The day the SSA list of most popular baby names comes out is one of my favorite days of the year. I’ve spent nearly every moment of my free time pouring over the list for several days now, and I’ve picked out a few newcomers to the top 1000 list that I find most appealing (or at least interesting!). I’ve also noted some of my favorites that are returning to the top 1000 this year. What do you think of these names that have fallen short of the top 1000 in the past? Will they continue to rise?
Eliezer- This biblical moniker last appeared in 2010 and joined the top 1000 for the first time in 1982, also his peak year. With his stylish “El,” “z,” and “-er” elements and a popular nickname, Eli, I predict Eliezer will continue to rise. Consider Eleazar as an even more rare alternative.
Eliseo- Eliseo made the top 1000 in 2012 but fell short in 2013. With his popular “El-“ beginning and stylish “-o” ending, this Spanish and Italian variant of the Hebrew Elisha would fit in perfectly without being too common (Eliseo reached his peak popularity at only #830 in 1977).
Anton- Cute and versatile Anton returns to the top 1000 after only a brief hiatus in 2013. He’s made significant progress, ranking at #978 in 2012 and soaring to #897 in 2014. Anton isn’t modern, as he peaked before the 20th century, but I think the “-ton” ending makes him super stylish.
Henrik- This sharp variant of the popular Henry appears in the top 1000 this year for the first time, making a respectable debut at #863.
Gordon- Old man names are back in style, so it’s not too surprising to see Gordon resurfacing. Gordon peaked at #70 in 1935.
Leif- This Scandinavian name rhymes with ‘safe’ and is, I think, an intriguing and cool choice. He hasn’t made the top 1000 since 1987.
Dimitri- This cute, unusual, and exotic boy’s name peaked in 1992 at #502, so he’d certainly make an uncommon choice.
Axl- Axel has been around for a while, but this variant debuts this year at #850, perhaps getting a boost from singer Fergie.
Dash- This slick, cute boy’s name makes the top 1000 for the first time this year at #951. I predict Dash has yet to peak!
Chevy- This bold, sporty choice makes the top 1000 for the first time this year at #903.
Judson- This super masculine surname peaked at #431 in 1911 and has been absent from the top 1000 since 1986. I think Judson is very wearable and has several stylish elements.
Bode- Usually pronounced to rhyme with Cody, Bode has appeared in the top 1000 in only two other years: 2010 and 2006. This cute- sounding, sporty name was likely brought into the public eye by Olympic skier Bode Miller. I think it’s a cute name, but with the confusing spelling and similarity to the word “body,” I, personally, wouldn’t choose it.
Anakin- Yes, TWO HUNDRED EIGHTEEN boys were born to extremely dedicated Star Wars fans this year.
Cordelia- I could not be more thrilled to see this beauty finally make the list! Last seen in the top 1000 back in 1950, elegant Cordelia has a vintage feel and a wide variety of nickname possibilities, from sweet Cora and Delia to tomboy Cory and Cody.
Louisa- Soft, feminine Louisa hasn’t been seen since 1969, and I’m glad to see this classic name making a comeback. Most popular over a century ago, Louisa fits in well with other returning classics.
Mattie- Mattie seems like an adorable vintage-style variation, and perhaps a needed update, on the ridiculously popular “Mad-“ names. Mattie was last seen in 2012, and was extremely common in the early 20th century, but she hasn’t ranked within the top 500 in the last several decades, making her an unusual choice despite the popularity of Madison/Madeline.
Bonnie- Bonnie is another cute, older choice making a comeback. Last seen in 2003, Bonnie returns to the top 1000 at #866. She peaked in 1950 at #33.
Emmeline- Sugary sweet Emmeline makes the top 1000 this year for the first time, ranking #907. An adorable update or full name for popular Emma with a lovely vintage sound, I think I actually prefer Emmeline to both Emma and the similar-sounding Adeline. Variant Emmaline has ranked for the last 3 years, coming in at #880 in 2014.
Julieta- Julieta logically expands on the popular Julia/Juliet/Juliana series. She has made the top 1000 in only one other year: 2011.
Faye- I’ve always been attracted to Faye, so I am quite excited to see her making a comeback! I love her simplicity, femininity, and whimsical meaning: “fairy.” Missing from the top 1000 since 1979, Faye returns this year at #908.
Ariadne- I’ve always found this Greek name so incredibly beautiful. With elements of both stylish Penelope and long-popular Ariana, it’s no surprise she’s finally made the top 1000, ranking at #801. I’m sure this mythological moniker will continue to rise.
Jessa- I find this minimalist modernization of outdated Jessica refreshing and very pretty. She barely made the top 1000 for the first time in 2012 at #992 and fell short the following two years. In 2014, however she seems more firmly seated at #849, perhaps thanks to celebrity Jessa Duggar.
Frida- For those seeking an uncommon name that isn’t overly frilly, Frida seems like a nice choice, and she’d make a good alternative to very trendy Freya. She’s never been popular, yet doesn’t have a particularly modern sound.
Thea- Delicate Thea first appeared in the top 1000 back in 1965, but she’s currently at her highest ever rank: #776.
Cambria- Only making the top 1000 for the first time in 2009, girly Cambria combines cute and popular elements “cam” and “bri” and has several potential nicknames. She fell short of the top 1000 in 2013 but returns this year at #928.
Reina- While I prefer the similar Raina, I still love the sound of this Spanish name, last seen in 2010.
Nala- Two syllable girl’s names starting with ‘N’ and ending with an ‘ah’ sound seem to be trending, with at least 11 names fitting these criteria appearing in the top 1000. I think simple Nala is very cute and clearly fits in well, yet she’s far from being too popular, making her debut at only #995.
Naya- Like Nala, Naya seems to fit a growing trend. Naya makes a strong top 1000 debut at #778, likely aided by celebrity Naya Rivera.
Landry- An interesting and out of the box surname choice for girls, Landry makes her debut in the top 1000 this year at #981. I bet we’ll see her advance next year, but I’m not sure I can get past the similarity to “laundry.”
Montserrat- I don’t get the appeal, but I absolutely had to mention this adventurous choice for making such a fantastic debut in the top 1000 at #571, surpassing variant Monserrat, which has ranked since 2000. I really don’t find this place name, which means “jagged mountain,” at all wearable in the US, but with over 1000 girls receiving Montserrat or Monserrat in 2014, it seems there are quite a few parents who would disagree!