Category: Kelli Brady
By Kelli Brady, The Name Freak!
Now that the 2014 SSA list has been released, I can present the “real” Top 50 to you! By combining the different spellings of each name, we can determine which name is truly more popular. Because when you hear “Sophia!” on the playground, you have no idea how her name is spelled, but you know you hear the name a lot. Where does it really rank compared to other names?
As I reveal in my book, Name-alytics, there are three spellings of Katherine that have been in the Top 100… Catherine, Katherine and Kathryn (the Big 3). Catherine reached its peak in 1914, Katherine reached its peak in 1988, and Kathryn reached its peak in 1951. That alone is quite fascinating to those interested in the history of name popularity, but it is not enough to satisfy my detail-specific thirst.
I have often wondered if parents use place names for their children because of the place itself or for other reasons entirely. If you ever ask me for name advice, I usually send a questionnaire to get some information from you because I like to find names that could have special meaning to you. A few of the questions I ask pertain to locations: where were you engaged, where were you married, and where you honeymooned. In the seven years I’ve used this questionnaire, the answers to these questions never inspired the parent enough to use them, but it has always been a fun thing to research.
Elizabeth is the only girl name that has been in the Top 100 every year since 1880. It’s no wonder though, as it is a classic name with an abundance of nicknames to create some uniqueness to each special girl. But what about the girls who have the nickname on their birth certificate? They are related to the name by custom alone and may have to explain to people that their name is not actually Elizabeth. These girls have parents who simply loved the diminutive more than the full name. And the popularity of these nicknames-as-given-names is pretty grand.
I consulted with my name sums database (all given names since 1880 totaled) and picked out the names that are well known nicknames for Elizabeth. I did not include all possible spellings of each nickname, such as Elleigh or Alyzah.
My middle name is Joyce. I absolutely love it, not only because it is after my beloved grandmother, but also because it is lovely, versatile, and has a delightful meaning. And while I think it is perfectly splendid as a first name, as many parents in the 1930s and 1940s did, I personally love it in the middle spot. It is short, sweet and lends itself to be even shorter for nicknames… Sammy Jo, Sarah Joy, D.J., etc.