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North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published March 19, 2012, 11:30 PM

Nameberry: Historical surnames names can become logical choices

If you’ve spent any time on Nameberry recently or if you get our newsletter, you’ve seen the ads for my new novel, “The Possibility of You.”

By: Pamela Redmond Satran, Nameberry.com (MCT), INFORUM

If you’ve spent any time on Nameberry recently or if you get our newsletter, you’ve seen the ads for my new novel, “The Possibility of You.” The story of three women at three key moments of the past century dealing with unplanned pregnancies and questions of motherhood, the book required me to spend a lot of time researching the fashion and music, home decoration and child-rearing practices of 1916. And of course, while I was at it, I couldn’t resist digging up information about names.

One of the most fascinating sources I found was the 1916 Social Register, which listed everybody who was anybody in New York. It took both money and social standing to get your name in the Social Register, and so it was a window into upper class naming practices at the time.

One notable trend in evidence, mostly with male names but occasionally with female ones too, was last names used in first place. Long a practice in moneyed families looking to cement ties between fortunes, these surnames are not the faux Coopers and Parkers that rose up over the past few decades but the genuine article: wealthy Great Aunt Fanny’s maiden name, for instance, or maternal grandfather’s surname.

Choices from the 1916 Social Register:

Abbot

Averell (an appealing April update)

Bridgeham

Bronson

Caswell

Churchill

Crawford

Delavan

Drexel

Everston

Fairfax

Fisher

Fulton

Gifford

Grenville

Grovene

Guernsey

Heyward

Holbrook

Holloway (great for a girl?)

Howland

Kingsbury

Lenox

Loring (to honor a Lori)

Lowell

Macklin

Moreau

Morland

Ogden

Ransom

Smith

Starling

Sturgis

Tilden

Thatcher (been hearing this one recently)

Townsend

Walton

Warrington

Wilmot


Nameberry is a baby-naming site produced by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz, co-authors of 10 bestselling baby name guides, including the newest, “Beyond Ave and Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby.” See more at http://nameberry.com.

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