Just a few years ago, you might have cringed if the family expected you to name the baby after Great Aunt Martha or Grandpa Harvey. Today, those baby names and the others on the list are among the fastest-rising on the Social Security list. These are the Olives and Oscars, the Sadies and Silases of tomorrow.
Alfred is having a major resurgence in Scandinavia and England, and the U.S. seems ready to hop on that bandwagon as well. A royal name in the U.K., Alfred has lots of other distinguished namesakes as well, and -- big plus -- four hip nicknames: Alf and Alfie and Fred and Freddie.
Dorothy’s not just in Kansas anymore -- she’s been growing in popularity across the country, rising 76 places in the past year. That wide-eyed "Wizard of Oz" image has managed to keep her somewhat youthful despite being the Number 2 name in 1920 and a Golden Girl in the 80s. Scarlett Johansson used Dorothy as daughter Rose’s middle name.
Clyde still has a cool-cat image for a name that peaked in 1900, bounding up nearly 200 places in the last year. Basketball great Walt Frazier’s nickname is Clyde and Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler was known as Clyde the Glide. Catherine Keener and Dermot Mulroney were ahead of the curve when they used it for their son in 1999.
A serious, one-time Great Uncle name, Ernest is moving onto more and more birth certificates. Associated with literary great Hemingway, it was a Top 25 name in the 1880s and stayed in the Top 100 through the mid-1950s. In its climb back up, it gained 53 places last year.
The popularity of nickname Harry has rubbed off on one of its more formal forms. Harold has many distinguished namesakes, including two British PMs and playwright Pinter. Kids might relate to Harold the helicopter in Thomas the Tank Engine and the classic Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Faye is the only name that reentered the Top 1000 in 2014 -- after being MIA for 35 years! (And sister Fay has been off even longer). Faye may be slipstreaming along behind the new popularity of May/Mae, or might have received a bounce from being a "Mad Men" character or -- here’s a thought -- because everyone loves Tina Fey.
Harvey -- already a mega hit in England -- was one of the fastest rising boys’ names in the U.S. in 2014, climbing a resounding 173 places in one year. No longer associated with the six-foot imaginary rabbit, Harveys have been making TV appearances on such shows as "Gotham" and "Suits." It’s currently 493 in the U.S., 140 on Nameberry and 48 in England.
Sweet, gentle Frances is definitely on the upswing, gaining just under 100 places last year. She’s become a celebrity fave, chosen by such stylish parents as designer Kate Spade, actress Amanda Peet -- who opted for fresher, spunkier, nickname Frankie over the more dated Fran, and Jimmy Fallon and his wife, who call their Frances Franny.
The roster of attractive current high-profile Hughs -- including Jackman, Grant, Laurie and Dancy -- has probably contributed to the resurgence of this sophisticated one-syllable name. Hugh moved up 44 places in 2014.
The first First Lady’s name has always had a rather prim image, but the new generation of parents are beginning to appreciate her traditional, can-do Martha Stewart virtues, while the Beatles made it endearing in the song "Martha, My Dear.” The name gained 64 places in 2014.
Is Otto the new Oscar? It’s a palindrome name with trendy O’s at the start and finish and is climbing each year -- in 2014 it rose 69 places to 627. Otto’s popularity is even greater on Nameberry -- the Berries have it at Number 123. Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket chose it for his son.
Vera firmly established herself as a Top 400 name this year, with a gain of 55 places, and is even more popular in Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands. Designer Vera Wang and Ukrainian-born actress Vera Farmiga are current bearers. And it’s the birth name of both Jayne Mansfield and Mindy Kaling.
Presidential name Warren, which peaked in popularity in 1921, the year of Harding’s inauguration, is suddenly back in play, both here and, strangely enough, in France. There have been "X-Men" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Warren characters. Iconoclastic financier Warren Buffet could be an inspiration.
Rosalyn remained in the Top 1000 for the first 80 years of the 20th century, only to drop from sight... until now, when it's back at Number 985. A modernized version of the classic Rosalind, Rosalyn's reemergence owes something to the style for lyn-ending names, such as Brooklyn and Evelyn.