What Do You Name This Child?

Ceremony Igorella V

“…and do you then present this child to be baptised?” "We do." "And what is the name of this child?"

“Well, you know, in the U.S., Michael was the name most frequently reported to the Social Security Administration every year from 1954 thru 1998. Except for 1960, when David was most frequent — and that year, Michael was second.”

“But Sweetie — ”

“So how could we go wrong with Michael? But the same is true for Jacob. When Michael left off after ’98, Jacob became number one from 1999 thru 2012. Those names have stood the test of time. Those are great names.”

“But Sweetie — ”

“And then for just one year, 2013 — granted, of course, for all of 2013 — Noah was the most popular boy’s name in the United States.”

“But Sweetie — ”

“All right, then. Are we ready? What is the name of this child?"

“Ah, my husband and I, ah….”

“Not settled on a name?”

“I’m so embarrassed. Here we all are, gathered at the baptismal font….”

“The Lord will wait. Your husband seems to favor the many years that Michael was the most popular name, 44 years — ”

“Save 1960, when David — ”

“Yes, of course. And Jacob.”

“And then your husband mentioned Noah, popular in 2013 because of the movie, Noah’s Ark. Popular for only one year, true — but now the name Noah has lost its Old Testament feeling, it’s been chosen by so many families.

“Would your wife rather have Noah, while you prefer Michael, say, or Jacob, both being names that have been chosen by millions?”

“No. She would like us to agree on the name ‘Hatch.’”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Hatch. Hatch. Rather than Michael — or Jacob — or William — or George — or Wellington — Hatch. Hatch.”

But if the child had been a girl —

If our story at the baptismal font above had pitted the number one girl’s name against… against… or is it too awful to… to… well, we can at least consult the Social Security Administration’s list.

And if we look at the last 100 years, we see Mary the most popular girl’s name from 1914 through 1946 — then Linda from 1947 through 1952 — then Mary again from 1953 through 1961 — then Lisa from 1962 through 1969 — Jennifer from 1970 through 1984 — Jessica from 1985 through 1990 — Ashley for two years, 1991 and 1992 — Jessica again from 1993 through 1995 — Emily from 1996 through 2007 — Emma in 2008 — Isabella in 2009 and 2010 — and Sophia in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

And against that list of girl’s names chosen by millions of Americans over the last 100 years, one parent in our story — the father, hm? — no? — the mother? — would like to name her daughter Pistol, a girl’s name chosen by 9 American families in 2013.

Hatch, Pistol, and some other names

The website Nameberry.com goes through the Social Security Administration’s list of baby names each year, and these are some of the least used names it found — including the names Hatch, and Pistol. The number after each name is the number of families reporting that name for the year — in this case, for 2013.

The Social Security list for 2013 was published the 2nd week of May, and these names, retrieved by Nameberry.com, appeared in the blog SFGate.com, May 16, 2014. The Social Security Administration includes on its annual list the names chosen by 5 or more families.

Girls — Vanellope, 63 — Burklee, 10 — Pistol, 9 — Happiness, 8 — Pemberley, 8 — Envie, 7 — Prim, 7 — Rarity, 7 — Avaa, 6 — Charlemagne, 6 — Kinzington, 6 — Prezless, 6 — Ransom, 5 — Rebelle, 5 — Sierraleone, 5 — Siqi, 5 — Snowy, 5 — Temprince, 5.

Boys — Rydder, 10 — Jceion, 10 — Hatch, 8 — Tuf, 8 — Lloyal, 7 — Psalms, 7 — Xzaiden, 7 — Charger, 6 — Forever, 6 — Kyndle, 6 — Power, 6 — Warrior, 6 — Gospel, 5 — Kaptain, 5 — Subaru, 5 — Vice, 5.

A few popular names from Nameberry.com

Here are three popular names of 2013, selected again by Nameberry.com. We’ve included just a hint of Nameberry’s explanation for each name’s popularity. It’s pleasant to contemplate the set of feelings that might surround the choice of a baby’s name —

Mavis — Suddenly hot — adorable vampire heroine of ‘Hotel Transylvania’ — French for songbird, Welsh word for strawberries.

Wilder — Hint of a “bad boy,” but recalls literary names as well, Thornton Wilder (Our Town), Little House author Laura Ingalls.

Linnea — Top ten Swedish name, exotic member of popular floral family of girls’ names. Pronounced either lin-NAY-ah or lin-NEE-ah. Children’s book heroine.

Top UK names, girls and boys

From the website UK Baby Names, these are the first 30 girls and boys names taken from the top 100 names for 2013, based on official UK statistics—

Girls — 1. Amelia — 2. Olivia — 3. Jessica — 4. Emily — 5. Lily — 6. Ava — 7. Mia — 8. Isla — 9. Sophie — 10. Isabella — 11. Evie — 12. Ruby — 13. Poppy — 14. Grace — 15. Sophia — 16. Chloe —17. Isabelle — 18. Ella — 19. Freya — 20. Charlotte — 21. Scarlett — 22. Daisy — 23. Lola — 24. Eva — 25. Holly — 26. Millie — 27. Lucy — 28. Phoebe — 29. Layla — 30. Maisie

Boys — 1. Harry — 2 .Oliver — 3. Jack — 4. Charlie — 5. Jacob — 6. Thomas — 7. Alfie — 8. Riley — 9. William — 10. James — 11. Joshua — 12. George — 13. Ethan — 14. Noah — 15. Samuel — 16. Daniel — 17. Oscar — 18. Max —19. Muhammad — 20. Leo — 21. Tyler — 22. Joseph —23. Archie — 24. Henry — 25. Lucas — 26. Mohammad — 27. Alexander — 28. Dylan — 29. Logan — 30. Isaac