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A Goodbye Party for English Baby Names

October 10, 2019 LauraWattenberg 3 min read No Comments

Not long ago, Nigel Smith discovered he was an endangered species. Smith had always known that his first name wasn’t the height of fashion. Still, it came as a blow to learn that in a recent year the UK’s Office for National Statistics hadn’t recorded a single newborn Nigel. Zip, […]

New Sortable, Searchable USA/England Name Stats

October 8, 2019 LauraWattenberg 2 min read No Comments

Come play! The Namerology popularity chart is now updated with current stats for every baby name used in measurable numbers in the USA or England/Wales last year. That’s a total of 36,460 different names to dig into. You can search and sort names by letter sequences, popularity range, and popularity […]

Of Travolta and Machiavelli

September 26, 2019 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 1 Comment

Surnames are baby names. From the days of Warren and Shirley to Todd and Tracy to Hunter and Mackenzie, surname crossovers have been a staple of American baby naming. British Isles surnames, that is. The hundreds of popular crossovers all come from English and Celtic stock. Parents won’t venture further […]

Join a Survey on American Jewish Names

September 18, 2019 LauraWattenberg 1 min read No Comments

Here’s an opportunity to help advance name knowledge. Researchers at Hebrew Union College and the University of Southern California are conducting an online survey about American Jewish first names. They’re looking at names from many directions: choices and perceptions, religion and identity, history and geography—even how we name pets. I’m […]

Noms de Scam, Coming to a Phone Near You

August 29, 2019 LauraWattenberg 3 min read No Comments

Rachel from Cardholder Services is a legend. Her robocalled promises to lower credit card interest rates have kept enforcement agencies busy for years. The Federal Trade Commission even has an official Rachel FAQ. But one question it doesn’t answer. Why is she named Rachel? The name wasn’t just a random […]

What Does a Neural Network Think of Your Name?

August 21, 2019 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 3 Comments

What if you could tap into society’s psyche and see how names frame our collective mental narratives? Now, perhaps you can. An artificial intelligence engine paves the way. Talktotransformer.com lets any user harness the power of a neural network system trained to write text. Just enter the beginning of a […]

Shockingly Rare Names for Girls

August 13, 2019 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 2 Comments

It’s no secret that Jill is no longer the height of baby-name fashion. The name’s all-time peak was back in 1966. But would you have guessed Jill was more old-fashioned than Dorcas? More unusual than Zerenity? Baby name statistics tell us that’s reality. Jill may still sound comfortably familiar, but […]

These Names Are Right Back Where They Started

August 6, 2019 LauraWattenberg 2 min read No Comments

50 years later, they’re just where they started out. The names Althea, Elvis and Trevor are exactly as popular today as they were in 1969. That makes them, by one measure, the most stable possible names over the past half century. But the two-point snapshot of stability doesn’t tell the […]

Forgive Me, Eleanor

July 30, 2019 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 3 Comments

I have a confession to make. It has been weighing on me, a dreadful little tingle of guilt every time I look at the new 4th edition of the Baby Name Wizard book. Now it’s time to come clean and try to make amends. Readers, I left out Eleanor. It’s […]

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