The second part of my article on David Bowie is up at Nameberry. It has more names from his later career, including his film roles.
Fellow name blogger Rowan from Eponymia welcomed her second child on March 25. She and her husband now have a gorgeous daughter named Cosima Kindred, a sister for Ottilie Valentine; Cosima will have the nickname Cosy.
Cosima is a name that was on their original name list for their first baby, and Rowan still loved it. Kindred is the middle name of sci fi writer Philip K. Dick – a link with Ottilie’s name, as Valentine is the middle name of author Henry Miller. Both Valentine and Kindred are names connected with love, as we send cards to our kindred spirits on St Valentine’s Day.
Congratulations to Rowan and her family! A beautifully named baby girl, and a lovely sibset.
Last year I tabulated every example of a particular baby name I saw, combining spellings to give an idea of how common a name actually was. Examples were taken from birth announcements in newspapers, hospital announcements from websites and newspapers, newborn photography and parenting blogs, stories about babies from newspapers and magazines, and some babies I saw in real life. It also includes all the Australian celebrity babies from that year, all birth announcements on the blog, and birth announcements from Western Australia, supplied by Ebony on her blog babynameobsessed.
Combining spellings is a problematic exercise, as there is no way to determine how the parents pronounce the name. I tried to guess the most likely pronunciation, based on how most people would pronounce the name. In cases where a name could have more than one pronunciation, when possible I dealt with them as separate names, so that Louis/Lewis is differentiated from Louis/Louie. Of course this can provide only the most general information.
This also means that completely different names were combined together because they sound the same, such as the English name May and the Chinese name Mei. In cases where I wasn’t sure whether separate names should be regarded as homophones, I relied upon the “playground test” – not saying the names quietly and distinctly, but screaming them aloud, as if calling a child outdoors. Although I would say the names Amelia and Emilia very slightly differently in my normal speaking voice, when I shrieked them urgently across a paddock, they sounded virtually identical.
It was not practicable to show all the possible variant spellings given to a name, and I have only shown the traditional spelling, or in some cases, dominant spellings. Occasionally this gave slightly misleading results – for example, out of the babies I saw named Alicia, not one of them had their name actually spelled Alicia!
Where there was only a single example of a name and it had a very idiosyncratic spelling, I gave it the traditional spelling in case it should be unrecognisable at first sight. I did this especially with vocabulary names and place names, which might otherwise go unnoticed.
Not all the babies were born in 2015, as I took names of all babies up to 12 months old, so that many would have been born the previous year. (Where a baby had a very unusual name, I could not resist including it, even if was slightly older than 12 months). Neither are all the babies born in Australia, as Australians living abroad often put birth announcements for their children in the newspapers here, or have their stories covered in the media (this includes those Australian celebrity babies born overseas).
In no way is this intended to replace the current national Top 100, which will come out soon, or to provide an ad hoc full data set for Australia – it should be considered as a survey only. It does give some idea of the diversity of names used in Australia, and might provide baby name inspiration, or reassurance that an uncommon name is used more often than you might have thought (or at all).
If you would like a copy of the complete data in Microsoft Excel format for the Waltzing More Than Matilda Name Survey (includes both boy and girl names), please go to the E-books page and follow the prompt.
Appellation Mountain, Baby Name Pondering, Bewitching Names, British Baby Names, celebrity baby names, celebrity sibsets, Facebook, For Real Baby Names, Nameberry, Swistle, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Herald Sun, Twitter, Upswing Baby Names, Wikipedia, You Can't Call It "It"!
Yesterday marked five years since I started Waltzing More Than Matilda. Time seems to have flown while I had fun, because it feels as if I have only just started, and still have lots to learn. For my fifth blogging anniversary, here are the top five results in various categories from Waltzing More Than Matilda.
Names from Name Lists
Girls Names of Australian Aboriginal Origin
Girls Names From Stars and Constellations
Boys Names From Stars and Constellations
Boys Names of Australian Aboriginal Origin
Names of Convicts on the First Fleet
Upper Class Baby Names
Finding Baby Names to Match Your Surname
You Can’t Call it That: What the Law Says About Naming Baby
What Happens if You Don’t Register Your Baby’s Name?
Choosing Between Two Baby Names
A Girl’s Name From an Aboriginal Language Meaning “Star”
Can You Suggest an Old-Fashioned Sibling Name That’s Nickname-Proof?
Can You Suggest Any Vintage Names for This Couple?
Is Margot the Next Big Thing?
Can You Suggest an Australian-Themed Name for the Third Triplet?
Most Commented Articles
What Do You Think of These Names for Twin Girls?
Girls Names Which Rose in Popularity in 2012
Is Cressida a Girl Name or a Car Name?
Why Your Child Will Hate Their Name
Underused Names for Girls
Top Countries (you are most likely in …)
Top Search Terms
waltzing more than matilda
flynn christopher bloom
virginia trioli baby
Thank you to all my readers, subscribers, followers, and commenters for five years of enjoyable blogging! And have a happy Valentine’s Day!
celebrity baby names, created names, famous namesakes, fictional namesakes, French names, German names, name combinations, names of cats, nicknames, popular names, Roman names, royal names, saints names, sibsets, Spanish names, triplet sets
Welcome to the third annual Matilda Awards, where we try to discover what names on the blog were the favourites of the public.
Waltzing With … Category
It was controversy corner in this category, with ANNA gaining a frankly unbelievable 100% rating from the public. I can only think that people were reluctant to say they didn’t like my name, and now wish I had covered Anna as a Famous Name, where people might have been more comfortable making negative comments.
Lucinda was created as a pen name by the 17th century Spanish poet Lope de Vega from the Latin for “light”, made famous by Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote. It quickly became a literary favourite, and was covered on the blog because of Peter Carey’s novel Oscar and Lucinda. It’s a modern classic which has never reached the Top 100 in Australia, but is vastly more popular here than anywhere else.
Felix was first given as a nickname which signified “luck” to the Roman general and statesman Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Common in Roman times, it became a favourite of early Christians and is well known as a saints name. Once in the Top 200, retro Felix is back on the charts and has reached the Top 100, being one of the fastest-rising names of 2014. The name was covered in relation to the cartoon character Felix the Cat.
Two “made up” names with Latin roots and extremely positive meanings, there was a lot of love for these light and lucky names with creative Australian associations. 40% of people loved the name Lucinda and nobody hated it, while 45% loved the name Felix and only 3% hated it. They were the overall top-rated names of the year, with Lucinda the favourite name overall.
Famous Name Category
Eleanor is a French name with a solid royal history, and a classic never out of the charts. It reached the Top 100 in 2014 as one of the fastest-rising names of the year. Eleanor was praised for being elegant and refined, dignified and intellectual, and beautiful or attractive. It was chosen for the birthday of author Eleanor Dark.
Jasper is a name with ties to the ancient Middle East. It originally honoured the legendary Saint Jasper, who was one of the three wise men to visit the baby Jesus. Jasper has been on the charts since the 1990s, and at the bottom of the Top 100 for several years. People saw the name Jasper as hip and quirky, handsome or cute, and cool and sophisticated. It was chosen to commemorate the Epiphany.
Two popular names dating from the Middle Ages, both with connections to royalty and aristocracy.
Names Themes and Lists
Thea is a short form of Dorothea or Theodora with several famous Australian namesakes that has recently been boosted as a celebrity baby name. It was covered on a list of German names for girls.
Arlo is a possible surname variant and literary place name which originated in the United States. Made famous by folk singer Arlo Guthrie, and chosen as a celebrity baby name, it is rising so steeply that it was chosen for a list of fresh names for boys.
Two short names with little history, but tons of style. They’ve been rising steeply since being chosen for their children by celebrities.
Celebrity Baby Names
The most popular celebrity twins were WILLIAM DAVID “BILLY” AND ELIZABETH ANN “BETTY” CAMPBELL, son and daughter of singer David Campbell and his wife Lisa, a producer. The twins’ brother is named Leo. Although they were the only celebrity twins, they had an overwhelmingly favourable reception.
The most popular celebrity baby girl name was MATILDA VICTORIA WATSON. Matilda is the daughter of cricketer Shane Watson, and his wife Lee Furlong, a former sports reporter. Her brother is named Will.
The most popular celebrity baby boy name was JUDE DAL SANTO. Jude is the son of Australian rules footballer Nick Dal Santo from North Melbourne and his wife Julie.
Last year the favoured celebrity baby names were all about European style and elegance: this year readers have chosen popular baby names. It’s a big win for celebrities who picked “normal” names for their children.
Names from the Birth Announcements
The most popular names for multiples were triplets HENRY, RUFUS AND PEARL who were absolutely unbeatable. I saw the triplets in a news story as they had been born prematurely and managed to beat the odds for all three to survive. The Dunstan triplets have become online fan favourites, and their hip, beautifully matched names made them poll winners as well. They were nominated in July by Madelyn, CeeCee, and Prue.
In the girls section, LUELLA WINTER was the winner. This stylish portmanteau name with several nickname options was from a set in August, so she really was a winter baby.
For the boys, it was a severe case of deja vu as HUGO FREDERICK won for the second year in a row by a wide margin. This came from a set of announcements in November, and I was interested to see if it could win against a whole new batch of names. It could and did, so I am retiring this name combination.
It was a very tight race among the sibsets, but eventually ARCHIE, OLIVE AND IRIS won the day. This charming vintage vowel-starting sibset was nominated in March by Prue.
Will the Name Elsa Continue Growing in Popularity?
Nearly everyone (91%) thought that Elsa would keep becoming more popular. 54% thought it would probably become more popular, while 37% were absolutely sure that it would. 9% thought it probably wouldn’t become more popular, and nobody was definitely sure that it wouldn’t.
Will Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman Affect the Popularity of the Name Atticus?
Most people (73%) didn’t think the book would affect the popularity of the name Atticus. 49% of people thought the name Atticus would become less popular for a while, but popularity would recover once the fuss over the book died down. 24% didn’t think it would make any difference, and Atticus would continue growing in popularity at the same rate. Of the 27% of people who thought its popularity would be affected, 23% thought it would steadily become less popular, while 4% believed it would become totally unusable.
Favourite Name Trend for 2016
People’s favourite baby name trend trend for 2016 was names that sound equally good on babies and the elderly, gaining 43% of the vote. Their least favourite was 1950s names, which 11% of people voted for.
Should Grandparents Be Part of the Baby Naming Process?
Most people (62%) thought that grandparents should be free to make baby name suggestions, but with no expectation that they would be followed. However, a significant minority (36%) felt that they should stay out of the baby naming process altogether. 2% thought that grandparents should be allowed to veto a name they hated that was very strange, and one person thought that if grandparents wanted to choose the baby name, they could pay for the privilege. Nobody was in favour of grandparents being given significant input into the baby naming process.
What Should the New Royal Baby Be Called?
People’s favourite choices for a princess were Alice, Victoria, and Eleanor. 10% of people voted for Elizabeth, and 9% voted for Charlotte, the next two most popular choices. Nobody voted for the names Sophie or Maria. 3% of people felt that the royal couple should start a new trend in baby names. If the baby had been a prince instead, people voted to name him Arthur, Frederick, or Alfred, while the names William and Andrew received no votes at all. 4% of people thought the royal couple should start their own trend in baby names.
The Fastest Rising Popular Names of 2014
People’s favourite fastest rising names were Hazel, gaining 38% of the vote, and Maxwell, gaining 27% of the vote (George was close behind on 26%). Hazel and Maxwell were the fastest-rising names of the year, so now you know how names get to rise the fastest! The least favourite were Ariana (7%), and a tie between Harvey and Nate (15%).
The #1 Baby Names of All Time
People’s favourite #1 boy’s name was William, gaining 21% of the vote, and Jack was very close behind on 20%. The least favourite was Michael, which only one person voted for. People’s favourite #1 girl’s name was Charlotte, gaining 20% of the vote. The least favourite was Michelle, which nobody voted for.
Would You Consider Creating A New Surname For Your Child?
Most people (67%) would not consider creating a new surname for their child. 36% approved of the idea, but felt it just wasn’t right for them, while 31% didn’t like the idea. Of the remaining 33%, 25% were interested in the idea, and wouldn’t rule it out, and 7% would seriously consider it. One person said they had already chosen this option.
What Do You Think of Celebrities Giving Their Daughters “Masculine” Names?
34% of people were strongly against this trend, with 2% feeling seriously angered, worried, or stressed about it. 23% of people were in favour, with 21% thinking it was fantastic, and believing we should all be allowed to choose whatever names we liked. 42% of people weren’t concerned about it, with 22% not caring since it was none of their business, and 20% believing the issue had been blown out of proportion. One person said that they were not aware of this issue.
Would You Change Your Mind About a Possible Baby Name If a Celebrity Used it for a Child of the Opposite Sex?
The poll was very even – 51% of people said no, while 16% said yes, and 33% said maybe. That means around half of all people would at least think about changing their minds about a name on their name list if a celebrity chose it for an opposite sex child. That’s despite more than 40% of people not being concerned about the names that celebrities choose, so the numbers don’t quite add up there!
So what does the average blog reader think about names?
They like the fastest-rising names Hazel and Maxwell, but are less thrilled about Ariana, Harvey, and Nate increasing in popularity. They like currently popular names William, Jack, and Charlotte, but don’t think much of 1970s favourites like Michael and Michelle. They know that Elsa will keep going up in popularity, and they’re pretty sure Atticus will as well.
They wish the royal baby could have received a Victorian-era name like Alice or Arthur (but presumably approve the choice of Charlotte). They hope that a new baby name trend for 2016 will be giving children names that age well, but aren’t so impressed with the idea of 1950s names coming back just yet.
They are fairly open to hearing baby name suggestions from their parents, but won’t allow them to dictate to them. They won’t create a new surname for their baby, but don’t mind if other people choose this option. And although they don’t really care what celebrities name their children, there’s a fair chance that it will still influence their own choice of baby name!
Fellow Australian name blogger Brooke Cussans from Baby Name Pondering welcomed her son on October 30 last year. Born five and a half weeks premature, he weighed just 1.6 kg (3lb 8oz), and his size made Brooke hesitate in giving him the name they had chosen. However, her husband had no such reservations, and so their baby boy is
Brooke says that Atlas may be small, but he is strong and healthy, and she is glad she stuck with the chosen name.
Brooke dropped a hint that she was planning to use a boy’s name that she had featured on her blog, and after reading through the most recent names, I had a feeling she was going to choose Atlas – from the way she wrote about it, it sounded like a name under serious consideration.
Brooke will let us know in time how she and her husband came to choose their son’s names, and as Atlas was born just before Halloween, I can’t help wondering if Bram is a nod to Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. Brooke has a special connection to Halloween and horror, which makes me think Atlas wasn’t born too early, but at exactly the right time.
Congratulations to Brooke and her husband on the birth of Atlas! We couldn’t be happier for them that their baby dreams have come true at last, and Atlas Bram is not just a strong and handsome name, but an incredibly stylish and cool one as well.
Best Baby Names
In the Waltzing With … category, Anna, Lucinda, Rosemary, Victoria, Felix, Ignatius, Lachlan, and Matthew were all top-rated names. This category is easy to get a good score in, and almost all the names received an approval rating of 75% or more.
In the Famous Name category, Eleanor, Margot, Rosalie, Charles, Flynn, Hugh, Jasper, and Malcolm were the top-rated names. This is a tough category to do well in, so only a small proportion of names make it through.
From the Name Lists, the favourite names selected were Carys, Daphne, Eloise, Fern, Magnolia, Margaret, Marigold, Odessa, Thea, Arden, Arlo, Augustus, Bear, Desmond, Emmett, Linden, Linus, Otis, Otto, and Winston.
Good Baby Names
I always feel bad for the names which just miss out on that 75% score. Names which scored 70% or more included Ceridwen, Georgina, Beau, Darcy, and David.
Then there are those which had a solid score of 60-70% – which I tend to think is a pretty good place to be. These are often names that people admire, but are less likely to choose themselves. They included Aurora, Diana, Liberty, Obelia, Winifred, Atlas, and Milo.
Names which scored a pass mark of 50% or more included Birdie, Jedda, Paris, Bowie, Duke, Howard, Jacob, Martin, Philip, and Quentin.
Neglected Baby Names
These are the names which for one reason or another were not highly favoured by blog readers. They tended to be unusual names (perhaps a little too ahead of the trends for most), or else rather out of fashion at present.
They were Ariel, Beulah, Bronwyn, Bunty, Cinderella, Dolores, Ilma, Melody, Michelle, Mississippi, Mitzi, Pamela, Rapunzel, Shiseido, Vienna, Vogue, Waratah, Zenouska, Bryce, Christmas, Cuba, Django, Errol, Garfield, Guelph, Guy, Hobart, Humphrey, Kingsley, Norman, Pluto, Richard, Rocket, Rudolf, Slater, Warrior, and Zot.
Although I don’t keep a list of “worst baby names” (it would be a bit mean), the names with the lowest ratings for 2015 were Disney names Cinderella and Pluto, and only one person liked the royal name Guelph.
Here we are at the four-year mark, and rather than simply light the candles and blow up a few balloons, I thought that my readers deserved some sort of explanation.
The past year has been quite a challenging one. It started off with mass layoffs in my workplace, and while I understand that losing your job is a horrible experience, it’s stressful for the people left behind as well (the higher workload for no extra pay was the least of our problems).
Just I’d started to adjust to the new situation at work, my husband became seriously ill with a mystery complaint. He was hospitalised several times, and otherwise pretty much out of action, so it was up to me to take on a heavier load, in between worrying my head off. (His problem was eventually diagnosed and successfully treated, and he’s now fighting fit – thank you to everyone who sent kind thoughts in his illness, it was very much appreciated).
About the point when everything seemed to be at their absolute worst, we decided to undertake some home renovating projects, for reasons which seemed sensible at the time. It turned out to be a lot harder than we had anticipated, and in the process, I fractured my hand a couple of weeks before Christmas. Recovery has been painful, but my hand is quite a lot better now I’m seeing a physio, and because the time needed to heal is longer than my sick leave allowance, I won’t be returning to work. Renovations are still ongoing, but we hope to finish them fairly soon.
Has all this affected my blogging? You bet it has. I did wonder whether I should just stop blogging entirely until everything was back to normal, but I had no guaruntee that normality would ever return, and I feared I might never get back to my blog at all. In the end, I decided it was better for the blog to remain active, even if it suffered in the process. And there were definitely days when Waltzing More Than Matilda was the only thing keeping me sane.
This is not just an explanation, it’s an apology. I’m aware that I have been a sub-par blogger, and I’m sorry for the missed articles, the slow updating and maintainence, the missing or incorrect polls, and for all the spelling and grammatical errors which I notice when I read over blog posts.
I’m sorry if I didn’t visit your blog, or leave comments, or took ages to answer your e-mail, or didn’t answer it very well, or failed to re-tweet, or didn’t update Facebook. I’m sorry if I didn’t reply to your blog comment, and I’m sorry that I had to turn off comments on posts more than a few months old because I didn’t have the time and energy to deal with all the spammers and trolls.
And of course thank you for being patient and forgiving, thank you for your kind e-mails offering support and encouragement, thank you for reading, and commenting, and voting on polls, and retweeting, and Facebooking, and liking, and subscribing, and buying books, and nominating names, and sending in your own name stories, and continuing to stick with the blog even through tough times. It’s appreciated more than you could ever imagine.
Now it’s a case of onwards and upwards (or at least onwards) as I work to get the blog back on track. Name polls from last year have all been calculated with the results published, and the top-rated names of 2014 have now been added to the Best Baby Names page. Because there were no polls in 2011 and 2012, I am going to be editing and re-blogging old posts on “Throwback Thursdays” so you can have a chance to re-read them, and vote on them. The first one will be next Thursday, February 19.
That’s it for another year!