“History in the Names” Project

Do you like crazy-long timelines?

If so, have I got something for you!

It’s a project I’ve started called “History in the Names.”

One day it’ll be an extensive timeline of U.S. baby names that can be correlated, via sudden changes in usage, to specific moments in American history. And it’ll include every single historically significant baby name I’ve ever discovered, classified by type of influence (e.g., actor, singer, politics, celebrity baby).

As of right now, the timeline only covers three decades. But I’ll be adding all the other years over the next few months.

My initial idea was to put all this research into ebooks that I could sell for a few dollars each (to help cover costs). But that experiment didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. So I’ve decided to change course and openly share everything I’ve got. Some of the benefits to this new approach are…

  • It feels good to share!
  • It allows readers to follow along and get involved.
  • It makes the information easy to find.
  • It might be of benefit to researchers and academics working with the U.S. baby name data. Or to those who study pop culture, mass media, American history, etc.

I’ll start adding years from the 1970s pretty soon. In the meanwhile, check out the timeline so far and let me know what you think. (Questions? Suggestions?)

And if you’re inspired to help me out in any way, there are some ideas listed on my new support page. :)


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