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Some of the hottest "new" names today are the ones that sound oldest. Parents are going hunting for antiques, plucking forgotten gems from the world of candlelight and horse-drawn carriages. These throwbacks come in two flavors: rough-hewn pioneers and refined ladies and gentlemen. On the pioneer side, Old Testament graybeard names like Zachariah and Levi are surprise hits. For the ladies and gents, 19th-century favorites like Julian and Annabel are regaining their luster, especially among the new generation of urban sophisticates.
Girls: Hannah, Abigail, Madeline, Sophia
Boys: Elijah, Caleb, Oliver, Sebastian
Girls: Susannah, Rafaela, Beatrice, Lavinia
Boys: Japheth, Matthias, Phineas, Benedict
Americans are now selecting from a global smorgasbord of names. In the past, most foreign-born hits were twists on familiar English names, such as the French Danielle and Paulette. Today, exotic roots are a plus. Celtic traditions are the top source of new hits for boys, such as the Irish name Aidan, the Scottish Cameron and Welsh Dylan. (What's more, Celtic boys' names are equally hot for girls: consider Morgan, Brynn and Kennedy.) Other hot linguistic sources include Arabic, Greek, Italian, Russian and Swahili.
Girls: Caitlin, Tatiana, Aaliyah, Gianna
Boys: Cameron, Logan, Amani, Giovanni
Girls: Emlyn, Katia, Akilah, Chiara
Boys: Cormac, Nikos, Bakari, Dario
Surnames are now a top source for first names, in a style that recalls the 1900s heyday of names like Ellsworth, Palmer and Jennings. Unlike that earlier generation, though, today's surnames are used for boys and girls alike. One of the hottest styles for girls is long, masculine-sounding surnames that shorten to familiar girlish nicknames. Emerson (Emmy), Cassidy (Cassie), and Addison (Addie) are all rising. On the flip side, if you're looking for a fresh surname idea for boys that will stay firmly masculine try rugged tradesman names, or surnames that contract to male nicknames.
Girls: Madison, Hailey, Mackenzie, Taylor
Boys: Jackson, Colton, Tyler, Hunter
Girls: Sheridan, Ellery, Connolly, Kimball
Boys: Nicholson, Dennison, Archer, Carver