My husband and I spent this afternoon at a party for a 3 year old girl and 5 year old boy. I found myself fascinated by the collection of names at the party. The kids ranged from 13m (my son) to maybe 15? Most of the kids were related in someway, though not all and I cannot tell you what the sibsets are. It was pretty confusing with all the kids running around!
Chase - This sleek one syllable name has been in the top 100 since 1995 but never made the top 50. It is popular but not over the top popular, and it has a fresh sound. It is Old English/French and means Huntsman. Or, I guess it can be a "word as name" if you prefer.
Sullivan - Last name as first name, with the adorable nickname Sully (ala Monster's Inc), Sullivan has been a very slow rise since the late 90s, and is currently in the five-hundreds in popularity. It means "dark eyes" in Gaelic.
Benjamin - With the rest of the names on this list, its no surprise that one of the grandparents of most of the other children commented "Oh, his name is Benjamin? Such a nice old name!". She meant it entirely as a complement. Benjamin is Hebrew (first appearing in the bible), meaning "Son of the south" or "son of my right hand". Despite Grandma's surprise, there are plenty of little Benjamin's running around. It ranked 19th in 2011 and has been on a slow rise.
A.J. - Clearly not a name, but a nickname. I think initial nicknames don't get nearly the attention they deserve. They can solve a lot of naming dilemmas, such as wanting to give the child an honor name but either not loving the sound of it or not being practical to use it. I wonder what this A.J. stands for? Andrew Jacob? Allen Joseph? Alister Jude?
Kairi - I was shocked to find this actually IS in the top 1000! Just crept in their at 962 in 2010 (the year this little girl was born). It comes from a video game "Kingdom of Hearts" and means ocean princess (a more direct Japanese translation would be ocean village, but I think the video game meaning is probably where the name is coming from).
Kenley - Another name that only recently made the top 1000, but unlike Kairi is rapidly climbing - from 994 in 2008 to 491 in 2011. Kenley is Old English and "last name as first name" and means "King's meadow".
Meghan - Originally a nickname or form of Margaret, it has long stood as its own name. It is a name on the decline, dropping from 134 in 2000 to 739 in 2011.
Kendra - This name has many possible derivations. One is Welsh and meaning "greatest champion". Kendra has been slowly dropping in popularity and is currently at 293 (in 2011).
Rowa - What a unique name! A slightly more feminized version of Rowan perhaps? Or perhaps this was just her nickname? I am not sure. One source says Rowa means "beautiful vision", but I am not sure if its reliable. Rowa could be short for Rowena or, well basically any of the girls names discussed as source names for nickname Ro! It does not appear in the top 1000 in any year.
Opal - A nature name, the birthstone for October is iridescent. The name is of Hindi and sanskrit origins. I grew up with an Opal and always thought it was a beautiful name with a great meaning, so I was charmed to find it on another little beauty. It dropped out of the top 1000 in 1961, but with other gemstone names like Ruby on the rise, I would not be shocked to see it make a reappearance soon!
Nora - I have seen a lot of this name on Swistle's blog, she loves to recommend it, and she is right on trend as it has been steadily rising for the past 15 or so years and is currently 137th (in 2011) . It can be derived in several ways, most commonly as a shortened form of Eleanor.
What do you think? Would you use any of these names?