So today let’s check out another fun set of “top” names: the top rises. The names below are those that increased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next according to the SSA data.
Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year jumps in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Isa grew 240% and usage of the boy name Noble grew 333%.)
The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does get a lot better in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…
(Did you catch all the doubles? Tula, Delano, Tammy, Jermaine, and Davey/Davy.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about many of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it! Leave a comment and let us know what popularized Dorla in 1929, or Lauren in 1945, or Dustin in 1968, or Kayleigh in 1985, or Talan in 2005…
The image below, of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, was captured in early 1838 by Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype.
It may be the earliest surviving photograph of a person. Two people, actually. Both are in the lower left:
Here’s a close-up:
The standing man is getting his shoe shined, and the other man (partially obscured) is doing the shoe-shining.
Of all the people on the sidewalk that day, these were the only two to stay still long enough (about 10 minutes) to be captured in the image.
Now for the fun part!
What would you name these two Frenchmen?
Let’s pretend you’re writing a book set in Paris in the 1830s, and these are two of your characters. What names would you give them?
Here’s a long list of traditional French male names, to get you started:
For some real-life inspiration, here are lists of famous 19th century and 20th century French people, courtesy of Wikipedia. Notice that many of the Frenchman have double-barreled, triple-barreled, even quadruple-barreled given names. (Daguerre himself was named Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre.)
Every year on Britney Spears’s birthday (December 2) we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.
What is the Pop Culture Baby Name Game, you ask? Good question! It’s not a “game” really, but more of a group brainstorm. We try to guess which baby names became more popular during the year thanks to pop culture — music, movies, television, sports, politics, current events, products, etc.
I’ve searched for all the 2013 predictions we’ve made so far (in posts & comments) and listed them below. I also threw in a few more possibilities — mostly celebrity baby names. So here’s what we’re starting with:
If your due date is December 21, why not commemorate the date with an end of the world-inspired baby name?
No, I’m not suggesting you go with something ridiculous like Armageddon or Apocalypse. (Though I have seen both used as names. Examples: Rev. Armageddon James Margerum, born in England in 1833, and Ulysses Apocalypse Johnson, born in California in 1992.)
Instead, try a name with a less obvious EotW connection. Perhaps one of these:
Maya – the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is most commonly associated with the Maya
Jeremiah – ending sounds like Maya
Nehemiah – ending sounds like Maya
Deedee – short for doomsday
Ann – short for annihilation
Catherine – inspired by cataclysm
Arma – short for armageddon
Armand – inspired by armageddon
Armando – inspired by armageddon
Gideon – inspired by armageddon
Don – inspired by armageddon
Or try one of the dozens of names that happen to contain the word end (short for end of the world, of course).
Once upon a time, Wikipedia had a List of Unusual Personal Names. That list was deleted a few weeks ago. It’d been deleted before, but always managed to come back. This time I think the deletion might be permanent.
So I’ve decided to reprint the list here. Not because I want to steal content, but because I think the list is very cool and should be preserved somewhere.
Names I’ve confirmed so far are in boldface. Entries I couldn’t confirm have been deleted.
Names that come from a specific person, organization, fictional character or product:
Armand Hammer, industrialist born on May 21, 1898, in Manhattan, New York. His father “had named him after the symbol of the Socialist Labor Party.” As a youth, he sometimes claimed that his father had named him after Armand Duval, a character in the Alexandre Dumas novel La Dame aux Camélias (1848).
Christine Daae of England. The Phantom of the Opera fan “changed her name from Victoria Bohm by deed poll” so that “if the Phantom came back today he would have a Christine Daae who would stay by him at the end.” (More on Christine.)
Espn (pronounced Espin). The name of two boys from Michigan and Texas, named for the popular cable sports channel ESPN. However, in Scandinavia, both Esben and Espen are somewhat common names.
Hapoel Tel Aviv, a baby born in Israel in 2006, who was named by his father after his favorite football club Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Harley Quinn Smith, born June 26, 1999, in Red Bank, New Jersey to filmmaker Kevin Smith and his wife. Named for fictional villain Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel) from Batman: The Animated Series. The character was created in 1992 by Kevin’s friend Paul Dini.
Joker Arroyo, born on January 5, 1927, in the Philippines. Lawyer and politician whose name derives from his father’s love of card-playing. Has a brother named Jack. (More on Joker.)
Keldorn – First name of an Estonian boy named after the character Keldorn Firecam from the PC game Baldur’s Gate 2.
Kenesaw Mountain Landis, born on November 20, 1866, in Ohio. Son of Dr. Abraham and Mary Landis. His father had been seriously wounded in the American Civil War at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on 27 June 1864. Kenesaw Landis ended up becoming the first commissioner of organized baseball. (More on Kenesaw.)
MegaZone, an American IT/programming geek who legally changed his name (from Brian Bikowicz) on April 12, 2000. Originally taking the name from Megazone 23 as a login in 1989.
Metallica Tomaro, born in late 2006 in Sweden. Daughter of Michael and Karolina Tomaro. Her name was first rejected, then later approved, by Swedish authorities. (More on Metallica.)
Oleúde José Ribeiro, born on September 19, 1966, in Conselheiro Pena, Brazil. Brazilian soccer player. His first name is a misspelled rendition of Hollywood.
Minty Clinch. Film publicist and journalist on The Observer.
Optimus Prime of Ohio. Legally changed his name to Optimus Prime in honor of the Transformers character. (More on Optimus.)
Names that are nouns or other words not commonly used as given names:
america Hoffman, son of revolutionist yippies Abbie and Anita Hoffman. Given the name “america”, with a “small a”, to indicate both patriotism and non-jingoistic intent.
American McGee, video game designer (Quake, American McGee’s Alice) famous for having an unusual name.
Apple Blythe Alison Martin, born on May 14, 2004, in London, England. Daughter of actor Gwyneth Paltrow and musician Chris Martin. “Apparently, Martin’s North American booking agent, Marty Diamond, has a daughter named Apple, and the couple asked his permission to give their child the same first name if they had a girl.” (Quote from People.)
Baby Hospital, born in Sierra Leone. Feral child found at the age of 7 by an Italian missionary.
Boo Moore, minor league baseball player in the Boston Red Sox organization in 1980s/90s.
Breece D’J Pancake, short-lived writer of short fiction. The unusual initial came from a misprint of his first story, which he decided to not correct.
Canaan Sodindo Banana, born on March 5, 1936, in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). First President of Zimbabwe. His widow’s name is Janet Banana.
Navy Shuler and Island Shuler, children of U.S. Representative and former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler. Shuler explains: “My son is Navy. It was the only name my wife and I agreed on — she made a list of ten names, and I made a list of ten names. And that was the only one that matched. It was from a road atlas — there was a Navy street on a map. My daughter is Island — it came from Island transportation company. My wife and I were driving around talking about names, and the truck went by. We both liked it. They’re good nautical names. We don’t have any oceans up here in the mountains, so I guess we thought we would use the nautical theme.” (Quote from the now-defunct “Stop Shuler” website.)
Jellyfish McSaveloy of Nottingham, England. Legally changed his name from Steven Robert Lane to Jellyfish McSaveloy in 2005.
Loser Lane – a New York Police Department sergeant, mentioned in the book Freakonomics.
Maybe Barnes (or Maybee or Maibe) a male child born 1663 in New Haven, Connecticut.
Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette. Daughter of magician Penn Jillette.
Muffin Lord. Director at The Rutgers College Honor Programs.
Picabo Street, born on April 3, 1971, in Idaho. Olympic skier who was named after the Idaho town of Picabo, which is said to mean “shining waters” in Sho-Ban. (More on Picabo.)
Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf-Lee. Son of actor/skateboarder Jason Lee and actress Beth Riesgraf.
Little Pixie Geldof, daughter of musician/activist Bob Geldof and Paula Yates. Known as Pixie Geldof.
Rocket, Racer, Rogue, Rebel, and Rhiannon Rodriguez, born from 1995 to 2005. Children of film director Robert Rodriguez and film producer Elizabeth Avellán. (More here.)
Thursday October Christian, born in October of 1790 on Pitcairn Island. Son of Fletcher Christian, leader of the mutiny on the HMS Bounty. (More on Thursday.)
They of Missouri. Legally changed his name from Andrew Wilson to They in 2004. (More on They.)
Urmas-Armas Ingel (engl. Urmas-Sweet Angel). An eccentric Estonian poet.
Tuesday Weld, born on August 27, 1943, in New York. Actress who legally changed her named from Susan Ker Weld to Tuesday Weld in 1959. “Tuesday” was a childhood nickname.
Wonderful Terrific Monds III was a baseball player in the Atlanta Braves farm system in the early 1990s. WTM I, his grandfather, was given that name because his own parents were so pleased when their son was born. Baseball writer Peter Gammons called it “one of the greatest names” for a ballplayer he has heard.
Zeppelin Wai Wong, born in August/September of 1929 in San Francisco, California. Named for the Graf Zeppelin that flew over the city around the time he was born. (More on Zeppelin.)
Wrigley Alexander Fields, born on September 12, 2007, in Indiana. Named for the Wrigley Fields ballpark, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. (More on Wrigley.)
Names that intentionally contain a phrase:
Amor De Cosmos, the second premier of British Columbia, Canada. His name in Portuguese means “Love Of Cosmos”.
Condoleezza Rice, current US Secretary of State. Name is based on the Italian musical term ‘con dolcezza’ which means ‘[to be played] with sweetness’.
Constant-Désiré Despradelle, French-born dean of architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Espen Thoresen Hværsaagod-Takkskalduha. A Norwegian radio reporter. He first changed his name from Espen Thoresen to Espen Thoresen Hværsaagod (Espen Thoresen You’reon/Hereyouare meaning simply ‘please’ ). Later he added the name Takkskalduha (Thankyouverymuch).
Legal Tender Coxey, born in March, 1894, in the U.S. Son of wealthy socialist politician Jacob Coxey, leader of “Coxey’s Army.” (More on Legal Tender.)
Mahershalalhashbaz Ali. American actor.
Masiosare, Spanish for “If [someone] would [eventually] dare” (Mas si osare). This poetic form is not common in Spanish, but is part of the Mexican National Anthem. For this, a lot of people had this name, because a lot of parents still believe that is a proper name.
Robin Vee Strasser, born on May 7, 1945, in New York. Soap opera actress born on the day of Germany’s surrender (at the end of World War II). Her mother had wanted to name her “Robin Victory in Europe Strasser,” but one of the nurses wouldn’t allow it and instead wrote “Robin Vee Strasser” on the birth certificate. (More on Robin.)
States Rights Gist, born on September 3, 1831, in South Carolina. Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War. His father, Nathaniel Gist, believed that U.S. states should have the right to nullify federal laws they deemed unconstitutional. (More on States Rights.)
Trout Fishing in America. In April 1994, a Santa Barbara teenager named Peter Eastman Jr. legally changed his name to “Trout Fishing in America” after Richard Brautigan’s novella of the same name.
Vista Avalon Simser, born on May 18, 2007, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Named after the Windows Vista operating system. (More on Vista.)
Wu Suowei, son of Chinese TV host Yang Lan and her husband Wu Zheng, sounds identical to Chinese expression for doesn’t matter or whatever.
Names changed for political purposes or as a form of protest:
Goveg.com (pronounced Go Vedge Dot Com). PETA activist Karin Robertson changed her name in 2003 to promote the organization’s vegan website. In 2006 she reverted to her birth name, later saying “I never thought I would be Goveg.com forever. It was just a great way to pique people’s interest.”
Miss Alice. A New Zealand lawyer, formerly known as Rob Moodie, who legally changed his name to protest the Old Boys’ Network that runs the judiciary.
Names that can double as words or phrases:
Be-Curteous Cole a male child born 1570 in Pevensey, Sussex, England.
Jaime Lachica Sin a Philippine clergyman, was known as Cardinal Sin because of his status within the Catholic church. Sin was said to play a joke on his title, welcoming visitors to his archbishop’s residence with the greeting “Welcome to the House of Sin”. (He is not to be confused with the term “cardinal sin”).
Dick Assman (properly pronounced “assmun”). Canadian service station owner whose name propelled him to international celebrity status in 1995.
Ima Hogg. Daughter of Governor of Texas James Stephen Hogg.
Shanda Lear, daughter of Bill Lear, founder of Lear Jet Corporation.
Young Talkmore Nyongani, Zimbabwean 400-metre sprinter.
Unusually long names:
Autumn Sullivan Corbett Fitzsimmons Jeffries Hart Burns Johnson Willard Dempsey Tunney Schmeling Sharkey Carnera Baer Braddock Louis Charles Walcott Marciano Patterson Johansson Liston Clay Frazier Foreman Brown, born in 2007 in Wolverhampton, England. Names #2-#26 are the surnames of 25 world heavyweight boxing champions, beginning with John L. Sullivan and ending with George Foreman. (More on Autumn.)
Aldaberontophoscophornia Bowen, born June 6, 1812, in Providence, Rhode Island. (More on Alda.)
Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, the man with the longest name ever recorded.
Lord Daniyaal as-Saadiq al-Amin Salaam u’Allah (Lord D.A.A.S. u’Allah). Formerly Daniel Green; convicted of the murder of James R. Jordan, Sr. (father of Michael Jordan).
Nicholas If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebon, born circa 1640 in London, England.
Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates.
Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams, born on September 12, 1984, in Beaumont, Texas, to Mr. and Mrs. James Williams. Her name is “the longest name to appear on a birth certificate,” according to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records. “On October 5, 1984, Mr. Williams filed an amendment that expanded his daughter’s first name to 1,019 letters and her middle name to 36 letters.”
Names changed for business purposes:
Andrew “Test” Martin, professional wrestler who legally included his ringname “Test” in his real name in order to use it without trademark infringement from World Wrestling Entertainment.
DotComGuy. Legally changed his name from Mitch Maddox in 2000 as part of a publicity stunt of spending an entire year in his house, on the Internet.
GoldenPalace.com (Pronounced Golden Palace Dot Com). In March 2005, the casino paid Terri Iligan $15,000 after winning an E-Bay Auction to legally change her name.
Warrior. American professional wrestler, born Brian James “Jim” Hellwig, best known for appearances as the Ultimate Warrior in the WWF. Legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993 in order to use the name outside of the WWF.
Zachary Zzzzzzzzzra, actually named Bill Holland, was a painting contractor who changed his name to Zachary Zzzzzzzzzra as a marketing gimmick so that people could find him “in the back of the phone book”. A 1979 Time article said that he was able to achieve this goal in the San Francisco phone book in eight out of 15 years, although he had to keep adding Z’s to his last name because Zelda Zzzwramp and Vladimir Zzzzzzabakov had become the last listings in the phone book.
Jeronimo Dix-Sept Rosado, born in 1911 in Brazil. His middle name means “seventeen” in French, as he was the 17th child out of 21. Most of his siblings also have names that indicate birth order. (More on the Rosado family.)
Jon Blake Cusack 2.0, born on January 27, 2004, in Michigan. Son of Jamie and Jon Blake Cusack. (More on Jon 2.0.)
Ten Million, born in 1889 in Washington state. He was a minor league baseball player during the 1910s and had a daughter named Decillian Million (b. 1920). (More on Ten and Decillian.)
@, born circa 2007 in China. The symbol @ is often referred to by the English word “at” in China. When spoken by Chinese, “at” sounds like ai ta, which happens to mean “love him” in Mandarin. Li Yuming, deputy chief of China’s State Language Commission, did not indicate if officials had accepted the name @. (More on @.)
Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak, born in 1958 or 1959. Politician from the state of Meghalaya, India. (More on Adolf.)
Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced “Albin”) was a name given to a child by the parents of a Swedish family in May 1996. The name was rejected by a Swedish court. The child’s name was later changed to “A” (also pronounced “Albin”), however this too was rejected.
Flex Plexico – Spokesperson for the United States Department of Defense.
J Allard Formerly known as James Allard, Corporate Vice President and the Chief XNA Architect at Microsoft.
Revilo Pendleton Oliver, American philologist born in 1908 near Corpus Christi, Texas. In his family, the palindromic name had “been the burden of the eldest or only son for six generations.” (Quote from The Jewish Strategy.)
Duncan Zowie Hayward Jones, a.k.a. Zowie Bowie, born on May 30, 1971, in London, England. Son of musician David Robert Jones, a.k.a. David Bowie. (More on Zowie.)
Rolan Bolan is the son of Marc Bolan (Rock Band T Rex). It is said the David Bowie and Marc Bolan decided together about the names Zowie Bowie and Rolan Bolan.