Category: nameberry guest blogs
We first discovered Teresa Strasser when she mentioned us on her hilarious blog, Exploiting My Baby, to be published as a book next year. (That’s her at the right, pretending to be Heidi Klum.) Like many moms, Teresa spent her entire pregnancy obsessing about names, except unlike most moms, she did it publicly, with very funny results.
Here, her blog listing her favorite names and detailing what I and all her other friends and readers said about them. Read to the end to find out what she named her baby!
Me: You know the trouble with this one: the nickname Jim. Jims seem like nice guys, I just don’t want one. I am told by many who have written to me that Jim is an old school nickname, and that James can remain James. Can this be true? Also, how common is James? And have girls overtaken the name James? Those greedy little girl parents are taking everything.
The Name Expert: For me, James is really good. And doesn’t have to be Jim (though I actually like Jim). I have a Joe who has never, ever been called Joey, at least by anyone who lived to tell about it. There are lots of Jameses – but not in your neighborhood. Unless they’re girls. I really don’t think the girls are taking it over, though, not en masse outside the hipster ghetto.
If you have aspirations that your kiddo will someday grow up and earn his Juris Doctorate, the time to start planning may be now – with the right name. Through nameberry, you now have access to the most comprehensive analysis on lawyer names ever completed.
I run marketing for an online legal directory called Avvo where we help people make an informed decision when hiring an attorney by rating and profiling over 90% of the lawyers in the country. As such, I have access to the most comprehensive data on lawyer first names ever assembled – data culled from state bar records from across the country and reaching back as far as 1808. That’s about 1.5 million lawyers overall.
I grouped the names for each decade going back through the 1950’s. Because our data gets more sparse with age, I built two more groups, one from the first half of last century and one for the 1800’s. I then compiled lists of the top 20 names for each time period. The date associated with each name is when the attorney was accepted by the state bar – which in general is about 25 years after the baby-cum-lawyer was named (so you need to really be thinking ahead).
Obviously, these lists correlate with popularity of names over time, but the actual results are amazingly consistent and defy many overall name trends. Eight of the top twenty names show up in all the groups: every decade starting in the 1950s, the 1901-1950 group and even the Top 20 list from the 1800s. These are, in order of overall frequency:
Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight series has been one of the biggest influencers of baby name trends in recent times, propelling Bella, Edward, Cullen, Esme, and a host of other names up the charts. Here, nameberry intern DANIELLE MIKSZA, a Twilight fan, analyzes the Twilight baby names.
There’s been a vampire epidemic going on ever since Twilight hit theatres. Everywhere you look there’s Rob Pattinson’s face or Taylor Lautner’s abs, not that I’m complaining. But what’s even more interesting are the names author Stephenie Meyer chose for all the characters.
Although Bella is a klutzy, plain, and moody teenager, Stephenie Meyer chose a name for her heroine that means beautiful. Also, she gave her the elegant surname, Swan. It’s difficult to see why a powerful and handsome vampire like Edward would fall in love with a boring human when he’s surrounded by immortal beauties like Rosalie and Tanya. I guess aside from the floral scent of her blood, Edward sees something lovable in Bella that no one else sees.
The name Edward is suitable for Meyer’s other main character because it is an old-fashioned name that means “wealthy guardian.” Edward, Bella’s immortal love, is so protective of her that it becomes annoying. He sneaks into her room at night and once followed her all the way to the bookstore to make sure she was safe. He sees himself as a dark version of her guardian angel and tries to buy her lavish gifts like a new car. I guess being over a century old and never having to worry about buying groceries, he has a few bucks stocked away.
Bella’s mother, Renee, became fed up with her mundane life and left in search of a more exciting one. Renee left her husband, Charlie, and took off to Phoenix, where she married a young baseball player man named Phil. The name Renee fits the character’s personality because it has a young and spunky feel to it. Bella’s mother may have a few laugh lines here and there, but her spirit is anything but ancient.
Jacob Black is my all time favorite Twilight character. The only thing I wasn’t too fond of was his name: too good boy for a motorcycle rider whose sole purpose is to kill vampires. But after learning that the Jacob means “supplanter,” I once again applaud Stephenie Meyer for choosing an appropriate name. A supplanter is something that takes the place of something else, fitting for a human who changes into a wolf.
Guest blogger JILL BARNETT ponders the reinvented names that work magic on our lives….or do they?
I stood in front of the mirror backstage, proudly inspecting my makeup and blue and white gingham costume. Granted, I was in the midst of the most unfortunate awkward phase in the history of adolescence (my parents truly should have kept me indoors as a public service), but on that night, opening night of our middle school musical, The Wizard of Oz, I was too excited about my debut as Dorothy to notice that my skinny body and giant hair made me resemble a human Q-Tip. As I saw my gangly13-year-old reflection staring back at me, only one thing entered my mind: stardom!
I couldn’t deny that dress rehearsals hadn’t been pretty–the Stryofoam rainbow prop had a habit of crashing to the ground as I sang about troubles melting like lemon drops, and then there was that pesky issue of my ruby slippers shedding chunks of red glitter with every step I took, but in my mind, this elite middle school production of The Wizard of Oz (complete with an orchestra consisting of a pianist, a flatulent flautist, and a drummer who smelled like Velveeta cheese) was my launching pad to certain fame. Who cared that many of the Munchkins were taller than I was, that our Toto was missing in action, or that the stage crew had never gotten around to actually building a set? Not I! I was too busy daydreaming about seeing my name in lights.
WAIT! My name in lights? Jill Barnett in lights? I didn’t even like my given name for everyday use, and certainly had no desire to see it on the marquis of the Gershwin Theatre or to hear it read aloud upon the win of my first Tony Award. Nope, Jill Barnett simply wouldn’t do, and in my opinion, it had even less star quality than a name like Frances Ethel Gumm, who happened to be my favorite actress and singer.