Is Josephine too trendy?

One of the few girls' names my husband and I can agree on is Josephine. It was one of my great-great grandmother's names, who everyone on my Dad's side of the family loved dearly, and my mother and 2 of my cousins also have the middle name Jo, so it kind of honors them as well. (Everyone in my extended family tries to somehow tie their baby name choices to someone else in the familiar. Sometimes it's a little bit of a stretch. For example, my name is Stacy Leigh; the Leigh is a tribute to my Grandpa Leo. Incidentally, Leo is our first chice if it's a boy.) 

Besides my great-great-grandma (who died when I was 3), I've only known one other Josephine and she was my age (late 20s. early 30s). However, I notice that Josephine seems to be bounding up the Social Security Administration's popular baby name charts. It makes a little progress each year and is now in the top 200.) I had always thought that Josephine was a good combination of not too common, but also very recognizable. Do you think Josephine is becoming too trendy? 

Thanks in advance for any input!

Stacy

 

Replies

1
April 13, 2012 5:11 AM

Did you dislike your own name growing up?  Stacy Leigh sounds like you were named during its heyday.  I know one Josephine who is 17 and she's a lovely girl.  I feel like it will get more and more difficult to find names (Lauren blogged about this last week) that hit the sweet spot of not-too-trendy and sounds-fresh-and-appealing.  I do think Josephine is going to keep rising in the trends as parents look for the ultra-feminine vintage sounding names but want an alternative to Madeleine and Sophia.  You won't be able to predict if she'll be Josephine A. in kindergarten.  Leo is also positioned in the top 200's in the States and rising fast, if the worldwide statistics are any indicator.

2
April 13, 2012 8:07 AM

I think it will continue to increase in popularity but not become TOO popular. Besides there is no way to tell if it will be used in your area of not. My dd's name is Natalie which is like 17th or so for her birth yr but she only has one other in her school. We do run across kids in the store or playground but its much more seldom than I would've thought based on the ranking.

3
April 13, 2012 8:13 AM

When I picked my daughter's name (Matilda) it wasn't even on the top 200. The year she was born, for some reason it leaped into the top 100 and kept rising every year after that for the next 5 years, to reach to around top 50 in the UK where we live. Even so, I've not actually met any other Matilda's her age in person (and have only met a couple of baby Matildas in the past couple of years.)

I think Josephine is getting more popular, and will likely continue to rise, but not to the point that it would affect your daughter... By the time it gets popular enough that Josephines are likely to start running into each other, it will be a younger age group than her.

4
April 13, 2012 8:18 AM

Josephine is a lot like Samantha, in a way. It may be popular, even top 100 popular, but it's never going to be trendy. It's a beautiful, classic name that is very rarely subject to cre4tive spelling.

5
By Guest (not verified)
April 14, 2012 4:24 AM

I don't think it's too trendy.  I would guess she would be the only Josephine in her school and would only meet a handful of others in her lifetime.  I like the name a lot.  Good luck

William

6
April 14, 2012 9:57 AM

Josephine is a lovely name, and I most definitely would not call it trendy.  Unless you live in a pocket of Josephines, it is highly unlikely that your daughter would have another Josephine in her class.  Even the most popular names are being used less frequently. 

7
By Guest (not verified)
April 14, 2012 3:42 PM

When we named our daughter Juliet in 2004, it was in the 600s. Now it is in the 300s I think. But still, I only know 1 other Juliet (aged 2). There are no other Juliets in her entire school, and the name still feels fresh to most people. She gets lots of compliments on it. I think that with anything below about 100, that will your experience, especially if there aren't multiple possible spellings, a la Kaylee, etc. I like Josephine. It's classic, feminine, and has some great nicknames. I'd use it. 

8
April 14, 2012 7:10 PM

Personally, I think it's a lovely name.  And rather like Elizabeth, even if she knows other Josephines, they might go by different nicknames, like Josie, Jo, Feeny, Fifi.

9
April 15, 2012 12:34 AM

Thanks, everyone! I think we are going to go with Josephine. Now to decide on a middle name. Our top contenders are (in my personal ranking order):

Josephine Grace (I know that Grace is super-trendy, but I've loved it since I was very young and encountered it on "Little House on the Prairie." When I was little and playing dolls with my sisters, I'd always name my dolls Grace. Now, the name has spiritual significance for us and I still love the simple, pretty sound of it. Plus, like Josephine, it's French.)

Josephine Rae (My husband's sister's middle name; it's nice to have a family connection, though we already have that covered with my Great-Great-Grandma Josephine and mom Becky Jo and cousins Heather Jo and Samantha Jo)

Josephine Noemi (I have no idea why this is on our list, but it's my husband's favorite, which is rather strange, considering that he tends to like the plain, common names. Noemi is the French version of Naomi, which is nice because Josephine is French, so the names don't look awkward together. Also, my grandfather is French-Canadian.)

Josephine Elida (As previously mentioned, Josephine is my great-great-grandma. Elida is my husband's. I don't care for it per se, but my husband does. I do like that she would bare the names of two of her great-great-great grandmothers. I think that's kind of neat and makes both sides of the family happy.)

10
April 15, 2012 6:28 AM

I agree that Josephine is unlikely to be either too popular or too trendy. I'm glad you are going to stick with it.

Of your suggested middle names I love Josephine Noemi. Josephine Elida is also nice.  

11
April 15, 2012 1:14 PM

I agree.

12
By Guest (not verified)
April 15, 2012 2:23 PM

I'm glad you're happy with Josephine -- it is a really lovely name!

 

Of your prospective middles, I like Josephine Noemi best, because it has such panache! (I often don't like it when the last sound of one name is the same as the first sound of the next, but it's not nearly such a big deal when it's first-middle compared to first-last.)  I like Josephine Elida second-best because of the family link you mention.  Grace is a distant third and Rae doesn't do much for me, unless you really would like to honor your SIL specifically.

13
April 15, 2012 2:54 PM

Could you tell me, please, how you are saying Noemi?

Because of the vowel order, I can't help but read it in French (Noémie), which puts the emphasis on the last syllable (no-ay-MEE), but I suspect that there are other ways of saying it that I'm not aware of. I think that the rhythm would make a difference to how I place my middle name vote :)

But I really like Elida becuase it's soft and melodious. The family connection is a plus, but not the primary reason why it pleases me.

14
April 15, 2012 9:02 PM

Karyn,

We pronounce Noemi (no-AY-mee) It's funny, because when I first suggested it as a first name, my husband laughed out loud; he thought it was ridiculous, and said we couldn't name our daughter "No Amy." But strangely, when I suggested it as a middle name for Josephine, he lit up and exclaimed, "That's it! That's my favorite!"

Go figure.

One last option we've disucssed is:

Josephine Anastasia (My name is Stacy, which is traditionally a nickname from Anastasia. It's probably the closest I'll come to putting my name in one of our daughter's names. If it's a boy, we plan on going with Leo Gregory, Gregory being my husband's name, so it's appealing to give a daughter a version of my name as well. I like it A LOT, but my husband thinks Josephine Anastasia is a mouthful. I also wonder if it sounds a little pretentious. In our world of Shelbys, Addisons, Tysons, and Adiens, a little girl named after TWO emporesses might come across as having some mighty high-falutin' parents! :)

15
April 15, 2012 9:16 PM

StLeCe-Although I agree that giving your daughter a connection name like Anastasia is a nice gift, I still feel Noemi flows the best. Is Josephine Stacy not to your liking? I think it is less of a tongue twister. If you are set though there are worse names than Josephine Anastasia.

P.S. For the future, Leo Gregory is lovely.

16
April 15, 2012 9:20 PM

Thank you! :)

17
April 16, 2012 12:23 AM

I think my vote is still for Josephine Noemi, something about that combo is just beautiful. I do like Josephine Anastasia too and having a link to your name is a bonus. I don't think the 2 names together are too much at all.

18
By Guest (not verified)
April 18, 2012 7:40 PM

Noemi (or more properly Noémi) is also the Hungarian version of Naomi. The pronunciation is like in French except with the stress on the first syllable. The juxtaposition with Josephine is a bit odd to me, but it does work.

I don't care for Elida because it looks too much like "elide" (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/elide). I also don't quite know how to pronounce it: is the middle syllable like 'eye' or like 'ee'?

Rae doesn't do anything for me: the sound is masculine (Ray as in Raymond), and the spelling is weird.

I know Grace is very common as a middle name, but I think there's a reason for the trend: it's a good middle name! Plus, it's a little bit less of a punishment to make a girl write "Josephine Grace" a hundred times than "Josephine Anastasia"...

(I can see the appeal of giving your child some version of your own name -- did it myself -- and I approve wholeheartedly the notion of giving a child the full name and shortening it at need/whim, but this is one case where the net result may be a bit much. Maybe a more obscure "homage" like Stacey -> Anastasia -> Anna?)

19
April 18, 2012 11:03 PM

Guest- Rae is the accepted female form of Ray(mond) in which case it would mean wise protection according to Laura. It can also be used as a short form of Rachel and would then mean ewe (as in sheep). I think the use of the word "weird" is a bit harsh.

20
By Guest (not verified)
April 15, 2012 11:53 PM

I have met a couple of Josies but never a Josephine in the 6 and under set.  I live in a mid-size midwestern University city.  Don't think you have too much to worry about.  The majority of people either go top ten type names or creative names with strange spellings, at least around here.  And surnames.  But the old school names people use tend to be shorter and end with a or ee (Hannah, Anna, Chloe,Abby etc)--the ine ending definitely has not come back--at least here. 

21
April 16, 2012 6:15 PM

Only you know if "trendy" = too trendy. All names, even the most popular, are less common than they were as the overall name pool broadens. I'd suggest you look at the numbers to help you decide, but even there consider that the demographics of your area may not match the national usage, and it may be more important to you to stand out (or not) locally. As Laura W. often points out, "popular" is just another way of saying well-liked, and a name that appeals to the zeitgeist, especially when its still on the upward swing, is likely to earn you and your child compliments. It's also true that Josephine is a name with a long history and an elegant namesake, so that gives it some weight and a very different feel from more modern inventions like Kaylee and Nevaeh. And if she does end up with other Josephines in her circle, the variety of nicknames available - Jo, Jojo, Josie, Joy, Finn, Phina, Seffie, etc. - will still allow her to create a distinct identity if she likes.

(If you are pondering trendiness, be aware that your boys' pick, Leo, is also seeing a lot more use in certain circles these days, and in general fits in with a fondness for L-names, long vowels, and -o endings.)

Of your middle name suggestions, Elida appeals to me the most, but then I personally enjoy distinctive names and this one is new to me. Noemi(e) is very elegant and probably the best fit (with Karyn's pronunciation), though in general I wouldn't pick an N- beginning to follow an -ine ending. Grace doesn't feel that special to me anymore (it's becoming so common, especially as a middle name), but it has meaning to you and the sounds flow very well with Josephine. (I don't think it's a French name, for what it's worth, but that doesn't matter.) Rae seems like a complete mismatch to me (simple, soft sound, "country" feel vs. long, sophisticated and regal) - I might modify it to Rachelle or Renee if that still works for you as a tribute name. Anastasia is probably too much - a lovely fantasy name, but unless your last name is very short it makes for a real mouthful altogether.

How about Josephine Elise? Josephine Estelle? Josephine Leonie? Josephine Louise (nn. Josie Lou)? Josephine Mae? Josephine Ruth?

Interestingly, Josephine is a family name for me too. There was a tradition on my mom's mom's side that there would be a Josephine in every generation. The last bearer, my great aunt, had it as a middle name but hated it so much she would never tell her middle name to anyone. She would likely be shocked to see it staging such a comeback today! No one in my mom's generation got the name; my sister's name incorporates only the Jo-, and I don't think any of the current generation are likely to pass it on. I've developed a fondness for Josepha (pronounced yo-SEFF-uh) but doubt I'll use it.

22
April 16, 2012 6:57 PM

I agree with the general consensus that Josephine may be more popular than before but it can never be trendy.  I actually feel like I know several Josephines - most go by Josie and one by Jo - perhaps it's popular in Catholic circles.  I just checked and saw that the name Josie actually ranks at 260.  But, I'm actually thinking as long as it doesn't go top 20 it may work out nicely for your daughter that Josephine/Josie is on the increase.  It means that there aren't too many being born but more people like it in this generation than in the previous generation. 

23
By Guest (not verified)
April 18, 2012 2:03 PM

It's funny...I was CRAZY oversensitive about name popularity when I was picking my daughter's name, but Josephine (nn Jo) ended up being my number one choice anyway. I decided that it was classic and down to earth enough that it didn't feel like it would ever be trendy, even though of course it wouldn't ever be uncommon, either. And there are a lot of great songs about Josephine :)

In the end, we didn't pick it because of the way we decided to pick our name (highest matching on our separate lists, which happened to be #2 for both of us), but now I love my daughter's name and can't imagine anything else :) Still, I have a major soft spot for Josephine!

 

Personally, of your middle name choices, I like Josephine Rae best. But Noemi is pretty cool, too!

24
By Coll
April 18, 2012 3:35 PM

We've picked Josephine, too, for a future girl. And I have the same worries about trendiness (especially because I don't know when I'll ever have a girl, so Josephine could be top 100 by the time we do).

 

Anyway, I've loved the name for a decade now, so I'm not going to just toss it out (though I have been cheating with the much less trendy Henrietta).

 

I like Josephine Rae--has a similar sound to the middle name we picked out for a future Josephine. But that has become a popular middle name for those who want something spunkier than Rose.

25
By Guest (not verified)
April 18, 2012 11:23 PM

Hyz here - I agree with the others on Josephine (trending upwards, but always a classic, and glad you're using it).  I'll cast my votes for Josephine Grace (if you have always loved it, then it is meaningful to you, not a "filler" mn--and I think it is quite pretty), or Josephine Anastasia (yes, it's a big name, but a really classic and striking and beautifully strong one, I think).  I love the look of Josephine Noemi, but don't love the sound when it's pronounce no-AY-mee (prefer no-EH-mee or no-ay-MEE).  I could get behind Elida, but how is it pronounced?  Eh-LEE-da (like Elisa) or Eh-LYE-da (like Eliza)?  I like former a bit better, because I agree that the similar sound to elide is not the best association.  Rae sounds dated to me, and less attractive than your other options. 

26
May 27, 2014 2:37 PM

Trendy is not the word. The classic, beautiful name Josephine is being chosen more often by parents for their precious little girls... but when I think of "trendy" I think Kennady or Riley... not lovely Josephine.

One thing we have to remember is that the #1 name of today is really not that commonly used at all. People are branching out and trying to pick less popular names, so the "top 10" is not what it used to be. I know one young Josephine, and she goes by Josie and is around 8 now. Then I know two Josephines that are my grandmother's age. I see it popping up more (like 1 in 500 girls??) but not being super common. The trends still favor short names like Emma or "trendy" like Madison. 

 

If you love the name and it suits what you are looking for, I would not even bat an eye at a name ranked in the 200s. There is no way to know what the future of naming holds or if Josephine will be in the top 10 a few years from now. The same could be said for practically any other name. You have to name your daughter the best choice in your mind, and you aren't expected to be a fortune teller. :)

 

27
May 28, 2014 12:12 AM

I live in a Josephine pocket, so I think it's worth considering where you live... not just state-wise, but in terms of your immediate community. If all the girls are named Eleanor and Hazel, then yes, you will meet a lot of Josephines, too. It's a trend for fabulous vintage revivals, which frankly isn't a bad thing -- it just means the names are well loved, and deservedly so.

The tricky thing is that this is the sort of thing you can't really assess until you HAVE a child and are hanging out on playgrounds. So, perhaps ask some local friends with young kids what they think?

I think of it like Penelope - having the potential to take off a good bit in the nationwide if it has the right celebrity push behind it. However, it really doesn't matter much what the nationwide stats are, so much as what sort of a naming enclave you're located in. I know that if our son had been a girl and we'd gone with Josephine (or Elinor, the other contender), we'd have been using a surname initial to distinguish even before school started.

I think it won't ever feel super-timestamped... I think of it like Victoria in our generation -- it's a timeless classic, even if it's one that I encountered a lot in the children of the 80s. Also, there are great nickname options to distinguish if you do end up sharing a classroom or a social group with another Josephine... so all in all, I don't think you need to worry about trendiness too much.