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Names and Ages Please

Updated on November 4, 2014

Does Your First Name Reveal Your Age?

A list of names often reveals more than just a first and last name. It can reveal age. Don't believe it? Try to figure out the ages of the names in these lists.

Hester, Delphine, Lavinia, Ida, Harold, William, Samuel, Constance, Lydia, Henrietta, Ethel, Pauline. Ernestine and Josephine. How many children bear these first names at present?

Wait, it gets better.

Maxine, Bette, Dorothy, Lucille, Martin, Alfred, Kenneth, Louis, Bernard, Henry, May, Mamie, Doris, Gloria, Llewellyn, Beatrice, August and Augustine.

Figured out the age group these names fall into? Answer: Early 1900s to 1950s.

More fun...Geraldine, Beverly, Cheryl, Barbara, Kathleen, Donna, Renay, Patricia, Mary Ellen, Mary Jane, Ronald, Dennis, Gary, Francis, Allen and Jerome: typical first names of those born after World War II until the mid 70s.

Compare this to the current crop of first names: Brittany, Madison, Zach, Connor, Amanda, Corell, Tiffany, Bethany, Bruce, Lori, Dawn, Cary, Gabrielle, Robin, Alana, Bradford, Kristin, Meghan, Alyssa, Mark, Kevin, Jodi, Andrea, Leslie, Randy, Randi, Christopher, Jennifer, Sean, Samantha, Channing, Tatum, Mitchell and Lisa.

Still think a first name doesn't give away your age?

There are a few first names that can be considered "ageless." Names like John, James, Philip, Edward, William, Diana, Claudia, Andrew, Paul, Patricia, Elizabeth and Thomas.

Pick a celebrity era and you see the glut of children born in that time period with names of the most famous celebrities. It also applies to famous politicians and inventors. When Thomas A. Edison became a renowned inventor, the name Thomas suddenly increased in popularity.

There are some names that never grow in popularity. My first name is one of those: Eleanore. Adolph is another. Yet, other first names like Nicholas and Alexandra seem to never lose popularity.

My first name is proof that children are often named for those most admired at a particular point in time. Being a post-war Boomer, Eleanor Roosevelt increased the number of female babies named "Eleanor, Elinor, Elinore and my mother's personal favorite, Eleanore, which had an added "e" to make the number of letters in the name an even "8," her lucky number. I think I'd rather be named "Eight." The only other time the name Eleanor became popular was a song by the Beatles of the 1960s titled, Eleanor Rigby and one by the group, the Turtles, titled "Eleanor."

First Names in Song Titles

Speaking of songs, female names lead the list of song titles with names like Donna, Diane, Barbara and Sherry. Other first names in songs included Fanny, Charlie, Michael and even Abraham.

Children of Celebrities with "Cute" Names

Ever notice how some celebrities get "cute" with their infant's first names? I'm reminded here of those first names that are also known as the name of fruits, points of direction and even sci-fi names. When children with these hideous first names go to school, it's only their celebrity parents who are the saving grace for not being hugely ridiculed. Can you imagine being in fourth grade with a first name like Pluto? Quince? Justice? East?

We all laughed when the talented writers of the hugely popular TV sitcom, Seinfeld, broadcast the episode when the Seinfeld character, George Costanza, wanted to name his future child, "Seven." That's far better than HemiEngine, Transformer, Rocket Race, Avocado or Lemontree, right?

Space Age First Names

Taking first names into the space age should be interesting. Or not. Considering the number of sci-fi venues of renown today, names like Darth, Sky and Leia are already out there. It's always amazing how sci-fi writers create the most fantastic fictional names for alien life forms. Especially, when you consider it was a writer who created the fictional character Dr. Zarkov and Ming the Merciless in the famed Flash Gordon TV, movie and comic venues.

We all have personal favorites where names are concerned. Many of us imagine our lives with a different first name. This too depends on the era in which we were born. It's no surprise that millennials want to be named for their favorite rock stars. Will the first name "Miley" compete with the name Piqueaboo, Gaga or Charlize?

Is Fame in a Name?

Here's a thought. If the first name of an infant has to be a ticket to fame, can a kid named Avocado O'Reilly make it to the Top Ten Red Carpet list of stars? How about Darth or Dartha Rogers? Leia Smith? And what happens when the first name and last name create a moniker that sounds silly. Like East North. West South. Lefty Right. Jen Wenn? Channing Lanning?

Perhaps, names that roll off the tongue are part of a trend that is the greater enhancement to celebrity than talent or skill? People like to say certain names that roll off the tongue. The more the tongue rolling name is repeated, the higher the celebrity status.

Trend is the Name of the Game

Back to the game. See how many names you can slot into a certain age group. Pick names that stick in memory most. How many belong to a certifiable talented, skillful celebrity? How many are just plain trendy?

The problem with trendy names is that trends go out of fashion sooner than later and a child is stuck with a name that forever locks them into a particular era. Names from World War I and II sound unfamiliar to today's rock star-focused millennials. They can't tell you why in the 30s, the name "Clyde" suddenly became popular or why in the 50s, Dwight, was the name chosen for sons. They can tell you who Axl, Nuno, Kanye and JayZ are. Just not Hector as in Berlioz, Duke as in Ellington or Bo as in Diddley. Elvis, Ringo and Ozzy are long gone in their youthful memories.

Nicknames and Ages

If you think first names age you, consider that nicknames can do the same. Nell for Eleanore, Toni for Antoinette, Lexie for Alexandra, Maggie for Margaret, Betty, Liz and Beth for Elizabeth, Chuck and Charlie for Charles, Jack for John and Rick, Rich, Dick for Richard.

When you think about the endless choices of first names, how many actually suit the child's face or personality? For example, we expect a man in business to have a formal first name like Charles, Robert, Thomas or William. Women in business would also be named Elizabeth, Ann or Patricia, never Cary, Britney or Alyssa.

We expect celebrities in art, dance and the theater to have names that roll off the tongue. It's the reason an actor or actress is urged by their agents to change their birth names. For example, would Caryn Johnson be as big a celebrity as actress Whoopie Goldberg? Yet, there are celebrities who refuse to do this like actor Ashton Kutcher and Jane Krakowski to name two.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Do I Like my Name at All?

While meditating on first names, stand in the mirror and have some fun. Think of other first names you'd rather have been named. It's a great way of finding out if you really like your first name.


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