William, Isabella top 2009 names

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If you named your child William or Isabella in the year 2009, you were among the many in Virginia to do so.

The two names were the most popular ones in the commonwealth. Isabella was also ranked first in the nation, and William was second to Jacob.

In Virginia, following William and Jacob were Michael, Noah and Ethan and after Isabella were Madison, Emma, Olivia and Abigail.


Email newsletter signup

Parents who named their little girls Isabella in the past few years say they did so because it was unique, yet traditional.

“I have always liked the name,” said Deborah Pevahouse, who named her now-2-year-old daughter Isabella. “I had a baby doll I named Isabella when I was a little girl, and I thought it was unique. You didn’t hear it very much. It’s an older name.”

“It’s a beautiful, traditional name,” said Heath Gay, whose 8-year-old daughter is named Isabella. “There’s no family orientation, but my wife and I both really liked it.”

A long-time popular name, William has been a top-20 name for the past century and a family name for many.

“I’m a big proponent of family names,” said Kary-Kemple Henderson, whose 3-year-old is named William. “It’s my grandfather’s first name. I’m from a family of all girls and my son was the first boy in two generations. So, I wanted to incorporate a male name from my side of the family. It’s also on my husband’s maternal side of the family which is from the Williams family of Williamsburg.”

Henderson said she was surprised that William has become such a popular name, because “people don’t pick traditional names anymore. They’re often names from magazines or people will take trends and spell them differently.”

While the movie and book series “Twilight” were not popular at the time Pevahouse named her daughter, she did say that it was curious that the names Jacob and Isabella — also both names of “Twilight” lead characters — had become popular in the last year.

The name Cullen, the last name of a “Twilight” character, had the biggest increase among boy names, which a press release stated likely was attributable to the popular books and movies.