* yes, there should be FIVE sets of boots but Allen ignored my advice to get adequate rain gear...

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name...

Pictures from the National Botanic Gardens because this is a trifle dry!

When we named our children we consulted the Social Security name index.  We wanted names that were familiar enough that the children wouldn't be forever being asked to repeat their names. We went with the most standard spelling so they wouldn't forever be asked to spell them- at least their first names, there isn't much to be done about MacKenzie.  We wanted names that weren't too terribly popular.  Rebecca (Becky) was ranked 17th for my birth year.  One notable middle school biology class found my teacher being faced with 5 Becky's.  I also subjected each name to the Supreme Court Justice/plumber test.  The name or a variant had to sound appropriate for both vocations- Charles/Chuck  Megan/Meg/Madge Noah and, umm, Noah...

As an aside, my advice to parents looking to give a unique name is to make it the middle name.  If your child becomes a rock god, Xandirkke will be fabulous but they might rather have Frank on their medical licence.

"Charles" had hung out in the top 100 for the last 100 years, ranking 60 for Charlie's birth year.  "Megan" didn't hit the top 100 until 1975 but made a fast rise hanging out around 10 starting in 1984.  It started falling, rather precipitously, in popularity in 2003 and ranked at 100 for Megan's birth year.  We went a little wild with Noah but I was really attached to the name for unknown reason.  "Noah" hit the top 100 in 1995 but had a meteoric rise and ranked 7th for his birth year- 5th this year.  The big difference between Noah's 7th and my 17th is that the US is now significantly more diverse.  So, even the most popular names wind up being given to a smaller percentage of the population.  Somehow, I have yet to encounter another Noah in his classes at church or mother's morning out.

This all changed when we moved to Dublin.  "Charlie" (not Charles) is ranked 10th in popularity in the UK for his birth year (I couldn't find a good source for Ireland).  Charlie is one of 3 in his class of 32 children.  His teacher made a valiant effort to get him to go by Charles with no luck.  "Megan" is 15th for her birth year.  She's the only 1 in her class but it appears that there is at least 1 "Megan" per grade level.  "Noah" had an even more meteoric rise in the UK and flew up to 18th for his birth year.  So much for our common but not too popular plan...


  1. How funny! We tried to do the same with Ryan and Caleb. Common, but not too common. But I never thought about them moving overseas! That throws the whole thing off!

  2. I did the same with mine, Cameron, Miriam and Sonia, on the lists but not at the top. Being a Jennifer has made me ultra sensitive to the uniqueness factor. But part of what I was keeping in mind was the possibility that they MIGHT live overseas. At least your gang won't get singled out as foreign just by their names.

  3. Great pics of the kids!! They are precious :-)