Your favorite "hidden gems"

What names do you think SHOULD be more popular?  And include your defense for fun.  Here is my short list of names that are beyond guilty pleasures in that I think they really could work well for actual humans.  I'd recommend them to any expectant parent (and would use them for my own children if not for DH vetoes!)

1. Geneva -- It has a long history of use in the US and was at its lowest point of use in 2011 with only 156 girls given this name.  There were 2,586 in 1924!  Easy to pronounce but a bit of an exotic twist on Genevieve.  Sure, it is a place name...but the Geneva Convention makes me think of it as a peaceful name.  Plus, there's ample nickname possibilities.  Gen would be the obvious choice (and although Jen was once a common name it's not anymore) then there's Neve (my favorite), Viv, etc.

2.  Reeve -- Short, simple, fits the surname trend but not in the overused "ends in n" way.  There were only 29 boys and 6 girls named this in the US in 2012.  People refer to it as unisex sometimes on forums but those SSA numbers show that in reality it is a 83%/17% it's actually still quite masculine.  I've loved the sound since reading "The face on the Milk Carton" as an adolescent.  Why is it not more popular?  I really don't get it.  A reeve was an official in Britian...somewhat like a counselperson.

3. Vienne -- 12 on the 2012 SSA list.  Okay, it's probably not more popular because parents go with Vivienne instead.  Short, spunky...a French feel without too much complication. 

4. Slate -- Another simple but punchy word name.  36 Slates were on the 2012 SSA list.  Clay and Stone have been in use for many decades, so why not the earthy Slate?  I suppose the association with might be too much for some people.

5. Avonlea -- Again, abundant nickname possibilities!  I suppose it may lack meaning since it is an imaginary placename...but such a feminine and modern-feeling one!  Only 63 Avonleas on the 2012 SSA list.  Similarly, there were only 102 Avalons (is the car model turning parents off?)


By Spam
March 4, 2014 9:02 PM

oops *the magazine association* with Slate...

By jmay
March 4, 2014 9:13 PM

I'm surprised Louisa doesn't get more love. It's an underused classic and has the go to cute nickname Lou. There is a strong literary namesake. It has a bit of an old lady vibe, but old lady names are pretty dang chic at the moment. I'm not surprised it isn't in the top 100, but I'm amazed its not in the 1000.

March 4, 2014 11:07 PM

I grew up with a couple of Genevas, but I haven't heard of any recently.  I do know a Genevra at the moment though.

I keep hoping someone will use Melisande.  I personally think it is ever so much nicer than its descendent Millicent.

By EVie
March 5, 2014 1:14 AM

I'm eternally surprised that Susanna/Susannah isn't more popular—it seems to me like it should fit right in with ultra-popular names like Olivia, Isabella, Hannah, Abigail, Emily, Charlotte, Amelia etc. I actually think that Susanna hits the perfect balance between being a traditional name that is also uncommon and also fits in with current styles.

Until recently I was surprised that Amalia was not more popular, considering the popularity of Amelia, but now it's broken into the top 1000 and I think it will continue to rise.

Another one that surprises me is Rosamund/Rosamond. I wouldn't expect it to be super popular or even in the top 1000 necessarily, because that -mund ending is more clunky than is fashionable right now, but I'm kind of amazed at how very unpopular it is—like, 9 Rosamunds in 2012, and fewer than 5 Rosamonds, and in 2011 there were fewer than 5 of each. If anyone wants an ultra-rare classic name, there it is!

By Jude
March 5, 2014 8:00 PM

Mabel - It has the super popular -belle ending, plus a quirky, vintage feel and the adorable nickname Mae. Mabel could be Harriet and Oliver's kid sister. I know it won't appeal to everyone, but I can't believe I never even hear it mentioned!