Names to Give Your Children {for Americans}

August 28, 2012

I’m kind of obsessed with names.

Way before I ever got pregnant with Adlai, I owned a book of baby names that I mostly used to look up the meanings of names of people I met.  When we got pregnant, I started dog-earing pages with names I thought we maybe should call our child.  (The truth is, Adlai was Simon’s idea and didn’t even come out of my book.  Although I did look it up when he mentioned it.  It means “God is just”, or “My witness,” or “My Ornament.”)

I’m fond of unique names.  When I taught seventh grade the year after I graduated from college, I had 6 Kaylas in my classes, which I kept straight by referring to all of them by their full names.  I don’t want to do that to my kids’ teachers.  I’m always on the lookout for names that are meaningful, roll off the tongue easily, sound good with Dwight, and aren’t in the Top 10 most popular names for the last 5 years.

The great thing about living in England is that all the cool, popular American names are pretty uncommon here – and vice versa.  I’ve been really interested to get to know some of Adlai’s playmates here who have names that I’d consider really unique in America, and I thought I’d share some of them with you Americans, in case any of you are looking.

And don’t worry, Britons.  I’ll give you the run-down of American names next.  You know I wouldn’t leave you out.

These aren’t necessarily the most popular names for 2012, but they’re names of kids we know.

Boys We Know in Britain

Charlie

Hugo

Jago (pronounced jay-go)

Kasper

Eros

Beau

Archie

Harvey

Reuben

Girls We Know in Britain

Kezia (I kind of love this name.)

Emma

Elodie (pronounced like Melody, without the M.)

Amelia

Tilly

Poppy

Jemima

Fleur

Freya

What do you think, Brits?  Did I leave any out?

12 responses to “Names to Give Your Children {for Americans}”

  1. Naomi A. says:

    I have a friend named Kezia! She’s the only one I’ve met. We’re the same way with baby names. Of course it’s of primary importance to us that they be meaningful and that our children can learn something by their name. But we also tend to prefer names that aren’t as common. Our firstborn is Israel, our second is Paschelle, and our third (who got the slightly more common name) is Victoria. I love the name Adlai – and what a beautiful meaning too!

  2. Amanda says:

    Faith!! Beau? In the southeastern states?

    Eliad is going to have a friend named Charlie. They could have already met, but one of them has always been asleep. Maybe they’ll be awake together soon. 🙂

  3. Kris says:

    Amelia is becoming popular here in the US. And side note, Brandon had a girlfriend named Fleur. I still think that’s a very pretty name. Eros? Really? And Jemima, as in Aunt?

  4. Ms Niss says:

    Jasper! And semi-Nissa. 🙂

  5. One of the reasons for picking Sophia, aside from liking the name and meaning, was because it was uncommon. Well, Of course, as soon as we chose it, it became very popular. Boo!

  6. Hannah King says:

    Hi Faith, as a primary school teacher in England I get to see all of the current trends of names – there are some wonderful ones that I love – here’s a little selection:
    Evie (short for Evelyn)
    Lily
    Olivia
    Oscar
    Martha
    Raffi (short for Raphael)
    Morgan (boy)
    Monty
    Dylan
    Alfie
    Lucas
    Ava

    This year I have taught an amazing number of children with the names Ellis, Ethan and Ewan and ALL of them had a sibling with one of those names too – I think I’d find that highly confusing having two sons called Ethan and Ewan!

  7. My girlfriend just named her daughter Freya Magnolia and I ADORE it!!!
    My daughter is Zofia Thyme and it fills me with great joy.

  8. Thanks for the list of names! You’re right, they are unique for American names. My British friend’s name is Emma, she married an American and their son’s name is Xavier George (father’s choice). I do the same as you with pining over names, glad to know I’m not the only one!

  9. shelia says:

    my daughter is named Amelia! I’ve heard that her name is popular, it’s even high on the most popular list. but we still have yet to meet another Amelia! 🙂

  10. Love! Especially Amelia, Poppy, and Elodie. Will definitely be dog-earing this post 🙂

  11. katiejo42 says:

    Faith – you totally missed Elisha! Please tell me it isn’t a common name in the states…
    #stilldreamingofemigratingoneday

  12. I used to check baby name books out of the library in middle school when I was writing a story for class. Personally, I’ve been loving the name Penelope lately.

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