Yes, some want unique names for their babies. Others are happy to choose traditional or family names with meaning. Either way, having labelled your kid for life, how about mums and dads concentrate on growing a human being who will stand out, make a difference and be loved for who they are, not for what they’re called.
From the American Name Society [pdf]:
“Malala” was chosen as the Personal Name of the Year. The first name of Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for refusing to abandon her campaign for girls’ education, is now known worldwide as a symbol for women’s rights.
The overall Name of the Year was Sandy.
From CatholicMom.com’s Meg Matenaer, who named her first son Augustine:
When our oldest son Augustine was born, there was lots of confusion on the part of people asking what his name was. Either they misheard (“Justin? What a nice name.” or “Augustus?”) or they mispronounced it, especially if they were from a different faith tradition. Many a nurse has called for Augusteen across a crowded waiting room.
And named her second son Ignatius:
In the days following his birth, I tried not to worry about how other people perceived his name. Everyone had been very polite and remarked on what a beautiful or interesting name it was. No one actually said what they might have been thinking, “Are you serious?” Filling out the birth certificate paperwork, I tried to banish thoughts of how our little guy might grow up to hate us.
I speak from the experience of not waiting to announce my kids’ names. Of course after the birth of our first three children, my husband and I let approximately twenty-two seconds pass before broadcasting our name choices. But with our fourth child due in a few weeks, we’ve decided to hold out until the proper ceremony (we don’t know if we’re having a boy or a girl) before telling anyone the name. Practically speaking, there’s something cool and uniquely private about forcing ourselves to rise above the fast-paced announce everything on Facebook three minutes after it happens culture.
Sethi says his name was originally supposed to be Amit, not Ramit. But when his parents realized that Amit Singh Sethi’s initials spelled out a profanity, they went back to the registrar and convinced him that he had erroneously dropped an “R.” “Like true immigrants, they didn’t request a name change, because that would be, like, $50,” he says.
Some first names can be very helpful in providing an approximate birth date for an individual if you are unsure. I once researched a family with sons Foch, Petain and Joffre – all Marshals of France during WWI, effectively ‘dating’ them to around 1914-18.
Another example with less specific dates is the girl’s name ‘Adelaide’ which became popular with Adelaide, wife of William IV (born 1792, crowned Queen Consort 1831 and died 1849) and then fell in popularity – but importantly for red herring purposes didn’t disappear completely – after the turn of the century.
These days it isn’t uncommon to meet young African parents who’ve succumbed to one naming trend or the other, naming their children after celebrities, for instance: the Blue Ivy’s and all the rest of it. It’s quite a new thing, as the form and parameters of African names have traditionally been fairly standard, unlike in the West where spellings of names change, new names get invented, names rise and fall in popularity from one year to the next and so on. Recently it seems that Africans are more likely to include popular English names as well as ‘trend’ names when naming their children. It must be quite frustrating for the older generation to see the younger generations opting out of using traditional names, especially so for those who were around during our countries’ liberation from colonialism, many of whom are proud traditionalists, and many of whom are already exhausted by the younger generation abridging and altering their culture in other ways.
Chose a middle name first. You might want a family name as a middle name, or have a name that you’ve always loved but don’t think it seems right as a forename. For some reason it’s a lot easier to decide on a middle name for your baby and I found that having this choice set in stone made it easier to eliminate some of my forename choices.
From Drew Magary of Deadspin:
I’m waiting for Utah parents to seize upon the W as the next replacement vowel. If you don’t think there’s a Jwcwlwnn in our future, you are dead wrong. Eventually, all American baby names will resemble some kind of old Welsh dialect.