Category: baby name trends
Good things came in twos this week, as the baby name news was dominated by interesting sets of twins, and two new ends-with-R names for boys.
Let’s start with the letter R.
This past spring, the mainstream media picked up on a phenomenon we name nerds have long recognized: two-syllable, ends-with-N names for boys are big. Whether we’re talking chart toppers like Aiden and Mason, or new inventions like Zennon and Dreyson, N has been the go-to letter for ending boys’ names in recent years.
I’ve been thinking lately about the name Jennifer.
The biggest down side of being named Jennifer, I think, is not its enormous popularity — it was the Number 1 name from 1970 through 1983, when over a million Jennifers were born. It’s certainly not the name itself, which has always been and remains lovely.
No, the biggest problem to my mind is that the name pretty much pegs you as someone who is now in her thirties or forties. You’re date stamped, as surely as someone named Shirley is getting on 80 or Susan is a Baby Boomer or Mason was born in the Kardashian Era.
This is not a problem so much when you’re young, but as you get older, you (or more precisely, your child) may not appreciate having a name that broadcasts to your employers and everyone on Match.com: Yo, I’m 58!
Fast forward to 2014 and I would be surprised to see Deborah on a birth announcement, but not on a grandmother. At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allison on a birth announcement but I would be shocked to meet a grandma Allison.
Yet I can imagine both names on moms.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The folks at the Social Security Administration publish not only the thousand most popular names for every year dating back to 1880, but also the Top 200 names for every decade, making it possible to see broader patterns and trends.
I was scanning these decade lists to see if I might find any goodies that have escaped the mass raid on vintage names, and was able to pick out two girls and two boys from every decade from the 1880s to the 1950s that were once in the Top 100 but are not even in the Top 1000 now.
I ‘ve included the year they fell off the list and their highest ever point of popularity—plus some possible pros and cons. (Of course most of these names spilled over from one decade to the next.)
In 1970, the novel Love Story captured America‘s imagination with the tale of a wealthy Harvard jock who meets a girl from the other side of the tracks. It was soon followed by a movie of the same name — a tear-jerker that became the top box-office draw of the year. The American Film Institute has named Love Story one of the ten most romantic movies of all time, but its biggest legacy may be solidifying Jennifer‘s status as the top girl’s name of the 1970s and early-’80s.
The heroine of the book and movie (played by Ali McGraw) was named Jennifer “Jenny” Cavalleri. And in addition to being a wisecracking beauty, she had terminal leukemia. (I’m not spoiling anything here. The very first line of the movie is: “What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?”) .
Apparently America‘s response to watching a tragic girl fall in love and die was, “Hey, cool name.” Jennifer supplanted Lisa as the most popular name in the United States in 1970 and didn’t relinquish its grip until 1985.