Category: Name Nerds
My love affair with names began in elementary school when I selected a book about the meaning behind names from the monthly book order catalog. I enjoyed it so much I asked my parents to buy me a second name book. I picked up the original Beyond Jennifer and Jason, and highlighted it within inches of its life. I loved the way names sounded in my head and how Pamela and Linda took thinking about names a step further than most books. They gave them new meanings and classifications and offered insight into how names might be perceived by other people at all stages of someone’s life. It fascinated me and thus, a name nerd was born.
For years, I scribbled stories here and there but my favorite part of the process was always naming the characters. I labored over who would get which moniker, many times to the detriment of the story. I’d have two full pages of characters with spectacular names and one page of actual story completed before I gave up and started something new.
Here at Nameberry, we know a lot about name obsession: We’ve been pretty obsessive about the subject ourselves for as long as we can remember. And one of the great things about running this site is that it’s introduced us to a lot of fellow obsessive name people. Maybe you’re one of them?
Here, 19 signs:
1. You’ve memorized the Social Security Top 1000 names. And you’re fully prepared to take the quiz.
2. American baby name books weren’t enough for you, so you’ve also amassed a collection of British, Australian, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and one Japanese baby name book. In Japanese.
3. You’ve made a spreadsheet to analyze the results of your online baby name polls.
Being a name nerd used to be hard work.
Do you remember paging through lists of Olympic medalists in the paper, gazing at name plaques in art museums, seeking out family trees in history books at the library? Did you know exactly which days the local paper ran birth announcements?
Then you must be a thirty-something or better name nerd.
I borrowed my mother’s only baby name book and kept it on my bookshelf, between Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. I read it obsessively, even the small print listing nicknames and foreign variants. That long lost book is where I fell in love with Libby and Nan, Katrinka and Alexei.
So many stories about twenty-first century baby naming trends are dismissive. They claim parents are trying too hard for their children to stand out and be unique.
Maybe that happens some of the time, but to me it seems straightforward.
With access to all of these fabulous names, why wouldn’t we consider a wider range of possibilities?
Watch out, Berries–today’s guest blogger, Claire Shefchik, has plenty of bones to pick!
Since the age of six, I’ve loved names. Back then, whenever I renamed myself, I was Crystal (spelled Christal) and later, Jordan. These days, I prefer Presley to Penelope, Jayden to Jasper. In the novel I’m writing, two of the main characters are Dempsey and Vaughan–female characters. Eek! That’s right, I am a name heretic.
When, a few years ago, I came across the Nameberry-led community of Internet naming enthusiasts, I thought I’d found heaven (sorry, “nevaeh”). But I found myself, more often than not, at odds with my fellow “name nerds.” Many claim to be open-minded and liberal, but are much more rigid in their approach to naming than you’d think, especially when it comes to names popular with, as one poster put it, “the Wal-Mart set.” Another poster declared her goal was to encourage “classically-named babies,” which let’s face it, is just a euphemism for “babies with names of which I, as the self-appointed arbiter of taste, approve.”
We first talked with the lovely Natalie Hanson, whose husband is musical star Taylor Hanson, when she named her fourth child the amazing Viggo Moriah. Not only is Natalie a celebrity mom, she’s a name nerd! We’re delighted and honored to welcome Natalie to Nameberry as a guest blogger. Here, she looks back on the names she and her husband chose for their four young children and what she’s thinking about for names for her fifth, due this fall.
This October I will celebrate ten years since I first took my adolescent name research and applied it to an actual human being. This upcoming anniversary has inspired me to look back on the names my husband and I gave to our four children, the ways we chose them, and how they’ve worked out. Have each of my choices lived up to my hopes? Was my perception of each name’s potential correct, or “ahead of its time”? Our name stories: