Okay, this might just completely confirm my nerdiness for those of you who are still on the fence. When we were naming our first child, my hubs and I read through several baby name books, but then I came to find out about the Social Security Administration’s website for baby names! They use 100% of the actual registered birth certificate names in the US to put their stats together!
So while fad magazines and websites can share popular names according to their opinions or limited samplings, I had concrete numbers at my fingertips to help aid in our baby-naming venture. I wanted a name that is known and familiar (not something obscure that our poor children would forever have to repeat and spell), but not too saturated and overused.
You can look at the popularity of a particular name over the span over several years (up to about 130, if you want), to see if it is rapidly rising in the ranks, for example, and will probably be too common (at least for me) in the coming years.
So “Carley,” for example, I can see didn’t even appear in the top 1000 until 1982, and it peaked in popularity in 1996.
It also gives you a “Similar names” list, so you can see if there are popular alternate spellings (like “Carly” or “Carlie” for “Carley”).
Or maybe you want your child to have a name with vintage appeal: maybe peek at the popular names in 1880? 1920? 1950? Fun!
You can even look up popular names by decade, by state, for twins, or in U.S. territories! A plethora of baby-namin’ goodness! Wheeeee!
So how did you arrive at your kids’ names? I want to know! Do tell?
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I definitely used the SSA website! We did it the other way around though. We made a list of names we liked and then checked the website to see the popularity/trends with that particular name to help us narrow things down. Another fun way to use the website: We wanted to keep the baby name a secret but we gave our families a range on the website that they could guess from. We told them that “on the 2011 list our name appears between 300-400” and then they could browse that range and take a guess. Only 1 guess out of a 100 names, but it was fun!
I LOVE that you gave your family a guessing range! What a fun idea!!
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We totally used the ssa website as well! Actually, had we had a girl, we wanted to name her Sophia UNTIL we saw it was on the top 2 list SO we went and had a boy instead 🙂 Found our first in a baby name book and the scond in the Bible.
Yes, I guess we didn’t just strictly use the SSA site… in fact our first son was named before hubs and I ever met! When we started dating seriously, he asked if we could name our son his special name should we ever be so blessed. LOVE it. I think his name ranked about 32nd, and that made the cut for me: not too popular, but not too obscure! 😉