13.3.13

What's in a Name?


We're expecting our first little one in about 3 months. We do not have a crib. We don't have a car seat. And we do not even have a designated space for our impending bundle of joy. However, we have spent hours researching names.  

The responsibility of naming a human being seems incredible to me. This is the name they will be called on the first day of school! The first time someone says "I love you" and what they will be called on their first job interview. 
I just can't take the pressure!


But one interesting fact we have found in our research is that of all the names from 1940 - Betty and Donald happen to be the farthest fallen from popularity. Once, they were at the top of the charts but now barely even appear in the United States Social Security records. No other names have fallen faster.

While my heart goes out to the Bettys and the Donalds of the world - I love this aspect of names. In genealogy, particular names can place a person in both time and place.
Fellow genealogist Josh Taylor, says it this way: "Indeed, you can sometimes guess roughly when someone was born simply by their first name. In such cases, names can be to genealogy what carbon-dating is to archaeology.” 

Take a Look:

Famous Donald’s (And Their Birth Year)

Donald Rumsfeld (1932)

Donald Duck (1934)

Donald Sutherland (1935)

Donald Trump (1946)

Donald “Don” Draper (1926)


  Famous Betty’s (And Their Birth Year)

Betty Draper (1932)

Betty Boop (1930)

Betty White (1922)

Betty Friedan (1921)

Betty Crocker (1921)

Betty Grable (1916) 


So hold your heads high Betty and Donald. While you may not be the Nation's Cool Kids any more - you may just someday hold the key to some poor researcher's genealogical link. And for that, I thank you.



Betty and Don Image

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