How do you feel about your name, Colleen?

Colleen is a 28-year-old who lives in Texas, but to many people, she’s not actually known as Colleen. “I go by Annie informally or with people I know well and Colleen at work or when I have to sign something.”

Her nickname is derivation of her middle name, Anne. “My dad wanted the initials CAM and my mom wanted ‘Annie’. That was their compromise.”

Colleen’s first name ranked among the top 100 girl names in the U.S. from 1963 through 1967, but was only the 902nd most popular name in 2006. Her nickname Annie, which was incredibly popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, most recently ranked 398th.

What does she like about her names?

Both names are relatively uncommon. (I get weirded out being around people with the same name. :)) Both suit my personality, or different aspects of it.

What does she not like about her names?

The first name/middle name thing confuses people. I don’t know how I’d change that, though, because I like the initials and how it flows together. So I just confuse people. It makes a long signature. I use initials (C.A. M________ or CAM if I can get away with it), but haven’t mastered the incoherent scribble most people use ;).

Thanks, Colleen (a.k.a. Annie)!

3 thoughts on “How do you feel about your name, Colleen?

  1. My first name, Colleen, is an embarrassing testament to my white American parents’ ignorance. It’s not an Irish name at all… it’s loosely associated with the Irish language word for girl. No one names their kid “girl.” It’s an American name chosen by white people who claim some sort of Irish identity but are generations away from Ireland and don’t do any meaningful research before choosing names for their children. The name says this about me: I’m white, I’m American, and I had ignorant white American parents. Awesome. Thanks mom and dad.

  2. I understand where you’re coming from, but we don’t need to get judgmental about names like Colleen (and Erin, and Shannon, etc.).

    The American parents who inadvertently popularized these names decades ago were doing their best with what they knew. The sentiment was authentic, even if the end result was not.

    Instead of thinking of them as fake Irish names, just think of them as genuine Irish-American names. :)

  3. “No one names their kid “girl.”

    Um, according to the folks in Greenland people pretty much *do* choose names like that. The second most popular choice for boys simply means human. Which if you think of it isn’t even as descriptive as Colleen. And the top choice for girls didn’t even get to be based on the identity of being a girl, but rather on being a daughter who followed a son.

    So, even if you think your name is boring or generic, your parents were/are far from alone in their choice.

    PS. My grandmother was born shortly after her parents arrived from Ireland and she grew up speaking English and Gaelic. She used the term “colleen” to as a compliment typically to refer to an attractive young woman — as in “what a lovely colleen she is” and would use it to compliment me if I was dressed up for something — “you look like a colleen in that”. To my knowledge she never thought it was a “fake Irish name”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.