Author Topic: "Stealing" a Baby Name  (Read 33860 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8505
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #90 on: April 18, 2014, 10:52:11 PM »
I wonder if this "stealing a name" is a relatively modern phenomenon?  From what I've read, "popular" names used to be used for a much larger percentage of the population--so you really might have 20 percent of people named Mary and John. Today I think there's more variation, and much more concern about giving the kid a name that's not too popular.

I think the large scale desire for a 'unique' name is a very modern phenomenon. If you look at baby naming in the US 100 years ago, the top five boys names took up 15% of the names. Add in family naming trends, and clustering inside particular ethnic/religious groups, and you'd get a lot of duplicates meeting each other.

daen

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 801
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #91 on: April 19, 2014, 09:52:15 AM »
I wonder if this "stealing a name" is a relatively modern phenomenon?  From what I've read, "popular" names used to be used for a much larger percentage of the population--so you really might have 20 percent of people named Mary and John. Today I think there's more variation, and much more concern about giving the kid a name that's not too popular.

I think the large scale desire for a 'unique' name is a very modern phenomenon. If you look at baby naming in the US 100 years ago, the top five boys names took up 15% of the names. Add in family naming trends, and clustering inside particular ethnic/religious groups, and you'd get a lot of duplicates meeting each other.

I may have mentioned this before, but among the conservative-religion types in my area, there are about a dozen "acceptable" first names for boys, and maybe a dozen and a half for girls. A few generations back, this was even more widespread.

Add in a long-standing tradition of having the firstborn son get the name of the father, and the nextborn(s) frequently being named after the grandfather(s), plus the small number of last names... now when someone mentions "Peter Peters" or "John Klassen," you need more identifying details. Nicknames and middle initials (usually from the father's first name, because middle names aren't given) are common and often necessary.


Allyson

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2018
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #92 on: April 19, 2014, 12:47:11 PM »
Today I think there's more variation, and much more concern about giving the kid a name that's not too popular.


SO has a cousin who recently had a baby boy, they wanted something not too popular, they unknowingly choose one that is turning into the top 5 for this year.

It's funny how often that happens! I have heard that happen to *so* many people, I wonder if a name somehow subconsciously enters the public consciousness and then starts spreading before people are aware ofit.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8505
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #93 on: April 20, 2014, 01:22:05 AM »

By the way, if you're interested in baby naming trends, check out this site

http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager

It's for the US only, but you can plot 130 years of popularity for various names, to trace trends.

There has to be some underlying logic behind how names change in popularity - most people don't stop and thing "Wow, everyone's naming their kid Nebuchadnezzar - I think I'll follow the trend!" And different types of names hit popularity at the same time - right now, old fashioned names are very popular for girls (Sophia, Emma, Charlotte, Isabelle etc). 20 years ago it was names of the Ashley/Brittany/Samantha/Amanda variety.


Redsoil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2087
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #94 on: April 20, 2014, 04:48:45 AM »
I think with name "trends", people may hear a name and think "Oh, I like that" and choose to name their child by it, unaware that the reason they may have heard it in the first place is because it's gaining in popularity (even though no-one in their circle may have that name or know of someone named such).
Look out... 
It's one of the Aussie Contingent!


Ceallach

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4780
    • This Is It
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #95 on: April 20, 2014, 05:09:52 AM »
I think with name "trends", people may hear a name and think "Oh, I like that" and choose to name their child by it, unaware that the reason they may have heard it in the first place is because it's gaining in popularity (even though no-one in their circle may have that name or know of someone named such).

I've long held this theory, having observed over the years people constantly picking a name and then complaining everybody else had the same idea!    When you think about it, most names we like simply due to familiarity.  After all, what really is the difference between the sound of Kelly vs. Kully?  Yet one is a common name, the other I just made up (although I assume somebody has it, somewhere, thanks to kre8tiv naming...).    We accept a name because we know it as a name.      So it's plausible that the more people who use a particular name, the more people who then hear it - even just in passing - and it sticks in their mind.   Then you also get all the people all using the same method e.g. all going "I don't want a common name - I know, I'll go with a popular name from 20 years ago instead!" and 1000 other people are thinking the same thing, so all of a sudden there is a resurgence in a classic name that has been dormant for years.    And of course the media inspiration... I've encountered 3 Arya's on playgrounds in the past 2 months alone! All appeared to be between 4-6 years of age.

I picked a girls name 5 years ago and have deliberately never told a soul, apart from DH.   It's not a common name at all, although I've noticed the odd one pop up - presumably inspired by the same source as I!  Will find out on Tuesday if I get to use it later this year!  Of course, perhaps there are 100s of other women holding the same name in reserve for a future daughter, and it will suddenly be hugely popular within a few years.  It's entirely possible!   
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


Carotte

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1143
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #96 on: April 20, 2014, 07:35:19 AM »

I picked a girls name 5 years ago and have deliberately never told a soul, apart from DH.   It's not a common name at all, although I've noticed the odd one pop up - presumably inspired by the same source as I!  Will find out on Tuesday if I get to use it later this year!  Of course, perhaps there are 100s of other women holding the same name in reserve for a future daughter, and it will suddenly be hugely popular within a few years.  It's entirely possible!

This winter while working in retail I filed away a lovely "new*" boy name (I was doing gift wrapping and we had tags for gifters to put the names), the recipient of the gift was around 3/5. By the time I get to use it (if I ever do) I'm afraid there will already be hundreds of little Thelio running around anyway. 

*Had never heard of it and there's only a handfull of comments/threads about this name in baby/mother/expecting/parenting forums. For now...

As for trends, it's multi faceted for the media inspiration, there's characters name, actors name, authors... If it's a character in a kid show/book it might gain popularity 20years after, when the kids grow up and become parents themself and remember the name fondly.

In France it started a good ten years ago and I think it's starting to dwindle, but there was a looooot of short/cute names ending in O for boys, Théo, Matéo, Léo, Enzo...
Lots of A for girls, Lou, Léa, Eva, Emma, Zoé...
So one probably brought the others, and in the case of Matéo it was probably a "I like Matthieu (Matthew) but I want something else", a google search later and you get Mathéo, Matéo, Mathis...

kherbert05

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10403
    • Trees downed in my yard by Ike and the clean up
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #97 on: April 20, 2014, 10:49:16 AM »
One theory I've heard for certain names skyrocketing in popularity is TV/Movies, especially ones that came out of left field. The example I read about was Gage as a first name becoming popular in the 2000s. It was number 147 for the 2000's but wasn't even in the top 200 in the 80's or 90's. It was linked to the popularity of the character John Gage on Emergency (he was usually called by his last name)
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

mrs_deb

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 905
  • I didn't expect THAT to happen!
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #98 on: April 20, 2014, 10:58:30 AM »
The only real "baby name stealing" story I ever heard was from a woman I knew on a forum.  She was pregnant with a girl and was telling all and sundry that they were going to name the baby something along the lines of Ehrynne.  (Not exactly that, but close enough.)  A normal name when pronounced, but with a totally funky spelling.

A pregnant woman she knew IRL had her baby girl first and named her...Ehrynne.

She was livid.  We heard about that for AGES.  Can't say I blame her, though.

(She ended up naming her baby Madysynne or something like that.)

baglady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4650
  • A big lass and a bonny lass and she loves her beer
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #99 on: April 20, 2014, 09:02:10 PM »
I think what happens sometimes is that TV, movies and literature will give a new "legitimacy" to a name that was previously out of style. If all the Bellas and Charlottes you've ever known are elderly ladies, it's hard to think of those names as suitable for a 21st-century little girl. But then along came the "Twilight" books and movies with a teenage Bella, and the TV show "Good Luck Charlie" with a baby Charlotte, and more people started thinking that those names weren't so "old lady" after all. (Not that there weren't babies being named Bella and Charlotte before they exploded in pop culture, but I think that's what contributed to their surge in popularity.)

The mother of one of the Rebeccas I mentioned upthread grew up in a home with no television. She was on bedrest with the pregnancy and got hooked on a soap opera -- this was her first long-term exposure to TV -- with a principal character named Rebecca. Almost 40 years later, she's not entirely sure whether she picked the name for her daughter because of the soap.
My photography is on Redbubble! Come see: http://www.redbubble.com/people/baglady

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4464
    • My blog!
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #100 on: April 20, 2014, 10:16:41 PM »
There are also, according to the Baby Name Wizard, cycles.  Names of your mother's generation (for me, Linda, Sue, Debby, Barbara) all sound like your mother-in-law's name, and they make you think of a 50-year-old woman.  Names of your grandmother's generation (for me, Mary, Betty, Dorothy, Shirley) all sound like old lady names.

But you probably never knew your great-grandmother, or at least very little, and not many other people of your great-grandmother's generation.  You may have heard stories about her, and stories from when she was a little girl.  You may romanticize her generation, and earlier than that.  So the names of that generation and earlier (for me, Ruth, Virginia, Elizabeth, Evelyn) don't have as much baggage to them.

Of course, there are names that we like and names that we don't like from those generations, because there are other trends that drive us.  For instance, there's a current trend towards boys' names ending in -n.  Just like Carotte said that in France there's a trend towards boys' names ending in -o.

Girls' names with two syllables (or sometimes three) ending with -a are really popular right now.  Ava, Sophia, Olivia, etc.  Soft letters like s, ph, l, and v.  Lots of k's and m's, too.  But not as many d's, and generally flowing names.  So some women may be choosing old-fashioned, uncommon names, and then finding that Julia, or Sylvia, turns out to have three others of her name in her preschool class, because the other women are of the same generation and they are all being affected by language the same way such that they are also looking for those soft consonants and flowing names with the -a ending.

Dream

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #101 on: April 22, 2014, 11:20:44 AM »
How dare you steal my baby name?! *grins* Charlotte is my eldest and what excellent taste in names the OP has  ;)

A slightly off topic baby name stealing story. My sister is horrendous, we are fairly sure that she is in narcissist territory but never the less, she is a very 'difficult' person to deal with. Middle brother had a new woman in his life and they found that she was pregnant very early on in that relationship. Trying to bond with sister, SIL decides to privately tell her what they have decided to call the baby. A pretty name, not overly common but hardly rare. The big deal was that this was supposed to be a shared moment between them in order to cement that relationship.

Sister promptly brought home a cat and called it the name that SIL had chosen. Then told everyone that no such conversation took place, she simply didn't remember being told the name... Lesson learnt for SIL.

No you can't 'steal' a name but sometimes people do these things to cause hurt or gain attention.

baglady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4650
  • A big lass and a bonny lass and she loves her beer
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #102 on: April 24, 2014, 07:06:38 PM »
There are also, according to the Baby Name Wizard, cycles.  Names of your mother's generation (for me, Linda, Sue, Debby, Barbara) all sound like your mother-in-law's name, and they make you think of a 50-year-old woman.  Names of your grandmother's generation (for me, Mary, Betty, Dorothy, Shirley) all sound like old lady names.

But you probably never knew your great-grandmother, or at least very little, and not many other people of your great-grandmother's generation.  You may have heard stories about her, and stories from when she was a little girl.  You may romanticize her generation, and earlier than that.  So the names of that generation and earlier (for me, Ruth, Virginia, Elizabeth, Evelyn) don't have as much baggage to them.

Of course, there are names that we like and names that we don't like from those generations, because there are other trends that drive us.

I'm with you on that. My theory is that the cycle is about 100 years long, and I'm still wondering why "Lillian" never made a comeback. It was huge in the 1890s, and it's a beautiful name. I think when an "old lady" name becomes super-popular, it's because a few people started using it to honor an ancestor, or because they read it in a book/heard it in a movie ... then other people started seeing it as an option.

There was an ehellion a while back who was looking for a name for her daughter that wouldn't be too trendy for her generation. I advised her to consider names from the 1920s and '30s -- Dorothy, Shirley, Marilyn, Janice -- because if they do come back into fashion, it won't be for another 10 or 20 years. Her daughter might share her name with some of her peers' children when she grows up, but she won't be one of several Dorothys or Marilyns in her class.

When I was in my early 40s I worked with a Linda in her late 20s. She used to complain about having an "old lady" name. I told her, "That's not an old lady name; it's my sister's name."

She: "How old is your sister?"
Me: "Fifty-three."
She: "That's old!"

My photography is on Redbubble! Come see: http://www.redbubble.com/people/baglady

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30829
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #103 on: April 24, 2014, 08:28:44 PM »
Actually, according to the Name Voyager at BabyNameWizard.com, Lillian *is* making a comeback. It dropped a lot in the 1920s to almost nothing in the 1950 and 1970s. In 1990s it started rising, and it's still on an upward trend.

I wonder if Gertrude will *ever* come back. Or Mabel. They are *nowhere*.

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4464
    • My blog!
Re: "Stealing" a Baby Name
« Reply #104 on: April 24, 2014, 11:21:47 PM »
I know quite a number of Lily/Lillys!  I have no idea whether they are short for Lillian or not.  So the name is at least making a comeback in that form!

Your advice about the 1920s/1930s name is interesting.  One side effect might be that, when the names do come into fashion 10/20 years after the child is born, her name will sound "young."  Think of a 60-year-old woman named Jennifer, for example.  It certainly happens, but we associate Jennifer with the 70s and early 80s, so when we hear "Jennifer," we think of a 30-something or 40-year-old.  So it might make her sound youthful.  :)  The trick would be picking the right name, though.  Some names from a time period come back and some don't.  Some names *sound* like they came from a time period, but they weren't actually as common as we think then (think "Ava" and "Sophia.")