Parents spend a lot of time deciding on the best name to give their baby. It could be a family name, that has been handed down for generations. Sometimes, parents desire to give their child a name that is unique. Those names might have been inspired by popular culture.
Genealogists spend a lot of time looking for the names of relatives and ancestors. In some families, there could be a first name that is especially popular. In my family, for example, there are a lot of relatives who are named James. What name appears the most on your family tree?
Not all parents are going to want to give their baby a name that runs in the family. Instead, they may want to give their child a name that is unique. That name might have been influenced by something in popular culture, just like the most popular baby names often are. Future family genealogists can use the culture of the time period to get some clues about why their ancestor chose a particular name for their baby.
BabyCenter has compiled a list of the most unusual baby names for 2011. The list is split into names that were given to girls, and names that were given to boys. In order for a name to appear on this list, at least two sets of parents had to choose it for their child.
This means that there are at least two little girls who have been given the name Palin. The spelling matches the surname of Sarah Palin, who was the former governor of Alaska, and who would have become Vice President of the United States if her running mate, John McCain, would have won the 2008 United States Presidential election.
Another political sounding name that has been given to two, or more, infant girls this year is the name Rush. While I would love to think that those parents are huge fans of the popular progressive rock band Rush, (with lead singer Geddy Lee), my suspicions are that this is not the true influence of that name choice. It is more likely that the inspiration behind naming one’s daughter “Rush” has something to do with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative, and controversial, host of the “Rush Limbaugh Show”.
At least two little girls have been given the name Shiny this year. Those of you who are fans of the “Firefly” series will probably be giggling at that name. In the series, (and the movie, “Serenity”, which came from the series), the word “shiny” was used in a similar way to how most people use the word “awesome” in real life.
At least two little boys have been given the name Jager. Immediately, this makes me think of the alcohol Jagermeister, (which is often referred to as Jager). Perhaps the parents of Jager were drinking Jager bombs shortly before conceiving.
Other unusual names given to boys in 2011 seem to have been inspired by cartoons, movies, and television programs. Boys named Scooby might have been named after Scooby Doo, (a cartoon dog).
Parents who named their son Draco might have been influenced by the “Harry Potter” books and movies. Draco Malfoy is a character from that series, who harasses the protagonist Harry Potter fairly often. Boys named Chancellor might be named after Chancellor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies, (and cartoon). Chancellor Palpatine would definitely be considered a “bad guy”.
Image by Frank Kovalchek on Flickr