Mabel: Seems a little cute compared to the more weighty Solomon to me

*Eloise: Very pretty, and very nice with Solomon, I think.

Gwendolyn: I agree that it's a little too rhymey with Solomon, and it also feels like it's too of a different world -- too flowery?

*Louisa: also nice and a good match.

Marianne: not as fond of this one, and don't quite feel it goes as well.
Feels like a fresh, farm-y name to me -- cornflowers and hay.

Rosaline: I don't like as much as some of your other choices, but it works fine with Solomon, I think. Would it be pronounced to rhyme with "mine"? It's just a little awkward to my ear.

Rosemary: I prefer Rosaline or Rosalind to Rosemary. I don't know why, but Rosemary is more dated to me. I think I knew a Rosemary who was someone's mom when I was little, so you could ignore that.

Bessie: I'm afraid it makes me think of a cow.

*Agnes: I kind of like this name, but would probably be afraid to use it, myself. I also like Agatha a little more. Good match with Solomon.

*Edith: I see this as a little old woman, but I think it could be rejuvenated.

Olive: I like Elouise and Louisa better, but it could work fine. It's a little trendy a la Hazel/Stella/Ruby, though.

Beatrice: I never really liked this name before, but I'm coming around to it. I can see it with Solomon.

Rosalind: Too much of a matched set with Solomon, because of the similar vowels/syllables?

By GuestfromOntario (not verified)
February 19, 2010 6:51 AM

I know a Kye, now 25 and a Ky - 20ish both young men.

Baby Alert - Ev@n Willi@m
And I met a toddler recently named Eth@n Er1c All@n which I thought had a nice flow.

February 19, 2010 10:35 AM

Zoerhenne, I say roz-uh-line, though I think it can be pronounced either way. That is according to the Behind the Name website.

Thanks, everyone, for all the feedback! It's so very helpful!

By EVie
February 19, 2010 10:49 AM

Not a lot of time to comment, but speaking of the Olympics, this just caught my eye on the front page of the New York Times: "Australian Torah Bright Wins Women’s Halfpipe"

Torah? I've never heard that as a name before, but my immediate thought was Torah = sacred Jewish text = probably not so kosher as a given name, à la Cohen. Does anyone know if Torah exists as a given name in some other culture, or is this another episode of not-so-appropriate appropriation?

February 19, 2010 11:12 AM

@Qwen--Flair as a name is nms, but I guess I could see it being similar to Blair/Claire. However, in combo with Elise as a middle name, it sounds like someone took just enough piano lessons as a kid to learn the Fur Elise. :P

And my "little old" grandma is named Edith, which makes me laugh given some of the Edith comments! Her name is Edith Irma, which I always thought was a bit unfortunate as a combo, but she often goes by Edie.

February 19, 2010 11:15 AM

Hm, further grandma name other grandma is named Shirley Esther. Growing up I thought that Edith Irma was an unattractive name, but I have to admit that nowadays I'd be much more likely to name a child Edith than Shirley.

I think maybe in order I'd go Edith, Esther, Shirley, then Irma.

So, I guess my question is, if you HAD to name a daughter after a grandma, which name would you choose? :)

February 19, 2010 11:22 AM

Fun question, Anne with an E!

My grandmas: Bessie Viola, Marjorie (not sure of mn), Wynona Sue, Jewel (not sure of mn) and Bettie Jean.

In order, I'd say Bessie (nn Bess), Marjorie, Sue (though I'd probably name her Susannah and call her Susie), Viola, Bettie (I like this in a weird way), Jewel, Jean, and Wynona.

By knp-nli (not verified)
February 19, 2010 11:28 AM

Gma question: we are talking about my grandmas right, not my daughter's grandmas?
my grandmas were Verla Gail and Mary (well, it was Maartje (this one I think), Maarike or Marijke, one of the Dutch forms of Mary initially, and then she went by Mary when she immigrated.) My husbands gmas, I'm not sure of (they passed a long time ago). I think I'd have to go for Gail as a first name if I HAD too, but I'm thinking of using Maartje or Marijke as a middle name... (esp. bc my MIL's name is Mary, so it would be honoring her as well as my mother's heritage and grandmother)

February 19, 2010 11:36 AM

Oh, I initially meant just my 2 grandmas. But if we're counting spouse's grandmas, it gets a lot easier: my husband's gmas are Eloise and Marilyn Margarette.

I'd definitely use Eloise or Margaret over my grandmas' names!

By Amy3
February 19, 2010 11:44 AM

My grandmas were Hazel and Katherine. My husband's grandmas were Ninian (nn Nic) and Catherine (nn Katie). We did give our daughter Katherine as a mn after both his and my grandmother. If I had to choose from the remaining two, I'd go with Hazel.

@EVie, I did a little checking and haven't found Torah as a given name. Tora is a Scandinavian name, but I've not seen it with an /h/ ending.

February 19, 2010 11:48 AM

Well I've already named a daughter after my grandmother. My maternal grandmother was Catherine Antoinette (although she only went by Antoinette nn Nettie) and I already have named a daughter K@th@rine (Catharine also happens to be my mom's name). My other grandmother was Wilhelmina (nn Billie) and I just emailed my dad to find out her mn. I can't see ever using Wilhelmina. My name, Laura, is actually after my mom's paternal grandmother and I just found out that the name we have picked out for our next girl, Teresa, is the name of my mother's maternal grandmother! Gotta love those timeless names...

As far as spouses grandmas go...His maternal grandmother died recently her name was Anna Rose and we used Rose as my K@th@rine's mn. I actually considered using the whole Anna Rose as I find it a beautiful name. His other grandmother was fn Frances and I'm not sure of her mn. We nearly used Frances as my first daughter, Cl@re's, mn but I backed off at the last minute. I wish we had used it. I grew up hating my mn, Antoinette - after my grandmother, and I really was afraid my Cl@re would find Frances as too old ladyish.

I'll update when my Dad replies to my email

By Amy3
February 19, 2010 11:48 AM

From Torah Bright's Wikipedia entry:

"Her parents named her Torah after Marion Bright learned the word meant 'bearer of great message' in addition to referring to the five books of Moses."

By Scout3 (not verified)
February 19, 2010 11:49 AM

I just had to share this tidbit from a friend's blog. Kind of a "To tell or not to tell" mixed with Olympic naming. They're at about 40.5 weeks now, so I'll let you know if Ryan ends up the winner!

"Shannon and I are at an impasse. We were talking this weekend and it turns out we have not been on the same page with baby names. I just assumed if it was a boy we would name him Rocky as a living tribute to my biggest inspiration in life. Shannon, however, had her heart set on Lucas Jr. I thought if we had a girl her name would be Gertrude (Gertie for short); but again Shannon thought Shannon Jr. What to do?

I have come up with what I think is a pretty interesting way forward. The baby is due to arrive (and the circular chart at the midwife’s office seems foolproof) on February 13th. The Olympics are set to start in the beautiful city of Vancouver on the 12th.

Here is my proposal: we name our child the name of the athlete who wins a gold medal closest to the time of the baby’s birth. I am even willing to pick an athlete of the same gender. This way our baby could share a name with someone famous like the unstoppable force in Norwegian biathlons Ole Einar Bjorndalen, or the sensation of the Korean short track Cho Hae-Ri, or the you-don’t-want-to-cross-this Slovenian cross-country legend Petra Majdic! This would create a post-uterine time stamp for our little one as well as provide a lasting legacy to the individual medalist and the glory of the games themselves.

Before we put this plan in motion, however, it is probably worth a little research. What do you think?

p.s. In a dramatic twist of irony, there is a potential I could still be called upon to represent my country in a number of events (Shannon is pretty well out due to the baby, but I guess there is still a chance). So, it could still theoretically happen that I will be the one standing on the gold medal podium nearest to the time of our baby’s birth—Lucas Jr. might make it after all!"

February 19, 2010 11:55 AM

EVie- i have never heard the name Torah before and I guess it would be kind of like naming a child Bible or Qur'an. I mean it's not quite offensive (to me at least) but definitely strange and I would question the motives/reasoning behind using the name. I went to wikipedia to see if there was information on the person you were referencing and i found this: "Her parents named her Torah after Marion Bright learned the word meant 'bearer of great message' in addition to referring to the five books of Moses. Bright is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormons)."

grandmothers- my maternal grandmother is Zara Esther and my paternal grandmother was Iris Ruth. Zara's name has been used in many forms by my cousins/siblings (Zilla, Sara, Zora, and if we use Zipporah it will be after her). My Grandmother Iris is still alive and we don't name after the living in my family but I do love the name Iris and would actually use it if I could.

February 19, 2010 12:04 PM

another Laura- it's funny you mention the name Frances. I have a friend who just named her daughter Charlotte Frances after a grandparent.

My DH's grandmothers are Bertha and Hinda. Probably wouldn't use either of those...

February 19, 2010 12:15 PM

Scout3-Cute story, you will have to update once the baby is actually named.

Empathy-Thank you for clearing up Rosaline. The reason I was asking is because the way I say them Rosaline/Rosalind makes them sound like two totally different names. However, it seems the way you and some others say them they are very similar. I was just curious.

Anne with an E-If I were using YOUR gma's names I would mix them up like this:
Shirley Edith and Irma Esther and most definately Shirley sounds better over Irma. However, if I were using my own gma's names, Vera Flora and Dorothy Constance I would have to pick Dorothy. I like my gaunt's name Madeleine the best though. Interestingly, I actually did name my dd a bit after my great gma Natalia but changed it to Natalie.

Qwen-I think the comment that posted with the Kansas announcement was rude. However, I don't think it is the best name either. I guess the thinking might be that it is not that different from other state/city names out there. Do they have a special connection to Kansas? I can like the Can part but not the sis part and some ppl's accents make it sound like Canz-ass. What was wrong with Georgia, Savannah, Dakota, heck even Oregon or California? Missouri maybe?
Question:What state would you name your baby after?

February 19, 2010 12:15 PM

Scout3- great story- please do let us know what they decide in the end!

My grandmothers were Hilda, on the English side, and Louise Bertha Christina on the German-American side. Incidentally, Louise's two sisters were Dorothea Wilhelmine Caroline and Henrietta Alvina Marie. The sisters spoke German at home (in rural Illinois) and didn't learn English until they started school. So you can see quite a German flavor to their names, I think, in a 18th-century Empress sort of a way. A very distinct naming style.

I would definitely go for Louise over Hilda, although I think I'd like to be known as Christina, in that case!

February 19, 2010 12:18 PM

Zoerhenne- If I had to name a child after a state, I'd stick to Carolina or Georgia. Or at a pinch, Louisiana. Not keen on most of the others!

February 19, 2010 12:28 PM

Virginia would be a nice pick especially as it's actually named after a person to begin with. I grew up in a neighboring state and would often vacation with my family there so I have positive associations with Virginia as a beautiful place. The virgin part of Virginia might be hard on her though...I had a cat name Chesapeake nn Chess (not a state but in the same region as Virginia so there's the mental leap). Just realized that it rhymes with Tess which I like as a nn for Teresa. I must be drawn to the -ess endings.

Any chance that baby Kansas is after the band and not the state?

By hyz
February 19, 2010 12:33 PM

Grandmothers--fun question! Mine were Virginia Margaret and Margaret ??? (I'll have to ask my dad what his mom's mn was). So not a big variety there, but I like both of them! I'd probably go for Margaret first, then Virginia.

How about grandfathers? Mine were Joseph Edward and Charles Leo. In the abstract, I'd order them Leo, Charles, Joseph, Edward, but my grandfather Joe was such a wonderful person, and my other one isn't someone I'd like to name a kid after, so my real order for naming a kid would be different.

February 19, 2010 12:38 PM

My grandpas were Timothy (note sure of mn) and Elias Theodore (went by E. Theodore or just E.T.). Elias is also my dad's mn and I just found out it was his grandfather's fn so the chance of using Elias as a mn just went up. DH's grandpas were Joseph and Arthur Randolph (still living, nn Duke). Our 2nd son's mn is Joseph but not really after dh's grandpa but rather St. Joseph. I'd love to honor Duke as he's a tremendous person but those names are a pretty tough sell...maybe I could use a name that would nn to Duke.

By knp-nli (not verified)
February 19, 2010 12:39 PM

States: Other than Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Dakota, Louisiana (which I see as easy transfers) and have I have liked Tennessee when seen it used.
I could see:
Indiana (g, nn Indie),
Nevada (g, there is a town in IA that is Nevada but sounds like neh-VAY-da, that could work as a name!),
York (b)
Rhode (b, bad connotations with rode though...Rhodes? not much better)
and want to like Vermont but can't quite see it.

Can you tell I have no problem using place names? But, I wouldn't use any of these names myself... no connection to these states and not quite my style. I tend to go for cities when I think of place names.

By knp-nli (not verified)
February 19, 2010 12:41 PM

Gpas: Mine are Raymond Donald (went by Donald/Don) and Marion (mn?). I think Raymond would win!!

By hyz
February 19, 2010 12:42 PM

Oops, I didn't see the state comments above before I posted about grandmothers, but obviously, I'd pick Virginia! :)

February 19, 2010 12:48 PM

My grandpas were Valentine and Gordon. Our son, who didn't survive, was named James Valentine, partly for my grandpa, partly because he was due the week of Valentine's Day, and partly for me. Funnily enough, the technician at one of the scans was also named Valentine. It was my grandpa's grandfather's name also (German). I think it would be a hard name for a boy as a first name (lots of teasing), but we thought it was a cool middle name.

February 19, 2010 12:52 PM

Not a big fan of state names. I have to agree with knp that I think of cities, not states, when I think of potential names.

My gpas are Edward John and James Edgar, which are amazingly similar once I type them out. I'd be ok with using any of those, but Edgar is my least favorite.

My hubby's gpas were Noil Calvin, and Hubert Douglas. My hubby was named after both of them, his name is N0el D0uglas. (Fortunately they "fixed" the spelling of Noel--I'd be kinda irked to be married to a Noil!)

February 19, 2010 12:53 PM

Ha Ha knp, hyz, and another Laura-Wasn't even thinking about Carolina or Virginia as they are such easy transfers. I was also thinking maybe Florida (similar to Flora), Michigan(b)reminds me of Mitchell but has the common -an ending. State name I would NOT use Illinois, Idaho, and Utah.

February 19, 2010 12:53 PM

So do you think Virginia would be hard on an adolescent girl?

February 19, 2010 1:00 PM

Commenting on a few topics:

Jill is not a Jewish name, but it is a name a Jew could use in public life. Jews can and do use almost any name from the culture surrounding them, in addition to their true names which are generally Hebrew, but may be from several other languages (particularly Aramaic, and for Ashkenazic Jews, Yiddish). As an example, I attended a conference last weekend, and at the banquet I was seated next to a woman I didn't know named Mimi on her placecard. Since I have been called Mimi from birth, I asked her if that was her given name or a nickname. It turns out her legal name is Mary Flavia(don't know if it's just a double name or if it's hyphenated). Through conversation, it turned out that she's an observant Jew of the Conservadox stream. I didn't have the nerve to ask her what her real name is, so I got to thinking about what it might be. The Flavia could be for Golda and the Mary for Miriam or Malkah, I don't really know. At any rate she is the first Flavia I have ever met.

As for Torah Bright, well, Mormons have very eclectic naming practices, but I find the name an offensive appropriation, I sure as heck wouldn't name my child Moroni. In fact, I wouldn't use it. If I ever met her I would call her by her surname. Ditto for any random person named Cohen. Actually I call everyone I am not close to by surname, and that included all of my students when I was teaching. No way I was going to call a grown woman Precious or Misty Dawn. Besides which I considered the relationship between me and my students a professional one, not one of friendship. I greatly dislike it when strangers (receptionists, salespeople, etc.) use my given name.

My grandmothers were named Tzivya Chaya and Tzippa (short for Tzipporah). On legal documents in America, but in no other circumstances, they used Celia Ida and Cecelia. If I had had a large enough family I certainly would have used these names. (I would have used my mother's name first.) I probably would have chosen for the English name Cecily with a bird name (Robin, Lark, Merle, etc.) for the middle name, and Tzippa Tzivya for the Hebrew name (I wouldn't be expecting to need yet another girl's name in the future).

On another subject, I watched Project Runway last night, and the designers had to make outfits for eleven little girls ages 5-8. Most of the names were what one would expect, but one little girl was named Fabriana and another Sylvie. I think Sylvie's mother was a bit ahead of the curve, since I think Sylvie may be fixing to be the new Sophie/Sadie.

February 19, 2010 1:02 PM

ger@ldine f@ye
sally @nn

(not sure on middle names for either edith or freda.) edith and freda are actually my great grandmothers, but these are the grandmothers i grew up with and i think of them all in the same way. i actually feel like i have a pretty good assortment of choices. the only one i would violently oppose is ger@ldine (she goes by gerry, for what it's worth). i like faye and i like edith nn edie. and i like freda in a kind of quirky way. sally is fun and ann is classic.

richard dunny
john p0rter
0rville perry (went by o.p.)

again, the final two are great grandfathers and i am not sure of bruce's middle name. also not a bad selection. i will almost certainly use bruce as a middle name if i ever have a son (i like oliver bruce) for family reasons. it would make my mother's side so happy. although i adored my grandpa, i probably wouldn't use 0rville, but the others aren't too bad.

hmm. carolina, probably. maybe indiana, a la indiana jones. or tennessee a la tennessee williams. maybe colorado for the snappy o-ending. :] i actually don't think kansas is so bad. i wouldn't use it, but i think the plains of kansas are a rather pretty image and it has a similar ending to alice and alexis. i think it could work. i like flair less though.

By hyz
February 19, 2010 1:23 PM

Empathy, here are my thoughts on your girl list:

*Elsa -- I actually love this one, and think it goes fine with Solomon.

*Mabel --I agree that this sounds maybe a little light compared to Solomon, but it's not so bad that it would keep me from using it if I loved it.

*Eloise -- I love this one, but it doesn't go well with our S- last name, and I think you might have same issue. It sounds like Ellowy LN to me....

*Gwendolen -- I just don't love this one--for some reason it sounds frumpy to me.

*Louisa -- lovely name, and is an excellent match for Solomon

*Marianne -- I agree this sounds a little hayseed and dated, esp. next to Solomon. Don't get me wrong, I love hayseed, but I'm not loving Marianne for you somehow.

*Rosaline--love the nn Rosie, but the pronunciation problems would put me off this one (Roz? Rose? Line? Lin? Leen?)

*Rosemary -- I like this a lot, and I think it goes nicely with Solomon.

*Bessie--to me, Bessie is a cow, unfortunately, in the same way that Rover or Lassie are dogs, Polly is a parrot, and Felix is a cat--it's just iconic. It's not so bad to be associated with a cat, but I don't thing many girls/women would be happy sharing a name with a cow. Bess is sweet and simple, but I like it better in the mn position where there's no risk of it being familiarized to Bessie.

*Agnes--still too old lady for me, plus I think the -s ending isn't great with your LN

*Edith--this one's ok for me, and I think it goes well with Solomon

*Olive--I'm on the fence about this. In the abstract, I think it's too hipster to use (and kind of unattractive as a name, because olives aren't the most sweet/fragrant food). On the other hand, it's totally spunky, and when I've seen it on a real kid, I think it's pretty cool.

*Beatrice--prefer Beatrix, per the previous thread discussion. Beatrice seems old or a little geeky to me, plus again, the -s sound at the end is a problem.

*Rosalind--love this one, and it goes great with Solomon. The ONLY thing that bothers me about this one is the pronunciation, or else it would probably be my #1 pick for the next girl. I want to say ROSE-a-lind, while I believe the more common pronunciation is ROZ-a-lind, which is fine, but I don't like it quite as much. I'd love the nn Rosie here, too.

By hyz
February 19, 2010 1:07 PM

Valerie, I have a new baby cousin named Valentine--I hear he goes by Val. I think it's a spunky and neat choice, but I wouldn't have the courage to use it for a first name. I have another cousin with the mn Valentin--I could see using that as a fn, maybe.

February 19, 2010 1:10 PM

Since grandpas have entered the conversation, mine were Shlomo Chaim (he was always called Shlaime, but Solomon on documents) and Meyer Wolf. I was named for Meyer Wolf, but I would so use the name Wolf which I think is uber-cool. I am interested to see Solomon returning to current use. If I were to name a daughter after Shlomo Chaim, I would have chosen either Zoe Irene (very Byzantine empress-y) or Salome.

By hyz
February 19, 2010 2:05 PM

another Laura, I don't think Virginia would be too bad on a teen girl. What would they say? Oooh, you're a virgin? I think any adolescent girl with a reasonable amount of confidence could either shrug that off or even have some fun with it. And if it was really a problem for her, she could go by Ginny (although I don't personally care for that nn so much). Around Christmas, I came across a little girl (maybe 6 yrs) named Virginia, and I just found it so sweet on her. I didn't hurt that I'd been watching Miracle on 34th St., either--love that spunky little kid. Actually, I think the more annoying teasing that a Virginia would get would be constantly hearing "yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" around Christmas. Those kind of jokes get old fast.

By hyz
February 19, 2010 1:19 PM

Ok, last comment for now--Miriam, I hope you're wrong about Sylvie!! Sylvia is high on our list for a future girl, and I'd hate to see it become as bland and ubiquitous as Sophie.

By Guest (not verified)
February 19, 2010 1:48 PM

I just popped in to say that the more I hear about the Ethel-Mae postulate, the more I kind-of like this name! I mean, I still don't think I'd be ready to use it IRL, but it's got a spunky cuteness about it that I didn't hear before.

I also hope Miriam's wrong about Sylvie. It's my daughter's name (she's 8 months and her "formal name" is Sylvia Grace, but we rarely call her that), and we've only met one other Sylvie so far (aged 2, whose father was a woodworker and named her Sylvia for the meaning). I love that it's unique but familiar at the same time and don't want that to change! I guess I shouldn't write about it because, like Ethel Mae, familiarity probably begets popularity.

By Philippa (not verified)
February 19, 2010 1:49 PM

Oh, that was me above. :)

February 19, 2010 1:59 PM

Miriam-OT but I was watching Project Runway too. I agree the names weren't that notable except for Fabriana. However, those outfits were wild!

another Laura-I don't think Virginia is a hardship kind of name. I do though think that it is rather dated. I also don't care for the nn Ginny so I personally wouldn't use this one.

Gpa naming:
Benjamin (no mn)
John James
I would definitely go with Benjamin if I had to use one. There are too many John's already in the family and I was also pretty close to my gpa Ben.

February 19, 2010 2:08 PM

another laura,
i really do think a virginia could be teased in least the kids at my high school would have given her a hard time. though it might depend on the girl, really. i suppose the right person can pull almost anything off. but i wouldn't risk it in this case, i don't think.

By moll (not verified)
February 19, 2010 2:18 PM

Reporting from Ryan country: I'm in Rochester, NY, and in our yearly "Meet the Babies" supplement I think there were as many Ryans as there were other popular names (Jack, Aidan, Michael, etc). I don't know that it's the Irish thing, because I know a lot of Ryans up here who aren't Irish (but, good observation on how quickly Irish (/ Irish-American) names age.
I'd say up here you are about as likely to meet a baby or child named Ryan as a 20-something.

By Amy3
February 19, 2010 2:20 PM

My grandfathers were Frank and Anthony (always called Bob). My husband's grandfathers were Burchard and Walter. We would have used Walter as a mn for a boy. From the others, I'd be most inclined to use Frank, but it doesn't sound great with our ln.

I'm not a big place-name namer so thinking about actually *using* any of the state names is difficult for me, and the obvious ones that are already names (Carolina and Virginia) aren't names I'd use IRL. If pressed, though, I'd opt for one of those for a girl. For a boy, maybe Maine. Couldn't that sound kind of surnamey cool? Maybe?