Ada: Out before it’s in???

Blame Ava.  Stylish but obscure when Reese Witherspoon picked it for her daughter less than a decade ago, it’s rocketed up the popularity list, with sound-alike Eva following close behind.  It’s become so popular, in fact, that our brand-new version of our original baby name style guide Beyond Jennifer & Jason, slated to come out next spring, will be titled Beyond Ava & Aiden.

Parents enchanted with Ava but looking for a fresh twist have discovered Ada.  If you check out the popularity chart on Ada’s name page, you’ll see that a very sleepy name is now heading straight upward.

But Ada is still only number 646 on the Social Security list, with just 452 baby girls in all of the United States getting the name in 2007 — an average of nine girls per state.  Hardly the kind of name where you risk running into another little Ada in every nursery school class.

And yet Ada is heading nowhere but up, and there’s every chance that over the next decade it will join Ava on the Top Ten.  Ava itself was, after all, in the 600s ten years ago, and has risen all the way to number 4. Eva is number 117, with Ava and Eva together given to more babies in 2007 than the number 1 Emily.

Names often follow each other up the popularity list, with a more unusual version of a name chasing the more popular one….and sometimes catching up.  Such is the case with Emma, now number 3 to Emily‘s number one.  Or Addison, at number 11 closing in on number 5 Madison.  There are boys’ examples too: Christian and Christopher; Jack and Jackson.

Ada‘s rise will also be, well, aided by its similarity to the popular Jada, and by worthy Ada namesake Ada Lovelace, only daughter of Lord Byron widely acknowledged to be the first “computer programmer,” albeit on a nineteenth century model.  And all names that start with A seem to be trending upward.

The lesson: If you choose Ada now, all your friends may admire your originality and daring.  But in five years, you’ll be working hard to convince everyone that you thought of it first.

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.