Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's in a Name: Alice

As was the case with Elliot, the process of naming our second born involved much discussion and negotiation.

I wanted something that wasn't too popular, especially because our surname is so common. And yet, Kelly rejected Persephone almost immediately.

The nice thing about Alice is it feels very plain-Jane but isn't actually used much anymore. The name peaked in the 1800s and never really came back in style. (Jane itself is in the same boat.)

We also didn't have to worry about spelling. I suppose you could spell it "Alyce," but...c'mon. (Oddly enough, that variant peaked in the 1910s.)

Alice is currently ranked No. 258, which puts it in the same ballpark as Elliot. It has increased in popularity every year for the past four years, but there's little danger of it becoming the next Isabella, Emma or Olivia (the current triumvirate in girls' names).

This is the chart on the Baby Name Voyager site. It might as well be a graph of MySpace user numbers or Ricky Martin iTunes downloads.

Of course, Alice is most strongly linked with the works of Lewis Carroll. I was never really enthralled with those books (and I didn't see the recent movie adaptation), but it doesn't seem like a bad association. As for the Linda Lavin sitcom and the radio station named Alice, well, at least we didn't name her KFOG.

My great-grandmother went by Alice, but the baby's real namesake is Kelly's grandmother Verona (which is our Alice's middle name). I like the name Verona, but we held off on it as a first name. I'm not sure the world is ready yet for a baby Verona — it feels like it's from another time.

I will say, only once did I regret that Alice wasn't born a boy. When she first emerged from the nativity bathroom, it dawned on me that "John" would have been the perfect name.