Angelic Paranoia

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Friday 26th April 2013 8:11 pm

Names are interesting. Not least because I found top 100 baby name lists for various years from 1890-1984 and 2010-2011 on the British Baby Name blog. I love the concept of knowing someone's name gives you power over them. You do get an idea about someone from their name, whether it's the right impression or not.

These lists tell us why nearly everyone my age has a mother called Sue. Susan was top of the list in 1954, 1964 and in the top 10 in 1944. It still makes the top 20 in 1974 and top 100 in 1984. At which point half the women in the country are called Susan and its popularity drops a bit and it's fallen out of the top 100 by 2010.

My parents tried to give me and my sister less common names. My name isn't on the top 100 list at all for the lists either side of when I was born. It is in 2010, though, and I suspect reached a peak in the 1990s when it felt like all the three year olds had my name. My sister's name, on the other hand, was in the top 10 of the lists either side of when she was born, so they failed there.

It reminds me of one of the Chalet School books, which had two new girls, one called Samantha and one called Sameris. Since they had similar first names everyone was surprised they weren't related. Because of course you give twins/sisters etc similar names. But they also spent a lot of time exclaiming over how unusual Samantha was. By the time I was born it was in the top 10, so it's really popular, but doesn't make the top 100 for 1954 or 1964, around when the book was written. So they were right, it was unusual at the time!

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