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Category: influential celebrity names

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by Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s an inarguable fact that celebrity baby name choices have an impact on the rest of the population.  But which of them have had a lasting influence and which luminaries have hit the sweet spot more than once?

With some names it was not a single celeb but a confluence of several that helped propel a name to stardom– among these are the namers of Becketts, Dashiells, Harpers, Romys, Romans and, perhaps most of all, the now ubiquitous Ava.  And we see that even a middle name can pack an impact, as in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s (Blue) Ivy.

TRENDSETTERS

Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn introduced a whole style of names with their three daughters, Avery, Emery and Finley, all boyish names ending in ‘y.’ First came Finley, born in 2003, when that name was nowhere to be seen on the girls’ Top 1000.  It appeared there two years later, and is now at Number 349, with close to a thousand baby girls bearing that name annually.  Daughter Avery was born in 2005; there were approximately 4,000 girl Averys born the year before her arrival, 5,000+ the year after, and 8,000+ this past year. The third daughter, Emery, was born three years later, when the name was Number 467; it is now at 211.

Two of the Jolie-Pitt kids’ names have made their mark. The eldest, Maddox, was born in 2001, the name popped onto the list two years later, and is now at Number 167, accounting for almost 2,300 baby Maddoxes.  Another x-ending Jolie-Pitt boy name, Knox, also stuck a chord.  He arrived in 2008 with twin sister Vivienne (whose name is also rising); the following year Knox entered the list, and it is now Number 368.

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Which people over time have had the greatest influence on baby names in the U.S.? We’ve collected the top dozen individuals who’ve inspired millions of namesakes, often in unexpected ways. Sometimes it was an actual name that went viral; in other cases these people set off a wider-ranging trend. Here, the greatest baby name influencers of all time:

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