About Me

No info yet

My Favorite Names

No favorite names yet.

My Recent Blog Comments
March 26, 2015 03:09 PM

It depends on the child's age and the state's policy. In some states you can get a completely new BC without any mention of the changes, in others they'll add a note or an attachment reflecting the change, and in a few they won't make any BC changes barring special circumstances. (If the reason for the change is something like an adoption or a gender change it's more likely but not certain they'd issue a new certificate without the past data.)

February 26, 2015 12:50 PM
In Response to Baby Name or Typo?

A source of typos that skews the stats is gender misrecording, which is why you see for example Jennifer and John appearing in the wrong gender's Top 1,000 (back before everything was computerized and error was thus more common the most common names often had enough errors to cause that). That's why as an example although you probably don't know any real-life boys named Sue the stats show some boy Susans out there.

February 6, 2015 06:37 AM

@HungarianNameGeek: The reason I commented as such was that it seemed like from your last post that you'd consider any name other than the one on the person's birth certificate not to be a "real" name. Since you clarified I now understand. I also brought up the issue of birth certificate amendments because in some legal contexts even one's "birth name" is not fixed at birth (for instance they generally want the mother to be listed under her "maiden" name on her children's birth certificates - if her name was changed for a reason that amended, or in some cases could amend, her birth certificate then they want the name after, and not before, the name change). (A BC amendment essentially means the information was deemed to be incorrect and should be changed in the same way if they got for example the date or place of birth wrong, hence the distinction from for example a marriage-based name change in which the maiden name remains as such. I think in most cases of stage-becoming-legal name changes the BC wouldn't be changed though.)

A fair example of how "stage" names should be treated is Wikipedia's page of stars who assumed such names - one is listed there only if the reason for the name change was for one's profession (and some "gray area" cases like Miley Cyrus). If you go by a different name or changed your name for another reason (e.g. adoption, marriage, gender change, you go by a "standard" nickname or your middle name, etc.) that doesn't count. In the Bob Dylan case, since he (probably) wouldn't be known as such were it not for his music career, your reasoning is valid (but it wouldn't be if for example you said Chaz Bono's name was just his stage name). The same logic applies to what I touched above on how a parent's name gets listed on the child's BC - what the parent's name would be absent any name changes from marriage.

February 5, 2015 02:45 PM

@HungarianNameGeek - In some cases a legal name change DOES amend the birth certificate (at least in the U.S.; in Hungary it may be different). This frequently occurs with adoptions and transgender people (and with the latter you better dare not call the name they chose to match their gender identity a "non-real" name). It can happen with name changes for certain other (non-marriage-related) reasons as well.

Since Bob Dylan's children have been given the Dylan surname I side with Floriography that in his case it's more than just a stage name or pseudonym (now it would be different if his family in private life still used his original surname). Like Floriography said, would you consider a woman's married name, or for another example if you're the child of a parent who had namer's remorse their second and ultimate name choice for you, a "non-real" name?

January 5, 2015 11:00 AM

No problem - I wasn't trying to disagree with you, but rather that when they ask such a question in the cases I touched on they're usually interested in whether or not any relevant records subject to verification are under any other names and not necessarily what is or was your legal name (a converse example from the childhood name change scenario is if part of your credit, employment, criminal, etc. history is under an alias/assumed name/pseudonym/etc. then you would have to mention said name - something to bear in mind if you decide to go by another name informally because if the name makes it onto any of those records it would count).

As for where you live, I often assume that someone who uses "British" spellings is from somewhere outside the States (but I guess I was wrong in your case!).

January 5, 2015 10:03 AM

Re: If he'd need to list his former name in cases like those you mentioned - It may depend on how old he is and whether or not he's had anything relevant under the name. If he just turned 18 and never had a bank account before then it likely wouldn't apply in that case for example (like how if you were adopted as a child the name before the adoption wouldn't count - likewise for anyone who has remorse on what they named their child and is contemplating changing it). Same thing with applying for jobs, etc. - if they need to know the former name to check all of your credentials/background etc. he'd have to, if not then no (unless it's for a security clearance, etc. where they check all of your life). (Since lucubratrix may not be from the U.S. given she used "mum" in her profile I thought I'd clarify what I'm saying is how it would apply in the U.S. - at least when it comes to non-government situations where you may be illegally discriminated against if you had to give the former name out unnecessarily like if you changed your name to assimilate or you changed gender.)

November 13, 2014 09:32 AM

@Beth01 - Actually Devin is quite a bit more common for boys (Devon too).

ETA: The links didn't post, but you can search NameVoyager yourself and see.


At this point Gloria would actually be as likely - if not more likely - to be a grandmother of our readers (the peak was in the 1920s-40s, so for the younger parents on here that would be well within grandmother range - for those of Mrs. Wattenberg's generation your statement of it being a "mom name" would be true though).

October 10, 2014 11:26 AM
In Response to Name Conjugator

Forgot on the Spanish conjugations to include usted with él/ella and ustedes with ellos/ellas (I just now remembered that those are conjugated the same).

September 26, 2014 09:00 AM

How about Amélie, the French version? (After seeing the movie by that name I really like the name.) Since you mentioned using Amelia to get the nicknames Amy and Molly I like those as standalone names too (and Amy isn't as popular as it was when you were growing up).

September 4, 2014 05:25 PM

@MissyHolland - Actually Amelie has been in the Top 1,000 since 2003 (the SSA ignores accent marks).

June 15, 2014 07:06 AM

I think for a 2014 girl Lindsay would be even more dated-in-a-bad-way than Linda, since the former is a surname/boy's name turned girl's name (which tend to date unfavorably afterwards) while the latter at least has some pedigree as a feminine name.

June 5, 2014 04:04 PM

Does your DH have any kind of amended birth certificate including one that shows both names, or has nothing been changed on it (the way you described it I'm not sure)? If not, what state was he born in (if you and he are okay with sharing)? Like I mentioned upthread (and on one of your other comments, which I edited by mistake today) the majority of states do allow some degree of amending to be done (some will issue an all-new one without mentioning the change, while others the old info is still visible but the new is added). And why would he need to show his name change papers every time he does taxes, since once you send proof of the name change to the IRS (e.g. the first time filing taxes after the change) they shouldn't need it again (no more than you would after you got married)? Trust me, I've had contact with several transgender people and thus are aware of the ins and outs of making sure as much is changed over as possible (if your DH was born in MA they're one of the few states that don't normally amend BCs because of a name change but have a special rule in place for transgender people).

Another point I want to bring up from the same experience and the lady here (scroll down to see my reply), is that when it goes to time to fill out the birth certificate form for your DC (given that I saw another post where you're expecting), if they ask for his "birth name" be sure and ask someone from the VS office what name they want. That probably won't be an issue since he's male and most states just ask for the father's name as-is, since what they typically actually want is the name as it would be without any marriages (and not necessarily the name given at birth if different), and men don't normally change their last name when marrying. They generally do want you to take into account names changed for other reasons, like adoption or personal preference (as in his and the blogger's case). (The forms may not spell out that detail for the sake of space and being a less-common scenario, but it's something I've asked about.)

June 5, 2014 03:35 PM

Re; her birth certificate - In many states when you legally change your name (for reasons not related to a marriage of course) your birth certificate gets (or can be) amended (or a note attached) - a fact not well-known outside the adoption and transgender communities. (I don't know if the OP amended hers or not, but when people talk about the hassle of your birth certificate and other IDs not matching they need to bear that in mind.)

June 5, 2014 10:59 AM

I didn't know you were familiar with amending a birth certificate (a lot of people who haven't dealt with adoptions or transgender people aren't aware of the fact) - and I understand when you were referring to say a leftover copy of the original one or an unofficial hospital certificate vs. the official one being amended. Even adults changing legally changing their names for certain (non-marriage-or-other-domestic-partnership-related) reasons can often get their BC amended under the same policies, which I've brought up a few times when someone was asking about the ins and outs of changing their name.

June 4, 2014 05:03 PM

I second this!

June 4, 2014 02:16 PM

Actually, as I've said before, in the majority of states the birth certificate can be amended to reflect a court-ordered name change (in some of them the change might be shown which would likewise be something she may ask about, but that would still make any issues of having to carry two documents moot).

June 1, 2014 07:10 AM
In Response to 538 Covers Baby Names

The SSA list doesn't differentiate on when a person's number was applied for (indeed before SSNs were needed to claim a child as a dependent in the late 1980s many people didn't get their number until they started working). The list is restricted to those born in the U.S. though, so those who immigrate to the country and then get their SSN don't count. Also, I think the name that is recorded for the stats is whatever it was when the SSN was first applied for (you can see that with "placeholder" names like "Unknown" and "Baby" showing up, which were used when a number needed to be obtained before the parents could decide on a name).

You can read more about these and other "artifacts" in the SSA list in this post from me.

April 17, 2014 01:00 PM

I've touched on this subject before so I won't say much more, but one tip I'd like to reiterate is if you're a parent-to-be with a name that is more common for kids than your own generation then you might want to think twice about bestowing a name that was popular when you were growing up on a child of the same sex (or either sex if the name in question is unisex). In other words, if you're an expectant mom named Sophia you might want to avoid Stephanie for your daugher, just like if you already have a boy named Sasha you might want to avoid naming a girl Sawyer if you want people to be straight on who's who. (Although many NEs like the idea of having an ahead-of-the-curve name, this is one of the disadvantages with having such a name.) Of course this isn't an absolute reason not to use a name you like, but just something that you might want to know the ramifications of doing.

On the other hand, if you're the other way around with your name's generational placement (the one that many NEs aren't a fan of - having a name more common for your parents' generation than yours; since I'm going with an "S" theme I'll use Susan as the example) you have somewhat of an advantage when it comes to choosing a name that makes a "natural" sounding family. If you go with (for example) Stephanie it may make your household sound a bit retro, or if you go with the other example of Sophia it may sound like a generation was skipped, but either way wouldn't spin people's minds like a mom-Sophia/daughter-Stephanie duo would.

March 29, 2014 12:38 PM

On the other hand there are cases where the opposite (a man presumed to be a woman) can be advantageous as well, such as cases where a "gender quota" is sought. Either way, it's easy to remedy the possibility of being assumed to be the opposite gender on a résumé if desired - include your middle name (if it clarifies your gender) or include a Mr. or Ms. in front of your name (while someone who doesn't have a unisex name or nickname can't really go the other way unless they change their name).

The debate on whether men or women benefit more from a unisex name on résumés is like the debate whether having an "older" or "younger" name than what is typical for your generation is better. If you're seeking a tech-based job and you're a Baby Boomer named Lauren that may help ward off age discrimination that is rampant against older workers in that industry, while if you're a Millennial named Linda that may give you an advantage with getting a position where maturity is a plus (such as a professional/leadership role).

The main names I caution against using if you want it to look good for getting a job are misspelled/kre8ive ones (which do tend to score a less desirable first impression).