Category: Guest Bloggers

By Josh Murray

We live in a world that is more connected than ever. World events influence politics, politics influences art, art influences culture, and it all influences the names we give our children.

In the twenty-first century, celebrities and other pop culture icons have played a large role in the naming landscape. For instance, in the last several years we’ve seen the meteoric rise of such names as Hendrix, Lennon and Presley, as parents look back to their musical favorites for naming inspiration. Pop culture influences can even be seen in the newly revealed 2017 Top 10. Logan had been a popular boys’ name in recent years, but it was in clear decline. That all changed with the 2017 release of the X-Men film titled Logan, catapulting the name to Number 5, the highest it has ever charted in the United States. So when baby names and the entertainment industry intersect, anything can happen.

Below are twelve names outside the US Top 1000 that have direct ties to popular culture:

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By Kelli Brady

After seeing the SSA’s 2017 Popular Baby Names list, did you wonder why you aren’t hearing the #1 name as much as a name further down on the list? Do you hear a lot more “Sophia!” on the playground than “Emma!”? One way to try to explain this is the annual Playground Analysis. When you hear a name on the playground, you do not know how it is spelled and since the SSA list is done solely by spelling, it does not give a completely accurate account of name popularity. The Playground Analysis combines the different spellings of names to reveal the true Top 50 names of 2017!

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A Middle Name to Grow Into

name Sojourner

by Eva Sojourner Dunsky

On the playground, I remember my friends and I trying to guess each other’s middle names.  It didn’t take long to arrive at the Elizabeths and Maries, the Annes and the Lynns. But no one ever guessed mine.

“It starts with an ‘S’,” I conceded.  My friends scrunched up their faces, thinking hard.

“…Susan?”

Not quite.

My parents named me ‘Eva Sojourner’, a name which used to embarrass me, as the Sojourner we learned about in school was a famous African-American abolitionist and I am none of those things.  ‘Sojourner’ literally means ‘one who travels,’ and they wanted me to live an adventurous and full life — you know, get out and see the sights. This makes sense to me now.

It didn’t back then. Amongst my friends, it became a running joke that my middle name was something too weird to be uttered out loud.  

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By Kelli Brady

The 2016 SSA list of top baby names says that Noah and Emma are the number one names in the country. However, in your daily life, haven’t you heard more parents yelling out for Jackson or Sophia? To help explain this, the 2016 Playground Analysis is an annual look at the truly more popular names as determined by combining the different spellings of each name. Because on the playground, you may hear a name but not know how it is spelled, and since the SSA list only lists the names as they are given, we need to add up the numbers for each spelling of the names to show where names really rank!

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By Kristian Wilson

With a spot atop Amazon’s bestseller list and Hulu’s faithful adaptation of the novel recently hitting the small screen, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale is all anyone can talk about in 2017, so now is the perfect time to think about all the great baby names we can glean from this speculative-fiction masterpiece. Check out the literary baby names from The Handmaid’s Tale I’ve selected for you below.

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