What is with baby names these days?

As parents, you spend so much time considering the name(s) of your children. You want the name to be something that inspires confidence, happiness, respect, and more. It has to sound good with your last name, endure as a good business name for the future, and not upset any family members. We agonized over what to name our child, ultimately settling on Melody. We considered family names, but with 14 cousins on Dad’s side there weren’t a lot of family names that hadn’t been taken and Borghild was definitely out. Then we looked on my side, and well, we pretty much have a monopoly on names like Harriet, Henrietta, and Mary. Plus, I have five cousins who have children, so a lot of the family names were taken here as well.

While joking about the crazy ways people spell names these days, we came up with KeLliE, Kassan’dra, and then Mel o’Dee. Melody. Yes, suddenly the quest was over and we selected Melody, not a family name, not an unusual name, but an uncommon name. Of course, there are lots of parents who come up with trendy or unusual names for their children, like ESPN (pronounced Espen) and Talulah, and that doesn’t even consider American “ethnic” names. Unusual names can be difficult to grow up with these days.

But, if you thought some of these trendy names were the original made-up sounding names that make you shake your head in confusion, let me just give you a sampling of names from my family tree, which goes back hundreds of years, but the greatest offenders are the Puritans.

On the male list, we’ve got Ebenezer and Elisha at least ten times; Ichabod, Barzillai and Bethul; Darius, Zeno, and Zophar; Balthazar, Elihu, Jabez and even Gustav, which suddenly sounds pretty normal; Ozias, Obed, Asahel, and oh my god, Nutter; rounding this out we have Pownall, Lyman, Elphias, Arashur and Azariah.

Two long lost relatives whose gender has been lost to the ages are named Freegift and Freeman.

Female names are equally unusual: Huldah, Love, and Experience; Hepzibah, Tamar, and Submit; Charity and Mercy are so common sounding now, next to Zerviah, Desire, Wealthy and Mehitable. We have a Hopestill, and we even have a Jemima.

Hmm, Dakota, Cullen and Piper are all sounding pretty usual, aren’t they?



5 thoughts on “What is with baby names these days?

  1. We really put in the time selecting our two kids’ names, too — but I have a cautionary tale within my family. My Berkeley cousin named her daughter a hippy name, and the child hated it. HATED it. Changed it to Kim in middle school. She accepts it now and has gone by her true name all throughout adulthood, but why stick a child with an abomination just to be trendy or (worse) glaringly unique? Nice choice of Melody! : )

  2. As a teacher, I’ve met a few kids who might have wished their parents were Puritans. I’ve taught numerous kids named Precious, Perfect, and even a few Princesses. My favorite royalty was Yourmajesty (all one word). None of these children ever lived up to his or her name. I did, however, have a kid named Island Styles who fit his name pretty well. Yes, my class roster has included names like Feather, Apple, Cherry, Leaf, and Lawn. I’ve taught Gypsy and Female (who fortunately was female). I guess it just goes to show you that every generation has it’s hits and misses when it comes to choosing names for our children.

  3. With Robin my husband really wanted his “JR” so I threw in the towel arguing with that. But with Raymond I took alot of time to think about it. We bounced around alot of different names but nothing seemed to fit. Then I thought of my Grandpa who I was extremely close to and thought Raymond would be perfect. And it is. =)

  4. The worst part about some names is wrapping your toung around them. What’s wrong with Nancy or Bill? Although, Wendy was a made up name for Peter Pan.

  5. Yes, choosing a name is a large responsibility to the kid. It can affect them for a lifetime if it turns out to be something awful – and no one but the parents like the name. After lots of consideration and lots of names, I think we did a pretty good job (RIGHT!!??)

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