Category: baby name trends
By Tara Ryazansky
We all took guesses at what the British royal baby would be named. We brushed up on ‘K’ names to make bets at what Kimye would name their daughter. I haven’t thought much about celebrity baby names now that George and North are here though, but it looks like 2014 is going to be a great year for famous baby names, judging by the pregnancies that have already been announced. I thought I’d make some predictions.
Actress Olivia Wilde & comedian, Jason Sudeikis are expecting their first child together. Wilde is a stage name—her original surname being Cockburn, coming from a celebrated family of writers. The choice of Wilde makes me think she has a clever sense of humor and might pick a name with an equally interesting namesake for her child–something bohemian or perhaps she will favor a nature name. Since her partner is a writer and comedian, I expect that they will pick something compelling, with intellectual wit and hipster cool.
My guesses: Ulysses, Beauregard, Vernon, Maude, Lake, Lavinia
By Arika Okrent, mentalfloss.com
The Social Security website has data on the thousand most popular baby names for boys and girls going back to 1880, when John and Mary came in first. A look at the old lists shows that the most popular names are always changing, but some of the naming trends have been around for longer than it might seem. Here are 11 naming trends of the past.
1. IMPORTANT TITLES
The current list has some names that carry a grand sense of importance (Messiah, King, Marquis), but the 1880s and 90s also had its grand titles in the 200 to 400 range of ranked popularity. For the boys, there was General, Commodore, Prince, and Major. For the girls there was Queen, which hovered around the 500 mark until the 1950s.
2. CITIES & STATES
Cities as names are not a new thing, however. Boston was a boy’s name in the 1880s. Dallas and Denver have been around since the 1880s, as has Cleveland (though it peaked in popularity during the presidency of Grover Cleveland, so perhaps should count as a president name instead.) Some of our state names come from women’s names, so it is expected that states like Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia should be represented on name lists. But other state names have made the list too. Missouri made the girl’s name list from 1880 until about 1900 and Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas also showed up a few times as girls’ names in the 1800s.
In hemlines and hairdos, in music and cuisine and baby names, too.
Once upon a time, Mildred was a Top Ten name in the US. Clarence, Connie, Randy, Dawn, Eugene, Norman, Norma, Crystal, Dustin, Myrtle, and Elmer have all ranked in the Top 50 names at one point or another.
It can take years for a name to transition from emerging trend to solidly established choice. But this week’s baby name news highlights many of the changes happening now.
Change is constant, but some of the outcomes are fresh and new, and it is too soon to say which names will catch on. Will Americans embrace truly gender neutral names? Are noun names mainstream? Should you double-check the spelling on every single name, no matter what?
Read on for nine baby names in the news, and what they might signal for the next generation of children.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Once a year, we like to stop and turn the calendar back a hundred years to see what parents were naming their babes a century ago and whether we might find some undiscovered treasures that, following the hundred-year rule, might be ready to be revived.
What was the world like in 1913? Trouble was fomenting abroad in the year preceding World War I, but in the US it was a time of new beginnings, with the election of Woodrow Wilson, the births of future Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, women marching to gain the vote– and, for better or worse, it was the year that saw the introduction of the Federal income tax, the first cigarette pack, stainless steel and the zipper.
Things were quiet at the top end of the baby name popularity list as well, headed by the expected classics for boys: John, William, James, Robert, Joseph, George, Charles, Edward, Frank and Thomas (not dissimilar to the royal baby list), while for the girls there were period favorites Mary (36,000+ of them), Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Mildred, Anna, Elizabeth, Frances and Marie. Of these Top 10 boys and girls, only William and Elizabeth survive on the current Top 10, with James and Joseph still in the Top 20.
Trendy baby names have been around a lot longer Miley Cyrus or any of the famous Kardashians. From the dawn of recorded U.S. baby name history — aka 1880, when the federal government began keeping records — we’ve adopted names inspired by current events and popular people and culture, only to leave them behind for a new inspiration the next year.
The inspiration for name trends a century ago may have been politicians and war heroes rather than reality stars, but the definition of trendy baby names was the same: Names that spiked in popularity thanks to an outside influence, then sank from view along with its original bearer.
An organization called Flowing Data has calculated the trendiest names in US history, a fascinating look at which names burned the brightest only to fade the fastest.