25 Last Names That Make Better First Names For Babies

In the world of baby names, there are few options when it comes to mixing things up these days. What name hasn’t been used? Can we really call any of them unique anymore? Which title can we bestow upon our children that won’t result in them sharing that name with five other people in their graduating class someday?

Sometimes, naming our little ones takes months of thought and some smooth moves to get it just right. In many cases, we can take one of the most ordinary names and make it new again by switching up the way it is applied. For example, Alex was a boy’s name — shortened from Alexander — long before it became a girl’s name — shortened from Alexandra.

In some cases, parents rely on the names of places to name their children. They want something solid that boasts charm and stamina for their son, so they name him George, after the first president of the United States. Then we got really clever and decided that last names aren’t just surnames anymore. We can switch things up and find some really adorable and sturdy names for our babies that won’t be as common among their classmates and peers.

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25 Smith

Is anyone else thinking about Sex and the City? That’s because this all-too-common last name became a hip and trendy first name when actor Jason Lewis took on the role of Smith Jerrod in the hit television series and subsequent films.

If we’re operating with full disclosure, we need to mention that Smith’s original name in the series was actually Jerry Smith. His publicist, Samantha — played by Kim Cattrall — knew that men named Jerry Smith never shine in the spotlight. So, she dubbed him Smith Jerrod, and his career took off faster than he could rip his shirt off.

Ever since then, Smith has been a prime choice among mommies and daddies who are seeking a name for their son that is strong and unique with a hint of sultry and mysterious. We love the James Bond-ness of it all.

24 Jackson

Jackson has quickly become one of the nation’s top boy names over the last decade. While there are trendy alternative spellings, like Jaxon and Jacksen, most parents who opt for this name seem to prefer the traditional spelling.

Maybe that’s because they like the name so much because of the tradition behind it. Some of the United States’ most memorable heroes have lent their namesake to this title, such as Andrew Jackson and Stonewall Jackson.

Some people claim Jackson is the new John, which has actually fallen behind it in popularity. Since 2010, Jackson has held a spot in the top 25 boys’ names in the country. Its latest spot was number 17. So, no, it’s not uncommon, but it sure is charming. So, what if there are four other Jackson’s in his class.

23 McKinley

McKinley is such a fabulous name. One of the best parts about it is that it can actually be used for both girls and boys. In recent years, it has been more popular among females. Often forgotten, President William McKinley was the 25th president in office.

The name itself actually stems from Scotland and means son of the fair hero. It seems like parents have grown tired of female options like MacKenna and McKenzie, and they were looking for a new name to spin from them. McKinley is it folks.

If you’re looking for an unusual name that people will still recognize and admire, it’s a solid choice. It ranks number 380th among female baby names, and is so unpopular as a boy’s name that it’s yet to be tallied. Grab it while it’s hot!

22 Revere

The red coats are coming! The red coats are coming! Paul Revere, right? Hey, not entirely a bad person to be named after. Some people are just big fans of Revere, Massachusetts. Others might just like the regal sound of the name Revere.

Whatever your reasons, it’s one seriously uncommon name. You can pretty much bet your life on it that your child won’t meet another child during all their years of schooling with the first name Revere. The name actually comes from France and was given to people who lived on the banks of rivers.

If Mom and Dad are big history buffs, an even better if they’re from New England (aren’t we all?), they might enjoy naming their child after one of history’s greatest heroes. If not, there are plenty of other unique namesakes to find throughout history and the Northeast.

21 Oakley

Yes, Oakley. As in, Annie Oakley. Born Phoebe Ann Moses, she was dubbed Annie Oakley later in life and is considered one of the greatest female talents in history. The sharpshooter was a primary female leader in the Old West.

Meaning oak clearing and of English descent, Oakley is a sturdy name that is sure to stand the test of time. One of the benefits of such names is that they apply not only are surnames, but also as first and middle names.

Oakley is the kind of name that can be passed down through generations to both boys and girls. It is ranked in the 567th spot for males and 611th for girls. Its popularity increased by large margins for both genders in 2015 and continues to rise.

20 Lincoln

Well, it’s no secret where this name came from. The most notable carrier of it being Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s 16th President, it actually means lake colony, and came from England. The name bears some pretty strong roots, given that Honest Abe is one of the most coveted leaders of all time.

Lincoln has not been uncommon as a boy’s name for many years; it came in 66th among all male infant names in 2015. However, it’s actually picking up steam as a female name, too. In fact, we find it quite adorable for a little girl.

As much as the name conveys, Lincoln is strong. It’s the kind of name that a child learns to grow into, and one that many of their peers won’t likely have. It’s not as common of a surname these days, either. So, no one is tired of hearing it.

19 Cohen

Cohen is a pretty common surname among the Jewish community from which it stems. In Hebrew, it means priest. In other words, there’s probably no higher form of recognition a parent could give their child if they’re wanting to give them a religious name. Bible names are out. Cohen is in.

The name boasts many famous namesakes. Activist Ben Cohen, actor Sasha Baron Cohen, and poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen have all carried this name with pride and done it justice. In 2015, it was the 336th most popular name given to baby boys. No word yet on using this name for a little bundle of sugar and spice, but we don’t think it’s out of the question. Someone just has to be the first in line.

18 Anderson

Anderson Cooper. Need we say more? Alright, if you’re not a fan of his journalism, you can at least appreciate his calm demeanor, perfectly silver hair and crystal blue eyes. But since it’s not likely that you’re procreating with him, naming your child after him might not be high on your list.

That brings us to Pamela Anderson. Another choice that most parents would find quite unsavory. Despite the fact that the mom of two has birthed both of her sons at home and been quite an activist with organizations like PETA, she’s still best known for her years in Playboy and adult entertainment.

The point is, sometimes you can use a name and not name your child after anyone. Sometimes, a name can just be a name. Anderson hails from Scandinavia and means son of Anders — Anders meaning strong and manly. Still, it’s a quality choice for both genders.

17 Beckett

Beckett is one of our favorite trending baby names here at BabyGaga. It’s fresh and hip. There isn’t a Beckett in every neighborhood and every classroom. We wonder how long it will remain that way. With Irish and English roots, Beckett means bee cottage.

Traditionally, it has only been used as a male name, and does seem to lend a rather strong, masculine connotation. In 2015, it was the 218th most popular boy’s name, which surprised us, because you really don’t seem to hear it much.

Perhaps lending the title to your son will produce another great writer along the lines of Samuel Beckett. In the meantime, it is a ridiculously adorable name for a child and an attractive and strong name for a man.

16 Arden

Arden has been notably more popular among parents of boys than those of girls, but it can bend either way and has broken into the top 1,000 girls’ names in the past couple of years. We love the meaning of this name. Of English descent, Arden means valley of the eagle. It just seems to invoke the name with spirit and the essence of something grand.

The most prominent famous figure boasting the name was none other than Elizabeth Arden. If your mom just happens to really like Red Door perfume, you just might end up named after it. Hey, it’s a classic that has held its own in the fragrance industry for a number of years; don’t ask us how. Hopefully, parents who choose Arden just like the way it rolls off the tongue.

15 Ellis

Despite being a fairly uncommon name for both boys and girls, Ellis isn’t unheard of. From Perry Ellis, to Albert Ellis, to the murderous Ruth Ellis, it’s been around for a long time. Interestingly, Ellis seemed to grow more in popularity after the appearance of Kate Burton’s character, Ellis Grey, on ABC’s hit drama Grey’s Anatomy.

Descending from Wales, the name Ellis means benevolent, and is more than twice as popular for boy’s than girl’s. In 2015, Ellis was ranked 962nd among female names that year while it was in the 419th spot for males. Parents who are searching for a name with an historical meaning may regard Ellis Island as part of their ancestry and name their child after the island for sentimental reasons.

14 Wiley

A common spinoff of Willy, Walt and William, Wiley is a name all its own. However, the name is most recognized as a diminutive of William, which is German for resolute protection. Wiley is a fantastic option for parents who would like to carry on the William namesake in their families, but aren’t a fan of the traditional name which is ranked in 5th place for boy’s.

More and more parents are seeking out uncommon names for their children. We’ve grown tired of the standard John, Jack, William, and Benjamin. We want clever names that these kids will never hear much outside of themselves. We want them to have their own identity that they don’t share with someone else. Is that too much to ask? We think not.

13 Bardot

This French surname is most well-known for its use by actress, pin-up girl and activist Brigitte Bardot. The classic beauty could be known by no other name at this point. Her alliterative name and hourglass figure inspired many men and women, and may continue to if this name catches on.

Pronounced bar-doh, the t is silent, but it hardly matters if you’re turning it into a first name and aren’t French. Technically, this name could be used for both boys and girls. It is so rare among babies that it has yet to be ranked by an authority. If you’re hunting for a name for your little girl that will lend a cute connotation when she’s younger and a sultry one in adult like, Bardot is a quality choice.

12 Harlow

Speaking of pin-ups, we can’t forget about actress Jean Harlow. While the beauty marks and pencil-thin eyebrows are no longer a requirement to pull off this name, we think it’s quite fashionable, whether you’re having a little prince or a little princess.

The name actually boasts a very masculine meaning, despite being far more popular as a lady’s name. In the 422nd spot for female baby names in the latest year tallied, Harlow is English for army. This name pairs well with virtually any last name that doesn’t end in -ow. We envision it growing to be more and more popular in coming years, but for now, it’ a rare name that is ripe for the picking. Don’t miss out if you’re hoping to dub your little one with something a little less common than Mason or Emily.

11 Madigan

Irish for little dog, Madigan is a spinoff, too, and thank goodness, because we were really growing overly tired of all the Madison’s and Madeline’s. No offense to the parents who have chosen those names, but you must have realized by now that you aren’t alone.

Madigan is a name that is almost exclusively used in Western Ireland, but it’s popularity in the states in slowly rising. Parents who are opting for this name do have some concern over whether or not people will tend to call their child Maddy, thereby mixing ranks with the all-too-popular Madison and Madeline again. If you can make it clear that Madigan is the nickname, or opt for something else, like Aggie or Maggie, it’s not a bad choice at all.

10 West

Yes, like Kayne. Believe it or not, this name is gaining traction among all parents, of both boys and girls. Considered a word name since West is a direction with no real origin, parents have jumped on the Kardashian-West bandwagon ever since the famed couple named their daughter North in June of 2013.

If rap music isn’t your thing, you could always tell people you named your child after country music artist Dottie West. Never heard of her? We’re not surprised. Listen, we’re pretty sure North wasn’t named after someone, either. It’s okay not to have a namesake.

It’s not okay to have a boring name, though. West is far from dull, despite its short length and everyday use. Giving a new meaning to a word that is so commonplace in other areas of life creates a fresh spin that some people would never pick out of plain sight.

9 Monroe

While images of Marilyn Monroe may flock to your mind, this name is actually growing in popularity far faster among parents of boys! Scottish for mouth of the Roe river, Monroe has been around for centuries.

This name wasn’t only one that got its fame from a classic pin-up girl and actress, though. Monroe is also pretty famous thanks to Bill Monroe and President James Monroe. For this reason, it’s been a solid choice among the parents of young men.

Way back in 2011, Mariah Carey and then-husband Nick Cannon welcomes fraternal twins into the world and named their daughter Monroe. Since then, the name seems to be on the uptick among females, but only time will tell just how popular it becomes. Regardless of gender, it’s a wise choice that has stood the test of time and doesn’t seem to get on anyone’s nerves.

8 Lennox

Of Scottish and Northern Irish descent, the name Lennox means elm grove. It ranked in the number 488th spot in 2015 for girl’s names and 740th for boy’s. Pronounced len-ux, the name is certainly nothing if not original.

While there isn’t much claim to fame with this name, some people would insist that naming your child after Annie Lennox is like setting them up for life with a good omen. The name comes complete with alternative spellings, like Lenox and Leanox. Since its popularity is steadily climbing the charts, we think this is the perfect time to get on board with it. By the time it’s so popular that no one wants to use it anymore, your child will be in grade school and the only Lennox in their graduating class.

7 Adair

Alright, if you’re seriously determined to find a name that no one else wants, this is it. Adair has it all. It’s unique. It’s gender-neutral. It’s uncommon. Guess what else? It’s actually declining in popularity! That’s a win for the parents who want a name that no other child will ever have.

Adair means the shallow area of a river that boasts oak trees. It is of both Scottish and English descent. The name rose to popularity in the 1980s after a character named Adair McCleary, played by Page Hannah, graced the set of Search for Tomorrow, a popular daytime soap opera. It has lacked popularity ever since, making it the perfect name choice for a couple of parents who are due with a baby any day that can’t seem to find a name they’ve never heard before.

6 Hutton

In early 2015, Seventh Heaven alum Beverly Mitchell — who played the role of Lucy Camden — and her hubby Michael Cameron welcomes a son into the world and named him Hutton Michael. The name Hutton is a surname of Scottish and Anglo-Saxon roots.

Believe it or not, this name has been around since at least the 7th century! Now that’s an historical name! Thought to mean a compilation of hoh, ridge, spur, and tun, Hutton doesn’t seem to have a clear meaning. That could be why so many parents have veered away from it.

If you’re not too bent on having a steadfast and documented meaning behind your child’s name, or you’re more comfortable with the idea of letting your child dictate what the name means than the other way around, Hutton could be a wise choice for your son.

5 Nash

This one’s for the boys. Admittedly, Nash is something of a trend among rhyming names. Much like Aiden developed into Jayden, and Hayden, and Cayden, and so forth, Cash has grown into Ash, and Dash, and now Nash. Hey, we can’t help what sounds good.

Fortunately, Nash still isn’t a commonly used name. Ranked at number 344 in the top 1,000 baby boy names of 2015, there are 343 names ahead of it in line. So, it’s safe to say you’d likely have the only Nash on the block.

We’re hoping that the popularity this name has garnered has a little less to do with Nash Grier than Vine would have us believe, but who’s keeping track? This name has actually been mildly popular for a number of years — possibly due to the famous band Crosby, Stills and Nash.

4 Rowan

Scottish and Irish for little redhead, we hope that parents of non-ginger babies won’t be put off by the meaning. Not too many people name their kid after Rowan Atkinson. So, that’s out, too.

Traditionally, Rowan has been considered a name for girls. Similar to names like Rhonwen and Rowena, Rowan naturally took shape as a feminine name, which is interesting given its masculine roots in nature with the rowan tree.

Rowan was catapulted into the top 1,000 names for girls when Brooke Shields gave the name to her daughter upon her birth in 2003. However, Rowan is actually losing steam when it comes to female names, and it’s gaining traction among boys. Although we haven’t found any names for a Rowan outside of folk tales and literature throughout history, times are changing!

3 Marley

Sometimes, parents really, really want their child’s name to mean something special. It has to be beautiful. It has to demand that people fall to the child’s feet in awe of their name. The meaning behind a name like Marley just might do the trick.

Stemming from England, the name boasts a meaning of a pleasant seaside meadow. Could there be a more quaint and lovely meaning for a name? Marley has always been more popular for girls than boys, which is odd given that the derivative of the name — Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — names one of the primary male characters Marley.

Still, it was only ranked number 863 among boys in 2015, compared to the 218th spot for girls. If you’re dying for a name that makes your little one stand out in a crowd, Marley is a reliable choice.

2 Dixon

Interestingly enough, this last name that is better as a first name actually came from a first name: Dick, being the nickname of Richard, which means dominant ruler. Alterative spellings include Dixen and Dickson. Dax has become a popular nickname for Dixon, too.

It has yet to break the top 1,000 names for boys and doesn’t appear to be used for girls at all. This means it’s still rare. Used throughout history as a prominent surname for many families throughout England, including English royalty, Dixon is far from a beggar’s name and boasts wealth and flair.

A lot of people doubt their ability to pull off names like this — which are intended for the sons of men with similar names. Case in point, Dixon for the son of a Richard. That’s not necessary in this day and age, and no one expects that of you. Name your kid whatever you like!

1 Sutton

English for from the southern homestead, Sutton is a pretty familiar name in certain parts of the world, but only as a last name. It broke into the top 1,000 baby names for boys in recent years and graced the charts at the 950th spot in 2015. For girl’s, it was much more popular being ranked as the 672nd most popular female baby name that same year.

While the name might sound like it doesn’t have much flair, the person who takes it on can embellish it any way they like with the right amount of personality. For example, Sutton Foster is a famed Broadway actress known for her vocal abilities and solid acting experience in shows like Bunheads and Younger, alongside several performances at the annual Tony Awards. No one would call her plain and boring.

Sources: NameBerry.com

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