I’ve been thinking a lot about names lately. I’m going to give all my new dolls their own names so I’ve been working on a list of good ones. I love hunting around for fun names. Babynamer and the social security site are great resources.


Actually I’m always interested in names. Whenever someone has a baby first thing I want to know is what’s the name?! Actually, when I find out someone is pregnant that’s the first thing I want to know. (in the last month or so a Zeke, Sophia, Harper, Violet, Kazia and Nicholas have landed) I find it all so interesting. That’s why the the babynamewizard is one of my favorite sites. Their name news blog is very interesting…and dead on. One trip to the playground will tell you this is right on the money. Another super fun thing on their site is the Name Voyager. I love this toy so much – even if it doesn’t work in my browser of choice. It charts a name’s popularity over the years. My name, Hillary, was not on the chart at all before 1950, peaked in the 80s and has now disappeared. I’m a flash in the pan!


I’m so curious where the name Hillary sprung from in the 1950s. I was named after my Mom’s favorite book when she was a kid – Hilary’s Island. A very obscure book, I doubt that was what inspired a lot of 70s moms.


I loved being a Hillary growing up. Very unusual for me to run into another Hillary. That’s what I was hoping for for Oscar – a unique name that wasn’t too bizarre. It seems to be working out well. I think getting lumped in with the familiar Owens will keep the Oscar the Grouch/Oscar Meyer Weiner connections to the minimum. That, and the fact that kids aren’t really allowed to watch tv anymore.

The name I have picked out for baby boy #2 (if there ever is such a fellow) has been on a steady decline and isn’t on the chart at all for 2003. Even better!

37 thoughts on “naming

  1. amanda says:

    As we’re just gearing up for the adventure of naming our third, I spend A LOT of time on the Name Voyager. Isn’t is so fun? And kinda trippy too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Sarah says:

    I love the Name Voyager! That is so much fun. My name has been on the decline since the 80’s, also. But man was it common when I was born!! I’m sorry to see my current favorite girl’s name is on the rise… Maybe it’s back to the drawing board!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Interesting! My daughter’s name is Miriam (peaked back in 1910 on the Name Voyager), but early on we started calling her Mia…a much more popular name (but one she loves and suits her well). Here in Portland, we know three Oscars, as many Silases, and a gagillion Owens, Kayas, Lilys, Isabelle/as and Avas.

  4. Amanda says:

    Thanks for that link! That’s a great site, I love the graphs. I found that my parents were prescient, they named me just before Amanda became popular.

  5. Daphne says:

    My coworker has an Oscar–5 months old and SUPER CUTE, in case you were wondering–and we work for KCTS, Seattle’s PBS affiliate, so it was definitely gutsy for her. Across the country is a 3-month-old Otis; I like these older, simpler names (no diminutives!).

  6. Leslie says:

    I love the name voyager too — so much fun to just peck in name after name to watch the chart rise and fall. I’ve been using it a lot to choose our wee one’s name . . .we’ve narrowed it down to a few choices, but still no verdict! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. joleen says:

    I love names too! I’ve always loved being “Joleen”. My name is VERY uncommon in Southern CA (more prevelant in the midwest) so I never got mixed up with other kids. Also, my spelling versus “Jolene” is rare which I also love. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. amy k. says:

    well-not only were my 2 other best friends “amys” there were 5(!!!) amys on my soccer team in 5th grade. we all had to use nick-names. mine was mouse. don’t really know why.
    I didn’t really mind being a part of the whole “amy” clan-and are they all crafty?? I think so!

  9. michelle says:

    I LOVE names. Usually I ask people their middle names, and I like to use full names as much as possible. I’m glad my name has never morphed into a nickname for me.

  10. Bettsi says:

    Sometimes an unusual name is a curse. People always want to call me Bettis. (so weird!) My maternal grandmother was Bette and that’s how I came about. When it came time for me to name my daughter, I wanted her to have a name that sounded “adult” so she wouldn’t have a little girl’s name for most of her life. (we picked Carmen)

  11. brandi says:

    My favorites are Oliver and Hadley (after Hemingway’s first wife). I am not sure about having my own children yet, so I’ll have to keep making dolls to give these great names to!

  12. jenn says:

    I know what you mean about different but not too out there…being a jennifer I wanted my kids to have something that wasn’t quite so common. They are Alicia, Brandyn and Caelen.
    I have two friends who have little girls named Hillary. they both told me that they liked Hannah but there seemed to be so many of them that they wanted something a little different. so maybe it is back on the rise!!

  13. friendbunny says:

    robin appears to have been popular for a limited time. interestingly, i didn’t realize that it was AS common a boy’s name as a girl’s. turns out they’re equal. i have an emma and a sadie. i was prescient (nice use of this word amanda;) with emma back in 1995. sadie’s name creates an interesting curve -very wide ‘u’. anyway, thanks for the fun link ~even though i had to dig deep in my applications and drag out explorer. i’ve done little else this afternoon!
    i love that your hubby commented on your blog. i think the sketches are great too.

  14. Tim says:

    I also have a comment on the name Hillary. I have two guesses as to why it might have gotten popular in the 50’s. Eloise was illustrated by Hilary Knight in 1955, and Sir Edmund Hillary finally climbed Mt. Everest in 1953.

  15. Katey says:

    I’m also a big name person. I think it goes hand in hand with my being a word lover. I’m loving the name River for a boy and I’ve always loved Eloise for a girl.

  16. kelly says:

    Thanks for the links – I love the name voyager! I guess my name was quite the trend in the late 60s and early 70s. Although I never had the problems that Amy had, it was certainly never a rare name. Brynne’s name doesn’t show up at all as we have it spelled, but “Brynn” appears as a very recent (2003) name on the chart. We were inspired by the Welsh “Bryn”, which means hill and is apparently a male name in Wales…

  17. Jane says:

    Hil dude, I totally chose Owen as my potential first son’s name years ago. Oscar and Owen really could have rocked the sandbox together just like we used to predict!! That is totally bizarre. I had no idea Owen had become such a trendy name now, but I don’t hang very much with the preschool set.
    Still waiting for my boring-est of boring names to make a big comeback. Just you wait though. Jane is the new black!

  18. susanne says:

    the doll sketches are so sweet!
    i always thought i was the only “susanne”–i still trip out when i meet other susannes. according to my mom my dad was the one who filled out the name thing at the hospital–he can’t spell and that’s how i ended up with an s and not a z.

  19. Vicki says:

    I love that sight. I wasn’t aware of the new formality thing, I haven’t been in a day care in a few years. I planned all my (future) baby’s names with nicknames, I don’t think I could call my cute little baby something formal.

  20. Rebecca says:

    I love love love romantic names from a time gone by. My twin girls names are Abigail (Abby) and Sophia (Sophie). I wanted to name my kids with a grownup name that could be shortened to a cute nickname that wasn’t too nauseating. I hoped that neither of them would be popular and I thought if either of them would be popular it would be Abby, but as it turns out Sophia and Sophie are extremely popular. There was 5 Sophies at a playgroup one day. Oh well. My fictitious second set of twins would be called Lily and Charlotte, but alas they are never to be. One set of twins is enough. I thought my mom picked nice names for me and sisters too. Rebecca, Amelia, Meredith and Amanda.

  21. melissa says:

    Wow; I can’t believe Owen is getting so popular! When we set about naming our kiddo, we couldn’t agree on anything, so we just read through every name in the book until we both had no problems with Owen. I thought it was unusual, without being trendy or tease-inducing. But now it’s trendy? ACK!

  22. carly says:

    Ha! I was just talking to the mums at artclass today about names and how funky they are (Lola, Macy, Leilani, Lily, Stella just to name a few) these days and then someone goes and names their new baby last week, Susan…..mmm…its quite refreshing .. just to have a “normal” name

  23. roxanne says:

    i’ve been fascinated by names as long as i can remember. my name – roxanne – has always been pretty unusual in the US. i was in college before i met another roxanne! i LOVED growing up with an uncommon name. my mother didn’t give me a middle name. her reasoning was that women don’t really use them, since they switch to first name + maiden name + married name after they get married. it may have also been because she got stuck with “cecile” as HER middle name. at the time my son was born, my married name was “robichaux” – his father’s family was cajun french on both sides. we felt very strongly about giving our son a name that fit with his surname and reflected his heritage – so he is named philippe francois.

  24. Cimba says:

    I wish there could be a Name Voyager also for italian names! Though, mine is uncommon, so maybe I wouldn’t find anything however. I did never met another girl with my name till the age of 17. sigh! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Elspeth says:

    Thanks for the link! I’ve always loved names, and even though I had three boys I didn’t get to use any of my lifelong favorites because they were all girls’ names! Also, I find it really weird that “nonstandard” names are popular, since most people have a “normal” name and then don’t name their kids one. I had no idea how popular Owen was, too bad mine is already 2, oh well. Good luck on the doll naming!

  26. Heather says:

    I was named after one of my mom’s favorite stories – unfortunately it was in one of those condensed Reader’s Digest books. But the name is cool. Up until the mid 1980’s I was the only “Heather” I knew – and then all of a sudden every other girl was “Heather. Then came the movie that made my name famous … “Heathers” (how unique!)

  27. Cristina says:

    Have you seen ? Being a first generation American born of Italian parents, I scoured the site to figure out a name for our second boy, but the site has sections on names from many other countries as well. Happy roaming!

  28. Paula says:

    We wanted our daughter to have a name that reflected her heritiage (Scottish, Irish), but that was a little different than other names. We also wanted her name to have meaning. We found the name Caelen in a baby name book. It was a boy’s name, but beautiful. The book said it meant “triumphant” or “powerful warrior”. Caelen is both. We thought there were NO Caelen’s in our small town, until….There is one older than our Caelen; Kaylin and one about the same age, Kailen. Oh well…lol. It Is a great name, though. Her full name is Caelen Ashley Rose. There’s not another one of those!

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