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If you want to hide your age, you may need to change your name!

August 2019

grandfather with young child
Children grow into their names

Someone said you can tell a person’s age by their name. To a certain extent that is true. Without doubt Margaret, Janet and Susan for girls and Michael, Richard and Peter, all top favourites in the 1950s and 60s, are rarely seen as first names today.

Even the 1970s top names of Jennifer, Amanda, Melissa, Christopher, Jason and Daniel are only occasionally found in modern children.

Maybe it is thanks to media and the modern celebrity culture, but trends in names for babies are moving more quickly these days than they used to in the past.

It was only a short time ago that Gemma and Craig were top baby names across the UK. Now, according to information from the Office of National Statistics and the Guardian newspaper, both names may soon become extinct.

They are not the only names fading out of fashion. This century, for instance, the name Craig has dropped from being used for hundreds of babies to just 25 in 2017. The charming name Gemma used to be one of the most commonly chosen names for baby girls; yet in 2017 just 20 little babies were called Gemma as their first name.

So what is replacing them? Well forget Shannon, Jodie, Danielle and Lauren; or Jordan, Ashley and Mitchell…already these recently fashionable names are fast being dropped.

According to the Baby Centre, the most recent trends for baby names are:

For girls:
1. Olivia; 2. Sophia; 3. Lily; 4. Ava; 5. Mia; 6. Isla; 7. Amelia; 8. Freya; 9. Isabella; 10. Emily; 11. Aria; 12. Evie; 13. Grace; 14. Isabelle; 15. Ella; 16. Ivy; 17. Sophie; 18. Willow; 19. Charlotte; 20. Elsie.

And for boys:
1. Muhammad; 2. Noah; 3. George; 4. Oliver; 5. Charlie; 6. Harry; 7. Leo; 8. Arthur; 9. Jack; 10. Freddie; 11. Jaxon; 12. Ethan; 13. Jacob; 14. Theo; 15. Oscar; 16. Alfie; 17. Henry; 18. Archie; 19. Joshua; 20. Thomas;

Without doubt there is a trend towards old traditional names such as Grace, George and Arthur that were favourites before our time. But new and original names continue to creep in. This is helped by the fact that here in the UK there are very few restrictions on what parents can name their children. The only rule really is that a name may not be registered when it could be considered offensive.  Also, for any social climbers, it is not acceptable to give a baby a first name such as Viscount, Lord or Lady, Sir or any name that can imply you have a conferred or inherited honour or rank.

 Americans are very relaxed about names, hence some new parents choosing somewhat unusual ideas such as  Cheese or Jag. In France, however, it is a very different situation, and courts can reject a name if it is considered not to be in the best interest of the child.

Evidently it is quite common for older generations to disapprove of modern trends in names, and especially for grandparents. In a survey by Mumsnet, many grandparents are upset that their name suggestions are not considered; and they especially hate the names Charlotte, Tabitha, Finn, Jack, Lindsay, Noah and Sally.

Even worse, it seems one in five grandparents hate the name of at least one of their grandchildren.

The good thing is that, after an initial shock at the name chosen for a baby, after a while the baby grows into the name and after a few years it will become just another normal family name.


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