Names not the same, state to state

There’s this website to which I subscribe, before it became a paid site. A recent email reads:

“Since 2010, 71% of babies named ‘Morrissey’ have been born in California (Californians really love the Smiths). Over the same period, 62 of the 99 babies born ‘Krymson’ entered the world in Alabama (where delivery rooms echo with shouts of ‘Roll Tide!’).

“These findings come to us through a rabbit hole of a query, which scours the latest Social Security Administration data for names where more than 50% of births are from a given state. Want to know which baby names are most characteristic of your state?”

There are an amazing 263 names for which at least half the people so named in the country were from the Empire State. Forty-eight names ONLY show up in New York, such as Trany (89 times) and Ruchel (82). Then there are those names that predominate here, such as Frimet (116 out of 118), Brucha (114 of 116), and Chany (337 of 344).

Other large absolute numbers: Malky (603 of 635), Gitty (714 of 805), Faigy (668 of 754), Raizy (556 of 628), and Yakov (548 of 707).

I figured California might have a lot of qualifying names; there were 63. It had eight names only found in the Golden State, including all seven of the people named Hovik. Also Hayk(85 of 100), Narek (111 of 153), Armen (108 of 174), and Curren (107 of 208).

Hawaii has 33 names where it predominates, including all 8 folks named Kiai and Kuhao, 31 of the 34 people named Hilinai. Mahina (85 of 143) and Nainoa (87 of 126) are well represented.

All 6 persons named Sanjuanita are in Texas, with a total of 28 names on the list. Other names specific to the Lone Star State: Brazos (89 of 98), Kinsler (181 of 247), Roel (252 of 369), and Debanhi (124 of 202).

Pennsylvania has 8 names listed, including Khayr (all 5), Coopar (13 of 14), and the distinctly Amish name Benuel (95 of 136).

All the 6 New Jersey names listed have between 50.5% and 57.6% of the country, including Brocha (74 of 134), Avrohom (344 of 663), and Binyomin (133 of 263).

The 5 Illinois names noted are Szymon (79 of 113), Augustas (5 of 8), Oliwia (44 of 82), Zuzanna (112 of 219), and
Kacper (165 of 325).

Two of the four Florida names are very similar: Dawens (6 of 7), Juvens (11 of 14), Marvens (84 of 118) and Marvins (10 of 19).

The three names from Louisiana: Jamyri (all 6), Jarden (5 of 8), and Amyri (44 of 82).

Massachusetts prefers Joaolucas (6 of 8) and Mariaeduarda (37 of 69).

These states had only one special name each. Arizona – Ariza (191 of 231); Georgia – Zyquavious (6 of 10); Iowa -Kinnick (202 of 257); Maryland – Khodee (5 of 8); Minnesota – Hudaifa (5 of 5); Missouri – Petie (5 of 5); Oregon -Autzen (6 of 8); Tennessee – Neyland (151 of 192); Utah – Korver (52 of 90).

Why I find this fascinating, besides the fact that the information exists at all, is that it is a reflection of the familial, ethic and social fabric of a given location.

The database also can track the most gender-neutral name of the decade. With Rooney, a baby with this name is only 0.29% more likely to be a baby girl than a baby boy. Other gender-neutral names include Clarke, Amory, and Cypress.

K is for Known As, Formerly

The Artist Formerly Known As PrinceI’m always interested in things that used to be called something else.

Retronyms are words that evolve because technology changes. There used to be things called guitars; then electric guitars were invented, so guitars became acoustic guitars. Clocks became analog clocks when digital clocks came on the scene. Before minicomputers appeared in the 1970s, all computers were what are now called mainframe computers.

Then there are political reasons for change. “Even old New York was once New Amsterdam, ” the song ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’ tells us; there are thousands of changes like this; in my lifetime, many took place in Africa with decolonialization. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Idlewild Airport became JFK; Cape Canaveral became Cape Kennedy, but, interestingly, changed back!

One singer changed his name Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 106: What’s in a name?

Cheri at Idle Chatter was answering some quiz. One question was: “What are your favorite boy/girl baby names?” Fact is that, prior to my wife getting pregnant ten years ago this coming summer, I hadn’t given it much thought. I suppose some people fantasize about having children and make lists. For me, though, I was 50, hadn’t had a child, might not have a child, so it wasn’t anything I really considered.

As it turned out, it became more about rules, primarily my rules, negative rules Continue reading

Mother’s Day: The name’s the same

Before my wife and I got married, I was quite neutral about whether my bride-to-be would change her last name to mine. I wasn’t planning to change my name to hers, and it was HER name, and she had had it for a while, so whatever she decided was fine. (Although I was REALLY hoping she wouldn’t opt for the hyphenated choice; after a while, when Mary Smith-Wesson marries John Smith-Jones, and she -or they – become the Smith-Wesson=Smith-Jones family, it can get cumbersome.)

In fact, it was my future mother-in-law Continue reading

G is for Gertrude

My grandmother was born Gertrude Elizabeth Yates on August 10. For the longest time, we all, i.e. her daughter and her family, thought she was born in 1898, which I found easy to remember: the Spanish-American War was that year. But one day in the 1960s, she decided, or was persuaded, to register to vote. And we were surprised to discover that she was in fact born in 1897. Why had she lied about this fact for so many years, we never knew.
My mother was born Gertrude Elizabeth Williams on November 17, 1927. The younger Gertrude was called Gertie by her family. Turns out, she HATED being Gertie, and, at some point before I was born, became Trudy. Only some of her cousins still referred to her as Gertie.

I’m fascinated how some names somehow get dubbed as “old-fashioned.” Continue reading

The Lydster: Part 74: No Isabella Green

VERY early on in this blog, I delineated the rules for naming the daughter. Primary among them: “No name in the top 10 in the Social Security list of most popular baby names for the most recent year available, which was then 2002.

Note: Rank 1 is the most popular, rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth. Name data are from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States.

Among the names that were under consideration were these:
Continue reading