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August 15, 2007

Baby Name Voyager

…and other overwhelming tools.
As any expectant parent will tell you, one of the most daunting tasks is to find a suitable name for your child. Luckily, there are plenty of books, guides and websites in addition to everybody you know willing to help you make that life determining decision. Only that just makes it harder.

Turns out that with all the availability the web has to offer, you can get quite overwhelmed. AS if it wasn’t hard enough to pick from the limited names you’re already familiar with, there are websites that list well over 23,000 names from every race, religion, and spelling. Among my favorites are babycenter.com’s babyname tools and a cool visual one called NameVoyager from iVillage.

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Explore the sea of names, letter by letter…watch trends rise and fall, and dive in deeper to see your favorite name’s place in the historical tides.

The Baby Name Wizard’s NameVoyager is an interactive portrait of America’s name choices. Start with a “sea” of nearly 5000 names. Type a letter, and you’ll zoom in to focus on how that initial has been used over the past century. Then type a few more letters, or a name. Each stripe is a timeline of one name, its width reflecting the name’s changing popularity. If a name intrigues you, click on its stripe for a closer look.

What makes this tool so useful is you can clearly see (no pun intended) how the popularity of a name has changed of time. John has always been pretty popular but Luther kind of lost popularity since 1900 while Kaylee doesn’t come into use until 1980. Among the names we’re currently batting about is Colvin (or as I first heard it, Colbin)

Colvin, a 2-syllable boy’s name of Anglo-Saxon origin, means: Coal miner.

Other names on the list this week include:

    Aiden – fiery
    Adon – Lord
    Aron – Enlightened
    Benjamin – Son of the right hand
    Calvin – Bald
    Joshua – lord is salvation
    Logan – from the little hollow
    Sean – god’s gracious gift

And then there’s the whole middle name, if you go for that sort of thing.

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11 comments

  • At 8:22 pm on August 15, 2007, Jennifer commented:

    I like Colvin. I haven’t heard it before, but it’s good..you can hear the Old English in it. I like all of ’em, in fact, except maybe Adon, but that’s me ;)
    We had a terrible time with boy names. Since we had four girls, it was probably a good thing that we liked most of the same names there :) Have fun! :)

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  • At 12:19 am on August 16, 2007, sophie commented:

    Freakonomics also has a couple of chapters about baby name trends, in case you are interested. I have no children who required my input into their names. HGowever, I saw my sister name her daughter in about 4 seconds, and then take every bit of the nin months to name her son. The niece and I were ready with “Buster” if nobody else came through. We still call him that on occasion. Best wishes.

    Michele sent me.

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  • At 12:29 am on August 16, 2007, MissMeliss commented:

    I’ve never heard Colvin as a first name before, but I like it….I use babyname sites for character names for fiction, a lot.

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  • At 8:35 am on August 16, 2007, Kelly commented:

    I came across your blog because of the baby name subject. Just wanted to say I too love the Baby Name Voyager. And, since you like it, you should check out Nymbler.com if you haven’t already. It’s a great way to get ideas for new names based on names you like.

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  • At 9:31 am on August 16, 2007, iop commented:

    I’m not so fond of very rare names, or unusual spellings. It’s not really fun if your name always gets misunderstood or misspelled (it can be a real pain with airline tickets). Thus, I prefer Aaron, Sean, Joshua, or Benjamin.

    I like the Baby Name Voyager, though, because I try to avoid names that peaked 10-20 years ago – these will make the baby’s name sound old.

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  • At 9:27 am on August 16, 2007, Radioactive Jam commented:

    If you’re thinking about naming your baby ‘@’ – you’re not alone.

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  • At 4:40 pm on August 16, 2007, archshrk commented:

    I love names like Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Rodan, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Those Zappa kids are so lucky.

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  • At 4:26 pm on August 16, 2007, Wendy commented:

    And if “@” isn’t the name you are looking for, there is also “4Real”, or “Superman”, as this couple opted for when they couldn’t have the latter.

    Couple Name Their Baby Superman

    I mean really, the names parents are giving their kids these days. Unbelievable. I mean, what happen to good old fashion names like River, Rainbow, Liberty, or Moon Zappa, Apple, Peaches, Trixie Fi Fi Belle, etc.

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  • At 5:41 pm on August 16, 2007, Wendy commented:

    And just think, if you give your son a name like Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen, he’ll be the most popular kid in therapy school.

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  • At 5:58 am on August 19, 2007, DinkyInky commented:

    I’m partial to Logan…

    Gee, I wonder why…

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  • At 12:22 am on August 20, 2007, kerrianne commented:

    The name voyager crashed my browser! Hosers.

    I really like Benjamin and Joshua. (Good luck! choosing.)

    [Reply]

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