Calling all ladies with popular names!

[name_m]Just[/name_m] interested in hearing from those of you who grew up with popular names. [name_m]How[/name_m] much did you dislike sharing your name with a bunch of other girls? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you wish you could change your name?

I’m from the generation of Jessicas, Emilys, Brittanys, and Ashleys. I was just thinking that even though [name_f]Jessica[/name_f] was the #1 name the year I was born, I can only think of 5 that I went to high school with. Five is really not a lot, considering there were a lot of people in my grade. DH and I really love the name [name_f]Emma[/name_f] and I worry it’s too popular, but it’s pretty much the only girl name we both agree on.

What do you think? Would it really be so bad to choose such a popular name?

My name is [name_f]Sarah[/name_f]. I went to school with an ungodly amount of other [name_f]Sara/name_fs. I would never use a top 10 name. It’s so annoying to never know if someone is talking to you or someone else. I really hate my name sometimes.

My name was #12 my birth year and I had one other one in my class. My school was pretty big too–we even split into two schools in my junior year. So the rankings can be tricky. FWIW, I think it’s great having a recognizable and established name.

I think the popularity ranking is even more dispersed and diluted now. #1 doesn’t mean the same thing (as many babies) as it used to.

I’m also a [name_f]Jessica[/name_f] of the 1980s and I agree. I have no doubt that some people had weird experiences with highly popular names, but I was never in class with another [name_f]Jessica[/name_f] until graduate school (when it was certainly no big deal), and in my graduating class of 250 there was either one other or maybe two. Granted, for a year or two, a bunch of us who had a lot of classes together included three Emilys. I’m not sure how highly ranked [name_f]Emily[/name_f] was then but I’m sure it wasn’t #1. [name_m]Just[/name_m] goes to show you can’t always predict. Two of them had the same last initial so we didn’t do the last initial thing, it was just always clear from context who was meant or teachers would use the full last name sometimes. They all got along and if they were bothered by it, they never showed it. I understand wanting to avoid excessive popularity to some extent but I do think the fear gets blown way out of proportion by some.

I’m a [name_f]Megan[/name_f] and didn’t have another in my classes until middle school. By then, I was old enough that I didn’t care and there was never more than two of us per class. I really love my name and have never minded meeting other girls with it because they’ve all been cool like me. :slight_smile: Besides, popular names are being used less frequently now than ever before and [name_f]Emma[/name_f] is a lovely name.

I’m [name_f]Erin[/name_f] and I only knew maybe 3 other female [name_f]Erin[/name_f]'s growing up, but I knew a TON of male [name_m]Aaron[/name_m]'s. I got called a “he” a lot which was kind of annoying, but I never disliked my name. There is a slight difference in pronunciation of the two, but it’s so subtle that they both always sound the same. Growing up I was actually excited when I met a female [name_f]Erin[/name_f] in school. lol.

My birth name was popular on both genders the year I was born. I’ve always had at least four in my grade at school, and many others around. I was always getting confused with people and it’s annoying when someone shouts your name and they actually mean the boy on the other side of the classroom. I don’t think I could give my child a top 20 name no matter how much I like it ([name_f]Anna[/name_f]… sigh).

My name ([name_f]Amy[/name_f]) was SUPER popular for all the of the 70’s (number 2 for almost the whole decade). However, I was given the name in the mid 90’s,when it was out of the top 100. My mom loved the name so much she said she didn’t think to much into the popularity. But, has told me in recent years she is SO glad she gave me the name when it wasn’t a trend. She likes that I was given the name 20 years after the popularity spike because everyone recognizes the name and knows how to pronounce, yet I have never ever met another [name_f]Amy[/name_f] within 5 years of my age. I think she made an excellent call there.

I was named [name_f]Sarah[/name_f] when it was in the top 5 names in the country and in my state. My parents were in a similar situation to you and your husband–they chose the name because it was THE ONLY ONE they both loved.

I had five [name_f]Sarah[/name_f]'s in my high school class (not an especially large one either) and have met a ridiculous amount in college. It’s actually an ongoing joke with most of the [name_f]Sarah[/name_f]'s I’ve met that in any given large group situation, there will be at least three of us lol. [name_m]Even[/name_m] with my middle name, I have a fairly common name–I now know three other girls besides myself named [name_f]Sara/name_f [name_f]Catherine[/name_f] within one year of my age.

All that being said, it has never significantly bothered me that my name is so common. Maybe it’s because I just really like my name despite its popularity and think that it fits me like a glove. I definitely have occasionally wished that my name were a little more uncommon, but that’s probably because I’m a name nerd, and even though I do wish this, I can’t actually picture myself with any other first name, except my middle name [name_f]Catherine[/name_f]. I will say that it also helps that my parents chose my middle name as a special namesake–it wasn’t just an arbitrary “oh this sounds nice” choice.

I think using the name Emma is just fine. Popularity really isn’t what it used to be. In 1987 Jessica was 2.9884% of births (the peak year), in 2013 Emma is 1.0888%. If the popularity of Jessica didn’t seem that bad to you, I think Emma would be fine, and it will be on the way down anyway so it will be even less in the next few years. I have no personal experience with a popular name but I’m not going to avoid names just for popularity for the next just because the point at which I would be bothered by the popularity isn’t really an issue any more (although I do hesitate a bit for the top 10 in my state). Interestingly enough, I don’t know any babies now with names from the top 10.

[name_m]Hi[/name_m]! [name_f]Brittani[/name_f] here!
LOL. I have always hated my name, honestly. Can’t recall one instance I preferred it. I’ve ‘dealt’ with it though, so eh. It was literally number 1 when I was born I think. And then I get dealt one of the worst spellings of it, and I can honestly say no one has gotten it right the first time, ever.

That said, I hate popular names. For my children I literally like to only pick names, no one else has ever been named, maybe 1 or 2 people or things. One of a kinds. But actually names/words/ real spellings, whatever the name.

For what it’s worth, my name and spelling has never been in the Top 1000, and the alternate spelling peaked at 850 in the mid-80’s. Right now I know three other women with my name that live less than half a mile away, and I distantly know several others. So I don’t think the national popularity ranking necessarily matters too much; it’s more of a regional/cultural thing. I love the name [name_f]Emma[/name_f], and I think you should definitely go for it!

There’s also the way not-technically-popular names end up being unusually common in certain communities. I have two friends who have two (separate) close friends named [name_f]Molly[/name_f] besides myself, and it was in the 130s when we were born. You can’t predict that from rankings.

She could be one of 3 [name_f]Emma[/name_f]'s in her class, but you could also give her a lower ranked name - say, [name_f]Hazel[/name_f] - and find that there are a handful of them in your playgroup! I do know people with more common first names who get a sense of uniqueness from their middle name, too. [name_f]Emma[/name_f] is beautiful, but maybe if you’re worried about how she’ll feel about it you could avoid the (pretty!) typical middles like [name_f]Grace[/name_f], [name_f]Rose[/name_f], [name_f]Claire[/name_f], etc, so she doesn’t meet as many people with her EXACT combo.

I’m an [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] and I was born In the '80s. Although I love my name I hated it growing up!! I was never [name_u]Ashley[/name_u], I was always [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] R, [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] [name_f]Rose[/name_f], the [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] with the blonde hair, etc. It was especially difficult in highschool. It was a regional school and there wasn’t a single class that I had that didn’t have another [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] in it, and it was never the same one.

If I had known that [name_m]Isaiah[/name_m] was as popular as it is I would never have used it. Anything in the top 100 on the SSA list pretty much takes it off my list. The farther away from the beginning the more likely I am to use it.

My name is [name_u]Ashley[/name_u]. I’ve known too many Ashleys to count. As well as some Ashlies, Ashlees, and Ashleighs. I would NEVER name a child a popular name. For my daughter, I chose an uncommon, but “normal” name. Her name is [name_f]Athena[/name_f]. I hope she grows up loving her name and never ever wishing for it to be anything else.

I’m a [name_f]Christina[/name_f] from the 1980s and there were actually millions at my high school and grade school! On my grade 10 basketball team there were 4 plus a [name_f]Kristen[/name_f] and a [name_f]Krystal[/name_f].

I hate having a common name. Hated it then, hated it now.

I realize I should explain why I hate it.

  1. You were always [name_f]Christina[/name_f] B instead of just [name_f]Christina[/name_f].
  2. When combined with all of the other [name_u]Chris[/name_u] names (including [name_m]Christopher[/name_m], [name_f]Kristen[/name_f], [name_f]Kristal[/name_f]) it’s just too much. There are a lot of names now that end in Emm. While [name_f]Emma[/name_f] is popular on it’s own, add to that the [name_f]Emmeline[/name_f]'s/[name_f]Emily[/name_f]'s/[name_u]Emmett[/name_u]'s.
  3. I feel like having a unique name that nobody else has gives you a unique identity. I love the name [name_f]Paloma[/name_f] for example and of course my kid one day could walk in and have another one in her class. If that’s the case, then damn bad luck. But it likely won’t happen and then my child will be THE [name_f]Paloma[/name_f] in the lives of the people that know her.

I don’t know why that matters to me, but it does. I think a lot of people who have common names can relate to it and feeling like they were always sharing something important about themselves with a million other people.

I’m a [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] from the mid-70s, so I grew up with at least–at LEAST–one other [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] in all of my classes. When I was a kid, it didn’t bother me. I bonded with some Jennifers over sharing a name. Somehow, being a [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] was different from being anything else.

As a teen, it exasperated me a little to have such a common name, but really, what doesn’t exasperate teenagers?

I’ve mentioned on this site that I think [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] would be a perfect NB name, too, if not for its rampant overuse for thirty years. It’s an interesting combination of sounds, and unlike some names, there aren’t really infinite variations of it, either (as mentioned by pp toronto87 re: [name_f]Christina[/name_f]/[name_u]Christie[/name_u]/et. al). It also has an interesting evolution and history: Gwenhwyvar, [name_f]Guinevere[/name_f], [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f]…it’s ancient, which is really cool.

So now, as an adult, I have to say I love my name and I even feel that it’s a bit unique despite it’s popularity. It doesn’t sound cute or trendy or even dated (in the way names like [name_m]Keith[/name_m] and [name_u]Sandy[/name_u] are) even though there are so many of us. The Hollywood Jennifers ([name_u]Lawrence[/name_u], Lopez, [name_u]Connelly[/name_u], [name_m]Jason[/name_m] [name_u]Leigh[/name_u], Aniston, [name_m]Garner[/name_m], [name_m]Morrison[/name_m], and Goodwin–because she counts, even with a Gi-, b/c she was born a Je-) are all pretty cool and unique in their own right, too.

I do not know that I would use a super-popular name, though, especially one without a lot of the qualities I like in my own name, like sound, longevity, or commonalities of the type of name in general; i.e., I like [name_u]Aiden[/name_u] and [name_f]Caitlin[/name_f], but…there are just so many of them, and so many variations of them, and so many spellings of them…it’s overkill.

You don’t just have a lot of Aidens and Caitlins. You have [name_u]Aden[/name_u], [name_u]Ayden[/name_u], [name_u]Aiden[/name_u], [name_u]Aidyn[/name_u], Aeden, Aedyn, [name_u]Jaden[/name_u], [name_u]Jaiden[/name_u], [name_u]Hayden[/name_u], [name_u]Kayden[/name_u], [name_f]Caitlin[/name_f], [name_f]Catelyn[/name_f], [name_f]Kaitlen[/name_f], [name_f]Kaitlyn[/name_f], [name_f]Katelyn[/name_f], [name_f]Katelynn[/name_f], [name_f]Kaytlin[/name_f], [name_f]Katlin[/name_f], [name_f]Callie[/name_f], [name_f]Kaylie[/name_f], [name_f]Kaylee[/name_f], [name_f]Kayla[/name_f], [name_f]Katie[/name_f], [name_u]Kelly[/name_u], [name_u]Kelsey[/name_u], [name_f]Calla[/name_f], etc.

So if I were going to go with a popular name, I would go with something that stood out as a name, even if there are lots of babies with that name.

I’m also an [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] of the mid-80’s but I love my name. I always liked having a popular name. I think it’s more about the association people have of the name than the name popularity itself. Growing up, [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] was always portrayed in movies/television/books as a pretty girl popular name so I never had to worry about being made fun of because I had an “ugly” name or an “old lady name.”

I think the same goes with [name_f]Emma[/name_f]. [name_f]Emma[/name_f] is a beautiful name and even though she may have other [name_f]Emma[/name_f]'s in her class or group, at least she will know that her name is recognized as a popular, pretty name. I think too many parents now are trying too hard to name their child something “unique” and “different” that they don’t think about how that name will wear on their child or grow with them. If you love the name than that’s all that matters. There are plenty of ways a child can create his or her own unique identity besides his or her name.

I’m currently expecting in [name_f]May[/name_f] and I plan on using a name I love regardless or its popularity. Go for it! :smiley:

I’m the…5th, 6th (?) [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] here. From the 1980s. And yes, it’s kind of annoying. It’s a very pretty name but I wish my parents had used my middle name as my first name instead because it was more rare. I was “[name_u]Ashley[/name_u] R.” all through school and now I’m still “[name_u]Ashley[/name_u] R.” at work because there are so many of us.

The other downside to having a really popular name is that it’s time stamped and it ages you. [name_u]Ashley[/name_u], [name_f]Jessica[/name_f], [name_f]Katie[/name_f], [name_f]Megan[/name_f], etc that were all “little girl” names in the 80s are now “mom names”. [name_m]Just[/name_m] look up the nameberry entry for [name_u]Ashley[/name_u]–“If you hear the name [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] in a playground today, it’s more likely to be the mom than the little girl.” And eventually, like [name_f]Rhonda[/name_f], [name_f]Barbara[/name_f], [name_f]Sherri[/name_f], & [name_f]Denise[/name_f], we will be old lady/grandma names one day too.

It was over 10 years ago that [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] Aniston’s baby on Friends was called [name_f]Emma[/name_f]. I think the name is lovely but it has been done to death.

What about [name_f]Emmeline[/name_f] (emma-line) or [name_f]Amelie[/name_f] instead?

[name_f]Emma[/name_f]'s popularity over the last decade is staggering. From the US SSA website:

Popularity of the female name [name_f]Emma[/name_f]–year of birth & rank

2013- 2
2012 - 2
2011 - 3
2010 - 3
2009 - 2
2008 - 1
2007 - 3
2006 - 2
2005 - 2
2004 - 2