For the 12th year running, the name Jack is still the most popular name for boys, proving that traditional, rather than trendy, names are still top of the tots.
According to National Statistics Online, the incredibly popular boy’s name was given to an astounding 6,928 male babies in 2006, while Olivia knocked Jessica off the top spot for girls’ names.
The continued preference for traditional over trendy is backed by babyworld’s own community poll, which shows that two-thirds of members would choose a more old-fashioned name over something bizarre that a celebrity might have dreamed up.
When asked to comment on this, babyworlders came forth in their droves to explain why.
“If pushed, I’d much rather have a daughter called Grace, Olivia or Jessica than Demi-Lea, Chantelle/Charmaine/Chloe or anything with Taylor or Jade in it,” said Morag. “I think trendy names really date a child and can quickly go out of fashion; how many babies nowadays do you see called Sharon or Tracey, and those were hugely popular in the 70s and early 80s?
I have been looking into my family tree and some of the names that were around in the 1800s are lovely: Harriet, Florence, Ellen, Joseph, William and James.”
While babyworldersweren’t so keen on the imaginative names some celebrities gave their children last year, the idea behind them was often applauded. Immy was unique in saying that she actually liked the name chosen by ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell for her daughter - Bluebell – while Anna Baria, whose youngest daughter is called Poppy, thinks names that reflect natural are an apt choice. “I love nature names and it is so much easier for girls because they can carry off more girly, feminine names and can also be called ‘things’ like flowers, colours etc as well as ordinary names, whereas with boys it just doesn’t work.”
Many parents agree with this statement, reflected in the fact that such names as Daisy, Poppy and Lily all appear in the top 30.
Fit for a prime minister?
Perhaps the decision to stick to traditional and, therefore, safe names stems out of consideration for a child’s future professional welfare. One common concern that worries modern mums is whether their child’s name would appropriate for a position of respect or authority. Countless times this has been cited as a reason for rejecting a very ‘wacky’ or even a shortened name, for example.
“We were going to call Ben just Ben but on the day we registered his birth we decided to make it Benjamin just in case he wanted to be a prime minister or something!” explained Bev, while Vic queries, ”Who can say that they see a future PM called Mercedes, China or Kai?”
Claire thinks opting for more ‘cutesy’ names is just plain selfish and unfair on your offspring in years to come. “If you want to call your cute little toddler Alfie or Millie, fine, but what about if they would rather go by Alfred or Millicent when they are 45 and a judge? They won’t always be yours.”
While this might seem a little alarmist, it appears to hold water in the recruitment world, as Maria testified, “I always think how their name would look on a CV. I know when I used to recruit, we definitely made assumptions based on their names. You can assume an amazing amount from a name.”
The name says it all
But just what can you infer from a name? Certainly, traditionally names have been used to represent personality traits or to represent times of the year or emotions. Some parents hope that, by giving their child a symbolic name they might be able to confer its meaning onto their offspring (in which case (unintentionally I might add), my daughter would definitely match the ‘prickly’ nature of Holly).
But it also seems that children can almost be characterised by the name their parents gave them at birth, as babyworld member Spiderkitten revealed to us.
“I noticed when I was supply teaching that if the register contained lots of Victorias, Olivers, Jacks (normally at least three per class), Olivias, Emilys, etc, I would usually be in for an easy day. However, if it was full of Ambers, Keelies, Ryans, Reeces, etc, I would have a harder time.”
Immy, who also taught in the same area as Spiderkitten, also found this to be the case. “Seeing a few Ryans, Reeces, Keelys, Kyles or Braydens on the class list is enough to make your blood run cold. Also, what is it with porno names for little girls? Shakereahs, Deneeshays, etc. What awful names to be lumbered with.”
Babyworlderswere also keen to avoid names that might infer their child is a ‘chav’, as belle86 said, “I tend to lean towards traditional names: a strong name that will not cause a child any embarrassment, will not date, will not label them a chav and will suit them whether they grow up to be a barmaid or a barrister.”
Common as muck?
While wacky names were definitely out of favour with the vast majority of our members, commonplace names weren’t popular with everyone either. Kelly summed it up nicely in her post on the subject.
“The names we’ve picked have been very traditional (and possibly old fashioned?): Rosie, Oscar, Jacob and Elijah. I’m not a huge fan of ‘trendy’ baby names but, by the same token, I’m also not a fan of people using really common names.
It amazes me that so many people are still using the name Jack for their babies, not because I dislike the name itself but because it’s been the most used name in the country for over a decade. Perhaps that doesn’t bother people though?
“For me, I didn’t want names so common that the children ended up with two other children in their class with the same name. The most common name we picked was Jacob, which seems to have had a surge in popularity. I would never have chosen names in the top ten.”