Category: popular baby names
When people ask me what letter I would use if I had to name ten children with the same letter, my answer is S. But I also clarify that it is S and not Sh! To me, since they are different sounds they are different “letters” with which to begin a name. As my mind ran with this thought, I wondered how have the two sounds differed in terms of popularity?
To do this research, I used the S and Sh names with percentage of use above 0.01% since 1938*. This cutoff was chosen because the Top 1000 in 2012 include names with a percentage higher than 0.0131% for girls. Because the S and Sh sounds are not exclusive to the letters S and Sh, I also added the names that begin with the letters C and Ch that have the S and Sh sounds. This can be subjective as some of the names can be pronounced with either the S/Sh sound or the hard C/Ch sound, but I went with what I thought would be the mostly likely sound heard.
Many parents are looking for baby names that are not too popular but not too unusual, not too trendy but also not too weird.
In search of names that strike this golden mean, we looked through the middle of the U.S. popularity lists, from Number 400 through 700 for both girls and boys.
What we found there was a trove of great names that are neither too hot nor too cold.
Here, our picks of the best names from the middle of the pack, with their 2012 standing included.
While such monikers as Handy, Spurgeon, Icy, and Toy, culled from the bottom of the Top 1000, are indeed laugh-inducing, it may be even more remarkable to consider the baby names that were equally unpopular back then that went on to win widespread favor.
A quick Google search will render more than 11 million results for the name Jennifer Kim, while White Pages will say there are more than 600 of us in the United States. Personally, I think there are more.
There is a Jennifer Kim who is a journalist and writer (not me) and another Jennifer Kim who is an actress (also not me). One of my best friends from childhood is also, coincidentally, named Jennifer Kim. We never really ran into problems, except for that one minor grade swap in 9th grade geometry, but really, who remembers such trivial things?
During high school, I knew four Jennifer Kims, not including myself. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of plain old Jennifers I knew. Not surprising considering Jennifer was the most popular girl’s name from 1970 to 1984.
At UCLA, I realized that I could reinvent myself–or someone else could. One day, my college sweetheart called me ‘Jen,’ and suddenly, the whole world followed. At last, I became the unique special butterfly: Jen Kim. Until that is, I met a dozen other Jens and a handful of Jen Kims who were all similarly trying to shed their common names for cooler nicknames.
Many of us at Nameberry automatically dislike names that are “too popular.”
But look more closely at the most popular names and you’ll find lots of wonderful names that deserve their widespread use. Names that have stood the test of time, that have intrinsically pleasing sounds, that are associated with heroic characters.
So let’s this once set aside our name snobbery and own up to names we love from the Top 100 most popular names.
I love the name Sophia, for instance, and would proudly give it to a daughter or wear it myself.
For boys, there are even more popular names that I love. In fact, my own two sons’ names, Joseph and Owen, are both in the Top 100. And I also adore Elijah, Caleb, Henry, Nathaniel, Isaiah, Isaac, Thomas….almost too many to mention.