Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Name Game

They did a segment on The Today Show a few weeks ago about baby names: the most popular in 2010, and up & coming names for the new year.  I don't know if you guys saw it or not.  If you didn't, let me fill you in.
And then what the trends seem to lean toward for the new year.


I think the 2010 ones are alright - they aren't that uncommon - they maybe just show a general shift toward newish names (your Addison, Madison, Aiden, Jayden crowd) and/or names that have been around for awhile that haven't been all that popular of late (the Sophias, Olivias, Jacobs, and Noahs).

But seriously?  The 2011 ones?  What?

There are a couple I've never even heard before (Maci? Kinley? Aarav?  Ryker?); and there are a couple that are cool enough - but maybe a little too much like Pottery Barn chandeliers (Kensley, Bentley, Beckett).  And then there are some that sound like they originated when someone used a last name from their family as their child's first name (Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, Kingston) and then, unlucky for that family, the name became super popular and the family gesture was lost to popular culture. 

And speaking of popular culture, a couple of these feel a little familiar right?  Isabella and Jacob?  What about poor Edward - I guess we know which "team" new parents are on.  (Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see a little Harry/Hermione/Ron action in there - I bet they're on the list in England.)

I just think name trends are funny, mostly.  Especially living in the South, where sort of off-the-wall names are almost more common than classics.  There's the phenomenon that is the double name, too.  (My sorority in college was notorious for interesting double names: Sarah Margaret, Laura Caroline, Nancy Elizabeth, Ann Donnelly, etc.)  You also see the whole last-name-as-a-first-name a lot.  This actually causes a little bitterness in our house because Jonathan's middle name - Walker - is one of those (maybe his great grandmother's maiden name?) that would make a great first name.  Except - it became too popular.  Now, if we were to name a son Walker, it would seem like we just chose a cool, trendy name - not that we're representing his family.

It's funny to look at these lists for 2010 and 2011 and think that in 10 years, a fifth grade teacher somewhere is going to read her class roster and there will be a noticeable lack of Katies, Jessicas, Mikes, and Matts.  Those names might even feel a little dated in the way that Linda, Ronald, Sharon, and Terry do to us now.  (How many babies in the past decade do you think were named Linda?)

Do you guys think about naming your yet-to-be-conceived children?  Do you think you'd go with family names or names you like?


Sarah said...

Funny, you mention names becoming too popular, my cousin had her first boy last June and named him Jack. My sister called me the day he was born and I knew exactly why she was calling. We both used to babysit a Jack, loved the name, and would sort of fight over the name. Now I guess we are both out of luck. Haha.

LB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LB said...

Oh my gosh, I love this post! I have so many comments:
1. Pottery Barn chandeliers, dead on sister
2. I know a Liam and a Beckett born within the past year, ha!
3. I just went and looked at the list from the 1980 and it's full of super basic names, which explains why everyone our age sounds like an American Girl doll.
4. The names from the 1920 are hilarious! Dorothy, Mildred, Virginia, Frances.
5. Are you a little afraid those names will come back into style?!
6. You should totally utilize Walker, despite how popular it is (at least it's not on the list). I really want to name a boy Blanton, and despite that fact that the full name would be a real mouthful, I think it's gotta happen.

AmyBethJames said...

How timely for me! :) The names that REALLY bother me are the ones where parents have made up an alternative spelling so the name will be more unique. Ashley is too common, so let's name her Ashlei! Everyone is using Jackson, so we'll spell it Jaxxon.

Obviously this complaint doesn't include names, like yours for instance, or Megan, or Rachel, commonly with multiple spelling variants. I'm talking about thinking that you're making your child more unique by spelling their normal name weirdly.

I also agree, having lived in the South for a while now, that in particular using the mother's maiden name for (typically) a son's first name is very common. A lot easier when you have something cool like Walker and not something like Stufflebaum or... McMinn. :)

I read an interesting article once talking about how generationally popular names seem most "uncool" to the ones immediately preceding. Which is why our mom's and dad's names sound horribly outdated - Sally, Linda, Larry, Pat, Susan - but we might find our grandparent's or great-grandparent's names charmingly retro and usable - Harry, Irene, Eleanor, James.

For Baby J, right now we are bouncing back and forth between what I'd call some "classics" and a few less common but not weird (at least not to us) outliers. I'm finding boy's names tougher - if it was a girl we pretty much had that nailed down.

Funnily enough, the verification word for this now incredibly long comment is "Uniti." I guess that's a "unique" spelling of Unity? :)

Jonathan said...

Interestingly, solely based on the lack of originality, here is a list of the names of the males I work with in decending age order:

Jerry, Tom, David, Jim, Alan, Al, Tim, Reid, Chris, Christopher, Jonathan, Jonathan, Josh, Aaron, Matthew, Jeff

The "crazy" names are Reid and Aaron. Boring....

Despite or becuase of being multi-syllabled myself, I've always favored short 1-2 syllable male names and longer 2-3 syllable female names.

(Wouldn't you be pissed to be the first person to name your kid Aiden?)

Jackie said...

I love all these comments. Amy - I especially like what you said about how we tend to think older names sound more charming than those from the immediately preceding generation. I absolutely agree with this. My grandmother's name is June (which is sort of cute, I think), and my other grandmother was Virginia (or maybe Veronica - there's some ambiguity about which was her technical name), but either way, I like both names a lot.

So to your comment, LB, I think those names will absolutely come back! Before I moved to the South, I thought the name Margaret was extremely old and stodgy (sort of like Mildred), but then I moved down here and TONS of people are named Margaret, so it doesn't seem that weird. I'm sure Mildred at some point will become popular again so that it will never have seemed dated.

I'm not sure, though, that I can ever stand behind Linda coming back...

Tippy said...

here are the top baby names for 2010 in the UK

Top 2010 Baby Girl Names

1. Olivia
2. Ruby
3. Emily
4. Grace
5. Lily
6. Jessica
7. Amelia
8. Chloe
9. Isabella
10. Emma
11. Lucy
12. Isabelle
13. Megan
14. Ella
15. Evie
16. Charlotte
17. Hannah
18. Ava
19. Holly

Top 2010 Baby Boy Names

1. Jack
2. Harry
3. Alfie
4. Thomas
5. Oliver
6. Daniel
7. Joshua
8. Charlie
9. Mohammed
10. George
11. Lewis
12. Dylan
13. William
14. Samuel
15. Ethan
16. Ben
17. Alexander