The Baby Name Buff: Places I’ve Lived–Bergen County, NJ Edition

For being only 36 years old, I’ve lived in a lot of different places in the U.S. Each of these locales has left a lasting impression on me as a person, and I’ve made great friends in the majority of the places I’ve called home. Recently, a girl I went to high school with, who is about to have her fourth child, mentioned that all her children are named after locations near where we grew up. This fabulous avenue for name brainstorming, as well as the fact that Kyle, Felix, and I have finally settled in the place we’ll call home long-term, inspired me to blog about lists of names related to all the places I’ve lived.

This multi-part blog series will start with the place where I was born and proceed in chronological order. Today’s blog thus focuses on my birthplace—Englewood, NJ. Englewood is located in Bergen County, just across the Hudson River from the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Since my family moved to Pennsylvania when I was only four, I don’t have as many direct memories of my childhood in New Jersey as I would like. However, because I still have close family members who live in Bergen County and the surrounding areas, I am very familiar with and have a special place in my heart for this region.

So, please enjoy these unique names inspired by my original hometown area!

Baker
The boys’ name Baker (Bae-curr) is more popular than most I include on this blog; it debuted on the U.S. top 1,000 list in 2018 at #712. Still, this name makes the cut because I needed a way to honor the beloved Hackensack bakery, B&W Bakery. As a piece of general knowledge for those of you who have never lived in or been to New Jersey, bakeries are a huge cultural Jersey tradition. As such, the quality of these establishments is just plain superior to bakeries pretty much anywhere else (in the U.S, at least). B&W is most renowned for its coffee cake, a treat that my family has to have every time we visit Jersey or have our Jersey relatives come visit us. Baker is one of many English occupational surnames (Baker), and Bay or Kerr are cute nickname options.  

Bergen
As noted above, Englewood is located in Bergen County. But the name Bergen (Burr-gin, with a hard g) has special meaning for me primarily because I spent a lot of time as a child at my Granny and Grampy’s house on Moose Lane in Bergenfield. One particular random memory that always sticks out in my mind is picking and eating fresh-grown chives from Grampy’s backyard garden. I also recall fondly many a New Year’s celebration at the Bergenfield house. Bergen is a unisex name of Scandinavian origin that means “lives on a hill” (Bergen).

Cress / Cressa
Cress (b) and Cressa (g) (Kress / Kress-uh) are inspired by the town of Cresskill. This is another place I have great memories of, since some of my dearest family members still live there, and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to visit them once or twice a year. Cresskill is your typical Jersey suburb town—quiet, somewhat affluent, and full of diversity. My favorite memories of Cresskill are of spending time with my family and eating delicious, authentic Jersey pizza and bagels. The boys’ name Cress and the girls’ name Cressa are inspired by a group of cruciferous plants, whose leaves are often used in salads (Cress). Cress and Cressa join a long line of baby names ending in –ess / essa, such as Jess / Jessa, Tess / Tessa, and Kess / Kessa. Or, for those who prefer something slightly more recognizable, Cressida could also be considered an honor name for the town of Cresskill.  

Dumont
Dumont (Doo-mont) is another classic Jersey suburb. When I was young, I often visited (and, at one point, lived with) my grandparents on my Mom’s side, Mimi and Pop Pop. And though Pop Pop is deceased and I do not have a relationship with Mimi (for family drama reasons I won’t bore you with), I do have some fond memories of being at their home with my Mom, playing with their Collie dog, and playing in their sun porch and backyard. Dumont is a distinguished, preppy boys’ name that means “of the mountain” in French (Dumont). I think Monty would be a very cute nickname for Dumont.

Garfield
While I don’t have any direct memories of Garfield, my mom often regales us with tales of how she and my dad once lived in a very tiny apartment in this town when my siblings and I were very young. One (kind of embarrassing) story Mom tells is that, in the Garfield apartment, Mom had a special wall reserved for me to projectile vomit on every day, since I apparently had some stomach issues as an infant. (TMI?) Though sound-wise the boys’ name Garfield (Garr-field) is stately and unique, the meaning is somewhat pedestrian: a triangular field. (Garfield). And the association with a U.S. president who got assassinated may give parents pause (James Garfield). Still, if you’re hoping for a son who loves to sleep and houses multiple pans of lasagna in one sitting, then Garfield could be the right name for you.  

Leonia
Leonia (Lee-oh-nee-uh) is one of those Jersey towns that I’ve passed signs for my whole life but never actually been to. But, if I’m not considering personal connections, this is probably my favorite name on today’s list. Leonia means “lion” (Leonia), and it’s a pretty, shorter alternative to longer (but still gorgeous) girls’ names like Leonida or Leocadia.  Lee, Lia, or Nia are all great nickname options.

Ramsey
Ramsey (Ram-zee) is my second-favorite name on this list, despite its association with the famous hot-headed chef, Gordon Ramsey. I have not spent a ton of time in this particular Jersey town, but I do have family members from there who I enjoy seeing at Jersey family events. A place name of Scottish ancestry (Ramsey), many might think of Ramsey as only or primarily a boys’ name, but it is actually gaining traction as a girls’ name as well.

Ridge
Ridgewood is yet another consummate Jersey suburb. Located next door to many of the Jersey towns I frequent most, I’ve been in Ridgewood for many things over the years. In particular, I remember once participating in a 5K walk / run in this town with my dad. And I also have fond memories of going to the Ridgewood outdoor pool with Dad and my two youngest siblings, Sarah and Josh, during visits to NJ. Ridge is a word name that has become increasingly popular since 2015, especially as a middle name; it was #702 on the U.S. top 1,000 in 2018 for boys’ first names. This name is considered a boys’ name only for now, though I could easily see it transitioning to a unisex name over the next several years.  

Rutherford
Rutherford is another Jersey town that I’ve always seen signs for but never visited. But I like Rutherford (Ruh-thur-ferd) a lot as a boys’ name, especially with the possible nickname Ford (which I love because it’s a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Rutherford is a Scottish / English place name.

Waldwick
Though Waldwick is another Jersey town that I don’t have a deep personal connection to, I spent a lot of time visiting family in the neighboring town of Midland Park. In particular, I spent a lot of time there hanging with my cousin Kim, rocking out to the classic 90s band Hanson. And even though names that end in –wick are super pretentious, I must confess I still like the boys’ name Waldwick (Wald-wick). As a nature lover, perhaps my affinity for this name comes from its beautiful meaning: “village in the forest” (Waldwick).

Photo credit: Doc Searls

The Baby Name Buff: Mountains Edition

This week’s blog features a list of names inspired by the majestic mountains of the world.

Adirondack

Adirondack Mountain Range, United States

Andromeda
Mount Andromeda, Canada

Antora
Antora Peak, Colorado

Asgard
Mount Asgard, Canada

Blanca
Blanca Peak, Colorado

Cascade
Cascade Mountain Range AND Cascade Mountain, Canada  

Cypress
Cypress Mountain, Canada

Delano
Delano Peak, Utah

Delphi
Mount Delphi, Greece

Denali
Mount Denali, Alaska

Eldorado
Eldorado Peak, Washington

Estrela
Sierra da Estrela, Portugal

Everest
Mount Everest, Tibet and Nepal

Fuji
Mount Fuji, Japan

Galatea
Mount Galatea, Canada

Galeras
Galeras Mountain, Columbia  

Garibaldi
Mount Garibaldi, Canada

Humboldt
Humboldt Peak, Colorado

Irazu
Irazu Volcano, Costa Rica

Kimball
Mount Kimball (Alaska)

Lafayette
Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire

Langley
Mount Langley, California

Lavaredo
Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italy

Melbourne
Mount Melbourne, Antarctica

Nirvana
Mount Nirvana, Canada

Oxford
Mount Oxford, California

Ozark
Ozark Mountains, United States

Palisade
North Palisade Peak and Middle Palisade Peak, California

Pedrosa
Coma Pedrosa, Andorra

Rainier
Mount Rainier, Washington

Roraima
Monte Roraima, Brazil

Shasta
Mount Shasta, California

Sidley
Mount Sidley, Antarctica

Smoky
Great Smoky Mountains, United States

Taramati
Taramati Peak, India

Teton
Teton Range, Wyoming

Tirsuli
Mount Tirsuli, Himalayas

Tressider
Tressider Peak, Alaska

Tyndall
Mount Tyndall, California

Vesper
Vesper Peak, Washington

Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius, Italy

Photo credit: Pug Girl







The Baby Name Buff: Car Models Edition

Road trips are a great American summertime tradition; the warm weather is a perfect time to go cruising in your car with the windows down and the stereo up. As such, this week’s blog presents a list of baby names inspired by car models.

Almera
Ascona
Berliet
Camry
Carisma
Cortina
DeLorean
Elantra
Figaro
Galant
Geo
Lumina
Malibu
Mariner
Riviera
Sentra
Sonata

Photo credit: loubeat