About Me

I'm an Anglo-American, recently returned from nine years in the States and living near London with my Californian husband, teaching and coaching musicians (students and pros). I'm a former concert pianist, who is dealing with myofascial pain syndrome. In 2006, we had a son, James Valentine, who only lived three days, and we have not succeeded in having another. We are now in the process of healing, and discovering ways to bring meaning to our lives through art, creativity, fun and being of service. I've been a Name Enthusiast since the age of 5, when I used to line up my 28 stuffed animals and play "Animal School" with my friends. Animal School consisted mainly of making a register of all the animals' names, by which time it was usually time for my friends to go home. The next time they came round, the old register had lost its shine and we of course had to start making a new one. As a teen, I pored daily over the London Times birth announcements, and made collated the results religiously. Meanwhile, my friend Keren (also a contributor to this awesome blog) was doing the same with the "Jewish Chronicle". We compared notes avidly, and many years later still relish some good old NE talk whenever possible. Now I've spent time on both sides of the Atlantic, I love to compare how Brits and Americans think about and use names, words and phrases. I really enjoy exchanging ideas with everyone here, and learning from you all.

My Favorite Names
My Recent Blog Comments
November 22, 2018 07:01 AM

I love many of these suggestions. I'd add Ianthe, Violet, Clementine, Francine, Fleur, Peony, Leonie, Tamsin, Lucy, Marigold, Cleo, Fern, Margot, Marin, Jessamy,Marnie, Lilian. Glynis.


 Also Linnea, Stella, Zuleika, Pia, Leila, Katia, Flora, Rosa, Clara (do end in A but are not super-Italianate).

September 18, 2018 02:45 PM

I know babies named Arthur, Frederick (Freddie) and Albie. My favourite of these kind of names are Roland and Clarence. I may have to use them on pets!

June 11, 2018 06:24 AM

Francesca, Linnea, Violet, Clementine, Delphine.

May 25, 2018 10:53 AM

My absolute favourite is Xenia/Ksenia. For those wondering how to pronounce it, it's easier to gather from the second spelling: it's KSEN-yah. So it's probably not the easiest choice! Alina, Larissa, Galina are much easier for English speakers.

May 8, 2018 10:11 AM

How about Roland? I also second Clarence, although it doesn't have a long vowel.

April 1, 2018 02:33 AM

I was also going to mention the formerly popular Amabel (lovable). Apparently Mabel started out as a diminutive of Amabel! Nowadays, I think people are afraid it would be confused with Annabelle, and that's probably why it dropped out of favour.

November 15, 2017 09:41 AM
In Response to Boy name issue . . .

Annoying as it must be to you, I would definitely skip it- she's got such a bad association with the name that it will definitely feel awful to her. 

October 3, 2017 01:50 PM

I would add Fergus to the list- my sister named her son that and is very happy that it's a good sturdy name with Celtic background (fits well with her husband's heritage and Mac... surname), but not overused.

September 23, 2017 10:24 AM

Your surmise is correct, ivymae- we've never had a big surge of Jessicas.


It's funny how some names don't travel. For example, Nicola was incredibly popular in the UK when I was growing up, but it never made it to the US, as far as I know. They prefer Nicole.

February 6, 2017 05:17 AM

Ah, one of my favourite boys' names: Marius! I can never understand why it's not more popular. Maybe because it sounds too feminine to some? The Italian form, Mario, is a classic in Italy, but this Latin form is still rare.

January 13, 2017 07:35 AM

The only one of these that I actually like is Athena- it's been a favourite for years since I had a Greek student of that name.

January 3, 2017 11:38 AM
In Response to Brainstorming baby #2

I lovee Tamsin... and if that's not to be, then Margot is gorgeous too.  Miranda or Viola are lovely! The only thing about Viola is that people aren't sure how to pronounce it. Other Shakespearean favourites include Rosalind and Perdita.

For boys, I don't love surnames as first names. How about something so out it's in, like Roland or Clarence? I also love Marius. Easy to proounce and spell, but only rarely used.

January 3, 2017 10:49 AM

I have a friend whose new grandson is named Fox! It took her a while to get her head around.

November 21, 2016 10:38 AM

Some more C names for you! Claudia/Claudine/Claudette, Clementine, Clemency, Colette, Cecily, Carina

November 21, 2016 10:33 AM

Lovely article, Laura. One side of my family is English, and I had great-uncles called Percy and Cyril. Also a Herbert, although I guess that was popular in the States also. I think the Victorians liked all those names ending with -bert, including Egbert and Osbert!


Looking forward to the girls now! 

October 4, 2016 12:08 PM

Love these! My sister-in-law is married to a Salvadorean so these names would probably have appeal for them. For thier first, they picked Luca, which I think would fit on this list too. I'm wondering what they will name thier second, when he or she appears!

September 2, 2016 03:24 PM
In Response to Baby #4

Macon Rose?

May 11, 2016 06:31 AM

Love this thread! 

One of mine is Mariah, as in "They call the wind Mariah" from "Paint Your Wagon". Which I heard at high school and have always remembered (totally agree about that period as being the most fertile for song data input!).

On a different note, one of my closest friends is a classical singer who used to sing "Jenny Rebecca" as an encore at concerts and named her daughter after the song. And I just looked up who wrote the song (Carol Hall), and discovered an article mentioning that Fredericka von Stade also used to sing it, and named HER daughter after the song too. 

OK, time to pull my head out of the rabbit hole!

April 22, 2016 02:01 PM

Thanks, Elizabeth T and HungarianNameGeek- I knew this was a safe place for me to turn to! ;) Thank God we have this forum and Laura to keep us sane.

I like that definition of Ryder- a bit more noble. Isabella Elizabeth, Jacob and James, the Mason-Dixon soundalikes... aargh!

I'll report back with more stories as they emerge, and I hope that you (and others) will too!

April 22, 2016 01:54 PM

Fascinating, booky! Florence is currently popular in the UK (#26), and I wonder also about Cleo, Fern and Maud, although they're not in the top 100. They have the current sensibility (nature names and Victorian revivals).