The popularity of certain baby names changes over time. What was an incredibly popular name during a specific decade can seem dated just a few decades later. There are other baby names that remain consistently common, but that move up and down the popularity list from one year to another.
The name you were given might have been incredibly popular when your parents were “expecting”. Decades later, when you became a parent (or, when members of your generation did) the most popular baby names were ones that were completely different from the names that were popular when you were born.
There are many reasons why the popularity of baby names changes over time. Some names remain common, each and every decade. They might not be at the top of the list, but they are not considered to be unusual. These names often are ones that are handed down from one generation to the next. This is how you get children named after their parents, or who have middle names that were their grandparent’s first names.
Culture plays a part in the selection of baby names. Parents might choose to name their babies after a character in a movie or TV show, or from a book. They might learn what a popular celebrity has named their child, and decide that they like that name enough to give it to their own child.
TIME has created a fun, interactive, way for you to determine what your name would be if you were born today (instead of in the year you were actually born). There is a “Hello my name is…” name tag on their website. Fill in your first name, the year you were born, and select either “male” or “female”. Then, click the link that says “Get my today name”.
The name that pops up might, or might not, be different from your actual name. Why? The reason is the source of the names.
The interactive name tag on TIME’s website is pulling information from the Social Security Administration. Every year, they post a top ten baby names list that corresponds to the previous year. The Social Security Administration simply tallies up how often a particular name was given to a baby born that year, and is able to create a list from most popular to least popular.
There is another interesting thing to consider about how baby names change. Today, there are some names that started out as a name given to baby boys that are now given to baby girls. The name Ashley originally was derived from an English surname, and was given to baby boys. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that parents started giving the name Ashley to baby girls.
Image by Paul Inkles on Flickr.
Related Articles on FamilyTree.com:< Return To Blog