Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Thinking more about baby names, I think my mother was less bothered by not knowing if the baby is a boy or a girl than she was by my not wanting to bounce around names. We're thinking mostly classic names (sorry, J---, we're going to pass on the fine gender-neutral name you suggested, "Blort"), some of which have family connections (or at least I can find a distant relation who had part of that name in some cases), but I think I want to wait until the baby is here to tell people the name.
Part of that is because of something I read in Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana: What To Name Your Baby Now about if people know the name and sex of the baby, then there's they might get preconceived notions about the baby before he or she is born. Now it's fine for Evelin and I to have preconceived notions (which is an odd phase since we're so post-conception at this point), but not for everyone else. Or something like that.
Thinking of baby names, auFeminin.com has a big database of French baby names, including tools to see how the popularity of a name has fared from 1900 to 2002. It's all in French, but pretty easy to figure out.
One cool tool is the "Trouver votre prénom" (find your first name) engine: Just decide if you want a girl's (féminin), boy's (masculin) or gender-neutral (mixte) name; then pick the length (longueur), originality (originalité) -- chose among fashionable (à la mode), rising (en hausse), declining (précurseur), rare (rare), or classic (classique) -- and compound or not (composé); then select a first letter or group of letters (commence par) and an ending (fini par); and voilà! It spits out some choices.
The site also has top 10 per year lists (Top 10 par année) and random name generator (un prénom au hasard).
Back in the States, the Social Security Administration has released the baby name data for 2003. Jacob, Michael, and Joshua are the top three boy names; Emily, Emma, and Madison were the top three girls. The 53rd top name for girls was Trinity, but what makes it scary is how quickly the name has risen since The Matrix was released in 1999, climbing from 951st place in 1993 to 216th in 1999 to 74th in 2000 and now up to 53rd. (Thanks to Miss Bumptious for pointing that out.)
Back in Europe, the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) has lists of the top forenames in Scotland for the past couple of years, and National Statistics Online has similar and related baby name data for England and Wales.
In Sweden, Statistiska centralbyrån (SBC) has the top names and trend information for the past few years (and the site navigation is in English). Thinking back to the rise of Trinity in the U.S., One of the new names on the boy's name list for 2003 is Neo (entering at 98th place). (A quick check of the U.S. lists shows no instances of Neo between 1990 and 2003; Trinity, so popular in the States, is not on the Swedish girl's name list.)
Next door in Norway, Statistisk sentralbyrå has (again in English) a tool to see how common a name is in Norway. Cooler are the historical charts, which graph the popularity of names from 1880 to 2003. Who knew Øyvind was such a popular boy's name in the early 1980s?
© 2003–2010 T. Carter Ross