Fun with Names

In the garden of Eden, God gave to Adam the responsibility of naming all the living creatures (see Genesis 3:19-20). That was then. In this day and age, most living creatures already have names, leaving only newborns as the players to be named later. I always find it ineresting when the Social Security Administration releases its most popular names of the year list, as they have recently done for 2003.

It’s always striking to me how long names will remain popular. The name “Emily,” for example, has been the most popular name for a girl since 1996. “Jacob” has held the number one position for a boy’s name since 1999.

I’ve always like to play a little game at parties and social gatherings where I’ll bet people that they do not know anyone under the age of 40 named Judy. I’ve only lost once. (I’m sure everyone will be wanting to invite me to their next party now…)

The name Judy was one of the most popular names in the 1940’s (Judy and Judith both occupied spots in the top 20 in the 1940s). The name fell sharply in popularity in successive decades, occupying the 255th spot in the 1970s. Since 1998, the name has fallen out of the top 1000.

All this is to say that name popularity fluctuates. Who knows why? Perhaps that’s a dissertation project for someone out there. Perhaps not. Does anyone know of any other names that have gone the way of Judy?

2 thoughts on “Fun with Names”

  1. I have a good friend named Judy who’s in her mid-30’s, so I could just barely win your bet…

    As for other names that have fallen out of favor… well, I don’t know if it was ever that popular, but you sure don’t meet many Ethels anymore (my great-grandmother was one)…

  2. I went through elementary school with a girl named Judy Turner – born probably in 1976. I guess I’d win if I were at one of those parties.

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