Thursday, February 21, 2008

A [more] Modest Proposal

This morning there was this "news" item on my homepage about the Top 25 Baby Names in Canada. I was happy to see that the trend of naming children after soap opera characters (Cole, Drake, Erika Kane, Patch) , cities (Paris, Dallas, Sydney, Dr. Detroit) , and strippers (Krystal, Tiffany, Britney, Chelsea) has greatly diminished. This year also marks the first time they've listed all the alternative spellings for a given name. Here's the list... pink for girls, blue for boys.

Top 25 Baby Names in Canada (2008):
1 Emma / Mathew/Mathieu/Matthew/Matthieu
2 Emily/Emilee/Emilie/Émilie / Jacob/Jakob/Jakub
3 Sarah/Sara / Ethan
4 Olivia / Alexander/Alexandre/Alexzander
5 Madison/Maddison/Madisen/Madisyn/Madyson / Nathan/Nathen
6 Hannah/Hana/Hanna /William
7 Megan/Meagan/Meaghan/Megane/Meghan / Nicolas/Nicholas/Nickolas/Nikolas
8 Abbigail/Abbigale/Abbygail/Abigail/Abigale/Abigayle /Joshua
9 Chloe/Chloé/Chloë/Cloe/Kloé / Zack/Zachary/Zachery/Zackary/Zackery/Zakary/Zakery
10 Hailee/Hailie/Hailey/Haleigh/Haley/Halle/Hallie/Haylee/Haylie/Hayley /Samuel
11 Jessica/Jessika / Ryan
12 Julia / Noah
13 Grace / Benjamin
14 Sophia/Sofia/Sofiya /Michael/Michaël/Micheal/Mickael/Mikael
15 Isabela/Isabella/Izabella / Justin
16 Maya/Maia/Maiya/Mayah / Aidan/Aiden/Aden/Aedan/Aidin/Aidyn/Aydan/Ayden/Aydin
17 Lauren/Lauryn / Tomas/Thomas
18 Elisabeth/Elizabeth / Liam
19 Victoria/Viktoria / Lucas/Lukas
20 Rachael/Rachel / Daniel
21 Samantha / Owen
22 Kaitlin/Kaitlyn/Kaitlynn/Katelyn/Katelynn / Logan
23 Ava/Ayva / Dillan/Dillon/Dylan/Dylon
24 Alissa/Allyssa/Alysa/Alyssa / Anthony
25 Lea/Leah / Adam

I've always been fascinated with the many remarkable and fucked-up ways a parent can choose to spell or pronounce their child's name. Perhaps it's done to give some "originality" to a traditional name, but speaking as a person who grew up with a name that no one could spell or pronounce, I'm here to say they're not doing their kid any favours. They'll just spend most of their childhood correcting everyone, answering to some name that's sorta-like-their-name-but-not-really, and inevitably grow up to be a real dickhead about anything to do with their name:

"Uh, yeah, it's not TAN-ya, is TON-ya. And you spell it T-A-H-N-Y-A-G-H. "

OK sure. I'll get right on that, Tanya.

So this list is proof that in a mass quest for originality, society generally lacks the ability to be original. Sure, there's still moniker mavericks out there who toss around names like Apple and Moon Unit, but these people are celebrities and their offspring will eventually have to compete for media face-time with Shiloh and Lourdes, so I guess they gotta step it up.

I propose that any parent-to-be who's looking for an original baby name need look no further than 100 years ago, to the Top 25 Baby Names of 1908.

It's interesting to see that people used to name their babies after senior citizens. And notice how there's just that one way to spell the damn name. Ah, simpler times.

Top 25 Baby Names in Canada (1908):
1. Mary / John
2. Helen / William
3. Margaret / James
4. Ruth / George
5. Anna / Robert
6. Dorothy / Joseph
7. Elizabeth / Charles
8. Mildred / Frank
9. Alice / Edward
10. Marie / Thomas
11. Florence / Henry
12. Ethel / Walter
13. Lillian / Willie
14. Frances / Henry
15. Gladys / Albert
16. Rose / Arthur
17. Edna / Harold
18. Louise / Paul
19. Grace / Clarence
20. Evelyn / Fred
21. Annie / Raymond
22. Catherine / Louis
23. Irene / Richard
24. Hazel / Ernest
25. Gertrude / Ralph

Because the world needs more Ethels.


The Guv'ner said...

Hahaha, dude really. Some of the names I come across are retarded. Mackenzie is bad enough for your kid but Myckynzye? HELLO, BUY A VOWEL! If you're going to give a kid a name spell it properly and stop fannying around with alternative ways you theoretically COULD spell it.
"Hi my name is Madison, spelled F.U.C.K.O.F.F."

one of my fave sites is THIS which I'm sure you've seen at some point. I read that entire site of names and almost ruptured my innards from guffawing. Honestly, it's freaking hilarious.

Snort at people in the past naming their kids after seniors. HEEEEE! :)

Chris said...

My grandmother's name was Wanda Elfreida. No one knows where her middle name (Elfreida) came from... (Oh, I'm sure someone knows, but I don't.)

Blank Field said...

What if they took those two lists and decreed that if your name was on it, you could only marry a member of the opposite sex whose name was ranked the same?

My favorite names are the twins, Ureter and Urethra.

katrocket said...

Guv: Yes, I do find too many Y's in a name is rather distracting. Whatever happened to the "sometimes Y" rule? People - you're only supposed to use it "sometimes"!

Chris: That's a fabulous old school name for grandma. We call my grandma Delores Dorcas Regalbird Winkworth. I have no idea if that is actually her real name. I call her Diane.

Bert: I'm rooting for the Lillian/Willie combo. Lillie & Willie sounds kinds dirty.

pistols at dawn said...

I do like the fact that there are no Ruths under 50, and so forth, the same way there are no Chads over 40.

Then again, there's been a real drop in dudes with girl's names.

Bluzlover said...

I think if you don't want a particular name, chances are our child doesn't eitehr. My niece named her daughters, Heaven, Destiny and then Lusha! I wanted to slap my niece. The doctor who did my vasectomy was Peter Poor, honestly. I really like the African American naming principal, you take a name and add "Le" to the beginning, or "isha" to the end. Think about it.

Leonesse said...

Don't forget that perennial favorite, Hortense.

For my son I picked a name that wasn't NEAR the top of the list.

Oh, and how about my old neighbor Mykk. That would be Mike. WTF?

katrocket said...

Pistols: I know many young women named Ruth. I also know Baby Ruth a little better than I probably should.

Bluzlover: Wouldn't it suck if your name was "Heaven" or "Destiny", but you didn't believe in the existence of heaven or destiny?

Leonesse: Did ya call the boy "Simba"?

Dale said...

Haha, ask me what my mother's name is. No, don't.

The Guv'ner said...

My dad's name was HERBERT. Try to wrestle with that for a second. And people wonder why the dude ended up a little too fond of gin. As soon as he left school he went by "Bert" which he told people was short for Robert. I knew him as Robert as did my mum. I loved my grandparents dearly but calling your kid Herbert is all kinds of fucked up.

Heh, I hope Mr. Bananas isn't a Herbert, although in his case it would suit his quirkiness.

Grant Miller said...

If we have another daughter she will be named "Katrocket."

Leonesse said...

I have on Blogger!

Sid said...

I have a traditional name that is spelt very originally. Very one f*cks up my name. I usually just tell ppl to call me Sid. No one can f*ck that up.

Catherinette Singleton said...

The world could also use some more Ruths. We don't have enough Ruths anymore.

Plus when the kids are still little we can call them Baby Ruths and then laugh and laugh at them. You know, get them ready to be mocked for the rest of their lives like anyone with the name of Ruth clearly should be.

doorknob_dan said...


Blow me Canada. I;m outta this joint. I'm moving somewhere where people think the name Daniel is more awesome.

Gnugs said...

As a matter of fact, I can honestly say that Elisabeth is one of the worst. (Especially topped with a last name with 2 'gn's in it.) That Damn 'Z' substitute teachers, and assanign choral directors would add to it, made me cringe. Not to mention my mother's half of the family that tried to call me Beth. Yeah. That went over REAL well.