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I'd also like to point out that the number of "nickname names" on the SSA list may be artificially high, given the circumstances one often obtained a Social Security number back then. Many from that generation obtained their number at the time they got their first official job (they weren't required for parents to claim their kids on taxes until the late 1980s). Some may have put the nickname they go by on a daily basis instead of their birth-certificate name, and at that time "matching documents" was not as strictly enforced as it is now.
This is one of numerous artifacts on the older lists (since c. 1990s when numbers became routinely assigned at birth such "false" entries are much less common, except for "placeholder" names when a name is still undecided when the number is applied for).
Your statement about no originally-surname names in the Top 100 for girls in the 1950s is incorrect - you forgot about Shirley.
I think it has more to do with a transphobic judge than the gendering of names. I think this transman has a good chance at appeal, since unlike for example the "bathroom issues" an unfavorable ruling would not just affect the transgender or even the LGBT community for that matter. It could affect anyone choosing a name for a baby if names start having an official "legal" gender associated with them.
How about Dylan or Ryan?
Good point, but what I meant as "surprising" are the areas of the country where you're more likely to meet a male Kelly vs. those where you are less likely (and not the national/international current gender usage for the name).
I should note that my find for MA is based on the states with sufficient population for enough information to appear on the SSA's state-by-state lists - I was unable to accurately compute a ratio for some of the smallest states where less than five occurrences was common.
You can, but you may have to go through the courts with the legal name change process. Many states will not let you drop your first name with just the marriage license (the changes you can usually do that way are drop your maiden last name to be replaced with your married one, add to or replace your middle name with your maiden name, or hyphenate your last name). Unless you live and get married in a state that allows for any kind of name change at marriage you won't be able to save yourself from having to go to and pay for court (but by doing it at the same time as when you get married you'll still save yourself a second round of document changes).
@xtinamarie - For a modern girl those names would indeed be unique among her peers!
@Aiea - Bernie might be a good candidate for NOTY next year if he does end up getting the Democratic nomination, but let's not jump the gun and make the same mistake we did with Barack in 2007 (precluding it for being in the running for 2008 when the name was more prominent).
@nicwoo - What do you mean Caitlyn was considered last year? Jenner didn't reveal that as her chosen name until this year.
I nominate Caitlyn too - as an activist for the transgender community Jenner's transition has helped raise awareness of their issues to the general public.
Actually what you said about SSNs is not quite true. The part about the middle number set is incorrect - those numbers are assigned using a particular formula from each set of first-block numbers (and have nothing to do with the date of birth - if that were true no one would have middle numbers greater than 31). You're only loosely correct about the first numbers - more accurately they're based on where you lived when the SSN was obtained (while for those born since SSNs were necessary to claim a tax exemption for the child it's most likely where they were born too unless they're immigrants or had some special reason for getting a new number, for those older it may not be if they've moved since birth). (That change in the typical logistics of when you got your SSN is also responsible for some of the artifcats on the name popularity lists.)
ETA: I look at the most recent rules on how SSNs are assigned, and numbers are no longer assigned based on geography, so for numbers obtained since that change the first block does not indicate anything.
The main issue that I'd see with changing your whole name at the same time (as opposed to only your first/middle or last name but not both) is if you're in a situation where the courts may be suspicious that you may be trying to defraud others by changing your entire name (e.g. deep in debt, have a criminal history, etc.) - on the other hand changing one at a time but doing two name changes a short amount of time apart would be just as suspicious. If your background is clean and you've got a legitimate reason (even if it's just personal) for your name change you should be okay.
@TheOtherHungarian - You're right about Martha, which started declining after about 1940 (unlike Denise whose decline began in about 1965, so Martha is basically a full generation removed from Denise). I think what Laura Wattenberg was trying to get across was the "zone of avoidance" for pet names (and "fashionable" names in general) is about two generations - the names popular on those of childbearing age right now (e.g. the ~'80s names that have declined a lot in pet name popularity) and their parents (e.g. Denise). The "quirky" names (e.g. Martha) are those from the generation of today's new great-grandparents (or the grandparents of today's new parents), and another generation of separation is when we can expect a name to become "mainstream" again (like what has been mentioned in BNW and on this blog before).
#McHobbit - If I understand correctly the SSA doesn't recognize hyphens and just "smoosh" the two parts of the name together, so that's probably why no hyphenated names appear on the U.S. lists.
I've heard Melissa/Michelle mix-ups before, probably because they both start with "M"* and peaked in popularity around the same time. *Same thing with Rachel and Rebecca both starting with "R" (with both being Biblical names as the other tie).
Thanks for clarifying about your location/nationality! (Whenever I see words spelled the "British" way I usually see that as a clue that the poster is not from the U.S.) As for my comment, another alternative in the "sensitive" cases where you don't want to "out" yourself but also don't want to act like you overlooked or lied about the question (that I also suggested to the transgender people I described) is to put down "none that are relevant" or something similar if true in your case (of course if there is something that they can and may want to check under your former name you basically don't have a choice).
One thing I do want to point out about the "other names you've used or been known by" question - for people who've had a "sensitive" name change who may not want to disclose the former name (the converse of what you're saying), when it's a private entity protected by anti-discrimination laws, they usually care only about names used in the context of what they'd be checking. For example, if you were adopted as a child, you do not need to disclose the name you were originally given at birth for most job or loan applications (as seen at the link below - broken up so it doesn't register as spam).
http: (two slashes) www (dot) askamanager (dot) org/2013/03/short-answer-sunday-7-short-answers-to-7-short-questions-32.html
In cases like a transgender person (as I've worked with several of them) or someone who legally changed their name for reasons described in the OP of this discussion, it depends on whether or not the employer, etc. needs to know it to verify your work/school/criminal/etc. history properly. Often times for a background check you can ask that you give the sensitive information straight to whoever is running the check.
Sorry if this is a bit OT, but I'm posting this for example someone contemplating changing an already-born child's name, and they ask if they make the change if they'd have to list the original name in cases like these when they're older. In the aforementioned cases the answer is (for the most part) no. Of course for example if you're applying for a passport or a visa from a government it's different, or getting a job that requires a security clearance, but employers, banks, etc. typically have no need to know a name changed before you were old enough to have any "adult" records.
ETA: I looked at your profile, and I saw you refer to yourself as "mum" - my comments are geared towards those in the U.S., so where you live it may be different. Often in these cases here the question is worded so as to only ascertain those names within the scope of their interest (e.g. other names you have "obtained credit under" for a loan application instead of the more general wording).
He's transgender (female-to-male) and looking for a more masculine name.
I was partially wrong about Taylor - the gender ratio widened again with 3,782 girls and 691 boys for 5.47 girls per boy (but still narrower than it was in 2012). Still it probably wouldn't make a "fastset falling" list for boys.