What's in a name? Mostly it's Jacob and EmilySince everyone born in the United States must have a Social Security number, the department keeps tab on how frequently names appear.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Since everyone born in the United States must have a Social Security number, the department keeps tab on how frequently names appear.
For example, since 1996, Emily has had the top spot for girls and Jacob has topped the boys names since 1999.
Behind Emily are Isabella, Emma, Ava, Madison, Abigail, Hannah, Elizabeth and Sophia.
Behind Jacob are Michael, Ethan, Joshua, Daniel, Christopher, Anthony, William, Matthew and Andrew.
For the entire list of names up to 1,000, go to: www.socialsecurity.gov. You can also get name frequency back to 1880.
You will note that all top 20 names are spelled correctly in that if you meet one Hannah, you could assume all “Hannahs” have the same standardized spelling. That’s not a useful assumption.
In my mind, parents who name their children using standard forms of their names such as Jacob and Emily are doing their children a huge favor that will serve them well throughout their lives. Most people will assume standard spelling and get their names written down and pronounced correctly.
It takes away gaffes on gift tags and invitations. If you spell a person’s first name incorrectly, Jacobe or Emilly will assume you didn’t care enough to get it right.
Fortunately for me, many students in School District 833 get the idea when I am taking pictures in their classrooms. I simply announce that I am not a good speller. They automatically spell their names for me.
Students in primary grades wait for me to write down a letter before going on to the next one. I always thank them for helping me.
When I was in elementary school, shortly after the Spanish-American War, I had a friend whose parents were delighted with her arrival and wanted to celebrate that with her name. “Merry” was born on Christmas but has spent the rest of her life spelling her name for everyone who needs to write it down, followed by an explanation of how she got it.
My worst nightmares occur when I encounter some names. Even though I asked for the spellings and wrote them down, I still wonder if I got them right.
If I had three wishes, one of them would be to have standardized spellings for Makayla, which is sometimes Mikaela or Mikayla or something else.
Allyssa, Kaitlyn and Sean are also nightmares waiting to happen.
Sean is the Irish spelling. When transferred to American spelling, Shawn, Schawn or Shaun can result.
If you are about to have a child, think about how you intend to spell their name. Please!
Karen is straightforward. Do not be tempted to change that to Kayren, Karin or Carin, and do not give it a weird pronunciation such as “Car-in.” She will not only have to spell it for others, she will have to pronounce it as well.
Among my worst name encounters was a spelling of what should have been “Amy.” It was spelled “Aye-mee.”
Every hospital should have a “name monitor.” Women with large amounts of estrogen in their system make suspect decisions. With respect for their opinions, name monitors can suggest standardized name spellings.
My mantra is: “Bad spellers of the world, untie.”
Judy Spooner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.