Old-Fashioned (Baby Boomer) Names Are Making a Comeback

Baby Boomer names are making a comeback.

That was a conclusion Baby Center reached when they announced their top-100 list of boys’ and girls’ names for 2013. After studying Baby Center’s statistics Tom Purcell, writing for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, recalls with pleasure the names that were popular during his childhood and looks forward to the time when they make a full-fledged comeback.

Here’s a quick recap of the names he so fondly recalls—many of which were among the most popular baby names during the 40s, 50s and 60s. (Judging by the inclusion of Jeff, I’d guess he grew up in the 60s, when the top 4 girls’ names were: Lisa, Mary, Susan and Karen and Jeff was the #10 boys’ name.)

For boys: Tom, John, Jeff, Bill, Bob, Rich and Tim.
For girls: Kathy, Krissy, Lisa, Mary, Jennifer, Terri, Laura, Donna, Colleen, Karen, Susan, Janine, Holly, Sandy and Sherri.

Tom compares the way people picked names then and now.
Then, baby-naming was simple.

Parents didn’t obsess over baby names… Children were named after people their parents admired — family members or someone they were close to.

Now, baby-naming is complicated—and it can also be expensive.

A few years back, The Wall Street Journal did a report on parents who hired naming experts, applied mathematical formulas and software programs and even consulted with nutty spiritualists. One couple hired a pair of consultants to draw up a list of suggestions based on “phonetic elements, popularity and ethnic and linguistic origins.” One woman paid a “nameologist” $350 for three half-hour phone calls and a personalized manual describing each name’s history and personality traits. Another spent $475 on a numerologist to see if her favorite name had positive associations, whatever the heck that means. One married couple really took the cake in coming up with the name Beckett for their son. “The name sounds reliable and stable,” according to the proud dad, who said “the ‘ck’ sound is very well regarded in corporate circles. The ‘hard stop’ forces one to accentuate that syllable, which draws attention to it, he droned on.”

Purcell’s article supports the only two predictions I made for 2014:
1. As Baby Boomers (born in the 40s, 50s and 60s) age and pass away, parents will want to honor them with the names they pick for their children.
2. Parents will increasingly want to pick names that inspire their children.

Tom has something to say about the second theme, too.

“My name…carries with it a spiritual meaning. There are many Christian saints and biblical heroes named Thomas. By assigning me this name, my parents… hoped to bestow on me Christian blessings and guidance. That’s why the kids I knew at St. Germaine Catholic School all had simple biblical names. In any event, isn’t it better to name children after saints and admired people than to hire a high-priced consultant to define the right phonetics?”

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