Category: 1980s baby names

What were your dolls’ names?

Did you call your Barbie Barbie?

Use the name on the birth certificate that came with your Cabbage Patch doll?

Maybe you had a Samantha or a Felicity doll from the American Girls collection.

Or maybe you renamed your dolls, or had more generic models for which you picked creative new names.

Or perhaps you didn’t play with dolls at all, but named your beanie babies, pet mice, or Playskool people?

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Baby Names: Once so hot, now so not

The history of baby names is littered with former stars that burned brightly for a decade or two, only to fade from view.

It’s hard to believe, from this vantage point, that Gladys or Edna ever made the Top 20, that names such as Harold or Larry were ever popular enough to dominate an entire decade.

It’s difficult to see Irene and Albert as the Isabella and Alexander of their day, to view Tammy or Tiffany as the height of cool.

Many of these once-hot names are lovely, even classic.  They’re just not as stylish as they once were (although some, especially from the earlier decades, are on their way back in).

We looked at the Top 25 baby names for each decade of the 20th century to pick out choices that were hot back them, and are not today.  Included here are Old People Names like Bertha and Clarence, Baby Boomer names such as Karen and Gary, today’s mom and dad names such as Jennifer and Jason, and names like Taylor and Tyler that are beginning to be heard much more often on babysitters than on babies.

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Mom Names

There’s a new generation of mom names, not the midcentury Kathys and Sues that are fast becoming grandma names, but the names of young moms today, born for the most part in the 70s and 80s, their names acquiring a more grownup image as they’ve grown up themselves.

This blog was inspired by the discussion of mom names over on the forums.  On that board, berries are discussing their own moms’ names plus the names of moms they know who have young children.

Of course, not every name of a twenty-or-thirty-something mother qualifies as a mom name.  What does?

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TV Names: Happy Soap Opera Day!

Today is officially Soap Opera Day (woo hoo!) and though this isn’t as big of a deal in the baby name world as it once was, with a lot fewer sudsers on TV than there were when soap operas were the main staple of daytime programming, we have to acknowledge the influence that they did have in the past—just as powerful as reality show show TV names do today.

This is true both in terms of trends (as in sometimes condescendingly considered “soap opera names” on the order of Thorne and Trent, Blade and Brent, and also place names like Sierra and Egypt, boys’ names for girls) and individual names—the classic example of which is Kayla.  It’s highly doubtful that there would have been 16,000 baby girls named Kayla in 1996 if popular good girl Kayla Brady hadn’t appeared on Days of Our Lives a decade earlier.  And the same goes for all those Ashleys too.

What follows is a list of soap opera names across three decades that did have some influence—though it sometimes took as long as a decade or two to make an impact (and of course there could be other factors involved)—followed by the year in which they were at the peak of their popularity.

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This week for her Nameberry 9, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel looks back at 1980’s baby names and finds that the glam rock stars of that era are still having an impact on naming today.

Conventional wisdom says that parents are willing to take risks with their daughters’ names, but turn conservative as soon as they hear the words “It’s a boy!”

There’s some truth to that, and yet I know more and  more little fellows with daring names.  The US Top 100 bears this out, too, from Noah to Jayden to Chase, all names that sound mainstream today, but violate some of the traditional norms of naming boys.

I think I might have landed on one of the reasons this week: 80s glam metal.

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