If you follow all things baby names, you probably heard that investment bank Goldman Sachs has weighed in on baby naming trends, circa 2015.
I haven’t managed to get my mitts on the original report. From what I’ve gleaned, the bank takes the position that names are a stand-in for brands. Millennial parents’ tendency to choose less common names indicates their interest in smaller brands. (Corporate America, proceed accordingly.)
There’s a tendency to twist this kind of information into a criticism of parents today. We think our kids are soooo special. No, an ordinary name like Mary won’t do, she has be to Starr Flower. No every Joe name like John for my future rocket scientist/pro athlete/corporate titan.
But that’s a dark and ugly read on the data. I prefer to see it this way: we are fortunate in our freedom, and the encouragement to be creative and true to ourselves. With tremendous access to information, why would we limit ourselves to the possibilities of an earlier age?
In short, there’s no such thing as a normal name, and there are lots of good reasons why the pool of possible names is deepening.
Now, on to the name news:
- How great are the names of these Zoya nail polish colors? Brenna, Tomoko, Laney, Juanita, Godiva PixieDust.
- Shonda Rhimes, known for creating great television and naming great characters, has a new series coming up starring Mireille Enos as Alice. It’s called The Catch. Other character names according to IMDb: Kieran, Maria, and Dhalia. Wonder if that’s a typo and it’s really meant to be Dahlia? Hmmm …
- I tend to agree with Dear Ellie on this baby name dilemma. (It’s the second Q in the column.) It’s really frustrating to have a name that you love, and to have your brother and sister-in-law decide to use exactly that name when you’ve asked them not to do so. But I have a hard time with the concept of reserving names. And, of course, I really want to know which name they’re quarreling about!
- Random name-related picture, courtesy of a gathering at our neighbors’ house: Lovely Saint Winefride, better known as Winifred. The saint has a grisly story, dating to the seventh century. When she told her suitor she was taking religious vows, he decapitated her. So much for true love! But Winifred lived, and served as abbess of her order. Which reminds me: I’m intrigued by Kate’s question about name stories, especially as regards saints’ names. Is a name’s story ever so gruesome that you can’t use it?
- A frequent criticism in baby name circles: tinkering with the spelling of a popular name doesn’t make it “different.” But is that what happens? Or are parents attracted to an alternate spelling without being aware of the dominant spelling? This story, of choosing the name Averie for a daughter, suggests that it’s the latter – at least some of the time.
- They’ve named boy #13! He’s Francisco Matthew.
- Oh my goodness, it’s back! LOVE the Share-a-Coke bottles that come out in the summer.
- Did you see the What Would Your Name Be Today? app at Time? It’s a pretty simple trick. If you were born in 1973 and named Jennifer, the app tells you the #1 name for other decades: Emma, Mary, Jessica, Emily. Abby generates more interesting results. My 1920s name is Maida, and my 1910s name is Borghild!
- Speaking of What Would Your Name Be Today, I love stories like this one at Modern Mrs. Darcy. She’s Anne, and her 1910 name would’ve been Adele – a name close to one on her family tree, that they considered for their daughters.
- Namespotting: Millicent, in an upscale New Jersey ‘burb of NYC.
- More unusual names, this time in Washington State via Names for Real. Chancellor, Haze, Delphia, Maycrystal, Silver, Benz.
- Thomasina and Clemency? Ooh, I love the birth announcements at British Baby Names.
- This isn’t new, but it’s new to me: Bohemian-Hippie-Indie-Artsy-Surfer baby names.
That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!