Last night Deren and I were in bed reading and he commented, “I didn’t know Robinson is an Irish name.” And I said, “It’s not, I’m guessing it’s English.” He is reading a book about the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the author had listed 10-20 Irish players by last name, one of the names being Robinson. My theory is the guy’s mother must have been Irish. Derwood looked up the origins of Robinson and found it is from Northern England.
I tell you that to tell you this: I love names. I have always loved guessing people’s backgrounds from their names. Although I went through a phase in junior high when I thought my name was too ethnic. I didn’t want to be so obviously a descendant of the potato famine, of the unrefined pub dwelling, rosary bead squeezing Irish. I wanted to be a WASP…what could be more lovely than being a White. Anglo-Saxon. Protestant??? So I made up a name for myself, the most sophisticated, WASPy name my 13-year-old brain could come up with: Jacqueline Erica Truesdale. JET.
I used JET for my initials that summer when working at my dad’s office. Some of you may remember these:
I could put my JET initials on the pink message slip, please note how I could make one swish across the top for all three letters.
So I love names and onamastics. I love guessing the origins of surnames. In that same vein, I have been distressed over what has happened to names in the past 15-20 years. Gwyneth Paltrow who has been named Most Annoying Woman Ever for the 7th year in a row, has a kid named Apple. That’s just dum. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, yes you guessed it, King and Queen of the Famous Non-Achievers Prom for three years running, named their baby a pun. North West. I’m actually surprised either one of them was clever enough to think of that but they have people, so maybe they got some help coming up with a ridiculous baby name.
Top 10 American Baby names in 1914:
Boys: John, William, James, Robert, Joseph, George, Charles, Edward, Frank, Walter
Girls: Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Anna, Mildred, Elizabeth, Frances, Marie
Top 10 American Baby names in 2014:
Boys: Noah, Liam, Ethan, Mason, Aiden, Jackson, Michael, Lucas, Elijah, Jacob
Girls: Olivia, Ava, Emma, Sophia, Mia, Isabella, Charlotte, Emily, Lily, Abigail
That’s a 100-year spread and I don’t have many issues with those names. Walter is one of my all time fave names. Ruth and Mildred have probably run their course although can be charming in an old world way. I am surprised at how popular biblical names are now and I think Mason should only be a surname, but if it’s not, that’s okay.
I am now going to go through an old school directory that I selected at random from a kitchen cupboard in my house and share some names with you. Please keep in mind, I have a daughter whose given name is Anna (named after my grandmother born 90 years before Annie). There are a lot of Anna’s born in 1997. I get that people want original names but I think it should be within reason. If I offend anyone, I’m sorry but this is a pet peeve of mine.
Alissa, Alyssa, Alisha — Lisa is good enough.
Morgan, Madison, McKenna, Hunter, — Boy or a girl?
Kale’a, Autumn, Indigo, Shyanne — No
Makaila, Kayla, Kiley, Kendall, whatever other Kardashian names. These aren’t pretty names.
And don’t get all weird with your spelling. Isaiah is fine. It doesn’t need any accents or Z’s. Kelly is fine, as is. KelLee isn’t necessary. Madlyn–nope, the name is Madeline. I know my daughter Brigid has an odd spelling of her name. It is Gaelic. It could also be spelled Brigitte. Bridget. Birgitta. Brighid. But don’t go all phonetic in the name of originality. Name. Get it?
So that’s all. A Name by Any Other Name is probably a parent just showing off and paying no heed to the fact that someday Apple will be 43.