How James Van Der Beek (star of “Dawson’s Creek”) and His Wife Discovered Annabel for Their Baby Girl

According to an article written by Elisabeth Kramer, James (Dawson’s Creek) Vanderbeek and his wife Kimberly didn’t say a word to one another about a name for their baby daughter until after she was born. And after not having given the subject a moment’s conscious thought, they each had only one idea to share. James Vanderbeek said, “Annabel.” And his wife Kimberly said “That’s what I was going to say.” And that’s how Annabel and four other variations of the name came to my attention.

I’d been experimenting with some new ways to view popularity and name trends, so I was excited to discover that Annabel (#519) and four other variations of Ana/Anna + Bel/ Belle/Bella were rising rapidly and seemed likely to continue doing so for years and possibly for decades.

Here are all the variations under discussion, presented with their current popularity rank in parentheses: Annabelle (#100), Annabella (#307), Anabella (#516), Annabel (#519) and Anabel (#962). What fascinates me about the names is that they are all in rising trends and haven’t peaked yet.

When you compare Annabelle #100) and it’s variations with Isabella (#3) and it’s variations, you find something very interesting: Isabella has gone all the way to the top of the girl’s list. It peaked a few years ago and is currently #3–and declining. All its variations are declining along with it. (Names and their variations tend to rise and fall together.) So the art of baby-naming involves finding a rising cluster and picking an appealing variation.

In short, without discussing the subject of names for their daughter, the Vanderbeeks (through intuition rather than conscious study and discussion) both received “vibes” about Annabel, which along with it’s variations is likely to continue rising for years or decades.

If you’re interested in finding a relatively uncommon name which earn will earn “I wish I’d thought of that name” comments when you announce it and which also has a literary provenance (it’s in the title of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem, “Annabel Lee”), consider Annabel when you’re looking for a name for your baby daughter.

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