Sunday Summary: 11.25.18Happy Sunday!

Does your name fit your generation? I’ve met Amys and Jennifers born well before the 1970s peak, and Susans and Allisons who are much younger than you’d guess. And, of course, I’m three decades older than the average Abby – but I named myself, so there’s that.

My theory is that we’re happiest with our names when they’re ahead of the curve; that is, when they’re more popular in the years after we’re born. Because when that happens, it means that our names strike others as fresh and new. We’ll be the only Everly in our high school class. But, because lots of people have nieces and neighbors and friends-of-friends who name their daughters Everly in the years that follow, it sounds like a normal name – at least by the time we’re old enough to be aware of such artificial distinctions.

But if you’re a Madison born today, the opposite is true. It’s a well-used name, the kind that no one is surprised to hear. Your babysitter and soccer coach might share the name. It doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it, of course. But it might seem too ordinary, at least to some girls.

And if you’re a Brittany born today? That might be even tougher, because that name is falling fast.

The same goes for revival names. Better to be a Louisa than a Barbara, at least if you’re born in 2018. Though I tend to think that classic names feel more trend-resistant.

Does this feel right to you? Would it apply for your name?

Elsewhere online:

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

Boy Names 11.24.18 Girl Names 11.24.18

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I think Australia (or at least the pockets of it I’m familiar with) has quite a different name cycle from the US. Most of the Jennifers and all of the Heathers I know, for instance, were born in the 50s. Kylie here feels a bit like I imagine Jennifer to be in the US: a 60s/70s name that had had some visibility since early in the 20th century, but I’d be a bit surprised to meet one under 30.

    I’m a bit of a medievalist nerd, and one of my favourite things is finding information that complicates the usual narrative about the medieval period – I really enjoy browsing the DMNES and finding out that people were naming their kids April and Diamond (well, Diamante) and Frost and Countess and Justice, as well as Theodora and Winifred and Absalom or Wulfhelm and Ratberga and Ansgar.

  2. I was a Virginia in a high school full of Jennifers, Lindsays, and Danielles. The school I went to for grades K-4 had a lot of kids who were children of immigrants (like myself) and those girls had names that were more like my own, which made me feel more like I belonged there. For the longest time I thought girls with names like “Jennifer Jones” or “Lindsay Taylor” only existed on TV!

    1. Virginia, I love your story! My husband is Arthur, also the child of immigrants. He has a friend named Teresa, with a sister Alice – also daughters of immigrants, but from a completely other part of the world. I always enjoyed hearing them talk about their parents’ efforts to choose “American” names – it’s really harder than it looks.

      FWIW, I would have loved to have been a Lindsay Taylor, too – but it was my really unusual surname that stood out. I am blissfully happy as Abby Sandel.