Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Cutie Bram - gorgeous photograph by Glow Foto
It's hard to do a month of Halloween baby names and not mention Bram. Firstly, Bram (Stoker) was the famous author of 'Dracula', the most widely recognised (and perhaps the first) fictionalised record of vampires. Second, it's just an uber cool name, and one of my favourites.

Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' is a tale of the infamous Count Dracula. It is written in diary form, from the perspectives of young Johnathan Harker, who first visits the Count at his home in Transylvania, Johnathon's fiancee Mina  (short for Wilhelmina - another great name!) and Doctor Jack Seward. Stoker's version of Dracula has become the traditional, almost standard ideal of the vampire, and many of the ideas we now read about in vampire stories or see in vampire movies are based on concepts from this story. Note that there is no mention of vampire skin sparkling like diamonds in this book. If those are the kind of vampires you like, this original tale is not for you :) I first got around to reading the book earlier this year, and became smitten with the name Bram, thinking how cool it would be on a little boy.

Bram originated as a nickname for the name Abraham, and Bram Stoker himself was indeed an Abraham. Abraham or Abram is a biblical Hebrew name, meaning 'father of multitudes', and hence Bram is thought to have the same meaning. However Bram does actually have a history of being a name itself used by the Dutch and the Gaelic. Reportedly, the Dutch associate it with Bramble, and accordingly the meaning in that part of the world is 'a thicket of wild gorse'. On a different but also nature themed note, Bram apparently means 'raven' in Gaelic, a bird that is traditionally seen as a harbinger of death and also commonly associated with Halloween.

As you can see, Bram can be quite the chameleon. If you prefer it as a nickname and want a longer option for the birth certificate, there are several choices besides Abraham or Abram. These include Bairam, Braham, Bramley, Brampton, Bramwell (with another spooky connection via actor Bramwell Fletcher who appeared the 1932 horror 'The Mummy'), Brigham, Bertram, and Byram.

Bram has slowly risen in popularity over the past 40 years in America, but is still by far a popular name. In the last four years it has been given to just 37-38 boys, which in 2011 ranked it at position #3037. It is however a very popular name in the Netherlands, where it was the 16th most popular boys name in 2011. Other notable Bram's besides Stoker are Bram Cohen, creator of BitTorrent file sharing software, and Bram Fischer, the South African lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela.

With some great namesakes, Bram is one of those names that almost no-one uses, but everyone knows. It's short, strong, and has a Gothic feel to it. It's a versatile name, with both biblical and nature origins. Bram would definitely be a great option, especially if you're looking for a name that stands out but fits in.

Bram Stoker and a modern cover of his tale 'Dracula'

1 comment:

  1. I published a fairy tale story and the main boy's name is Brahm. He is Jewish, sweet and brave. It fits him very well and the story has horror elements in it. :)