After having taken a close look at the recent release of the Top Baby Names of 2011, I had some fun doing a little bit of research about the names of the Yummy Mummy Club Bloggers. Below are the most popular names among us—Jennifer, Candace, Sarah, Julie, and Kat—followed by the remaining names, in alphabetical order.
Data: Jennifer debuted in the Top 10 in 1966, Top 3 in 1969, and was #1 from 1970 through 1984. It didn’t fall out of the Top 10 until 1992. Jennifer was in the Top 100 names from 1956 through 2008. In 2011, Jennifer was at #134.
Meaning: White, Fair, Smooth
Famous People: Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Connely
At Blissdom Canada last year, out of 300 women, we counted 19 Jennifers among us. It really was the name of our generation.
Data: Sarah debuted in the Top 10 in 1978 and remained in the Top 10 until 2002. Sarah was in the Top 3 in 1993, and in 2011 ranked at #39.
Famous People: Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Ferguson
Data: I have never been in a group with another Candace, until now. Candace has never been in the Top 10 and has never cracked the Top 100, but did come close in 1984, at #101. Candace has not been in the Top 1000 since 2005, at #922.
Famous People: Candace Bergen, Candace Cameron, Candace Bushnell (We hate to be called "Candy.")
Data: Kat has not been recorded among the Top 1000 baby names over the last 100 years. This is on account of it being a short-form of several names, as is the case with our Kats. Kat Inokai is Katalin (Hungarian) and Kat Armstrong is Katrina (Greek).
Origin: Greek (Katherine)
Famous People: Kat Deeley is the host of So You Think You Can Dance, and other than my two fellow YMC Bloggers, she's the one who comes to mind.
Data: Julie was in the Top 10 (at #10) in 1971. In 2011, Julie was #396.
Famous People: Julie Andrews, Jully Black. Also worth noting is Julie Cole, one of the four founders of Mabels Labels.
Ali: Ali Martell
Data: Ali’s full name is Alicia, so we’re going to go with that. Alicia has never been in the Top 10, but cracked the Top 100 in 1972, where it stayed until 1998. In 2011, Alicia was #259.
Meaning: Noble, Exalted
Famous People: Right now, it's making me think of Alicia Florrick, Julianna Margulies' character on The Good Wife.
Amy: Amy Ballon
Data: Amy debuted in the Top 10 in 1969 and was in the Top 3 from 1973 through 1977. In 2011, Amy was #143.
Origin: French and Latin
Famous People: For me, the name Amy always makes me think of half of my favourite singer/songwriter duo—The Indigo Girls' Amy Ray.
Caroline: Caroline Fernandez
Data: Caroline has never cracked the Top 10. The closest it got was #62, in 2001. In 2011, Caroline was #87.
Origin: Old German
Meaning: Free man
Famous People: Of course, this name makes me think of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline." Sing it with me—bah, bah, bah.
Catherine: Catherine Jackson
Data: Catherine has not made it to the Top 10. The closest it got was #18, in 1914. In 2011, Catherine was #161.
Fun Facts: The name may also have been derived from Hecate, the Greek Goddess of Magic. Catherine is the name of several queens and saints, including Catherine The Great and three of Henry the VIII's six wives. Modern day famous Catherines include Catherine Zeta-Jones and Katherine Hepburn. Not bad, eh?
Consuelo: Consuelo Berardi
Data: Not surprising, Consuelo has not made the Top 10 either. The closest it got was #339, in 1930. Consuelo hasn’t been in the Top 1000 since 1983, when it was #917.
Meaning: Solace, Hope, Consolation
Fun Facts: Fun facts for this one were hard to find, so I asked Consuelo how she got her name.
"The week before my mom had me, she was watching a movie on TV about a princess in Spain—her name was Consuelo. No one in my family had ever heard of that name—not traditional first born Italian name for 1973. Then years later, when we were cleaning out my grandmother's attic, my mom found an old shoe box with old family photos. On the back of one of the old B&W pictures, there was a woman standing in a field. On the back of the photo it said 'Consuelo.' So, I had a great-great-cousin who was named Consuelo!"
Dan: Dan Thompson
Data: For the past 100 years, Daniel has been in the Top 100 baby names. Daniel made its first appearance in the Top 10 in 1976, then fell to #11 until 1981, when it was back on the Top 10 list. Daniel has not been below #12 since 1972, but has never been in the Top 3. In 2011, Daniel was #10.
Meaning: God is my judge
Fun Facts: Elton John's song, "Daniel," was written in 1973 by Elton John and his writing partner, Bernie Taupin. It went to #2 on the pop charts and #1 on the adult contemporary charts. It is one of my favourite songs. Also, I went to summer camp with no less than six Daniels. We called them each by their last names.
Danielle: Danielle Botterell
Data: Danielle has never been in the Top 10. The closest it got was in 1997, at #14. In 2011, Danielle was #207.
Origin: Hebrew and French
Meaning: God is my judge
Fun Facts: In 1971, Danielle broke through to the Top 100 most popular baby names, where it remained until 2004. For 11 of those 33 years, it was in the Top 20.
Dara: Dara Duff-Bergeron
Data: Dara has never been in the Top 10. The closest it got was #486, in 1980. Dara hasn’t been in the Top 1000 since 1993, when it was #953.
Origin: Many (see trivia below)
Meaning: Many (see trivia below)
Fun Facts: Hebrew meaning: "nugget of wisdom"; Cambodian meaning: "star"; Irish meaning: "oak tree"; Gaelic meaning: "second"; Persian meaning: "prosperous."
Emily: Emily Chung
Data: Emily debuted in the Top 10 in 1991 and has been there ever since. Emily was in the Top 3 from 1994 through 2008, and was #1 from 1996 through 2007. In 2011, Emily was #6.
Meaning: To Strive, Excel, or Rival
Famous People: Poet Emily Dickinson, Author Emily Bronte, Indigo Girls' Emily Sailers, actresses Emily Watson and Emily Blunt.
Erica: Erica Ehm
Data: Erica has never been in the Top 10. The closest that it got was #31, in 1986 through 1988. In 2011, Erica was #481.
Meaning: Ever Powerful, Ruler of the People
Famous People: As per the above meaning, Erica Ehm—famous as Canada's first female VJ on MuchMusic—is the creator and publisher of Yummy Mummy Club.
Gav: Gav Martell
Data: Gav's given name is Gabriel (Gavriel in Hebrew, and his nickname is Gav). Gabriel has never cracked the Top 10, but has made it as far as #21, in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, Gabriel was #24.
Meaning: God's Able-bodied One or Hero of God
Famous People: Whenever I hear this name, I always think of Peter Gabriel!
Kim: Dr. Kim Foster
Data: Kimberly was in the Top 10 from 1964 through 1977. In 2011, Kimberly was #67.
Meaning: Regal Hill
Famous People: Kim Kardashian, Kim Cattrall, Kim Basinger, Lil' Kim
Krista: Krista Swanson
Data: Krista (also spelled Christa) has never been in the Top 10, and the closest it has come was #136, in 1970. Christa fell off the Top 1000 in 2008, when it was #893.
Origin: Eastern European
Meaning: Follower of Christ
Fun Facts: This is one of those names that we often see with varied spellings, including Krista, Christa, and Krysta.
Lisa: Lisa Thornbury
Data: Lisa debuted on the Top 10 in 1959, was #1 from 1962 through 1969, and remained in the Top 10 through 1976. In 2011, Lisa was #703.
Meaning: God's Promise
Famous People: Lisa Bonet, Lisa Kudrow, and, of course, THE Mona Lisa.
Loukia: Loukia Zigoumis
Data: Sorry, Loukia, according to the US Social Security Adminstration, Loukia has never cracked the Top 1000 baby names.
Meaning: from the male Loukas, meaning "from Loukiana"—an Italian region. Also for Luke, one of the Evangelists.
Fun Facts: When you Google "Loukia," our very own Loukia—@MrsLouLou—comes up on the first page.
Maija: Maija Moments
Data: Maija, spelled this way, has never been in the Top 1000, but the more popular spelling—Maya—got close in 2009, at #61. In 2011, Maya was #64.
Origin: Many (see trivia below)
Meaning: Many (see trivia below)
Fun Facts: In Hindu philosophy, Maya means "Illusion"; in Hebrew it's short for "Ma-ayan," meaning "brook"; in Persian it means "generous"; in an Arabian or Indo-Pak context, it means "honourable matriarch"; in Greek mythology, Maya was the mother of Hermes. When spelled with a 'J,' it is of European descent. This is only a selection of the meanings and origins of the name Maya.
Marc: Marc Saltzman
Data: Marc hasn’t made it to the Top 10. The closest it got was #60, in 1970. In 2011, Marc was #574. The more traditional 'Mark' debuted on the Top 10 in 1955, where it remained until 1970. In 2011, Mark was #159.
Meaning: Dedicated to Mars
Famous People: Mark Twain, Mark Wahlberg, Marc Jacobs
Maureen: Maureen Turner
Data: Maureen has never been in the Top 10. The closest it got was in 1948, when it was #88 (then #89 for the next two years). In 1997, it was Maureen’s last year in the Top 1000, when it was #938.
Origin: Irish and Gaelic
Meaning: Star of the Sea
Trivia: Maureen O'Sullivan was Jane to Tarzan in 6 Tarzan movies between 1932 and 1942. Maureen from now on, Me Candace, you Jane.
Natalie: Natalie Richard
Data: Natalie has never been in the Top 10. It got close in 2008, at #13. In 2011, Natalie was still close at #14.
Meaning: Birthday, as in the Birth day of Christ
Famous People: Natalie Wood, Natalie Portman
Ryan: Ryan Durrell
Data: Ryan has never been in the Top 10, but came close at #11 in 1986, 1990, and 1991. In 2011, Ryan was #25.
Fun Facts: Ryan is becoming increasingly popular as a girl's name.
Sharon: Sharon DeVellis
Data: Sharon was in the Top 10 in 1943 through 1949. In 2011, Sharon was #823.
Meaning: Fertile Plain, from the Bible—refers to the flat land at the foot of Mount Carmel.
Famous People: Sharon Stone and Sharon Osborne (if you listen to the voice in your head right now, you can hear Ozzie bellowing for her).
Susie: Susie Moshenberg
Data: Susie has never been in the Top 10. The closest that it got was #120, in 1912. Susie was last in the Top 1000 at #944, in 1988. Susan, however, was in the Top 10 from 1945 through 1968, and was in the Top 3 from 1957 through 1964. In 2011, Susan was #781.
Origin: Hebrew (Susan)
Fun Facts: The phrase "Suzy Homemaker" has its roots in a line of functional, battery-run doll accessories, from the mid 1960s, that included an oven, vacuum cleaner, washing machine, blender, and hairdryer. The term became so popular that it is now used to describe the stereotypical housewife. The Suzy Homemaker Doll was second only to Barbie in popularity, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Trina: Dr. Trina Read
Data: Trina has not made it to the Top 100, but made it as far as #172, in 1970 and 1971. Trina last appeared on the Top 1000 list in 1990, at #917.
Fun Facts: Our Trina is a sex coach and sexologist, and at the moment, I'm amused to learn that her name means purity. In the words of Alanis Morissette, "Isn't it ironic? Don't you think? A little too ironic. Yeah, I really do think."
Wanda: Wanda Lynne Young
Data: Wanda has never been in the Top 1000 baby names. The closest it came was #47, in 1934. Wanda hasn’t been in the Top 1000 since 1990, when it was #979.
Fun Facts: Before I met Wanda, I would have referenced the movie A Fish Called Wanda. Now, seeing the meaning of her name, I think of her wandering the aisles of the bookstore, in search of the next great book to read, recommend, and discuss.
So, there you have it. To every name there is data, origin, meaning, and stories. I hope that I might have shared something new. If y'all have anything to add, I'd love to hear it.
May marks the release of the Top Baby Names, according to the data collected by US Social Security Administration. There is not a Canadian equivalent available of this data, but given the close relation of our culture, I’m quite confident that the results would be similar.
I see baby names every day and some days, weeks, and months, I note that some are more popular than others, and the popularity of some names grow while others fade. The Top 10 Baby Names, according to the US Social Security Administration, held few surprises for me.
So, like I said, there were few surprises, but that’s not to say that there were none. Mason broke into the Top 10 this year (last year it was at #12). There might be some weight given to the popularity of the name owed to the Kardashians. Kourtney Kardashian named her son Mason at the end of 2009 and since we hear so much about the Kardashians, the name Mason might have just squeezed its way into the subconscious of new parents. Chloe has been in Top 10 since 2008 and it might interest you to note that Chloe with a K cracked the Top 50 in 2010. Keeping Up With The Kardashians premiered in 2007.
I wanted to take a closer look at a few of the Top 10 Baby Names and found some interesting statistics:
Michael debuted on the Top 10 in 1943 and has not left the list since then. From 1954 through 2010, Michael has been in the Top 3. This year it fell to 6th place.
Jacob first appeared in the Top 10 in 1993 and has been in the Top 3 since 1996.
The boy names seem to have a longer staying power on these Top 10 lists than the girl names do. Sophia debuted in the Top 10 in 2006 and cracked the Top 3 in 2009. Isabella first appeared on the Top 10 in 2004 and has been in the Top 3 since 2007.
I wanted to note that there are a few names that through my business—Name Your Tune, where we make personalized CDs for children—I have seen gaining popularity. While they might not be on the Top 10 lists, some of the names that we are seeing a lot of lately include:
Isaac, Kayden, Austin, Gabriel, Benjamin.
Isla, Charlotte, Maya, Hannah, Evelyn, Addison.
Did you consider these lists of popular names when you were choosing your baby's name? Did you decide to keep or toss a name from your own list of names, because they are on these lists?
For the Wackiest Baby Names of 2011, click here.
Social Media provides a space for me to work and play. I have always seen it as an open field—an opportunity throughout the course of my day, evening, or insomnia-laden night to meet, discuss, source, promote, and learn. One of the first people that I ‘met’ on Twitter was Samantha Ettus (@SamanthaEttus). Samantha is a leader and expert on personal branding and working moms. I was drawn in by her tweets, which led me to her blog, and we would connect on Twitter to check in and say hello.
Late one night, trying to get to sleep, I was flipping channels on the TV—as I frequently do to get my mind to quiet down—and there she was! It was the premiere episode of Rosie Pope’s show on Bravo, Pregnant in Heels. Samantha was pregnant with her third baby—her first son—and the episode was centered around choosing the perfect name for her baby. She and her husband came up with a list of 'rules' that included: easy to spell, not too popular, not decorative, not starting with E or R (as her daughters' already do), and not ending in the letter S. What followed was a production that included a focus group of various experts in different fields, a dinner party to vet the short-list, and some serious talk about what her son’s name would say to the world about her, her family, and how it would set him up for life.
I had a chance to sit down with Samantha to talk through her thoughts and experience searching for a name on reality TV.
Candace: Your baby's name as a brand and a first impression—I love this. What were some of your 'rules' and 'wants' when you were choosing a name?
Samantha: A child is subject to whatever name their parents choose, and common sense and studies show that a name strikes a first impression. Whether on a resume or Twitter, we make assumptions based on a name. For that reason, we didn't just use a dart board to choose our children's names. We didn't want our children to spend their lives spelling their first names for people, and we wanted to give them names that were somewhat universally liked.
Was choosing baby #3's name different than 1 and 2? Was it different because he was a he and your first two are girls?
We had gone over the top in naming our first two children, Ella and Ruby, so my husband and I felt pressure to think of what we could do that we hadn't done before. That was where the Bravo show came into play. Baby naming is a challenge, but an important one. It is one of the few parenting decisions that lasts a lifetime, and there are remarkably few tools to help you, unless you are following a fixed set of traditions or picking from the top 10 list.
You are a Branding Expert, with a book on the baby years—did you really need a focus group and a dinner party to poll your friends, or was that all for the show?
We came up with the idea for the focus group and the think tank, and the producers ate it up. It was hard for us to come up with any naming things we hadn't already done on our own. With our first baby, we sat around the pool asking friends all summer which names they liked and didn't like. We had mixed our favourites and least favourites in advance, without revealing which was which, so that they would be honest. With our second baby, we read 14,000 baby names out loud to each other on the beach, so that we left no stone unturned. We are passionate and like to go over the top with a fun topic, like baby naming.
In the end, you went with Bowen Asher, a name that both Rosie's focus group and dinner party didn't favour.
How did you get there?
We did put a lot of weight on what our friends thought and what the think tank thought. As for the focus group, they loved the name Steve, which hasn't been used for a new baby in years. Once they fell in love with Steve, we knew these were not our peeps. There is a lag in adapting to a name you haven't heard before. What you didn’t see, two of the experts in the think tank e-mailed us after the taping to say that Bowen had emerged as their first choice!
Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author and media personality, passionate about coaching and advising working moms. Samantha hosts a nationally syndicated radio show for working moms and writes a blog for Forbes Woman. She has made over 1,000 TV appearances and speaks regularly to working moms around the country. You can find her on Twitter at @SamanthaEttus and her blog at Forbes.