Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Spelling overlooked in unique name gameBefore you name your child Aimee, I’d like a chance to talk you out of it.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Whenever a child is about to be born, everyone plays the Name Game. There are dozens of books and websites to help families make the decision, one that will be carried by the child throughout life.
In the past 20 years, I’ve noticed a trend of parents giving their children “unique” names, something that will set their child apart from other children. Usually, it’s the spelling that makes it unique, and also causes the child to have to spell it to people.
Before you name your child Aimee, I’d like a chance to talk you out of it. It will be misspelled more often than it’s spelled correctly on name tags, team rosters and invitations. Please, don’t do it.
Unique is in the eye of the beholder, however. In 1930, Dorothy, Betty and Helen were among the most popular girls’ names, according to the Social Security Administration that keeps track of names.
In 1920, Mildred and Virginia were popular. Certainly, a baby girl named Mildred in 2012 would be unique.
Boys’ names, however, haven’t changed much since 1910 until recent years.
In 1950, top boys’ names included James, Robert, John, Michael, David and William.
In 1930, there was Robert, James, John, William, Richard and Charles.
The same names were there in 1910 and 1920 with the exception of George, Frank and Edward.
Linda, Mary, Patricia, Barbara, Susan and Nancy were the most frequent girls names in 1950, none of which are on the 2010 list (SSA hasn’t compiled the 2011 list yet), which has Isabelle, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Madison, Chloe and Mia as the most popular girls’ names.
Last year, according to a baby name website, the top boys’ name was Aiden, followed by Mason, because that’s the name of Kim Kardashian’s son.
“She named her kid after a jar?” mused daughter Margie.
Anderson and Cooper were on the list after the CNN reporter. Some parents chose Cooper and others picked Anderson.
Margie said having first names for both one’s first and last names causes a problem when people fill out forms and are given instructions to “put your last name first and first name last.”
Also in 2011, according to the same site, superhero and cartoon names were popular with monikers such as Peter, Parker and Flash making the list. Sponge Bob isn’t on the list so some sanity apparently entered into naming decisions.
Names from the ‘70s have also returned as remnants of the peace movement that opposed the Vietnam War and urged rejection of “the establishment.” River, Forest and Charity were among the names parents liked. Margie added that “Forest” is also the last name of Nathan Bedford Forest, a confederate general who helped found the Ku Klux Klan.
Margie and I brainstormed a list of names that, although unique, are unlikely to be popular with this year’s new parents. The list includes Lloyd, Owen, Ethel, Arnold, Adolf, Boris, Igor, Leticia, Adlai, Sheldon and Howard.
My first name, Judith, was sixth on the list of most popular girl’s names in 1941 probably due to the popularity of Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz.” By 1943, it drifted into obscurity.
I think that makes it unique, right alongside Mildred and Aimee.