Friday, September 05, 2003

Well, I'll be gobsmacked!
(Via Right-Thinking) If no one has ever pointed you to the Social Security Administration's online database of first names of Social Security card holders by year of birth, hop on over and check it out. I am always amazed at the trends in names. If I just look at the table below of the top 10 names for 2002 babies, I don't really find too many that would have been common among the kids I went to school with back before fire was invented. And what's with modern women's names? Hannah?

Top 10 Names for Babies Born in 2002


The SSA web site has lots of data going back to the late 1800's and a variety of ways to search it. Dig in - it's lots of good clean fun.

One other fun seeker is Matt at The Buck Stops Here who did a little digging on the name Hillary:
According to data published by the Social Security Administration, the name Hillary is the most severely poisoned baby name in history. Hillary had been steadily climbing the baby name charts since the 1960s, when it first graced the Top 1000, becoming the 136th most common name for baby girls in 1992. But the name sharply reversed course in 1993, smashing several longstanding records for name contamination in its plunge from the Top 1000 girl names last year.

The title for the most rapid case of name contamination had been held by Ebenezer and then Adolph, names that were shunned by parents after they became associated with Dickens's miserly banker and the Nazi dictator Hitler. But while Ebenezer and Adolph each took over 30 years to fall from the Top 1000 after they were negatively associated with their prominent name sakes, Hillary dropped off the charts in just 10 years, upsetting the prior records in less than 30% of the time. Besides this achievement, Hillary also set records for largest drop in a single year (295 places in 1994), two years (420 places in 1993-1994) and ten years (>864 from 1993 to 2002). These titles taken together constitute the grand slam of name poisoning.
Follow the link for all the details, but here's the closer:
It is beyond the scope of this study to speculate as to the factors that propelled Hillary to this astonishing feat. It is hoped that sociologists will research this unprecedented case of name poisoning.
I didn't know mountain climbers were in such disrepute?