The Rise and Fall of Names

My wife Katherine recently pointed me to a very cool website that produces a historical graph showing the popularity of a name through time. The interactive graphing feature, the NameVoyager, is really well done and fun to play with. “What should we name our child?” is a common conversation today among our peers, many of whom are now firmly enagaged in the procreation phase of life.

When I was born in the 70’s, my name was on the rise in popularity, peaked around 1980, and has been falling steadily ever since, though it is still more common today than when I was born.

Since Katherine had already ruled out my suggestions that we name our son Agamemnon or Klaxtor5, we named him Quinn, aiming for a name that was relatively uncommon, yet not so rare as to be strange or difficult to spell or pronounce. Being word nerds, we also wanted a name with a high Scrabble score. (Never mind the fact that proper nouns don’t count, please.)

Update: Hunter Walk, the AdSense Partner Manager at Google, pointed out to me that another consideration when naming your child should be how easily discoverable they will be when using a search engine. I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of that myself, though I did reserve on his behalf.

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