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What’s in a name these days

POSTED: January 22, 2014 3:01 p.m.
 

When I was growing up, common girl’s names in my age group included Julie, Kelly, Nancy and Susan. For boys, the names were Billy, Jeff, Mark and Mike.

Many people seem to lean toward choosing names for their children that sound like last names, as well as names that would work for either gender.

We named our fourth child my maiden name. I like my maiden name, and it’s a fine first name for a boy. Besides, by the time you have four children, you’ve pretty much run out of ideas and begin looking seriously at family names.

My mom did that. In fact, she named me her name backwards. Yes, her name is Nelda.

People usually are surprised to learn that. I think it was creative. I also think she was probably exhausted after having three boys before me.

While it’s true that many people do name their children after grandmothers or grandfathers, some of us have relatives with names we aren’t sure are modern enough.

One of my grandmothers was named Hazel. For me, that name always conjures up thoughts of a sweet, silver-haired woman.

Not everybody thinks of a grandmother when they hear the name Hazel. Actress Julia Roberts named one of her twins Hazel.

Of course, you can’t rely on the Hollywood crowd when it comes to naming a baby. Even if you don’t “keep up with the Kardashians,” you probably heard that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their daughter North.

I thought it was a joke at first. Of course, a lot of celebrities name their children unusual (being nice here) names. Jermaine Jackson (Michael’s brother) named his son Jermagesty. There’s a child who could be a little bossy.

Sting named his daughter Fuchsia Katherine. She’s become an actress who goes by the name Kate. Maybe she doesn’t like the color Fuchsia.

Actor Jonathan Ross and partner Jane Goldman named their daughter Betty, which seemed really normal. Then I saw that her middle name is Kitten. Hmmm.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver named his son Buddy Bear. That name could present some problems in certain professions.

For example, it could be difficult to take Attorney Buddy Bear or Doctor Buddy Bear seriously.

On the other hand, perhaps the name would be endearing for a politician. Maybe Senator Buddy Bear would be a good change from who we currently have on Capitol Hill.

Another famous actress, Gwyneth Paltrow, named her daughter Apple. Please don’t get me wrong, I happen to love apples. And it’s a safe bet that the environment where the Paltrow baby is growing up, nobody will  poke fun of her name — at least not to her face.

An added benefit to being named Apple is that she will not need to change her name to something exotic if she decides to go into the family business. If she chooses to work in the “real” world, maybe her name will help her get her foot in the door at the company with her name.

I decided to do some research into baby names, and predicted that names from the “old days” would be different from what people name their children today.

For girls, there was a trend away from names such as Ruth, which was the No. 1 girl name in 1880, to names such as Emma, which was tops in 2013.

The other top 10 girl names are Ameila, Ava, Charlotte, Ella, Emily, Isabella, Mia, Olivia and Sophia.

The trend for boy names also has changed over the last few decades.

Michael used to consistently be the top name for boys, or at least in the top 10.

Now that list includes Aidan, Ethan, Jacob, Jack, Jackson, Liam, Logan, Lucas, Mason and Noah.

I love all of the new, trendy baby names. I think celebrities should take the lists and pay more attention to them. I have a feeling some of their children may thank them.

 

Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at contact@adlenrobinson.

 

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