Meet The New Bouncing Baby (beta) Tools!

Oct 22nd 2008 is thrilled to announce the birth of two new major baby naming resources.

  Names: NameMapper and Namipedia
  Date: October 22, 2008
  Weight: Tons of Fabulous Names

NameMapper and Namipedia join big siblings NameVoyager, Wizard Blog, and The Baby Name Wizard book to form a heck of a baby naming family, if we do say so ourselves.

The new arrivals are still infants -- which is to say, in beta release -- and they'll be growing fast over the coming weeks.  (Please bear with me if there are some bumps in the road along the way!)  But I'm excited about them, and I hope you will be too.

The NameMapper is an interactive playground for exploring the varying popularity of names across the United States over the past 50 years.  Try typing in Charlotte, and watch the name transform from Southern belle to "Sex and the City" chic.  Or type Duane and Dwayne for an illustration of why a different spelling can really be a different name.

Click MultiMap to see the full expanse of time at once, or click on the Timeline tab to explore new dimensions of the data.  The Timeline view is a colorful grid of mini-graphs representing the name's usage in 50 different states and 48 different years, grouped by naming-style regions  You can customize the view to show popularity in different ways, or to order the states by population variables.

(Note: The NameMapper is a Java applet.  If you can't view it, you should download the standard Java plugin from Sun.)

Namipedia is a multifaceted baby name encyclopedia that gives each name its own "home page."  Each Namipedia name page combines reliable expert information with reader-contributed content and opinions.  Look up a name in Namipedia and you can...

  • Learn about a name's origins, check it's popularity in the U.S. and abroad, and find out how it's pronounced.
  • See what others think of the name -- does it sound strong? friendly? sophisticated? -- and what real-world parents have chosen for sibling names.
  • Read about famous namesakes, nickname ideas, and readers' personal experiences with the name.
  • Contribute your own ratings, opinions, siblings and insights...and even names.  It's pleasantly addictive!

I owe special thanks to the early beta testers who have given me invaluable feedback on the new tools.  You'll see many of your suggestions come to life in the weeks ahead.

Happy naming, everyone!


October 22, 2008 10:34 PM

So cool! I'm going to go check everything out now.

By Megan. (not verified)
October 22, 2008 10:43 PM

Too cool!!! Thanks Laura!

By Alice (not verified)
October 22, 2008 10:47 PM

Oh, I am so excited about the NameMapper!!! Like a lot of parents, I want a name that is not being used by a zillion other people, but more specifically I want a name that isn't being used *where I live*. Now I can look and see if a name is popular all over, or just on the other side of the country! (This dovetails neatly with your previous posts about the geographical naming trends.)

By David (not verified)
October 22, 2008 11:26 PM

My wife and I spent time in Grandchester this summer, just south of Cambridge. While we were visiting my friend, I spoke with his Uncle who named his daughter Clemence. I thought it was beautiful. I was wondering if this is a traditional name returning to the surface and could be a popular one in the near future.

Anyone else's thoughts on the name?

October 22, 2008 11:53 PM

Interesting. I have only known one Clemence in my life and she was just about my age, so born in 1968 or 1969. She went by Clemmie. I think it is a beautiful name and merits consideration!

October 23, 2008 1:01 AM

Thread hijack so soon ... but we've got a short list of name ideas for our baby girl to be born in January, and I was hoping you folks wouldn't mind sharing your impressions of these names!

First, our naming goals, quoted from a post I wrote on my own blog:

"I'm especially interested in choosing a dignified, smart, classic name that will help her to be taken seriously (and help her become a Supreme Court justice if she so desires). And after three years of having a child with a complicated hyphenated last name, I'm really not concerned with uniqueness -- I still don't want trendy or popular, but having an easily recognizable name is crucial."

The hyphenated last name is pronounced REE-durr TAY-chess. Since it already has four syllables, we tend to like two-syllable names best. Oh, our son's name is Isaac, as an additional piece of information.

We've got a longer list, but our top three favorites, in alphabetical order, are:


Do any of those NOT fit my stated goals, or sound wrong with the last name? (We also liked Eleanor, but the Rs don't flow right.)

Sorry for such a long post ... any feedback welcomed. Thanks!

October 23, 2008 1:03 AM

New babies:
Sheri Leanne
Rachel Leanne
Rahab Elizabeth

None of these know one another. All different states. East Coast, South and West Coast

October 23, 2008 1:21 AM

I read "Rahab" as "Rehab" and had to do a double-take. (Although there is a trend of turning nouns into names and one of parents naming their children after meaningful events and locations, isn't there? So who knows.. maybe there's a baby Rehab out there named after where his or her parents met.)

By Luckymomma (not verified)
October 23, 2008 1:56 AM

Nicole R.,
I prefer Alice and then Margaret. I think the softer sound of Alice goes well with your last name. Laurel just doesn't have the classic vibe of the first two, IMO.

Okay, so what do you guys think of Gideon? It's on my friend's list for her upcoming boy. (I'm trying to convince her to add Abraham as well!)


October 23, 2008 2:21 AM

@Nicole R. - I agree with Luckymomma. Laurel is NMS, as I don't love those trendy floral names. It would also be misheard frequently, i.e. Laura? Lauren? From your list, I think Margaret goes best with Issac, though you ideally need one of those timeless, Biblical names like Leah, Rachel, Eve...

Oh, and Nicole R., can I please, please persuade you to use a new name for yourself here, pretty please? Thanks again to Knee Coal Peay (the former Nicole P.) for krea8tively changing her name up so as to avoid confusion. ;)

New babies alert:
Audrey Grace
Audrey Madison
A3dan Joel
Aidan Matthew

@Luckymomma, I don't love Gideon, though it is certainly an NE favorite. I think of Gideon's Bible in the hotel room drawer, and the line from the Beatles' song "Rocky Raccoon." Or just plain "Giddy up!" Not that those are very good reasons to avoid using the name.

By Austin (not verified)
October 23, 2008 2:49 AM

I look forward to exploring the new tools. I can only imagine all the effort that went into those maps! I will certainly contribute my thoughts to the Namipedia. Hopefully it's relatively easy to edit information for typos or inaccuracies, just incase!

David: Over the summer I was looking up many forms of Clement and loved every one of them. Examples include Clementine, Roger Clemens and Robert Clemente.

Luckymomma: The name Gideon comes with very specific impressions for me. Gideon Yago, the former MTV news host, comes to mind, as well as the show Gideon's Crossing. Based on both references, I'd say Gideon is urban, smart, and eager to speak his mind. I'm not sure if every parent would readily embrace the last part, ha ha.

By Jennifer (not verified)
October 23, 2008 3:58 AM

Nicole R:

I think Margaret fits your criteria exactly, although Alice definitely works. Margaret was on my very short list for baby #3, who turned out to be Seth instead (to go with Samuel and Noah). Had I used it, the middle name would have been my maiden, to give it a nice "professional" sound without need a married name, but your hyphens do that for you. The other name on my list was Dorothy, which I would suggest for you but I'm not sure it works with your ln.

By Jennifer (not verified)
October 23, 2008 4:00 AM

One more thing Nicole R: If I read your name correctly, Alice would have the initials "ART" which is not a bad thing, but something you probably want to be aware of.

By hyz (not verified)
October 23, 2008 9:36 AM

Nicole R.--I think all the names on your list fit your criteria. Laurel is actually my favorite out of the bunch, although maybe I should say that I'm a big fan of the botanical names. To me, it sounds dignified and strong, classic and a little artsy. I love Margaret, too--I think it's an underused classic that sounds very smart and strong. I prefer using the whole name, although I think Maisie and Meg are pretty cute nns. I'm only okay on Alice, personally, although I know it's well liked here--compared to the other two, it sounds a little bland to me, and I could never get past the "lice" visual.

David--I like Clemence and Clement for their meanings very much, although for some reason I find them a little awkward to say, like they get stuck in my throat or something. I'm glad someone's using Clemence, though--I think it's pretty charming.

Luckymomma--I like Gideon. I would imagine him as a pretty cool, kind guy. I do immediately think of the Gideon's Bibles, though.

By Amy3 (not verified)
October 23, 2008 9:53 AM

Laura -- Yay! Thanks for the new toys. So fun!

David -- I like the idea of the name Clemence, but I'm not sure I like the way it looks. And it's hard for me not to keep going and say clemency. I'm sure that would be easily remedied if I knew a Clemence IRL.

Nicole R. -- I prefer either Margaret or Alice. I think these work well with the hypenated ln, as well as with Isaac's name. Laurel is NMS.

Karyn -- I also read Rahab as Rehab.

Luckymomma -- I prefer Abraham far and away above Gideon. I'm not a fan of that /gid/ sound.

By Amy3 (not verified)
October 23, 2008 10:32 AM

Ooh, I wish I could edit in the Namipedia. I just added my husband's name, Jeffrey, as a sibling to his sister's name, Julie, but I accidentally added him as a *girl*. Gack! Help, Laura!

By Erin M. (not verified)
October 23, 2008 10:37 AM

Laura, both of these tools are so incredible, I'm practically hyperventilating. You and your team have done an excellent job! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

October 23, 2008 10:44 AM

Nicole R.,

I like Alice a lot, that's my favorite of the 3. Margaret is more versatile, though, with its many pet names and nicknames. I have found that some people get Laurel mixed up with Laura. It's a nice name but I don't think it carries as much weight as the other two.

By Nina (not verified)
October 23, 2008 10:53 AM

The map is so interesting. My name is quite unpopular and skips from state to state by the years.

Thanks for these "toys".

By Nina (not verified)
October 23, 2008 10:57 AM

I just checked the Heaven spelled backwards name on the map and it's just scary how it spreads across the country like a virus!

October 23, 2008 11:05 AM

"Ooh, I wish I could edit in the Namipedia. I just added my husband's name, Jeffrey, as a sibling to his sister's name, Julie, but I accidentally added him as a *girl*. Gack! Help, Laura!"

Sorry about that, Amy! I know that it's much too easy to make that mistake right now. I'll try to make the M/F distinction clearer on the screen asap, and we're working on a total overhaul of the sibling submission process.

By Coll
October 23, 2008 11:06 AM

Nicole R, I'm another who likes Alice first (the softness and lack of Rs would make it fit well with your ln), then Margaret (a classic and one of my favorites), then Laurel (nms--something about the arrangement of Ls and Rs gets it stuck in my throat).

Big news! Several papers are reporting today that Ashley, Emily, and Michael are no longer the top baby names in NYC. The honors for 2007 now go to: Isabella/Sophia (tied) and Daniel.

Yes, my niece Sophia was born just in time at Mt. Sinai in December to bump up those numbers. And my husband's name is Daniel (though he was not, obviously, born in 2007). Add in our dog, Bella, and my family's got the trifecta.

Here's an article in the illustrious Daily News about the switch:

Jayden is number two for boys. Oy.

October 23, 2008 11:15 AM

Today the poker dudes (mostly, but not exclusively, males in their late teens to mid-twenties) are talking about whether they like their names. I thought some might be interested in how the names (some of which we have discussed) are playing out with the namees. Be aware that some of these adolescents and (slightly) post-adolescents adopt a locker room tone no matter what the subject matter....

By Aybee (not verified)
October 23, 2008 11:24 AM

Laura- Thank you so much for the new tools. I love them!

Nicole R--
Of the three, I actually prefer Laurel. I think it fits your criteria and I think it is underused-- despite its longevity and meaning it seems a fresh take on the very popular "Lauren". I also think Isaac & Laurel make a lovely sibset.

2nd choice would be Alice, then Margaret.

I guess my reasoning is that Isaac is a simple but beautiful and melodic name. Alice and Margaret sound less harmonious than Laurel does (at least to my ear) but both are certainly sophisticated and lend themselves well to nicknames. Best of luck!

October 23, 2008 12:07 PM

Miriam-I found the poker dudes commentary to be utterly hilarious. I thought it so funny how they could say "yea I like my name" or "no I wish I was Brody". Yet we have these incredibly long essays here and still aren't sure of what we like and don't like, such as- "Hmm I'm not sure what my name would be. I like Susan but it sounds a bit plain with my LN and not really my style for my own children and yada yada yada..."

Nicole-the first name that comes to mind when I think about your criteria is Elizabeth so Margaret fits right in with that and probably goes better with your LN than the 4 syl Elizabeth. Alice is mns but does go with Isaac and your LN as well. Stay away from names ending in R. I was going to suggest Claire and Jennifer but they simply will not work. Laurel is nice but I'd personally choose Lauren instead. How about Caroline, Emily (maybe too popular), Jacqueline (Jack-uh-lynn)kinda like Jack-O-lantern though, Beverly, Molly, Chelsea, Leslie, Monica, or Nicole.

Luckymomma-Gideon is okay. We had a discussion on that a while back. Other options mentioned were Gilead, and Giles for sound. Stylewise-any of the biblical names would match fine.

David-Clemence is nms. May I offer you Clarice?

October 23, 2008 12:54 PM

I'm amazed at all the work that has gone (and continues to go) into the new toys!

Nichole R: I love your post as it sort of explains the situation I'm in too (or will be) and helps me with the wording and reasoning for my criteria. I think Laurel might not fit--will probably misheard as Laura or need to be spelled. Also love your idea of giving LN phonetically on the board. Hides your identity and gets the important info across. I'm totally stealing these ideas.

By KneeCoal Peay (not verified)
October 23, 2008 1:11 PM

@zoerhenne - Oh no, Clarice totally reminds me of "Silence of the Lambs" - I can't help but think of it being said in Hannibal Lector's creepy voice.

Agreed that Laurel is just NMS, for all of the reasons already mentioned. How about Clara?

@Nicole R. - Yes, you need a new screen name indeed.

October 23, 2008 1:27 PM

May I make a suggestion for namipedia?

If I add "John" as a sibling to "Anne", it should automatically put "Anne" as a sibling to "John".

By Amy3 (not verified)
October 23, 2008 1:33 PM

I agree with silver. That would be great.

Also, what about kreative "misspellings"? As an example, my sister has 3 daughters -- C4ndr4, Kimb3rly, and K3ls3y. Her son is C4l0b. Yep, Caleb with an /o/. Do I submit that to Namipedia or default to the name as it would more traditionally be spelled? Thoughts?

October 23, 2008 1:44 PM

"May I make a suggestion for namipedia?

If I add "John" as a sibling to "Anne", it should automatically put "Anne" as a sibling to "John"."

Yes indeed, that's on its way! An overhaul of the sibling submission process is in the works, complete with reciprocal name submission and an add-a-whole-family-at once option.

"Also, what about kreative "misspellings"? As an example, my sister has 3 daughters -- C4ndr4, Kimb3rly, and K3ls3y. Her son is C4l0b. Yep, Caleb with an /o/. Do I submit that to Namipedia or default to the name as it would more traditionally be spelled? Thoughts?"

I'm working on a more thorough name addition process that will let you mark a name as a kreative variant of a familiar name. So I'd say hold off for now, and I'll let you know when the new submission form is ready!

By GirlRandolph (not verified)
October 23, 2008 2:15 PM

First, I would liked to say - Thanks, it's keen.

Second, the income function seems to challange the notion that names go from rich families (or at least rich states) to poorer ones. Names seem to rise and fall fairly simultaniously across the country where name culture is the bigger divide.

It seems that fashion rules and not necessarily income. In terms of fashion we all seem to be coming from similar places.

Anyone see the report out of NY? Chaya ranks in the top 100 for White girls. That was shocking. How many Jews live in NY? It's definitely a Hebrew name with little cross-over appeal. There were a few other names I had seen (if rarely) in non-Jewish families. What's next for religious Jews? Malka? Fayga?

PS - shock doesn't mean I don't like it. I love Hebrew and Yiddish names. I have two girls whose Hebrew names are Chaya in my family (same namesake). It's just a surprise. I didn't think enough Jews lived in NY to make that big a difference.

Chaya can't be like Asher can it? Non-jews aren't naming their daughters Chaya, right? I still can't get over non-Jews naming their sons Asher or Ezra. It's so strange.

By Ron (not verified)
October 23, 2008 2:21 PM

Is there a tool on the way that would allow users to sort names in Namipedia by the different categories that are used to rate them? If, for example, I wanted to know what names were the smartest or creative, how would I go about finding that information.

By hyz (not verified)
October 23, 2008 2:36 PM

Speaking of regional naming differences and oddities, I've had the occasion lately to come across a lot of names from a very rural area in a very rural state, and I find a lot of them fascinating. For reference, these are mostly names of white, middle aged, very blue collar men. You get a lot of names that I might consider rather plain/frumpy (Don, Ken, Gary, Ron, Rodney, etc.), and some very nickname-y sounding names, but there also seem to be a lot of old family names (both first names and surnames) used as first and middle names--that is, I'm guessing these are family names--I have no way of knowing for sure. Here's a small sampling:


Unfortunately I can't give LNs for sake of anonymity, but a lot of these in combo with the LNs make for some pretty interesting (and some pretty funny) names. "Brunka DeLoof" would feel right at home in this crowd.

Anyway, I enjoy coming across these, and thought maybe you'd enjoy them too.

October 23, 2008 2:41 PM


From Wikipedia:

The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest number of Jews outside Israel. There are more Jews within New York City limits than within Jerusalem city limits, making the New York City Jewish community the largest such community in the world. About 12% of New Yorkers claim to be Jewish or of Jewish descent.

Same source puts the white population of NYC at about 44%.

Thus the Jewish percentage of white New Yorkers is significant.

Further the traditional Jewish name stock is small, so that Orthodox Jews have relatively few names from which to choose. Also over my lifetime, Orthodox Jewry in America has moved to the right (more fundamental in its practices), and hence Orthodox Jews are more likely today to use names like Chaya or Malka as civil names, rather than using Eve or Marilyn (as was the case in my generation).

So that's why names like Chaya rank high in NYC. While Sarah has long been mainstream, and we have long seen Esther and Miriam and Rachel and Rebecca in non-Jewish contexts, I don't think Chaya and Tzviya and Tzippa and Shprintza and Fayga are going mainstream anytime soon. OTOH Jessica Lynch's comrade in arms (if you remember the beginning of the Iraq war) was a black American of Panamanian origin in her 30s who was named Shoshana Johnson, so you never know what will appeal to whom. And if Natalie Portman had been named Chaya, who knows how many little Chayas of every background we would see.

And Asher and Ezra appear in English translations of the Tanakh. Chaya doesn't.

October 23, 2008 2:47 PM

"Is there a tool on the way that would allow users to sort names in Namipedia by the different categories that are used to rate them? If, for example, I wanted to know what names were the smartest or creative, how would I go about finding that information."

You read my mind! The current "Advanced Search" is only the very beginning. I'll be rolling out more and more search options over the next couple of months -- including user ratings, once the ratings database is large enough.

By hyz (not verified)
October 23, 2008 2:59 PM

Oops, in my comment above, I forgot to add Peppy, Caulin, Darvin, Donal, and Lester to my list. I find these so interesting because they seem so a-fashionable--that is to say, I feel fairly certain that they were generally picked with little thought to how the name might be received by the general public, or what nationwide trends at the time were. Because of that, I could definitely see some of them being popular on mainstream kiddies today (Caulin? Drexel? Rome?), but some definitely not (Floyd? Linton? Homer?). The women's names in the same population are generally less interesting to me, because they do seem to be more "on trend" for their day--names like Tammy and Tonya and Sheila and Kathy. Also, too late, I noticed my faux pas of mentioning the name Ron in a negative light right after Ron posted above. I know a disproportionate number of "Rons" who are high-power business types, and definitely don't have the vibe I described above, but when the name is mixed in with all the Dons and Rods and so on, I get a different feel from it. Context can mean a lot--sorry for any stepped-on toes.

By J&H's mom (not verified)
October 23, 2008 3:04 PM

Laura-Congratulations on your new additions!
If only I had more babes to name.

Nicole R.-

I think all three of your choices meet your criteria.
I'm a fan of the underused Laurel, but I also love all the nn possibilities of Margaret (Greta and Daisy being my current favs.)
Alice is my husband's somewhat kooky grandma, so I can't really be neutral about it.

Is Helen on your list? I think it would be a perfect solution.

Clemence seems masculine to me, and I really can't get behind Clem.
I adore Clementine, though.

By SKS (not verified)
October 23, 2008 3:48 PM

On the Namipedia, is there a way to make the current U.S. ranking more immediately visible? I know that it is listed with other countries in the order of respective rank, which I definitely think is useful and interesting. But it would also be nice to see the U.S. rank somehow emphasized.

Apologies if this has already been addressed... And the new tools are awesome!

October 23, 2008 3:49 PM

Nicole R - love Alice and Margaret (except it reminds me of Margaret Thatcher), would also suggest Phoebe, Daphne, Stella and Caroline. And agree with the suggestion of Helen. Love your criteria as well.

October 23, 2008 4:07 PM

I've been debating whether to post this as it is somewhat "political," but it also shows the value of the NameMapper, recalls one of Laura's older posts, and I think will be interesting to you all. So here goes...

Given the whole Joe Six-Pack, Joe the Plumber thing in current US presidential politics, along with Laura's post that hinted that a traditional name like Joe is actually more popular in blue states, I decided to check it out on the NameMapper. Sure enough (if I am reading the graph right... and I kind of suck at reading graphs) Joseph is more popular in blue than red states (if I remember right, NY, CT, NJ were at the top). Neat huh? So this name that is being used to mark right-leaning folk is actually more common in left-leaning states.

(I also mapped Joe but seems like hardly anyone uses the NN as the given name.)

October 23, 2008 4:23 PM

A few baby updates:
IRL baby next door=Julianna not 100% about spelling but pretty sure it is one name not two. Sister to M4tthew, K3rry Jr.(KJ; and J@s3phin3 (nn Josie).

Oct. 23) -- Caroline Rhea and her longtime boyfriend Costaki Economopoulos are the proud new parents of a big baby girl, PEOPLE reports.
The couple welcomed Ava Rhea Economopoulous into the world on Oct. 20, and the little gal tipped the scales just an ounce shy of 9 pounds and measured in at 22.5 inches. Thanks to the father's letter-happy last name, Rhea said they "wanted the shortest first name possible, since her last name is the alphabet."
Rhea, who's 44, says another name option was Emmy, jokingly saying "because I've always wanted an Emmy."

By Aybee (not verified)
October 23, 2008 4:41 PM

I sometimes think about this-- and the Caroline Rhea post brought it to my mind.
In the typical American naming tradition (as I know it) women commonly take the last names of their husbands. Just like if Rhea was marry this guy (and wasnt a star) she would be Caroline Economopoulous. So, the consideration they gave to give their daughter a brief name Ava, to match her multi-syllabic last name, could last her just the first 23-24 years of her life, after which she could be come Ava Abrahms, for all they know.

This is how I came to know a woman named Rose Rhodes.

Its just something to think about-- when naming our daughters flow could be carefully considered -- but it is not a given constant as it is with boys-- flow changes when last names do.

By hyz (not verified)
October 23, 2008 4:53 PM

Aybee, I guess that's true for many, but at least in my case, my assumption would be that my daughter *won't* change her name, whether or not she ever decides to marry. I didn't change my name, and my mom didn't change hers. Moreover, in case of divorce (all too common these days, unfortunately), even some women who changed their name for their husband will change it back to their birth name. Given all the possibilities, I think it's just as important to consider name flow for our daughters. They're welcome to change it later of course, but at least if they decide to, it won't be because of a self fulfilling prophecy ("my parents named me Rose Rhodes because they figured my last name didn't matter, so I couldn't wait to get married and change it to *whatever* my husband's name was"). KWIM?

By Floyd Drexel Darvin (not verified)
October 23, 2008 4:55 PM

Celebrity naming news: Billie Piper's little boy, born Tuesday, is Winston James Fox.

By Floyd Drexel Darvin (not verified)
October 23, 2008 4:59 PM

"I guess that's true for many, but at least in my case, my assumption would be that my daughter *won't* change her name, whether or not she ever decides to marry. I didn't change my name"

Ditto here. I'd say at our elementary school the moms are about 1/3 namekeepers, 2/3 namechangers (with some hyphenators in the mix, of course). And over a lifetime, the number who will use their full birth name as adults is probably higher--I'm just catching them right now, as a snapshot.

By Trish (not verified)
October 23, 2008 5:01 PM

Aybee & hyz- I gave my daughter a surname, and one that graces multiple car dealerships in our neck of the suburban woods. Someone once said to me, "Wouldn't it be funny if your daughter marries a family member of the car dealers? She'd be known as McKenna McKenna!" and my first thought and comment was, "Why does she HAVE to change her last name?"
And I've known: Matthew Matthews, Roger Rogers, William Williamson, and John Johnson, all professional, successful men. Although I've wondered what their parents were thinking, it doesn't seem to have hampered them any.

By Floyd Drexel Darvin (not verified)
October 23, 2008 5:19 PM

Just a note--in California, if either partner in a couple applying for a marriage license wants to change his or her name to reflect the change in marital status, it's the same form, same cost. That was just changed last year (before that, men had to pay extra and go through more trouble to change their name upon marriage--women had a standard form and a lower fee). So at least in California, our government is no longer assuming that name changes are only a bride's choice.

By chloezoe (not verified)
October 23, 2008 5:28 PM

Yes, it seems that nowadays women keep their names. I don't know anyone in my circle who has changed hers (I'm 30).

October 23, 2008 5:36 PM

@chloezoe - The exact opposite is true in my circle. Married, professional women here in Seattle tend to change their names.

By Amy3 (not verified)
October 23, 2008 5:46 PM

Re: women changing their names after marrying ... I changed mine, but I named my daughter with the assumption that, were she to marry, she wouldn't change hers. Should she choose to, fine. But I like the entire name she has right now.