Am I being stupid to rule out very popular names?

(53 Posts)
ricecakeaddict Sat 26-Oct-13 17:17:47

The only names my dh has suggested so far are Charlotte, Sophia, Jessica and Emily. He likes Sam for a boy and basically wants something traditional, popular and well-known. I like these names but we have a very common surname so I want to rule out any top 20 (well, maybe top 50!) names to prevent our child having exactly the same name as someone else in their class.
Am I being stupid in restricting our search to less popular names (and dismissing top 50 names we really like) just to avoid them being one of 3 or 4 Sophias, Emilys etc in their class?
We're in Surrey if that helps....

Ragwort Sat 26-Oct-13 17:20:08

My DS's name is in the top 5 - I really haven't come across that many boys with the same name as him - none in any of the classes he was in at primary school (three different schools) - he does have one in the same class at secondary school but it is not a problem at all - even though their surname is almost the same as well grin. None of his circle of friends have the same name.

I don't think it matters where you live, you don't want your child's identity to be wrapped up in the first initial of their surname. I don't think you're stupid at all, there are plenty of timeless classic names out there which aren't in the top 50. You just need to do more digging smile

LittleSiouxieSue Sat 26-Oct-13 17:26:41

No. You are not being stupid. I like the idea of children being individuals and this includes their names. I cannot see the attraction of being the 5th Amelia at nursery myself! There are wonderful less used names and there must be several you could find and agree on. I think sometimes people think children cannot live up to having a name that is a bit different, but in my experience they can and relish being different. Don't choose a name with an odd spelling though. A lifetime of spelling my first name has taught me that an unusual name with a straightforward spelling is best.

Coupon Sat 26-Oct-13 17:50:36

For it to be likely there would be 4 Sophies in a class of 30 (15 girls, 15 boys), you'd need 26 per cent of girls to be called Sophie.

The actual prevalence of the top 1 or 2 names is around 1 per cent.

niffernaffer Sat 26-Oct-13 18:24:44

No. I do for exactly the same reason. I really don't want to have a child with a top 100 name.

wigglesrock Sat 26-Oct-13 18:38:31

I think it depends how much you love the name. My 3 daughters all have very popular names, although 2 of them aren't as popular where I live as they are seemingly on MN. Both my older girls (8 and almost 6) are at primary school and are the only ones in their school year with their name and the 5 year old is an Olivia.

Also how much would it irritate you if you used a less popular name and there was another one in the same class or moved next door? For example I know 2 baby Astrids born within 3 months of each other that live in neighbouring streets & may well end up in the same school.

Fwiw one of my daughters has one of your names, spelt differently - it's lovely smile

Wellthen Sat 26-Oct-13 19:29:48

My name is (and seemingly always has been) in the top 10 for girls and it never bothered me. I had another one in my class at primary but she was known by a different version and there were 6 of us in our year in secondary (all known by the same shortening!) but as I say, never bothered me. I am an individual, I never felt part of a group. Being known as Wellthen J or Wellthen Jones never bothered me. Its my whole name, why should I mind being called it.

I always find it odd when people comment 'he'll be one of 5' - so what? Annoying for the teacher but thats not your problem.

I have a cousin called Augustus and, as a child, he had long blond hair. There was another boy in his class at PRIMARY school (a very small one at that) called Augustus....with long blond hair. No word of a lie.

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Sat 26-Oct-13 19:47:09

Being one of 5 is much, much better than getting blank looks when you say your name and constantly having it misspelled and mis-pronounced. Trust me! grin

To be honest although I don't mind my name now (was bullied for it at school which put me off it) one of the things I HATE about it is that I am the only one with it. You can't be anonymous in the same way as a Sophie Jones or Emily Smith. For example I recently applied for a job (had to withdraw due to pregnancy) but anyway - I was shortlisted and they remembered me from an UNSUCCESSFUL interview I'd had in 2007! Cringe. It was purely because of the name - drives me mad!

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 26-Oct-13 19:52:16

On the other hand, if I have to look up a Sophia Jones or Emily Smith on Linkedin (I am recruiting at the moment) - I would get frustrated pretty quickly - whereas say off the top of my head - Tondelayo Schwarzkopf would be found easily.

JumpingJackSprat Sat 26-Oct-13 20:00:36

I have a name which has always been outside the top 100 and I love the fact there was never another in my class. I do have to spell my name out sometimes but really is not that big a deal. I think your husbands name choice s are pretty dull to be honest. What are your preferences?

GrandstandingBlueTit Sat 26-Oct-13 20:29:15

Obviously all you're going to get when you post on here is personal feelings - no hard and fast facts as which is the best way to go, and so all you can do is work out which best aligns with your thoughts on the matter.

Some people love being a generic Sophie Jones or Emma Smith, while others can't think of anything more mundane.

It is worth pointing out there is scads of middle ground between a super-popular, dull, tired, over-used name, and an usual, unheard-of, yoonee'q name. And this is probably where you want to focus your hunt on.

Personally? I avoided very popular names, because I didn't really want my kids to have the Karen, Joanne, Claire, Jennifer names of this generation. Absolutely nothing wrong with those names - all nice, but now a bit dull through sheer over-use 30 years ago.

And the one comment that always make me a bit hmm is, 'popular names are popular because they're lovely'. It doesn't make any logical sense. If that were the case, then the same names would be popular all the time, rather than being popular for a set period of time and then falling from favour. If names are 'popular because they're lovely', then why isn't everyone still calling their daughters Claire and Jennifer?

Names are popular because they're fashionable and because the style of the name is part of the zeitgeist of the time. At the moment, quite feminine, frilly names are popular (for girls, anyway!); often ending in -a or -y/ie. Whereas back in our generation it was quite a different style of name tha was predominantly around, often ending in a consonant; Karen, Joanne, etc - definitely a far less frilly style.

It wont be too long - in fact , it's already happening - before people start to move away from the more overtly feminine styles that are popular at the moment.

The issue with choosing a popular, top-10 name is that it will date. It will be associated with a certain era.

And some names date better/worse than others. Some name date because they're cyclical (classic names, but they come in and out of fashion, i.e. Isabelle/Isobel) and some date because they're totally of-the-moment, used once, never to be used again - Jayden, Neveah, etc.

Some names date, because they capture the popular imagination - wrong place, wrong time, type thing - e.g. Sharon and Tracey.

There's no way of foretelling quite which way a name's going to go.

But the bottom line is that there are zillions and zillions of names out there that are not being used by everyone, that are not massively popular, won't end up being associated with a certain era, and won't inevitably sound dated in another generation.

And this is why many people avoid popular names.

getmeoutofthismadhouse Sat 26-Oct-13 20:43:04

My DS has a name that was number 1 boys name for years yet there is hardly any in his school . Having a unusual name doesnt necessarily rule out others having the same in the class.

Iwaswatchingthat Sat 26-Oct-13 20:46:18

I love all the names your DH has suggested.

My dds have top ten names and are both the only ones in their class. One is the only one in her school.

CarryOnDancing Sat 26-Oct-13 20:59:45

^Grandstanding summed the topic up perfectly!

Frontdoorstep Sat 26-Oct-13 21:06:23

Having an unusual name doesn't mean you won't come across an other. I have a fairly unusual name, it's not a strange name, everyone will know the name, there were no others in my school, but the baby who stayed opposite us had the same name.

NewbieMcNewbie Sat 26-Oct-13 21:36:49

Yes. I did and wish I hadn't.

heidihole Sat 26-Oct-13 21:41:25

I agree with what coupon said.

GreenShadow Sat 26-Oct-13 21:42:01

I have a not very common, yet very easily spelt name and although I'm not especially keen on the name, I like the fact that it is quite unusual.

So, go for it - choose something a bit off the beaten track - without being too outrageous.

ricecakeaddict Sat 26-Oct-13 21:59:21

Thanks all. coupon - that's a v sensible way of looking at it! Have also completely overlooked I have a timeless but very popular name and have never had an issue with it!

happy2help Sat 26-Oct-13 22:08:12

It's the pits when you think you've got a really unusual name, then within a couple of years you hear it absolutely everywhere! I expect it's much worse if your lastname is very common, as you've said it is. I don't think you're being stupid at all, just be prepared for it to suddenly become popular a few years after you've bagged it!

Lubiloo Sun 27-Oct-13 07:22:01

No, you're not being stupid at all. Why do we name people? So they can be identified!
If you are another Sam or Sophie, especially with a popular surname, that will be more difficult.

There are thousands of lovely normal classic names to choose from, why restrict yourself to the top 100?

Mumof3xx Sun 27-Oct-13 07:31:31

I would not and did not chose a top 5 name for any of my three dcs

That said they are all currently in the top 100

Older two are at school though and are the only child in their class with their names where as there are 4 Finley's and 4 Lucas's between the two classes

My dc were 29, 45 and 74 in 2012s most popular names

southeastdweller Sun 27-Oct-13 07:51:35

I think the main thing is that you should go for something you both love. My name (easily spelled) is outside the top 100 for years but was a little more popular back when I was born in the mid 70's. I liked being the only one in my schools with it and even at uni I only knew of one or two others. Having a popular name just seems so boring to me and any future kids will have slightly unusual names. Sometimes it's good to be remembered though this can sometimes not work out as in the example given by Weneed.

DalmationDots Sun 27-Oct-13 08:09:26

I agree. It is a personal choice. Obviously you can never guarantee. I gave my son a name which, at the time, wasn't particularly popular. He went all through primary with no one else with that name. Then, when he moved to secondary he became one of 10 in his year group with that name. It was strange.

Hope you manage to find something which balances you and your DH's taste smile

lade Sun 27-Oct-13 09:23:45


I avoided anything top 50 for my DC.

Reason? I was a secondary teacher at the time, and saw the nicknames people got. Most often it was when there were lots of children having the same name. The worst I ever came across with a class that had several Bens in, they were therefore identified by the other students as 'something Ben' with the something being an identifying characteristic. It was okay for Sporty Ben and Tall Ben. Not so great for the kids known as Ginger Ben and Thick Ben. The other one I felt really sorry for was 'Amy microphone head' due to her unfortuntate haircut.

I therefore chose names that weren't outlandish, but weren't terribly popular. Both my children are the only ones with their name in their school. (although DD2 is a nickname)

Mrsindecision Sun 27-Oct-13 10:11:40

As DalmationDots says, choosing a less popular name gives no guarantees that there won't more one or more in their immediate circle of friends. We chose a name for dd that we loved (and still do I hasten to add) that was well outside the top 500 when she was born. Ironically, despite the fact that it is less "common", there is another in her class and I also know of at least 3 others that are also around the same age! My ds has a really popular name (has been in the top 10 for decades) and there are no others in his class.

I would say choose a name you love rather than getting bogged down with how popular it is as you may be very frustrated to choose a name you like less and still discover another one at school! (P.s fwiw, I think that these boards can really cloud your judgement and it can become an obsession rather than a pleasure when choosing a name for your child!)

curlew Sun 27-Oct-13 10:18:48

Bear in mind that even the most popular names aren't actually that common- there are a lot of babies being born!

TheBookofRuth Sun 27-Oct-13 10:20:00

The thing is, a lot of it is geographical. According to national statistics, DD's name isn't even the top 100 - but I've recently met another 3 around her age locally. So you might think you've picked a less popular name, only to find several other people have had the same idea!

sandberry Sun 27-Oct-13 14:48:02

I think in the modern world with email addresses, it is sensible to avoid common name surname combinations to save your DD having all her emails sent to a different Emily Smith. No one can ever remember that the Emily Smith they know is This is particularly an issue if she works for a large organization like the NHS.

For the same reason it is good to avoid uncommon spellings of traditional names or names which are very unusual as nobody can remember that Emily Smith is actually Emalee Smith or how to spell a very unusual name.

So no I think you are right if you have a common surname to avoid popular names like Charlotte, Sophia etc and modern trends like Isla and Darcy and go for less common but easy to spell names.

NewbieMcNewbie Sun 27-Oct-13 15:45:30

That's a good point about it bring geographical - and also, dare I say, social? Look at the Telegraph birth announcements. Very few Islas, Lilys and Avas but lots of Florences, Matildas and Alices. I was asking about a name on here that is somewhere in the high 200s and was surprised to find several MNers had DDs with that name.

Also there is a lot more variety in names now compared to 50 yrs ago so actually fewer children have top 10 names.

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 16:01:30

In the end, how you feel about the name is more important than what some poll says about its current popularity. If you love it, it's the right one, no matter what fashion dictates.

I have the same worries - I've ruled a number of names I actually really like just because they've been used on Eastenders, Corrie etc. Bit pissed off now because my dear nan's name, which I'd love to use, has become fashionable and that means I see it being abused by people who can't spell on Facebook and used in conjunction with phrases like 'my lil princess', which gives me the horrors. I'm looking for a name that's not wacky and far out but which I will never hear said by Bianca Jackson or a Hollyoaks character.

Mrsindecision Sun 27-Oct-13 16:07:20

I've just looked at the Telegraph birth announcements for 2012 and Isla was actually in joint 6th position along with Charlotte. Lily was also in joint 19th along with Poppy, Flora and Sophia so I'm not sure where you've got your information from Newbie?? smile

20wkbaby Sun 27-Oct-13 16:12:02

There is an element of names being fashionable, but I think they become fashionable because people think they are lovely names. They don't become popular for other reasons, ultimately people name their children names they like and short of the majority of other reasons (initials spelling something embarassing etc) this is the only reason to give a child a particular name.

You have to accept that there is no guarantee that you will not end up choosing an unusual name that ends up being the most popular name of that year.

I find the idea of striving for a unique name more ridiculous than naming a child any of the suggested popular names because you like them.

emmyloo2 Mon 28-Oct-13 02:50:44

You are not being stupid. It was one of my criteria - not in the top 50. I was a bit gutted when Rose entered the Top 50 here, this year as it was my favourite name for DD. However, I stayed true to my criteria and discounted it! However, it wasn't really because it was in the Top 50 but because I felt it was in a category of very popular, flower names. So I don't think you are being silly, unless you absolutely adored a name. I just didn't want a name that I felt like I heard at every playground and of which there were 5 in the same day care. I wanted something a little less used. But that's just my opinion. There are some lovely names which are very popular. For example I love Isabelle for a girl. I just couldn't use it because it was far too popular for me. Popular because it is so lovely.

I was one of five in my class. Seriously. We were not this name but like this Jessica, Jessika, Jessie, Jess and Jay. To this day I don't get called my full name because of school.

However, everyone can spell my name and it's easy.

ZingWantsCake Mon 28-Oct-13 04:09:49

we know 2 sisters who are Jessica and Charlotte.

a friend Charlotte just had another girl - Emily

two of our nieces our Sophia and Emily

DS2 is Samuel and DS1's best friend is Sam

all lovely people with great names. choose what you like, fashions change, I would not care about that.

Personally, I wouldn't allow my genuine love of a name to be overruled by it's hypothetical popularity.

Florrieboo Mon 28-Oct-13 05:54:58

I used to think that it was awful to name a child anything in the top 100, my boys names are outside of the top 100 and I wore that as a badge of pride (they are however well known names) and then when DD came along, I loved names that were much more popular. She has a name that is in the top 50. I don't care, in fact if it was number 1 next year it would not bother me either. DD's name has climbed the charts rapidly, it is "of the moment" but, it is her great grandmothers name, so if she had been born 10 years ago and we had named her that, then it would have been very unusual and outside the top 100. That all said, we have a very unusual surname so whatever names we use our children will always stand out a little due to that.

Wishfulmakeupping Mon 28-Oct-13 06:13:02

I avoided top 50 my dd name but dd name is familiar but I still haven't met any babies or adults with that name but I know from some threads on here that dd name is extremely popular down south where there are lots so geography plays a big part. There is a tool on ONS to check popular names by region can't find it on phone so maybe have a scout around on there if you have 5 minutes

zipzap Mon 28-Oct-13 06:41:22

I chose a name that was at the bottom of the top 100 names for ds1 - old, biblical, everybody has heard of it but when we told my mother she was horrified; she didn't think you were 'allowed'(!) to use it as a name in this day and age. Fast forward about 4 weeks and she'd been talking to people as new grannies do - and discovered 7 others that had had babies called by ds1's name within those few weeks - mostly grandchildren of friend's, the golf pro's wife, the new baby she was cooing over in the supermarket...

Needless to say it has got a lot more popular in the intervening years; at infant school it was the most popular boy's name in the year. He's now at junior school and despite it being a big school, simlar catchment area to his. Infant school, there's only one other in the school.

I have a friend that gave her child a very unusual name (think there only 3-5 of them registered in England that year). And yet one of them turned up at the same local playgroup so could well end up at the same school...

I guess the motto of this is that the tables and name stats only tell part of the story... You never know how they are going to your local area.

Fantail Mon 28-Oct-13 08:19:14

My name has never been in the top 50 and normally hovers around 100. At secondary school I was one of 5 in my year, but that was it for the entire school of 1200 girls. We had all been born in different parts o the country too so even geography isn't a good predictor.

Bakingtins Mon 28-Oct-13 08:56:36

My ds1 has a name that is persistently in the top 10. He has never had another child with the same name in any of his toddler groups or classes at school. There is one other child in the school (of 300 kids) with the same name. It does depend on area, our neighbourhood is v socially and racially mixed so if you have a "naice white middle class name" you are in a minority to start with.
Ds2 has a name that is low in the top 100 and yet has already been in several groups with another child of the same name.
Choose a name you both love and don't worry too much about it's ranking.

MrsOakenshield Mon 28-Oct-13 09:03:43

I would choose names that you like! Just because a name isn't in the top whatever now doesn't mean there won't be a bunch of them in his/her class once they start school. I wonder what those who are so anti popular names do when they find out their pfb isn't the one-and-only in their class - change their name??

hawkmcqueen Mon 28-Oct-13 20:49:44

I don't get the obsession with trying to avoid a name that will date - we are all born of a generation and the average life span in the UK is what, 70+? So what's wrong with being identified as being part of your generation? And then we die and nobody cares :-)
Also, my name is unusual but there were two in my class at school!
Basically there's no winning formula, pick what you love, it's a word you will say a lot so you gotta like saying it and if that happens to be Emily or the like then that's okay.

RufflingFeathers Mon 28-Oct-13 21:07:22

Had 4 DD, only the last one has a vaguely popular name. I chose it because I liked it but was distressed that her name peg at nursery included her surname initial ! arrh.
It's not the end of the world, but FWIW, I am much happier with my slightly unusual other 3 DDs' names !

Theresomethingaboutdairy Mon 28-Oct-13 22:42:18

Hmmm, I am in Surrey too. DD1(9) is an Emily, it was the number 1 name when she was born, iirc, and she is the only one in her school, DD2 (3) is an Olivia, it too was the number one name when she was born and she is the only one in her nursery (so far!) DS1(8) is a Henry. Thinking this was relatively unusual at the time we were surprised to find a school full of Henry's! DD3 (6 months) is called Isabella, we do know a couple of Isabella's but they are older. As you can see, popularity didn't put us off-go with your instinct-good luck x

qumquat Thu 31-Oct-13 03:21:55

More important to pick a name you love I think. All names date but so what? People can tell I'm in my mid thirties by looking at me, having a typical name for a 30 something is no hardship.

Lubiloo Thu 31-Oct-13 06:49:59

It's not just about fashionable names falling out of fashion and sounding 'dated' imo. It is about having a name that identifies you. Being the third Sophie or fourth Harry in a class or at work can be confusing! If you also have a popular surname then it becomes even more difficult!

There are SO many lovely names to choose from, why restrict ourselves to the same few ones?

exoticfruits Thu 31-Oct-13 07:08:10

I would go for what you like. I find it very funny when parents have gone all out to be original and then they end up with another in the same class! It happens quite a lot and they are the ones really unhappy about it!

YellowDahlias Thu 31-Oct-13 07:18:42

My DD had a top 10 name the year of her birth and it's moved up since. We didn't realise it was so popular when we named her. It was a bit of a compromise name as we were stuck.

However she's never been in a nursery with another girl with the same name and she's the only one in her school class.

Her surname is different though so she's very, very unlikely to run across someone with the exact same name.

Icedfinger Thu 31-Oct-13 07:26:33

In the current reception year at our local school there are sixty children, 6 of which are boys called Jack which was the number one name that year!!

I don't think Top 50 means "very popular". DS1 was about 23 in his year and we've only ever met one other. DS2 otoh was #1 in his year and is rarely the only one in any group (eg toddler group).

Even the #1 name in a year is given to less than half of one percent of babies, and once you get below about #10 the numbers tail off quickly.

Some names are popular because they're good.

Some names appear to be unpopular but are easily confused with more popular names (eg Isobel isn't high but is "the same name" as Isabelle/Isabella etc which add up to be ubiquitous roaringly popular).

I think insisting on #50+ is cutting your nose off to spite your face. Avoiding top 20 would avoid the mega popular, but I don't think there's any need to go lower if the names you like are say #36 or #39.

On the other other hand, OP's DH has no imagination whatsoever!

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