It’s uncanny, the way you can go your entire lifetime without knowing even one person with a certain name—or maybe never realizing the name even existed—and then suddenly you seem to hear it everywhere.
Sometimes a confluence of pop-culture events propels a name from obscurity to center stage. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird becoming the national Big Read combined with the HBO series Rome a few years ago to catapult Atticus from the baby-name catacombs to style prominence.
A star or a celebrity baby or even a popular character can single-handedly turn his or her highly unusual name into the choice du jour. Examples from the current Top 100: Brody (Jenner), Brooklyn (child of Posh and Becks as well as every hipster’s favorite borough), and Trinity (from The Matrix).
And then there are those names that seem to mysteriously materialize from thin air. Where they come from and why parents are interested in them might not be so easy to pinpoint. Maybe they’re fresh spins on trendy favorites—Elizabella instead of Isabella, for instance—or maybe they’re new entries in stylish categories, such as Calla or Hyacinth taking over for drooping flower names such as Lily and Rose.
More important than their source, however, is figuring out exactly what these names are, so you can either be first to the party or steer clear all together. To that end, we pulled out 100 obscure names searched for at least 100 times in the Nameberry database in the first quarter of this year.
Some of these names—Abitha? Cavan? Haitian?—may be completely new animals to you, while others might be vaguely familiar. A couple, such as Lincoln and Nolan, are even recent entries to the Top 1000 list, though if you don’t hang out with the under-3 set you probably haven’t heard them too often.
Are the rest of the names here headed to the Most Popular list? We doubt it, and would bet that many will be just as obscure in a decade or two as they are today.
But if you choose one of these 100 names for your baby now only to lament in 10 years that everybody’s got a little Seren or Nico, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
12. CARYS and CERYS
13. CASSIA and KEZIAH
16. CYRA and SIRI
32. MIKA and MICAH