May 6, 2011

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." - Juliet

Does a name really define us?  Am I a John?  Would I be any different if I was a Jacob?   Who knows.  There are millions of names and it seems like more are invented every day.  Parents don't want their kid to have the same name as everyone else, so what do they do?  Instead of naming their kid Madison, they name their kid Madyson.  See how they did that.  They put a "Y" where the "I" should be.  Boy that really shakes things us.  Guess what?  Their name is still Madison, only you won't be able to find a license plate with your kids name on it.

Picking a name can be an almost impossible task.  You really are deciding the course of history for your child.  Sure you could go with the obvious and just name your kid Junior, or name them Sophia after your dead great grandmother whose dying wish was to see her name live on.  Once you take those out, where do you go?  My wife always loved the name Jake.  The problem is so does everyone else.  Take a look at the top ten boys names for last year according to the Social Security Administration.

  1. Jacob
  2. Ethan
  3. Michael
  4. Jayden
  5. William
  6. Alexander
  7. Noah
  8. Daniel
  9. Aiden
  10. Anthony
I think everyone in child bearing age had a thing for Jake Ryan from "16 Candles" growing up.  There really is no other way to explain it.  We know four Jakes so thank God when our first son was born, we decided on Tyler.  It's a solid name that is somewhat popular but not one thats crazy like Justus, which is #853 on the list.  I have yet to meet a Justus and it is safe to say that I never will, although there are more than one of you out there, so who knows.  We came up with Tyler because my wife used to work as a reporter in television and her on air name, more for security purposes than anything else, was Tyler.  It was obvious.

When our second son was born it was a little more difficult.  We wanted a solid name and again not one that was too popular.  We thought that we came up with a cool but unusual name.  When we worked in Elmira, New York we covered a standoff in a crazy little town called Addison.  It was the place that actually kick started our relationship and took it to the next level.  So we thought, there are no Addisons that we know,  how about that?  Well it turns out there was a popular character on Grey's Anatomy and everyone decided to name their GIRL Addison in 2007.  It was the eleventh most popular name that year, FOR A GIRL.  So we turned to another TV show full of doctors and named him Carter, after ER's John Carter.  Now maybe it wasn't completely after him but I always did like his character.

Its hard coming up with names, especially with my last name, Willey.  You don't want to go through life with the wrong name like Jack Knopf, Harry Weiner.  MY BROTHERS NAME IS DICK.  My parents settled on John and my wife is a Jennifer, two pretty generic names but in the 70's there weren't two more popular names.  In fact John was the #6 most popular boys name when I was born in 1973, and remains to this day the second most popular name in the country behind James.  There are over 5,00,000 people with my name in this country!  Here I thought I was special.  Jennifer was #1 when my wife was born in 1974 and there are close to 1.3 million women with her name making her name the fifth most popular name of all time.  Incidentally everyone named their daughter Mary in the 40's, 50's and the 60's and that to this day is by far the most popular name in the country for women.  I actually don't know any Mary's as most of them are in their 60's ad 70's.

I can't help but think what this baby name list might look like in 100 years.  There will be more Jacobs and Emmas in this country than anyone. Grandmothers will all be named Brittany or Courtney, instead of Dorothy or Evelyn.  I can see it now, people are going to start naming their kids John and Jennifer because they want to come up with a unique name, a name that no one uses.

Rose by the way is the 76th most popular name of all time.  There are over 194,000 of you out there.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


1 comment:

  1. John, This is a great post. Incidentally, It's nearly impossible to find a personalized item with the name Rose on it. Sounds untrue, but it is. You'll find Destiny, Allegra and a variety of other more exotic names but you rarely find the name Rose. Anyway, love the idea of all the upcoming grandma Britney's... excellent.
    Rosie F.