Library Blog

Name Game: How People Choose Baby Names

Paper stickers with different names on wooden background. Concept of choosing baby name

Choosing the name of their child is one of the first important tasks a new parent takes on.  Some people agonize over the decision until past the birth!  Others might choose a dartboard approach.  Much research has been done on the significance of name choice.  A child’s name can affect their self-image, and how others perceive them.  A name can affect a student’s success at school that follows them through adulthood on their resume.

A name can create impressions.  For naming a boy, Ali connotes strength, Archie is a funny guy.  Farrah is a beautiful girl, and Alonzo is a handsome guy.  Sampson and Thor are strong, Archibald not so much.  Bambi and Kitty are sexy names for a girl, and Sylvester and Gaylord are more unusual.

A baby is usually given a name at the hospital as part of records filled out on a birth certificate.  If the baby is not born at the hospital, the record still needs to be completed and turned in to a vital statistics office that regulates birth certificates in their part of the USA.  The birth certificate contains many itemizations that are used by statistical researchers and government entities.  The hospital staffer will type the birth certificate, and it is very important that you review it carefully before signing it.

Parents have the choice of their child’s first and middle name with one exception: a 1978 district court judge ruled that a number cannot be used for a name.  In some states, the parent also has the ability to chose the surname of the child.

Changing a name after it has been registered is regulated by location.  In some states a parent can change their child’s name for a few days after birth, while others allow extended time.  Some states require a complicated amount of paperwork to change a name.  It might require a simple county probate court appearance, or it could involve a district court.  You need to check with legal counsel to determine the regulations where you live.

While some names are passed down through generations of family, and others are named for important figures, still others come from many sources:

Books: Charlotte, Emily, Homer, Truman

Television and movies: Ben, Dwayne, Will, Christian, Jennifer, Gwyneth, Sandra

Religion: Abraham, Adam, Daniel, David, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Moses, Noah, Solomon, Delilah, Ester, Eve, Mary, Ruth, Sarah

Locations: India, Phoenix, Florence, Egypt, Dallas, Cairo, Caspian, Zaire, Memphis, Dayton,

Musicians: Selena, Alessia, Miley, Journey, Celine, Lennox, Adele, Beyonce, Gwen, Bruno, Elton, Prince, Justin

Brand Names: Wesson, Oakley, Coleman, Mack, Colt, Winston, Stetson, Armani, Harley, Chanel, Delta, Harley

Minerals: Emerald, Opal, Jewel, Coral, Garnet, Clay, Coal, Mercury, Sandy

Magazines: Jet, Marie Claire, Maxim, Ebony, Elle

Harry Potter: Bellatrix, Ginny, Hermione, Minerva

Royalty: Anne, Elizabeth, Victoria, Arthur, Henry, George, Louis, Richard, Baron, Caesar, Earl, Duke

Colleges: Berkeley, Cornell, Kent, Stanford, Yale

Mythology: Athena, Aurora, Daphne, Helen, Nike, Apollo, Hector, Jason, Zeus

Sports Figures: Aaron, Manny, Hank, Yogi, Kareem, Larry, Michael, Wilt, Le’Von, Reggie, Annika, Venus, Serena, Tiger, Bubba, Katarina, Kerri

Celebrity kid names: Ace Knute, Audio Science, Cosimo Violet, Cricket Pearl, Daisy-Boo, Dandelion, Denim, Fifi Trixiebelle, God’iss Love, Gravity, Heaven Rain, Moxie CrimeFighter, Heavenly Hirani Tiger Lily, Poppy-Honey, Royal Reign, Ruby Sweetheart, Sir and Rumi, Speck Wildhorse, Summer Rain, Zuma Nesta Rock

Books about Names at the Library:

The Baby Names Almanac by Larson, Emily.

Dictionary of First Names by Cresswell, Julia.

The Complete Book of Baby Names by Bolton, Lesley.

100,000+ Baby Names by Lansky, Bruce.

Cindy C.

Miss Cindy has been circulating in Ohio libraries for many years. She creates programming for all ages because even though she likes the little ones, her passion is making ‘stuff’. Cindy’s husband requests that you do not show or tell her about any new ‘stuff’.  But Cindy knows you will bend her ear, and she will turn it into a program lickety-split!