Parker has a long history of occasional use as a given name. Originally an occupational surname for a gamekeeper or geographic name for someone who lived near parkland, he’s charted as a boys’ given name in the US most years since 1880. In 2009, he entered the US Top 100 at #96, and in 2011, Parker reached #79.
Just like Larkin was a medieval diminutive for Lawrence, Parkin was a pet form of Peter. And between Spider-man’s alter ego, Peter Parker, and 90s Fox sitcom Parker Lewis Can’t Loose, lots of parents probably view Parker in a positive light. There’s also Hardy Boys alum, actor Parker Stevenson, born Robert Stevenson Parker, Jr.
He’s a little bit preppy, a tiny bit Southern family surname: “Oh yes, my mother was one of the Providence Parkers” or “Great-great-grandfather Jebediah Parker first came to Atlanta after the War.” But he’s also in step with occupational surnames like Archer that seem so current right now, especially with that ends with r sound.
But what about Parker for a girl?
Indie darling Parker (Yes, it’s her birth name) Posey was named after supermodel Suzy Parker.Parker Posey
As Posey’s star has risen, so has Parker for girls. She first charted at #875 in 1999, and has made a steady ascent to #502 a decade later, and #366 in 2011.
Two small screen uses of Parker keep me thinking of this:
- In an ABC Family movie, Revenge of the Bridesmaids, Raven-Symoné played Abby and Joanna Garcia played Parker;
- On TNT’s Leverage, Beth Riesgraf plays talented cat-burglar Parker – though her background is mysterious, and it isn’t clear if that’s her first name or last. (And if Riesgraf sounds familiar, it is because she’s mom to the oh-so-famous Pilot Inspektor, with ex-husband Jason Lee.)
I know many readers feel strongly that boys’ names should never, ever be used for girls, but in an era when the musical Harper and Piper are popular picks for daughters, it is easy to imagine some parents digging Parker’s nature vibe and thinking she’d be pretty in pink.