I’m a baby name blogger, but sometimes I feel more like a baby name detective. Because so much of my blogging time is spent doing detective work: trying to figure out where a particular baby name comes from, or why a name saw a sudden jump (or drop) in usage during a particular year.
If a name itself doesn’t make the answer obvious (e.g., Lindbergh) and a simple Google search hasn’t helped, my first bit of detective work involves scanning the baby name charts. I’ve learned that many search-resistant baby names (like Deatra) are merely alternative spellings of more common names (Deirdre).
If that doesn’t do it, I go back to Google for some advanced-level ninja searching, to help me zero in on specific types of historical or pop culture events. This is how I traced Irmalee back to a character in a short story in a very old issue of the once-popular McCall’s Magazine.
But if I haven’t gotten anywhere after a few rounds of ninja searching, I officially give up and turn the mystery baby name over to you guys. Together we’ve cracked a couple of cases (yay!) but, unfortunately, most of the mystery baby names I’ve blogged about are still big fat mysteries.
This week let’s finish checking out the top baby name debuts of all time.
I’ll be counting down the 50 most popular boy name debuts in five posts, from today until Friday. (I did the top girl name debuts a couple of weeks ago.) I didn’t break any ties, so this “top 50” list actually has 93 names.
I came up with explanations for as many names as I could, but I’m still stumped on a few of them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.
Here’s 50 to 41:
Cordaryl, Devaunte, Jeffren, Naksh, Sanjaya, Tige & Trysten, 7-way tie for #50
Cordaryl debuted with 28 baby boys in 1986. Inspired by Cordero Roberts, a character on the soap opera “One Life to Live.”
Devaunte debuted with 28 baby boys in 1992. Inspired by singer DeVante Swing, a member of Jodeci.
Jeffren debuted with 28 baby boys in 2010. Inspired by soccer player Jeffren Suarez.
Naksh debuted with 28 baby boys in 2012. Inspired by Naksh, a character on the Indian TV show “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai.”
Sanjaya debuted with 28 baby boys in 2007. Inspired by Sanjaya Malakar, a contestant on the TV singing competition “American Idol.”
Yesterday I read an article about this year’s college football prospects. Three of the top ten have first and last names that start with the same letter: Bryce Brown (#1), Rueben Randle (#2) and Jelani Jenkins (#10).
That seemed like a rather high concentration…so I checked out the entire top 100 for similar names. I found six more: Janzen Jackson (#17), Garrett Gilbert (#18), Shayne Skov (#45), Morgan Moses (#49), Patrick Patterson (#50) and Jarvis Jones (#72).
Nine out of 100…nearly 10%. (Could this be representative of the entire population?) At this point I was curious enough to scan all of the archived rankings:
8 in ’08: Julio Jones, Armond Armstead, Janoris Jenkins, Garrett Goebel, Joshua Jarboe, Brendan Beal, Brice Butler, Brandon Beachum
6 in ’07: Terrance Toliver, Chris Culliver, Tyrod Taylor, Armando Allen, Bryan Bulaga, Gary Gray
6 in ’06: Mitch Mustain, Robert Rose, Tim Tebow, Stephen Schilling, Michael Morgan, Dorin Dickerson
7 in ’05: Ryan Reynolds, Dan Doering, Mohamed Massaquoi, Mario Manningham, Curtis Crouch, Avery Atkins, Terrance Taylor
9 in ’04: Willie Williams, Cameron Colvin, Lance Leggett, Brandon Barrett, Brandon Braxton, Josh Johnson, Brian Brohm, Tony Temple (maybe), Doug Dutch
6 in ’03: Steve Smith, Dennis Dixon, Mike Mason, Donovan Davis, Jason Jack, Craig Chambers
2 in ’02: Julian Jenkins, Doug Datish
So it seems there are more of these names than normal this year. Still, though, I’m curious to know just how many people in the U.S. have first names that start with the same letters as their surnames. (I also wonder whether the Name-Letter Effect has skewed the number upward at all.)