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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bob is going the way of the Dodo

Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2008, at 9:40 AM

Does anybody ever name their kids Bob -- or Bill -- or John -- anymore?

What happened to all those old, traditional names?

Around here it's almost impossible to proof an honor roll list, or any other list of kid's names, anymore, because the names and spellings are so strange we don't have a clue if they're right or wrong.

Every year, shortly after Mother's Day, the Social Security Administration sends out a list of the top five boys and top five girls names as recorded for new social security cards. On this year's list were:

Boys -- 1) Jacob; 2) Ethan; 3) Logan; 4) Isaac; 5) Michael.

Girls -- 1) Emma; 2) Emily; 3) Olivia; 4) Hannah; 5) Abigail.

I'm not sure what's in those "baby name" books, but apparently Bob, Bill and John, Jane, Sally and Susan, aren't included anymore.

My grandchildren are named Kade, Kaylah, Kyler, Damien and Rowen. Not a Bob in the bunch.

I have some friends who named their daughter Shyla. And I know two other Kylers. I know a Krystn, a Krystl, a Stevhn and a Robyn. I used to know a guy whose name was merely T. No abbreviation. No period. Just the letter T. I wouldn't be surprised to see the old name Kay become simply K.

Apparently, "a rose by any other name" would today be spelled Ros. Or maybe just Rs.

Today, it seems like people have to find a unique spelling for old names. Or maybe they just can't spell any more. What with all the abbreviations and truncated words used by kids text messaging these days, I have no idea what the next generation of names will be -- but it scares me.

The old Jane Doe will probably be spelled Jayn, and John Smith will be Jon. Or Jhn. Vowels seem to be disappearing and y is replacing i in a lot of names.

I notice from the list that three of the boys names all come from the Bible. That's sort of a refreshing trend. One hundred years ago, the Bible was the basic "baby name book" but then people got away from that and started digging into ethnic heritage names, which resulted in some beautiful if unusual names, especially among those with African heritages.

And of course among those with Hispanic heritages lengthy, multiple names are common. A person can have several surnames and even several family names that they use.

Sometimes, the nature of a name changes over the years. My name is based on my Irish heritage, and when I was born, it was a boy's name. Today, it's a girl's name and I constantly get junk mail and spam e-mail addressed to Ms. Kelly Everitt.

Each year as we do the graduation edition there are always kids whose legal names are the ones on their school record, but they haven't used them in years and instead use some other family name, typically one that comes from a blended family. They haven't changed their legal name, but they honor the family they live in.

But while I rail against the overindulgence in imagination for today's kid's names, sometimes a lack of imagination seems to take hold with some people as well. I suppose being given the same name as your father and becoming a "junior" is OK, but how many of those kids are going to wind up being known into their 80s as "Junior." And being Albert the III, IV or V, seems to really lack some imagination -- or maybe pretensions of royalty. Have you ever noticed how that only seems to happen with male names, never female? It's almost a throwback to the days when only the male line had any real status.

And then there's the people who try to get a little too cute with names. In college I dated a girl named Shanda Lear. And we all know the three car-dealer-owning Wolf brothers in the Treasure Valley -- Lone, Grey and Timber.

A long time ago I worked in Iowa and there was a story covered by the paper I worked at about some people, members of the Pigg family, who named their girls Ima and Ura. I'm not kidding. Frankly, they should have been taken out and shot for doing that to those kids. I strongly suspect the moment those kids turned 18, they had their names changed. Or they married quickly.

You need to really think about the name you give your children. Remember, it's not for you. It's for them, and it's a moniker they're going to have to live with for the rest of their lives.

So let's hear it for good old Bob (or would that be Bb?). A name that's appears destined to go the way of the Dodo.


Comments
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I agree with you so much about names! I grew up with a what was a boy's name in our part of the country -- not used around the house or with distant family members.

But it was used at school, and later as an Air Force spouse, causing all kinds of pain and bother. (Ever try to explain to the Air Force that your two-word name is the result of your mother's dream while she was carrying you? So what if part of it is a male name.)

I even, back in the 60's, got a draft notice. Somehow my father went down and solved that one.

Later on, traveling with my children to join my husband at an overseas assignment, it was assumed by all the officials we met up with that my tall elder son was the military person traveling, that his mother and his younger brothers were his dependents...

Our own granddaughter has a lovely name, but it is unusual, and impossible to spell just upon hearing it spoken.

I always wished my name were Elizabeth.

-- Posted by senior lady on Wed, May 28, 2008, at 10:22 AM

In our family at least as far as 4 generations, the "tradition" for girls has been to have the first born girls name start with M and the middle name to be Arlene. It would be nice if my daughter continues the same thing with her daughter if she has one someday.

-- Posted by just1 on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 11:23 PM


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