To celebrate Australia Day, Kara has added me to her interview series on her blog, The Art of Naming. Read it to learn more about me!
aristocratic names, Biblical names, celebrity baby names, classic names, english names, famous namesakes, flower names, gemstone names, Greek names, hebrew names, historical records, middle names, name combinations, nature names, Old French names, patriotic names, plant names, popular names, rare names, retro names, royal names, Scottish names, sibsets, surname names, twin sets, underused classics, virtue names
Welcome to the second annual Matilda Awards, a quest to discover which names featured on the blog in 2014 gained the greatest approval from the public.
Waltzing With … Category
Constance is an Old French name dating to medieval times, traditional amongst aristocracy and royalty, but also valued as a virtue name. It hasn’t charted since the 1990s, and hasn’t been popular since the 1920s. The name Constance was chosen to honour courageous World War I nurse, Sister Constance Keys.
Forrest is an English surname with strong Scottish associations, in use as a first name since at least the 16th century, and possibly even earlier. It has never charted, but is found fairly often in Australian historical records. The name Forrest was chosen for the wealthy Forrest family, prominent in conservative politics.
Once again, the key to winning this category, which has a very simple voting system, is for people to have a high level of tolerance for the name. Both Constance and Forrest were names which hardly anybody had animosity towards, and most people thought were perfectly fine.
Famous Name Category
The most popular names featured in the Famous Name Category were HOPE and OPAL for girls, which both scored an approval rating of 86% and SAMUEL for boys, which scored 88% and was the top-rated name overall for the year.
Hope is a virtue name which is an underused classic; almost constantly on the charts, it has never become popular. Hope was praised as a simple and elegant classic which was both pretty and wholesome, and had a very positive meaning. The name was chosen to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War I.
Opal is a gemstone name with a patriotic meaning – the opal is Australia’s national gem, and the black opal is the state gem for New South Wales. A name most used during the Victoria era, it has never charted, but is often found in Australian records, especially in opal mining regions. Opal gained approval as an unusual and refreshing choice which was both pretty and simple, and hip and quirky. The name was chosen for the roll-out of the Opal public transport card in Sydney.
It’s interesting that Hope and Opal tied for first place, as they are quite similar – both short, simple English names with a strong OPE sound to them.
Samuel is a Hebrew name from the Bible; in the Old Testament, Samuel was a prophet and judge of Israel who brought peace to the land. Samuel is a classic name which has never been out of the Top 200, and is very popular, with a stable position for twenty years. Samuel was seen as a handsome classic which was both strong and gentle; a “nice guy” name which aged well and suited a variety of people. The name was chosen for the actor Samuel Johnson, who broke the world unicycling record to raise funds for breast cancer research; coincidentally, Samuel did this feat for his sister, who is named Constance, another favourite name.
Name Themes and Lists Category
The most popular names which were featured in the Names Themes and Lists Category were VIOLET and THEODORE. Violet won very convincingly, and also managed to win its original poll, while Theodore had a comfortable win.
Violet is a retro flower name first used in Scotland. Popular in the 1900s, it left the charts from the 1960s to the 2000s, but is now back with a bang, and zooming up the Top 100. The name was chosen for a spring-time list of native Australian flowers.
Theodore is a Greek name common in ancient times, which gained popularity amongst early Christians. An underused classic, Theodore has been rising steeply for decades, and seems likely to join the Top 100 soon. Theodore was chosen from the Australian children’s book Antonio S and the Mystery of Theodore Guzman by Odo Hirsch, part of a list for Book Week.
Celebrity Baby Names
The most popular celebrity baby girl name was CLEMENTINE FRANCES LOGAN, which proved a clear favourite right from the start. Clementine is the daughter of Peter and Hannah Logan, and this is proof you do not need to be an A-lister to have a great baby name, because the Logans are local celebrities from the Mudgee area, who run a successful wine company. Tess Clementine was the favourite baby name in 2013, and it looks as if blog-readers are Clementine-crazy.
The most popular celebrity baby boy name was EVANDER MAXWELL GLEAVE, who managed to win by a single vote in an extremely tight contest, as many boys’ names were nominated this year. Evander is the son of Australian model and Miss Australia winner Erin McNaught, and British rapper Example (Elliot Gleave).
Clementine and Evander both have elegance and substance, with classical roots, and a European vibe, being fairly popular in France, while uncommon here. The middle names are solid classics which aren’t popular as first names. Celebrities, take note!
There was no favourite amongst the celebrity twins, as none of them received enough approval to be eligible. Yes, this is a tough audience.
Names from the Birth Announcements
The most popular names for multiples were boy/girl twins FLORENCE AND HENRY, who proved solid performers. This handsome twin set from March was nominated by Madelyn.
In the girls section, ARABELLA HERMIONE ROSE scraped through by one vote. Elegant and a little off-beat, this pretty girl’s name from April was nominated by Sophia.
Amongst the boys, HUGO FREDERICK had a very comfortable win. This stylish boy’s name from early November was nominated by Nana Patricia.
The sibsets were dominated by LILY, WINTER, BEAU AND VIOLET, who absolutely destroyed all opposition. Note that Violet had a second victory. These four siblings, whose names have a simple, natural feel, were nominated in late November by both Nicole and Names For Real (Sarah from For Real Baby Names).
Some themes were clear this year: Scottish names did very well, as Forrest, Violet, Clementine Logan and Arabella all have links with Scotland. It did not win independence, but the land of loch and legend clearly won our hearts. Nature names and virtue names were also clear favourites – a positive meaning seems to be a real help.
We are all shocked and saddened to hear that Kay Sheard has passed away, after a long illness. Kay was the blogger at Nook of Names, and as K.M. Sheard, the author of Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Names: For Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, Druids, Heathens, Mages, Shamans & Independent Thinkers of All Sorts Who Are Curious About Names From Every Place and Every Time.
Kay was a valued and highly respected member of the name community, who also contributed to Nameberry, and her loss will be felt. Deepest condolences to Kay’s family and friends.
When interviewed on Waltzing More Than Matilda, fellow blogger Anna Hamilton, from New Zealand, let us know she was expecting another child in the winter.
On August 2, Anna and her husband welcomed
NORA MARGARET HAMILTON,
a little sister for Juno Francesca.
Congratulations to Anna and all the Hamilton family! What a hip little name they have chosen to perfectly complement Juno.
There’s a new page added to Waltzing More Than Matilda called Best Baby Names – you can find it at the top of the website next to About/Contact.
It’s a collection of those names which have received a rating of 75% or more from the public, and also those names which were judged to be the best of their particular name list.
A more accurate title would probably be Top Rated Baby Names, but I wanted something that would stand out and be easy to find.
I thought the list might be interesting reading, and be a helpful resource for those looking for a baby name that would likely gain widespread approval (or even those wanting to avoid a name that most people like!)
So far the list has the names from 2013, with this year’s names to be added early in 2015. As for the names from 2011 and 2012, don’t worry, I have plans for them, but you will have to be patient.
If your favourite name isn’t on the list, that may be a good thing, as it might mean you can have it all to yourself. But if your favourite name has never been featured on the blog, you can always request it to be covered, and find out if other people like it as much as you do.
Kara was interviewed on Waltzing More Than Matilda yesterday, where clues to her daughter’s name were given, so if you followed all of them, you will know her name is
AUDREY JULIET SOPHIA,
sister to Maximus Alexander.
Audrey and Juliet were names chosen because Kara and her husband love them, while Sophia is in honour of the baby’s aunt. Kara once thought she would never give her baby a Top 100 name, but has found that once you find the right name, popularity just isn’t that important.
Congratulations to Kara and her family! I think you’ll agree they have chosen a beautiful name for their daughter.
I was recently interviewed by Alexia from Baby Names from the Bible, who had some interesting questions to ask about Biblical names that gave me a bit of a brain work-out. You can read it here.
Alexia has a really great name blog with some intriguing name theories and suggestions, so if you’ve never visited before, why not check it out.
The blog’s birthday sneaked up on me this year, and I only realised it turned three on February 13 today. Then I realised it was February 13 today! Then I realised it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and I’m not prepared for that either! Another year seems to have just flown by, and I think it has been one of happy blogging for me.
An interesting new development is that names which are featured on the blog now have a poll attached to them, and so do celebrity baby names, and some other articles too. You can also nominate and vote on your favourite names from the birth announcements. As a result, we were able to find out which were people’s favourite names, and in some cases this will affect which names are covered in the future.
One of the most exciting things was the release of my first e-book, International Names for Australian Parents. Writing it was a very steep learning curve, and I’m now working on a longer book that’s slightly more daring.
What Was Popular on the Blog Last Year?
The most popular article I wrote was Upper Class Baby Names – there have been thousands of searches for this topic since it was published. I felt a bit uncomfortable about writing it, as it is a rather politically incorrect topic, but parents must feel a lot of status anxiety in regard to baby names.
The most popular celebrity baby article was for motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, and his American wife Kanae Miyahara, who welcomed a son named Kiyoshi James. The article was cited on the Italian language version of Wikipedia, which brought in more views. The most popular photo that people clicked on was one of Nick holding Kiyoshi, and the most popular news article clicked on was to a news story about Kiyoshi’s birth. Nick has legions of fans around the world, and many of them wanted to see his wife and baby, and wish him well.
I got my highest amount of views ever on December 2 last year, when thousands of people wanted to read all about James and Erica Packer. This was because James and Erica separated, and James was rumoured to be dating model Miranda Kerr, also recently separated from her spouse.
The busiest day for commenting was October 25, which was when birth announcement Endellion and Florabella was published, with 12 comments.
The most common time people leave comments on my blog is 6 pm – perhaps because I often post around then.
Nameberry was the most popular blog on my Blog Roll. Baby Name Pondering was the most popular Australian blog on my Blog Roll, and was #3 overall, only 3 views behind Appellation Mountain. Nice work Brooke!
I have nearly 900 000 views at present. I have just over 1000 posts, in 24 categories and with 904 tags. I’m not really sure how many names I’ve featured, as I’m currently re-organising them, but I estimate it’s over 800. I’ve tried to make it even between the genders, but apart from all the unisex names confusing matters, I think girls might be ahead at this stage.
Thank to Pam and Linda at Nameberry for giving me the opportunity to write for Berryjuice on Nameberry. Most of my referrals this year have come from Nameberry – and that means a thank you to Abby as well, because some of them were from her Nameberry Nine series.
Thank you to Kate for inviting me to write an article for Matilda magazine. Called Beyond Liv and Zeke, it looked at some of the less common one syllable names for boys and girls.
Thank to Sophia, who was my busiest commenter. Sophia’s comments are thoughtful and humorous, and it’s a pleasure to hear from someone who is so candid without being unkind.
And of course thank you to YOU – all of you! Thank you to every reader, commenter, poll voter, subscriber, name consultation requester, Twitter follower, Facebook liker, blog roller, book buyer, and everyone who has made a contribution to Waltzing More Than Matilda in some way. It just wouldn’t happen without you, and you’ve helped make Waltzing More Than Matilda’s year.
Arabic names, Biblical names, celebrity baby names, celebrity sibsets, classic names, German names, germanic names, Irish names, name combinations, nicknames, popular names, rare names, royal names, sibsets, surname names, twin sets, underused classics
Waltzing With … Category
The most popular names featured in the Waltzing With … Category were LAYLA, which scored a 94% approval rating, and SULLIVAN, which scored a 96% approval rating – not just the highest-rated name for the category, but the highest-rated for the whole year.
Layla is an Arabic name with a romantic history, both in Muslim literature and popular culture; it is comfortably established in the Top 50. Sullivan is an Irish surname used as a first name; it was #306 in Victoria for 2012, and is rising in both the US and UK.
Layla and Sullivan did well not because they were deeply loved by the public, but because so few people hated them – in fact not a single respondent said they disliked the name Sullivan.
Famous Names Category
Miriam is an ancient Biblical name, the name of one of the strongest and most interesting Old Testament heroines; it is an underused classic which has never left the charts yet never reached the Top 100. Henry is an English name of Germanic origin, long known as a royal name (and was featured as the name of a visiting prince); it is a popular classic which is gently rising in the Top 50.
Miriam was praised for being both strong and intelligent, and pretty and feminine; people also noted its many nickname options. Almost nobody disliked the name Henry.
Name Themes and Lists Category
The most popular names which were featured in the Names Themes and Lists Category were ALICE and AUGUST. Alice won convincingly, and also managed to win the original poll, while August received almost twice as many votes as its nearest opponent.
Alice is an English name of Germanic origin which has been used by royalty and aristocracy; it is currently rising in the Top 50, and was one of the fastest-rising names of 2012. August is a German short form of Augustus which featured as a rare royal name from history; it does not chart in Australia, but is currently rising in the US and UK.
The most popular names for celebrity twins were HARVEY AND ROXANNE WELLER ALLEN, the son and daughter of singer Toby Allen and actor Darren Weller. They were the only celebrity twin names to be judged “adorable” by a majority of people – quite an achievement as there were an unusually high number of celebrity twins last year.
The most popular celebrity baby girl name was TESS CLEMENTINE HUGHES, the daughter of comedian and broadcaster Dave Hughes, and journalist Holly Ife. She was picked as favourite by 20% of respondents, who loved her hip name. Tess has a big sister named Sadie, and a big brother named Rafferty – what a cool sibset.
The most popular celebrity baby boy name was SEBASTIAN TANDER, the son of champion racing drivers Leanne and Garth Tander. He was picked as favourite by 30% of respondents, who found his smooth, stylish name appealing. Sebastian has a big sister named Scarlett – a sleek modern sibset.
From the Baby Name Round-Ups, the winning baby names were FREYA ROSE GOWER and SAMUEL ELLIOT. Freya is the daughter of NRL player Craig Gower, and model Amanda Flynn, and the name Freya has recently become a favoured choice for sporting celebrities. Samuel is the son of national women’s team cricketer Sarah Elliot, and cricket coach Rob Elliot.
The most popular names for multiples were MAGNOLIA MARY AND HENRY JOSEPH, who had a narrow win. Readers of Waltzing More Than Matilda are a broad-minded lot, and don’t believe Mary and Joseph are “too matchy” for twins. Or maybe they couldn’t resist voting for Henry once more.
In the girls name section, ETTA JUNE had a very comfortable win. Vintage, hip and extremely cute, Etta fits in with popular names such as Ella.
In the boys name section, JUDE WINTER absolutely trounced the opposition, gaining a massive 40% of the vote. This is a very stylish name combination, with Winter working just as well on a boy as it does on girls. Etta and Jude came from the same set of birth announcements in July – both their middle names seem inspired by the winter season, and both have a JOO sound in their names. Magnolia and Henry came from another set of July birth announcements – a victory for midwinter babies!
The most popular names in a sibset were ELSIE, NED, TILLY AND GUS, which just scraped through by a couple of votes. A very charming vintage short form sibset, these sisters and brothers were featured the day after Anzac Day.
What type of names did people like? Quite a variety, but royal names, vintage names, classic names, short form names, popular and rising names seem like the big winners.