I am slightly obsessed with names, particularly fashions in names, what's hot, what's not. This stems partly from having to choose baby names myself and also with choosing suitable names for characters. Nothing is more jarring to me than reading a contemporary book where the characters all have names that were highly fashionable in the 70s or 80s but have since fallen from favour (like Caroline and Jennifer). My current WIP, set in 1974, features Julie and Nadine, daughters of Barbara and Allan. I obsessively check the birth notices every week to see what's in and out.
I'm fascinated by the cycles that names seem to churn through. At the moment we are living through a revival of the kinds of names that were last hot at the turn of last century. One of my friends pointed out a few years ago, "Our daughters are all named after Edwardian housemaids!" -- Alice, Thea, Lucy, Evie, and Nelly (since then Freya has arrived to break the trend). All the little girls at school are called May and Amelia and Esther and Grace and Sophie. The little boys could be a roll call of WWI soldiers -- Jacks and Wills and Harrys and Stans and Henrys and Alberts.
Of course this matter becomes especially pertinent when there is a BABY on the way (not in our family, but one of our dearests!) and the name debate becomes positively fevered. We named both our girls in utero (perhaps rashly) but it wasn't until I attached a name to my unborn child that I could regard her as a real person. Before Evie was born, we often spoke of her by name to Alice -- when Evie comes, we'll do this or that -- which I think helped Alice accept her arrival quite happily; she was a proper member of the family long before she popped out.
But I digress. Penni and I were talking names this weekend and remarking on the fact that names from our grandparents' generation are back in style. Which leads me to ask: what were your grandparents' names? Are there any neglected gems lurking out there?
(For the record, mine were Matthew Irving and Doris Alice on one side, and Frederick Charles and Pamela on the other. If we'd had a boy, he would have been Charlie.)