1/31/12

Quick Tip: Naming Your Children


Consider the horror when Owen showed up to pre-k and found another Owen in the class. NOOOOOO! I thought I was more creative than to have a kid with the double name! The thing is, Owen thinks it's great. It's been months and I still secretly cringed in embarrassment. There's nothing really wrong with him sharing a name with someone else in his class or office his whole life, but I think we could've avoided it. We had so many great options! At least 100,000!

So, here's my advice I tell everyone: One of the best ways to avoid having your kid share a name with a classmate is to browse through these personalized towels/bedsheets/backpacks in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Despite how much you might love the name, if you see it in the catalog, your kid will have a higher risk of name repeat. Sadly, if I could go back to the PBKids catalogs in 2005, I would see Ella monogramed on every pillow. Same with my boys in 2007. Look! There's some left over Owen baskets they are still using.  Do you see your kids name in some of the items in the current catalog? Prepare yourselves.


Did you have a popular name growing up? I grew up with a lot of Lindsays, Jennifers, and Michelles. Did you mind? Or did you always wish you had something more exotic or unusual?

224 comments:

  1. I'm Gina -- there were precious few of us around when I was growing up. And now, my daughter's Aveline. According to the Social Security Administration's records of baby names, it's "not in the top 1000 names for any year of birth in the last 12 years", I think we're safe with that one. At least in the U.S. :-)

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  2. I had an extremely unusual name, but went through a psychological metamorphosis years ago and switched to one of my {more common} middle names. My son recently began going by his {less common in America} middle name {one of them} and my daughter's name hasn't been popular in America since 1888.

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  3. I'm an Alexandra, but I go by Alex. Growing up, I had so many Alex's in my classes, and I always hated it, especially because they were always boys. Today it's still like that in high school, but I'm not that upset about it anymore. It is funny to think about how we feel about other people having the same name as us.

    Love your blog!

    - Alex Yates

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  4. And the problem with someone else having the same name is?? Clearly you couldn't possibly have thought Owen was original and unique? You should just put a bunch of rado letters together to get really creative!

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  5. Holy cow this is funny! When I was nine I appealed to my parents to change my name. I made a collage of every blonde haired blue-eyed Julie I know and demanded that I be allowed to select my own replacement name: Shauna. But hey, you know, you can call me Shaun. I wonder why that didn't work.... Love, Julie

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  6. My partner is 35yo and he still cringes when he hears another male with his name. My name is quite rare and when people hear it they try to guess it's origin and meaning. I honestly don't know! I think it's German but I've never met/read/seen a German woman with my name.

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  7. My name is Lindsay and it wasn't common growing up but when I went off to college, they were EVERYWHERE. 6 of us in one class once. The heck?

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  8. I have always loved my not-to-common name Stacia. But grade school and middle school I was called Stacy. You can tell how long someone has known me by what they call me.

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  9. My MIL is Tonia (TONE-YA) also and HATES it, cause no one can pronounce or spell it. Consequently she named her kids Lisa and Michael. Was VERY concerned with the naming of her grandchildren. Luckily, she's been very pleased with Nick/Jack/Ted!

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  10. That's funny, I chose my oldest child's name when I was 11, over 30 years ago and now it is now the name of choice, Harper, for celebrity, but to me it is family lineage thing, not a popularity contest. My other two, do not have common names, I doubt we will hear their names often, although we do know one other child who uses the same other nickname of Penn, but no McKinney's. I feel for my oldest because I suspect by the time she is in high school, we will hear Harper everywhere, but I remind her, not many of them were named for a grandparent.

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  11. Keterah NagtegaalMarch 30, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    I totally agree with you Roseva :)

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  12. I know I'm late to the party here, but I hated my name growing up. Hated. It is a common name with many pronunciations - Andrea (Ahndreea). Honestly, I'm still not crazy about it and I've had almost 33 years to let it grow on me. In fact, I tried to change it/give myself a nickname for about 4 years. My parents hated it. I'm already considering names for future children to avoid such consternation in their lives.

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  13. Bonnie here... My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean or Where is Clyde are the two things I heard instantly after introducing myself from elementary school through high school. I get it every now and again still. I have meet no more than 5 in my lifetime. I could find very few things with my name on it as a kid. I am very happy with my name. I think we all grow to love our uniqueness. Great topic!

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  14. I just joined Toastmasters at my work and have been contemplating a speech called, Why I Have a Spelling Problem around this very reason. :) I have a friend whose name is Kipris... so close :)

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  15. I've only met one other Karis and I kind of like it that way now. Growing up though, I often wished for a more common name. In my case, I think it's because my maiden name had 11 letters and was difficult to spell. I badly wanted people to be able to spell at least one of my names without asking. My married name is 10 letters and difficult to spell, so my kids will be getting common names.

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  16. I'm an Emily, and there were only two of us in my high school graduating class. I loved being an Emily among many Jessicas, Ashleys, and Jennifers. I'm a bit sad that Emily is such a popular name now, but I still love it. I was named after my great great grandmother, and when it comes time to name my kids, I plan on going back through the family tree to find another not-so-popular name. :)

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  17. I'm a Brittany, too! Like you, I totally hate it when strangers call me Britt or B. It drives me nuts when people misspell my name with the whole Britney Spears phenomenon! :) I don't fit into the blonde cheerleader type either... I'm brunette, wear glasses, and am a glorified nerd! I find it hilarious how opposite I am from the stereotypical Brittanys... my parents almost named me Tiffany or Crystal. I always hated my name and for a while went by my middle name - Lauren - but the older I get, the more I love my name and love how it is spelled!

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  18. Ha. My grandmothers name was originally Celia, but everyone always called her Cecilia. So she legally changed it. I think at my grandfather's prodding as well. So the whole Celia/Cecilia mix up has been happening for A WHILE(she's 98 now...).

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  19. In elementary school I was Kaitlyn P. because there was one other Kaitlyn always in my class, in college there were four Kaitlyn's in my program! Now, my boyfriends sisters name is also Kaitlyn.

    I am so not impressed parents! haha.

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  20. Ha! This is funny! When we were having our second daughter and we couldn't figure out a name, my husband said "Pull out the PBK catalog, we'll find one there!

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  21. This is completely random, but there is a Felix the Cat movie and the princess was named Oriana. It was made in 1988. Just thought I'd let you know.

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  22. Good tip!! I'm still trying to figure out where all the other Emilys are. I know it's a Top 10 name but I don't know many!
    As for my kids, I don't mind common names. James and Noah (which is getting wildly popular!). I just wanted strong names for them!

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  23. When I was little calling a 3-year old Charlotte was akin to calling her Ethel or Mildrid, ie a very old name. Most of my family resorted to Lottie as a result. Pretty much up until college I hated my name and I wished it was more common. I grew into it though and now love my name (although thanks to Sex in the City there are tiny Charlottes EVERYWHERE. Still throws me off because I just assume if someone says "Charlotte" they must be talking to me lol). At least with the growing popularity people have figured out how to spell it. My advice for the parents out there trying for unique names? Make sure someone reading it can figure out how to pronounce it. I went to school with a "Folashade" and have a cousin named Tadhg. Correcting people is extremely tiresome.

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  24. My name is Justine, and I pretty rarely come across someone with the same name as me. There wasn't ANYONE in my school (any of my schools) with the same name... and I have only encountered another Justine maybe 3 times in my life. I like it!

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  25. My name is Erin, and there were always a zillion Erins in my classes. (And a couple of Aarons, too.) I like the name, but I hated being Erin O. And then I couldn't even always go by Erin O, because inevitably the Erins were always Irish, and tended to have O last names. (There were 3 Erin Os in my graduating class.) So in 2nd grade, I switched to my middle name (which is Jennifer.) Of course, like a month later, another Jennifer comes in, and I was Jennifer O. Fail.

    All that being said, I also always felt like I connected with other Erins, just because they had an awesome name.

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  26. love this!
    I am Ashlee (spelling after my uncle). I wanted something different, but not from left field for my kids...
    Lillian (Lillie--spelling from my Great Grandma)
    Dominic
    Jett

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  27. Hah! I'm a "Megan". I've had at least one other Megan in every single class I've ever been in. Hilarious trick for picking baby names though!! :D

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  28. I grew up as the only Robin in my class until High School where there was another one - except he was a boy. I always hated my name growing up and wished I had a more common name. On the other hand, my daughter was one of too many Jennifers and she hated that. Maybe we're just never content with what we have.
    Robin

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  29. My name is Joy. Although I was the only Joy anywhere (except for a woman at church, 30+ years older than me. I didn't mind that because I really liked and looked up to her) I didn't like my name at all. I jugged that everyone expected me to be nice, and happy all the time. It was during my college years that I began to like my name and appreciate it. A lot of that had to do with the story of how I came to be named.

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  30. My mother chose the name Ashley back in the 70s because it was uncommon but not strange. I went through school with one other Ashley, and it was a boy. I liked it that way. You can imagine my mom's dismay in the 80s when it surged (apparently due to a popular soap character? Sigh), and our mutual dismay as it surged again and again over the years. I admit that I cringed when I read one of the posts below from someone named Stacy, who wrote that she used to want a normal name...like Ashley. There were 10 girls named Stacy/Stacey at my school, so I guess it just goes to show that you never can tell. (After all, how many Dylans were out there pre-90210?)

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  31. When your name is Emily, especially these days, you are going to meet quite a few! I also have a knee jerk reaction when I hear other kids with the same name as our daughter!

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  32. my parents wanted to call me Katie but Katherine was overused so they called me Caitlin, thinking it was exotic.... then the next year it was in the top names of the year. Oh well!

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  33. In one of my high school chorus classes, there were 8 Laurens out of about 40 students. It was a bit ridiculous. I feel like it's been that way my whole life, from preschool through college. There have always been a lot of Laurens. It didn't bother me that much growing up, but I want to give my children more unique names.

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  34. I always wanted another Jill in my class. My mom wanted to name me Jennifer, but when she found out there were two already in the nursery, she made a last minute change. I named my son Jack (I know, Jack and Jill) knowing he would be Jack D. (which he is), but wanting it nonetheless.

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  35. My brother Matthew went through primary school with 4 other Matthews in his class of about 30. I was lucky in that the only other Kathryn in mine was actually Catherine, so we just got 'with the K' or 'with the curly c'.

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  36. Oh my goodness--you have my sister's first AND (maiden) LAST name--and I'm pretty sure you aren't her! That was really weird to read!

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  37. I have always been the only Susan in any of my classes. Wait, strike that. I actually had two teachers named Susan. I was always the only student named Susan in any of my classes.

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  38. I’ve never met anyone else with my name! I was adopted and my mom called up an Inuit art cooperative (I’m half-Inuit) to ask for a list of Inuit names and then she picked one she thought was the prettiest. It’s Kajola (pronounced key-you-la) which means that everyone says it wrong the first time. We just recently came across her handwritten list of names and pronunciation guides which was pretty cool.

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  39. Hahahahaha! What you said about Ella in the Pottery Barn catalogues is so true! I've grown up in French communities, and there's always been at least another Sophie in my grade. It could be quite a pain sometimes, but the most humiliating was when teachers tried to differentiate us: they'd call us Sophie 1 and Sophie 2 (so one of us would be sad because she's not number 1), or Sophie and Sophia (that's cringe-worthy in itself). But I still like French veeeery classic names. Which is why I'm raising my kids in the US.

    Love,
    S
    http://mademoisellesonushka.blogspot.com

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  40. I'm a Lauren. There weren't a ton of Laurens at my school but there were a ton of Lauras, which in turn caused everyone to call me Laura. I would get so mad! I'm still quick to correct people when they call me Laura, I like Lauren much better.

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  41. My name is Sheralyn and somehow there was another Sheralyn in my school, the only other I've ever met in my life!

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  42. I think we should all relax on the we-just-HAVE-to-be-SUPER-unique-thing and just enjoy the fact that our child thinks it's fun to know someone with the same name - really; how are you gonna avoid that without naming the poor thing poo og adolf!? come on, this is so not the kid's needs being considered.

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  43. It was Sarah, Anna, Sophie, Sally, Rebecca, the list goes on... my name being Penny was horrid and unique and I just wanted to be a plain Jane!! My hubby Sonny felt exactly the same :)

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  44. That's a brilliant idea! I forwarded your post to my friend who is pregnant.

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  45. My name is Alaina and I've never met anyone with that exact name. Plenty that are sort of like it, but the spelling is different.
    Downside: A surprisingly large number of people can't spell it right and just stick me with "Alanna" or "Elena".

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  46. My name's Alana (2nd syllable sounds like lot not like land nor like lane). I'm 29 and I've only ever met two people with my pronunciation and neither spelled it the same. I've noticed a few models and writers have it now, who are younger than me. I liked having a unique name but there were several downsides: No one could ever pronounce it. When I was in high school, when we had subs, the entire class would yell back the correct pronunciation. And for some reason, people refuse to pronounce it properly when their culture automatically pronounces the vowels differently. So you spend a lot of time answering to a different name. It stops being worth it to correct them. This goes for spelling as well.
    Also, when I was a kid, I always wanted a nickname because everyone else had nicknames but everyone liked my name so they didn't want to shorten it.
    Small prices to pay, though. Overall, I'm so glad I have a unique name.

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  47. My name is common in Finland where my mom grew up, but I've never met anyone in the U.S. with it. I have always liked it! It is a good topic of conversation and I don't have to use my last name too much. We love the name Owen too though! Now we have an Elliott, Oliver and Lincoln, and we have run into more Lincolns than the others put together- and he's only two. :(

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  48. I would not have guessed that Owen is a popular name. I like boy names with O, and think you picked good ones. My name?? Only women my mother's age had my name. And my middle name? Lorraine. I always associated it with the mom in Back to the Future, then later the cheese. I was probably in high school when I started to associate it with the province in France. That helped a bit. I almost used it for Miriam. Here's to hoping Simon and Miriam don't become super popular names.

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  49. my name's Charity and i've always really liked my name! it's always been different, although at one age i really wanted to change my name to georgina. but i still really love my name :)

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  50. Haha, that's how my aunt chose some of her kiddo's names! (Obsessed with PB.) But darling names. (Even an OWEN!)
    Sarah is pretty common, but I still love my name. :)

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  51. I'm also a Loren! One of the most common names in America and my dad spelled it wrong on the birth certificate. (No, really.) I've grown to like the unique spelling but as a kid I HATED that I never got anything personalized. All of my friends had pens and backpacks with their names on it, and I've NEVER seen a "Loren" anything in those stores that sell personalized items. I was jealous of my sister who had a common name... from the 1950s. Karen could still find mugs with her name on it, but since she was born in the 80s, none of her classmates were named Karen.

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  52. Clare is neither exotic nor unusual, but rather classic. Born in the eighties, my parents were considering either Elizabeth or Clare. I am unendlessly grateful to be Clare and not one of the many Liz, Lizzie, Lizzy, Beth, Betsy, Ellie, or any other nicknames for Elizabeth. My mother's sister had the name first, so within the family I have shared my name, but only in grad school have I had to share the name with a peer/colleague. However, she is Claire---the spelling I have had to deal with/correct all of my life. This uniqueness is clearly changing for the younger ones though: Claire now ranks as #53 in popularity. ALSO as I now live in Europe, it is great that my name doesn't make it explicit that I am American and/or completely foreign upon introduction. That is something I will keep in mind when naming future children. Classic, simple and translatable. Nothing sticks out more than "hallo, mein Name ist Tiffany."

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  53. I actually knew another Libby and she was in my 3rd grade class. But since then it's rare to come across another.

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  54. This is hilarious and so true. Love your blog, I am a new fan.

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  55. My name is Kimberly, or Kim for short. Not only have I shared my name, but it always ends up shortened. So, when I found out I was pregnant with a girl, I made sure to give her a special name that could not be shortened, and is not popular, nor usual. Lucky for us, we live in the south where everyone has two names, so her name stands out.

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  56. My name is Carisse and people always get it wrong - Chris, Carissa, Charice, Therese, even as far as Grace. I used to think I needed a more common name but I quite like it now. :)

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  57. Ha. I work with a Merritt (although I suppose you could be her). But, I'm with you. My name is Dalyn and I HATED it growing up. I wanted so badly to be Diana (yes, I wanted to be Wonder Woman), so nobody would ever mispronounce my name again. It took years before I finally grew to love my name . I gave my kids somewhat unusual names as well. Every time somebody tells me no one will be able to pronounce/spell Eames or Dashiell, I simply say, "Welcome to my world. It's not so bad here."

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  58. I am a girl Loren and I do not recognize any Laurens as having the same name as me. My way of feeling unique I guess...

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  59. It is so funny that you used those names! My name is Michelle and I have two sisters, Jennifer and Lindsey. I didn't know a lot of other Michelles, but it never bothered me when I came across one.

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  60. I have a very common Vietnamese name but in school it was not so common & difficult for people to pronounce. I hated it. It also used to bum me out when I'd look for my name on keychains or mugs at souvenir shops & never find it.

    Today I'm ok with my name, but it was hard as a kid.

    angry Asian creations

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  61. Growing up I hated my name with a passion, I hated the first day of school where the teacher would butcher it and everyone laughed at me. I hated living in a small town where I heard every single form of my name said, except for the correct way. However, by the time I had gotten into my 20's and now my early 30's I grew to love my name and I enjoy it when people ask me why I was named it or how to say it correctly. I love that it's different and unique and I have never heard or met anyone else with the same name. When I had my children I intended to name them a strong and beautiful name that I thought they would love, and not something they potentially would suffer from like I had. So, my son is Jakob and my daughter is Katherine, and they love their names! I also adore my name as well and I find that some people tend to remember me as "that girl with the pretty name" and I always smile and say it for them...Quezal

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  62. this made me laugh out loud!

    In the fall I ripped out a page from pottery barn kids to send to my English cousin. The picture was two babies in Halloween onsies with the names Amelia and Ella on them- my cousins name and her baby's name. it was too much, so funny to see them and I concluded then and there your same conclusion!

    Our daughter's name is classic yet not (currently) common, and I suggest to those thinking about baby names to check out the site Nymbler- where you can type in the name you like, see it's meaning and "rank" of popularity in the US... it also acts like a pandora and suggests other names you might like. Very cool. I check my baby names based on nymbler and if it's unranked I consider myself good to go! ; )

    abigail

    aka @GrayDayShop and tiptoethrough.blogspot

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  63. Heather RobertsonMarch 30, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    I know, right? I had a Calvin 2 years ago, and I've been noticing his name in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog for the past two years. Despite the fact that it's been at a consistent popularity level for about 100 years! Since my name is Heather, it freaks me out!

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  64. monogrammed items from pottery barn for children?? #firstworldproblems #stuffwhitepeoplelike

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  65. There were a ton of Katies, but I was the only one who went by Kathryn. So even though my name was super common, the spelling and the non-nicknaming made it feel more unique.

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  66. My name is Lisle (silent s, rhymes with Kyle) and I'm a girl (born in 1990)! I've always really liked my name, though it was a little annoying switching schools a bunch of times as a kid and having to tell people over and over that no, the s isn't a mistake, that's really how I spell my name. I've never met another girl Lisle, but I've met a couple boy Lyles. Well, man-Lyles - I think the two I've met were both 70+.

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  67. When I was little, I was the only Annie I knew. I have to admit, the first time I had another Annie in class, I was a little miffed. But it sounds like Owen has the right idea! There's never going to be a totally original name, so it's better to pick a name that's really right for your particular child.

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  68. I didn't know any other Jillian's growing up. Suddenly I'm surrounded by 3 or 4 others!

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  69. Jessica ElizabethMarch 30, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Jessica wasn't popular in the UK when I was growing up so much, pretty much there was only ever 2 or 3 of us in the whole school. Kirsty, Rachel and Stacey were popular. Jessica is popular for children now though. I used to hate my name and want to be called Holly! But I love Jessica Elizabeth now, it's kind of classy. My son's name is Rory which is very unusual here but not in Scotland or Ireland. All the Scot's say "A good scottish name" and the Irish say "A good Irish name"! Our girls name (if we had one) was Gabrielle but now I prefer Gabriel for a boy and possibly Alexandra for a girl, or Anna. I like traditional names which don't seem to be that popular nowadays, at least in the UK

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  70. My parents named my brother and I pretty unique but not extremely weird names: Robin, Wyatt & Graham. Robin was the most common of the three, except that we lived in England when Graham was born and it was much more common there.

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  71. Our last name is Valentine and we named our son Frederic as we never see or hear it anywhere.So if I were to see another Freddy Ray Valentine I would be upset, yes.hahaha

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  72. my name is kern, and when i was little, i hated it, because it was so unusual. i always had to explain it to teacher's and new friends, and i really wanted to fly under the radar as a jenny or a rachel. now that i'm older though, i love it. it's a name that people remember, and it's fun to tell people the story of how i got it and feel connected to my family. i've never met another kern, but i hope to one day!

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  73. My mom named me Anne-Marie, but when my dad filed the paperwork, he wrote "Ann Marie"! My legal name is not the same as the name I grew up with! That was a shock when I went to get my learner's permit.

    I love my name and get compliments all the time, but I have to say it slowly or people think I'm called "Emily." Also, we recently discovered a great-great-great grandmother with my name! I love that it's been around for so many centuries and is still unique but not frumpy.

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  74. Names are so funny. I'm Leslie. When I was little, there was a boy Leslie in one of my classes. That was mortifying for a little girl! I grew up hating my name and thinking it was too grown-up for me. Other than that, there have been few other Leslies in my life. Until now--Parks and Rec's Leslie Knope is bringing it back. I want it to be popular if only so that I don't have to repeat it every time I introduce myself over the phone or in a loud bar.

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  75. I love this post - growing up I was so upset that I couldn't find any name personalised gifts.
    Over time though I've learnt to appreciate my name because people remember you! X

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  76. Ha, this is awesome! My name is Kate, and it seems like that is just the most "in" name right now! Seriously, though, every TV show and movie has a Kate in it and I don't know what that's about. When I was a kid I was really shy and didn't have the nerve to tell people my name was Kate and not Katie, which they all called me for years. It drove me crazy because there was at least one other Katie in every class I took all the way through high school, no joke. Now, though, I get really excited when I meet another Kate because 1) it's way easier to remember her name, and 2) hello, instant connection!

    Great post, Shannon. I only knew one Shannon growing up and she wasn't the nicest. Glad to know it's not in the name :)

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  77. i was one of about 5 Allison's in our school growing up. I didn't really think about it, but i did hate people spelling it incorrectly. I would say it would annoy me more to have a name people never spelled or said correctly rather than to have the same name as someone else.

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  78. I always have mixed feelings about unique names versus common ones. I have a unique name- Kristian (pronounced like the religion). I seem to get about three reactions 1) NEVER having my name pronounced correctly (Kris, Krissy, Kristen, Kirsten, Kristin, Christiana and, once, memorably, Charisma), people think I'm telling them my religious affiliation ("I'm....Jewish?") or- especially in Europe- were expecting a boy till I actually show up (at least one young man was very pleased to find out otherwise though!) These reactions could be annoying growing up, but seem mostly funny now.

    On the other hand, as s teacher, I appreciate unique names, but not unique spellings. Our school uses them as usernames and passwords in computers, so I'm constantly trying to remember "Is this the one with a y, or the one with two ns or two ees?" Ironic, all things considered.

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  79. I think I should warn you that Zayn seems to be getting more popular! There's a British boyband called One Direction (you've probably heard of them, they're everywhere), and one of the five boys is called Zayn.

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  80. Well, when I was growing up, my name was "Specks". I was the only guy with glasses. That name followed me through High School. I kinda liked it. :)

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  81. i have a super common name (sarah) and always had to share my name with girls in my class. but i still love my name!

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  82. sharon! first: i love your blog! i am from germany. and i have no clue how i found your blog, it was not over cup of jo (;. i have to say, that i really like your personality, as far as i can say that without knowing you. you seem sooo funny, nice, natural and honest. and you never pretend you are perfect like so many other female bloggers out there!
    thank you for sharing your pics and thoughts here!
    my name is Maren by the way. i like it because its very rare here (at least in the south) it means "coming from the sea". i love that (:

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  83. When I was pregnant, my husband and I chose a name from his family tree, since we both shared Danish heritage. The name was Tarrin. A month before she was born, a new fall show on network television premiered. "Paper Dolls" was about bitchy, bratty teenage models and the worst of the bunch was named Taryn. I was sick that the show would become a hit, but mercifully, it was canceled after just a few weeks. We have seen the name more commonly spelled "Taryn" or "Tarren" (for a boy). But I think that having an unusual name has served her well. When applying for her first job out of college, her boss responded to her application by saying, "let's look into this applicant with the cool name." I grew up with the name Laurel and, for the first 40 years, endured the unoriginal question, "Where's Hardy?" (Most young people don't get the reference.) I have also, VERY often, been called Laura, Lauren, Lorrie, etc. And, I get a range of pronunciations: Loral, Lawrel, Leral. But I do like being different.

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  84. My name is Oriana. I grew up sad that I could never find my name written on anything. I was never spoiled with any of those (super ugly) colorful cups, pens, keychains, license plates, or magnets. Now, I'm really happy my name is original & I love it but it's sometimes a lot of work -- especially when you're at a coffee shop and they ask for your name. "Brianna? What is it? How do you spell that?" Then they call it out and usually just slaughter it anyway. Oh well. I've still never met another & would be SO excited if I came across someone who shared my name. I know they are out there!

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  85. I named my son Ethan in 1980. I named my daughter Ella in 1993. Nothing could have warned me about what name would be popular in a few years. No one their age has their name, but everyone younger does. My advice, choose a name that is never out of fashion, but isn't on the top 10 (for instance, Samuel, the name of my middle child).

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  86. Christina here too! In school there was always 2 in every class. One year there were 4!

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  87. I have a really unique name - Roisin and I hated it all through primary school and then half of secondary school - I forced everyone to call me Rosie (it means little rose in Irish) - until i finally appreciated the beauty of having a unique name.
    However, now I have a mini identity crisis because half the time I call myself Roisin and half the time I call myself Rosie!
    Madness!

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  88. My name is Maleny, just those three syllables have caused people endless amounts of mental confusion.
    I've heard every variant of my name there is. The story of how I got my name is pretty cute. My grandma was raised by her aunt, and she was the only grandmother my mom and her sisters had.She was awesome, she always took them on little trips and bought them the best toys. One christmas my mom got a doll and her name was Maleny. My mom and one of my aunts vowed to name a girl like that. And my mom won!
    I've always been the only one with my name in all the classrooms of all my life.

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  89. Sigh. My son's name is also Owen. Last week another mom of an Owen mentioned that the name Owen was all over the PBK catalog a few years ago. Oh well. I still love the name, even if I have 4 other friends with sons named Owen too!

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  90. I am a Margaret, named after my Grandma, and growing up, I hated that it was an "old lady name." But I always went by the nickname Maggie. Even though I've met several over the years, I still consider it fairly unique. I've always liked it, even if I can't always find keychains. :)

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  91. Funny. I have an unusual name, especially for a girl. And when I was a kid I was always sad that there were never any of those personalized things in stores with my name on them. Now I love my unusual name but when I was a kid I hated it and would have loved to share a name with someone else in my class!

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  92. I always liked my name and (still do) based on the spelling alone! I spell my name Isabelle, normally when people spell my name it is only with one L. I like the fact that it is not a common name, (IsabellA is now, and I dont like it).

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  93. hahaaha this is so funny. NICKLEBACK!!

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  94. I've only ever met 2 other people with my name - Carla - and one was spelled with a K. I'm named after my great grandfather, Carlos so I don't think my parents considered whether or not it was popular. I hated it but since having my own child, Max Atticus, I can appreciate a unique name!

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  95. I'm a Stephanie who was born in 1970. It was not a common name in 1970, but became so in the 80s (and that bugged me, especially when I began teaching at a university and everyone and her cousin in my classes had my name!). Unless you want to pick a highly unusual name or a name with a difficult spelling, you're pretty much stuck with the risk that the name, if not popular at the time, is going to explode in popularity thereafter. One of the things to think of is the evidence that people tend to skip the names of their parents' generation and use grandparents' names. I recall quite a few gen Xers naming their kids Lily and Grace, for example, in the 1990s, and since then there's been an incredible resurgence in popular names of the early twentieth century (Anna, Ada, Beatrice, etc. etc....the same equation for boys). If you want to be ahead of the curve, therefore, you could try using a name of your parents' generation or even your own. :) (PS The girl who mentioned Freakonomics also has a good point.)

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  96. My name is Lindsay (I was born in 88!). I haven't met a ton of other Lindsay's but I know they're out there. However, all the one's I've met spell their name with an -ey. I think 88 was a bit late into the Lindsay trend, but since my dad just told me about a "new" band he heard- Nickleback (really, dad?!), I don't think my parents were aware of name trends.

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  97. BTW...a colleague once told me they could guess my age (within a couple years) based on my first name alone...I knew at least 4 other Shannon's my age...in my very small town!

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  98. I didn't know anyone with the same name as me until uni- then there were three of us and we were/are BESTIES

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  99. sooo true...
    we went with Tyler and Trevor...I haven't consulted the PBKids catalog but I haven't noticed those names come up too often on the blogs....

    we considered Owen, but a friend already used it!

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  100. My son is William. It's my father's name. I guess I just don't understand the big deal about a child having the same name as others in school. He's unique because he's mine, not because of his name.

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  101. I only knew two other Hollys and none of them were in my classes, just in the same very large high school class. I tried so hard to give my daughter a non-popular name that wasn't weird (Lucy) and now everybody is naming babies that. I think the internet makes it harder to get unique names because they spread in popularity so much faster.

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  102. Ha forgot to put my name! I'm a Lindley. I always have to repeat myself or spell it out, but it's worth it :)

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  103. That's my sister's name! Our parents spelled it Ryann to make it a little different from the boys in her class : )

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  104. I keep a list of unusual names I love. I've noticed that so many names that were rare a few years ago are really becoming more popular (I'm afraid I'll be crossing Reagan off the list in a year or so) I lucked out with an old family name : ) I've only met 2 others who share it and I love it!

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  105. I love your children's names--there's a reason they're growing in popularity! I thought Nora was pretty unique when we named my daughter, but we're seeing it pop up more and more. We love her name though, and that's what matters! My name is Marae and I haven't met another to this day. I have gone through life saying, "it rhymes with hooray" but I do like it. :)

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  106. My name isn't super uncommon but the spelling is, Keri. So I can Never find anything with my name on it unless its a bottle of lotion. Im all for original names, but growing up I would have loved to have something with my name on it!!

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  107. very clever! when i was growing up in california, i only knew one other dawn in school. however, when i moved to the midwest, i realized that it must've been a pretty popular name for girls born in the 70's. my kids don't have terribly popular names, elena + forrest. so we can hardly find things already personalized on merchandise. the up side is that when i write notes to school excusing their absences, i never have to write their last name, being that they are the only ones with their names :)

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  108. Such a great idea! My sisters and I were never in danger of that - our father is Hawai'ian so our names reflect that - I always wanted to be known by my "English" name growing up (Elizabeth) because I thought it would make me less weird, seem classier etc. Silly.

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  109. Infinitely better than the "Like Pamela Anderson!?!?" that I got whenever I introduced myself growing up. You'll be shocked to learn that only annoying middle school boys said that. Further shocked perhaps that I look nothing like THAT Pamela, lol ...

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  110. Funny, I had two other Floras in my Brownie scout troop when I was a kid. So there were three of us running around with the same name. (I think I might have liked it back then, too.)

    I hadn't met any other Floras since, until my mom knocked the side mirror off a parked car driving down our block a few years back. I ended up having to straighten things out, and it turned out the car belonged to a little old lady named Flora. When I went over to pay for the repairs, the first words out of her mouth were, "You might be a Flora, but I'm the ORIGINAL Flora." Since the lady had about 40+ years on me, I had to give it to her.

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  111. Ha, ha! I remember thinking this just recently! I discovered my two-year-old's name ALL over the Pottery Barn Kids catalog (Oliver). Sigh. I thought we were being so creative. Our other two are a bit more unique (Milo and Emil) but I don't think it is the end of the world to share names. Thanks for this post, it's great!

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  112. I am an Elizabeth! My last name is George. Kill me now!
    ps. My husband is richard thomas.

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  113. I HEAR YOU about not being able to find personalized stuff as a kid. i desperately wanted to be "cindy" through all of grade school. don't even ask where that came from. but like you, i really love my name now... except when people call me "cecilia"... which is at least once a day. ;)

    when i had my daughter, i wanted to give her a name similar to mine. uncommon, but not unheard of. we named her 'lucia" (pronounced loo-see-ya), but a good 70-80% of the time, people call her loo-chi-ya. i guess you just can't win.

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  114. my name is hailey. how much more common can you get, haha.

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  115. I was the only Holly through elementary school and junior high. In junior high I disliked my name because i was "different." Today I embrace it because there are still not many of us around. While not overly popular, it is not so unique as to be bizzare. As a teacher I see name that make it clear the parents are trying just too hard to be unique. Imagine a child year after year, class after class, job after job having to pronounce, respell, or explain his/her name.

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  116. My daughters names are Lorelei (NOT FROM
    THE STUPID TV SHOW!) but from the siren on the Rhine in Germany. And our other daughter is Jessica. A name we both liked that is not too common (from what we could tell) right now in little girls.

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  117. I love having a unique name- Orlene. Growing up I never met another kid with my name. Now that I'm 32, I infrequently meet people whose grandmas and aunties had the same name! Your kids are gorgeous and you capture them so eloquently with your camera!

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  118. What a great observation! I always wanted a more interesting name. My name is Christina. When I was a child, I thought I could trick my elementary teachers by writing "Christiana" on my papers and in time they would start calling me by that name. Instead I just got a big fat red mark over the extra "a" : )

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  119. I didn't know anyone else with my name growing up. Stacy still isn't very common, and when I do see it, it is usually spelled with an extra "e" or "ie". There was a brief stint when I wanted a super common name so that I could be like my friends (Danielle, Jessica, or Ashley), but I got over when we started including last names in order to know who we were talking about.

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  120. Lauren Morton-FarmerMarch 30, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    I was one of about six "Lauren"s I ever knew growing up (from preschool-high school in two different towns) but once I got to college - oy! "Lauren" was like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone... I couldn't get away from it!

    But I still love my name. I tell myself it's classic, not overdone, haha

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  121. Haha so funny how you related this to Pottery Barn. Unfortunately I think my little is going to be just another Matthew :S
    I kind of like exotic names, love the uniqueness of it. In my family we all have common names but my cousins got real Austrian names (my dad is Austrian), for instance, my oldest cousin's name is Frohmund, I'm pretty sure he's the only Frohmund most people know ;)

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  122. Based on the Pottery Barn catalog, looks like my name--Madeline--is about to become a little more popular. Kind of weird. Growing up I always wanted to have a more "normal" name, but as an adult I enjoy the uniqueness.

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  123. I've only ever met a couple other girls with my name before, and I love being a rarity (Eliza-Jane). Also, I LOVE these photos of your kids! What was the story here?

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  124. Hahah, that's a pretty good observation! I'll have to remember that. As a kid, I never liked my name. I remember telling my friends to call me Cherry, Connie, Blondie (I'm a brunette btw) or Grape. It's an odd selection of names, I know. But as I grew up, I learned to appreciate my name. It's not very common, nor is it terribly unique. Once in a while, I'll run into another Jillian or Gillian. But I like it. And people tend to remember it.

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  125. My name is Paige, and I used to hate it!! When I was young, I wanted to be named something popular. However, as I grew older, I became to appreciate my name. Even though Paige has definitely grown in popularity, I still feel like it's all my own :) BTW...you're kids names are adorable! xo

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  126. Sadly, my kids are probably going to find the opposite gender with their names rather than the same. I just hope they don't come home one day asking me why I gave them a girl/boy name, because of what other kids might say to them. O-well. What's done is done. :) I hardly ever knew anyone with my name, which if funny because it's not uncommon...when when ever I did, I thought it was super cool. :)

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  127. I'm a teacher so I've seen it all :) but I don't think we have an Owen at our school--lots of Ellas in kindergarten this year though. Don't worry though--your boys and your daughter will sure to stand out with their dazzling personalities and a great mom to help them to let it shine.

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  128. Weirdly, I only ever had another Lindsey in my class growing up ONCE! That was in first grade and she was actually a LindsAy. ;) I was born in 1979 and I think the Lindsay-landslide may have been a few years later. Am I right?
    We named our daughter Courtney and happily it wasn't on the top 100 for the preceding year or the forecast for the year ahead. :) As a Montessori teacher of preschool/kindergarten aged children, I know all about popular kids names and have associations with most names so it was *not easy* to pick one for my own child!!
    One thing we overlooked? Courtney is 100% impossible to pronounce for Swiss people. Our fix? We call her Coco. <3 The problem with that? We discovered three months later while Christmas shopping that Curious George is translated in German as "Coco." What can you do? ;)

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  129. My brothers had a lot of friends with their names but I never met anyone with my name growing up. Most of my friends with more common names didn't seem to mind, but because mine was more unique I was protective of it. I didn't want anyone else to share my name. As far as I was concerned I was the only Noelle on the planet. My mom always said that my brothers names weren't "common" when she picked them and that made me realize early on that popular names are never the ones of your friends. Everyone thinks they're picking a great unique name because it sounds "new" but just because you don't know a lot of people with that name NOW does not mean they won't have 3 others in their kindergarden class. I took to checking the social security registry every year for the top 10 names and checking where the names I like rank. Every time an in-law tells me a name is "different" I say "You think that now, but wait 10 years and you will know a million."

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  130. This is hilarious and entirely true! There are at least two kids with each of those catalog names in my twins' preschool!

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  131. I had never encountered another Shannon until I was a junior in high school. There was a freshman that started and her name was also Shannon. I felt so betrayed! I felt so special and unique up until then. Then when everyone got on Facebook, I started receiving friend requests from people with my SAME EXACT name. First and last! Then I felt even less special. It's so funny how names can have such an effect!

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  132. My name is Merritt and when I was growing up, I was pissed that I couldn't find personalized keychains and monogrammed pillows. I haven't met a Merritt yet, but I kind of want to. I enjoy my "unique" name now, but I still get frustrated when people confuse me with Meredith, Merrick, and Garrett.

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  133. Ha, fantastic advice! Stephanie screams "I was born in the 1980s!" I don't hate it or love it, it is what it is. We went with Estelle for my daughter, and she can change it to the slightly-more-popular Stella if she's so inclined. If she had been a boy, we would have named her Howard...not a crowd pleaser, but it had a funny story behind it.

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  134. My name is Jennifer and I hate it growing up. I am a bit younger than you and studies show (hello, Freakonomics!- http://www.freakonomics.com/tag/names/) that names are cyclical. They start in the higher class families and then trickle down to the lower class ones. So, being a younger generation Jenny reflects my family's lower class. Jennifer was chic in the Jennifer Aniston age but now is copy-cat and overdone. Think of the age of the Samanthas, Brittanys, Ashleys and Stephanies you know...

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  135. My name was very popular growing up. I know/knew several people with my name. Some have nicknames (shortened version of my name). I like my real name:) Now, when I meet someone with my name...we instantly have something in common. As for my kids...I love my son's name. I didn't know any kids with that name when I had him...but then...Hallmark just came out with a stuffed animal & books with his name on it!. I think that name is going to go WILD!!! Yikes! Oh well. He is the only one in his school with that name this year:) Yeah!:) I have always loved my daughter's name. I loved that name since high school.By the time I had her, it was a very popular name. I tried to make it a unique spelling:) I still love the name and old people love her name (I don't know anyone older than 30 with the name). My daughter also named her niece!:) She has a beautiful name:) I LOVE it!:)

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  136. This is hilarious! And so true. It's the perfect test/measurement! I'm about to name a baby so I'm definitely going to start cruising the PBK catalog.

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  137. Hahaha, I totally agree with Merritt - my name was never on little keychains or pens, and I'd be lying if I said I resisted buying a few in the past few years when my name became more popular. I'm such a sucker!

    I grew up with a lot of Jennifers and Ashleys (and how is it that I don't know one John? Odd, right?), but I've always liked my name except for the neverending amount of lame jokes I get about it. I will say, I get very territorial with it though. I hate meeting other Summers, grrrrr.

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  138. We thought we'd do pretty well with our son, Eli. But every Elijah, Elisha and Elias out there goes by "Eli". Poor kid. I learned quickly, though, and threw out every name in the top 50 or in PBkids when I was pregnant with our daughter. We haven't met anyone by that name so far; I think she'll be safe for a while. I thought I was the only one who used the Pottery Barn trick! Ha!

    Edit: Oh, and my name is Megan. That was so annoying growing up - I was always one of at least three.

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  139. I went all through elementary school without knowing another Ashley...then got to high school and had four in my homeroom class! Imagine my shock! It's funny how many people have commented on how common Ashley is but other than those in high school, I rarely meet any Ashley's now and never did before. I know it was one of the top names in the US the year I was born but I guess that didn't quite catch on in Canada where I am now. My name always made me feel a little special - growing up with lots of Stephanies and Jennifers made me feel like my name was unique.

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  140. Great topic! I don't know a lot of people with my name, but growing up I didn't care either way. I agree with Merritt that the only pitfall was not being able to find personalized things in the store with my name. Mike hates having a common name. I think it's good to be unique when picking out a name for your kids but not to go too weird. Your kid will have to put their name on a resume someday...

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  141. 1981 Amanda was the most common girls name. hehe I grew up with a least 1-2 Amandas in my class. I hated it. But now I don't know as many as an adult. I don't dislike my name but it can be overkill if you know TOO many.

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  142. Jeannine is my name too. I sometimes see the name - but hardly ever the spelling.

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  143. My name's Melody and I've only known one other Melody but she moved schools in third grade. Hooray for uniqueness!

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  144. My name is actually very uncommon for someone my age. I hear it a lot more nowadays with younger kids. I had never met another Olivia my own age until I was a Junior or Senior in high school. When I was a kid I hated my name though because no one else had it. I thought it was weird. But I love it now! So original, just glad I'm not another Jessica or Ashley (no offense to people with those names!) because I remember there being 3 or 4 different Jessica's in one of my classes in school.

    Awesome topic!
    xx Olivia
    iwanttheseshoes.blogspot.com

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  145. Great tip!! My brother and sister in law are due in June and they won't give up their baby name ideas and it's KILLING MEEEE! Hehe =P

    I was named after my great-grandmother, and I'm the only Tonia I know (pronounced tone-ya)! Antonette is my full name, actually, but my GG went by Tonia and so do I. I guess it helps that N. Wisconsin doesn't have a whole lot of Italian immigrants around...it's mostly Germans and Polskies here.

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  146. I wasn't very original when I named my sons Luke and Mark, but it seems that because there are so many original names out there nobody else is naming their kids Luke and Mark! There seems to be many Lucas, Luca and other versions of Luke, but so far, my two sons only have competitors in the 30's to 40's gap of age. So that means that many of my kids' friends have fathers with my kids name! Not that bad, in my view tough!

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  147. I love this post! My name is Clarice and I've never met another person with my name, which I love.

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  148. I only had 20 or 25 kids in my kindergarten class, and we actually had THREE doubles! Two Gregory's, two Cody's, and two Valerie's (that's me!). I'm sure it was confusing for my teacher, but I actually loved it. I was very shy, and I naturally gravitated to the girl who shared my name, and she was my best friend all year!

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  149. My name is Jennifer and there were tons in school with me. I always wanted a unique name that would be all my own. My last name is Bradley and going through school there were two girls named Jennifer Bailey and whenever I won an award it was attributed to Jennifer Bailey, I don't know how many times I went home crying because my achievement was no longer mine but another girls. As I've gotten older I don't think about it too much, I just introduce myself as Jenn and leave it at that.

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  150. Hahahaha PB catalog!

    I hated being Michelle L my whole life, I even had 2-3 Michelles on my sports teams of a dozen girls. So I definitely considered that when naming my children. On the other hand, I didn't want a name that people couldn't pronounce or never heard before. So my rule was that it couldn't be in the top 100 names when they were born. Hope it works!

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  151. I actually do have a name that isn't as common and I always wished I had a more common name. You don't find cute things with "Charity" on them. LOL

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  152. I'm not sure why they would put a red mark over the extra "a" because you had the right to be called what you wanted to be called. :/ My teachers wouldn't have done that, although they might have asked my mother about it. LOL

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  153. I'm an Allison (who goes by Allie) and was born in 1982, along with a kajillion other Allisons! My parents though it was unique at the time, but it wasn't really : ) Now, two of my best friends are also Allisons (all spelled the same way even) and, in fact, it's made for fun nicknames among my group of friends to keep all of the Allisons straight. My friends who have had babies all stress that they're picking names that are too popular but I tell them not to stress!

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  154. my name's Megan too! and yes, there always seems to be at least two of us, doesn't it?

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  155. That's so funny! My mom named me after her friend and later found out she spelled my name wrong. Oh well, I like it!

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  156. Or maybe PBK saw we were naming our kids Ella & Hudson and copied US! Duh.....

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  157. Sharon this post is great and (considering the number of comments) totally resonates with lots of people - myself included. Jessica may have been one of the most popular 80's names around (along with Jake - my hubby's name)...at least that's how I felt. It was super annoying during elementary and junior high, but in high school our friends decided to start calling us by our last names to keep all the Jessica's straight. I was "Pinnock" and I loved it. Having a popular name also brings about nick names which can be fun.
    I happen to love the names Owen, Oscar, and Ella - I think you did great. They have a timeless quality to them.
    What about "Sharon" - lots of girls with the same name growing up? It seems like an older name to me (unlike mine - I will always seem 17)

    PS - The pictures are just too cute. Totally captures the fun dynamic of your three darlings

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  158. Tons of Brittanys, Nicoles, Jennifers and Lindsays. I'm so happy my mother picked something classic and timeless that will NEVER go out of style :)

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  159. My son is William (Andrew) and my daughter`s name is Cecilia (Josephine). I just love classic, elegant names and so far I have not met other kiddos with these names even though William is usually in the top 10 boy names.
    I love the pics of your children, they look so cute!

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  160. Dear Lord, I was a Michelle of the late 70s/80s. {Thank you Beatles.} There were at least 6 other Michelle's in my class. Same with my husband. We named our son Finnegan in early 2007 and people thought we were total weirdos, now there are Finns all over the place, but luckily he's been the only one in his age group. We named our daughter Tate and I'm hoping that stays relatively obscure.

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  161. i have only met one other echo. she was much younger than me. i have always loved my name. when naming our kids Marc and i like to go with a name with meaning to it. Adelaide, Gideon, and Liberty. unique, easy, and (hopefully) a source to look for strength

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  162. My name is Vesna (it's a Slavic name) and i was always the only one in my class, this name wasn't even considered beautiful by other kids and i hated it at that time. Now i love it. It means Spring Goddess and as my birthday is in March, it couldn't suit me more.
    I don't know how it is in USA, but here in Slovenia kids get really unusual names by their parents lately, in desire to be original. Nothing wrong with naming your kid with rare name, but there need to be some sort of limit. I know so many kids with names that are so strange that i can't even memorise them, some of them are even totally made up.
    I love names of your kids and two of them (Ella and Oscar) have been on my list for ages already :)

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  163. Hello, I am brand new fan of your blog. Mostly because you live in new york and it's the city of my dreams (yeah, cliche). And partly because you write so well. Three days ago I discovered this place at Cup of Jo and the same day I have read your whole blog, from top to the beggining. It took me like 5 hours and it was a great way to avoid some serious 'devoirs' like writing my thesis. So, I just wanted to say hi. Hi! ;)

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  164. Holy moly. Look at all these comments! It's as if I was doing a Pottery Barn giveaway! ha thanks everyone!!

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  165. great point. i'm pretty sure owen will one day goes as Bees or something

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  166. Yes, I had a friend names Lauren growing up. And I'm sure Laguna Beach didn't help!

    But I like your perspective. Yes, classic. ha

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  167. yeah, i like exotic names too but I wasn't brave enough to give my kids one. It's kind of a bold move. I think it's great when parents go for it. Frohmund. Very cool. I like the Austrian family connection.

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  168. yes---Madeline is going to HUGE!! Start stocking up personalized keychains and mugs while you can!

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  169. Yes--love your name. Kind of similar to my daughter's name (ella-jane), but without the kickass "Z"! Such a cool letter!

    The story: It was Easter of last year, I wanted to take pictures of their Easter baskets. Owen was not in the mood. Oscar was being a baby. And Ella was just stuck in the middle of it all. Pretty typical. I blew up the middle picture and it's hanging in my living room. :)

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  170. One of my best friends was names Jillian when I was a kid. I IDOLIZED her. Such a beautiful name!

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  171. thanks! Paige is such an awesome name. I've always loved it.

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  172. Wow! this cracks me up! I never knew I could such a time sucker! Glad you like me!

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  173. I'm Elizabeth and was always one of many Elizabeths at school - but I loved it! My husband is Andrew and always meets lots of Andrews (we had 3 in our wedding ceremony alone) and it's an instant bonding point. We both love having nice, normal names. Plus, no one wants to be the kid who has a name no one can pronounce or remember! The only downside is if you have a common last name - securing a good email address can be more difficult.

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  174. My sister & my daughter's middle name is Elizabeth:) I LOVE it!:)

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  175. The PBK trick cracks me up! I think name popularity is such an interesting phenomenon. I was the only Robin I knew my entire childhood. Then I went to CU Boulder and was one of 4 Robins in my dorm! I joked that all the children of 70’s hippies ended up at CU and that is why there were so many of us. When we picked my son’s name, Micah, we knew we would meet a few since it is a biblical name (which are always somewhat popular) but we have been surprised how many we have met. At school, our guy goes by Micah P (middle name Philip) because there is another Micah in his class. He likes having another Micah, so even though I was initially bummed, if he is happy, I am too!

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  176. When we got to preschool, there was already an Otis, so they went by first name+last initial. Sometimes when we run into old preschool friends, they'll still call him Otis T. And if I really really need to get his attention - like he's in trouble and trying to ignore me - I'll break it out: "OTIS T!!!" He almost always looks up.

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  177. Hey Sharon! My name is very unique, and I will never grow tired of people commenting on my name. Ever since I can remember, every new person I meet comments on how unique, and beautiful my name is. It is kind of uplifting in a way!

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  178. I was always worried the kids at school would call Oscar: Oscar the Grouch. They haven't. Isn't it funny how we worry for nothing! I hope kids will be nice to your kids too!

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  179. ha! isn't it so stressful to pick a name for your kid? So much to think about---I would have never thought to look at the translations! ha.

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  180. totally true. And yes--the social security registry is an excellent resource. i discovered it too late. oh well!

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  181. Love the name Howard! What's the story? You a Howard the Duck fan? All kidding aside, it's one of my husband's favorite movies! :)

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  182. interesting point-- for some reason i forgot about that part of freakonomics. i remember them talking about the spelling of names. cracked me up!

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  183. haha. yeah--i could imagine the lame jokes. in junior high, i used to get, "Are you Sharon Peters? hahaha" I never understood what they were getting at until I googled it a couple months ago. so stupid! ha

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  184. haha love that you used the pottery barn trick too!

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  185. RESUME: Oscar the Grouch. hahah good luck kid!

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  186. I love the name Olivia....your parent did good.

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  187. Oh wow--you're so lucky to have the name Antoinette and your nickname is adorable. I'll have to spend the word. I haven't heard that name at the playground or school, but it's awesome. I know just the person I'll suggest it too!

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  188. my mom loved Olivia Newton-John and Grease. unfortunately when introducing myself, i still run into a lot of people who ask "LIKE OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN?" yes...other people share the same name. lol.

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  189. Wow, I checked the website and my daughter's name was there! (She was born in 2010). That is too funny. I had only met ONE Hayley in my life (20 years ago in college), and my husband had met NONE. All the months we considered the name while pregnant, we never heard of anyone else with it. After she was born, I heard this name ALL the time! Everyone we meet who asks her name says "I have a niece named Hayley..." or something. Also there are television characters named it. I was shocked, and disappointed. But, I still love the name. I might have picked something else though if I had known at the time how popular it had become.

    The other problem is there are many spellings and people always spell it differently than we do. I spent my whole life correcting people who spelled my name wrong and now my daughter will have the same fate! When I was named Caitlyn in 1971 it was very unique, then it went through a popularity explosion for a while, now it's calmed back down. I like it. I'm also fortunate to have an incredibly unique last name, which I have never seen anywhere else. I hated it when I was young, but now I like the uniqueness of it so much that I didn't change it after I married!

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  190. I never really comment on the blogs I read and look at me, 2 within an hour...

    Anyway... YES! Brittany was in the top 20 of the most popular names for girls starting in 1985, which, lucky me, is the year I was born, all the way until 1997. (According to this link at least: http://www.babycenter.com/babyNameAllPops.htm?babyNameId=755) There were 5 in my 5th grade class. I honestly don't mind my name but sometimes I do wish I had one that was a little more unique. I don't fit into the blonde, vapid cheerleader category that Brittany's often get lumped into, so there’s that. I've also thought about shortening it to Britt but I've noticed it really drives me crazy when strangers call me Britt. OH! And another thing that drives me crazy about my name is how so many people spell it wrong, especially after Britney Spears came out. And have you ever noticed that you haven't met a Brittany over the age of 35, and that's even pushing it... food for thought. :o)

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  191. I love it when girls are named boy names! I knew a girl named Logan and I always wanted to name a little girl Ryan after my brother!

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  192. There were 4 Ashley's in my 4th grade class...

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  193. I'm a Caitlin... I was born and named before the great Caitlin/Caitlyn/Katelynn/etc boom started too. Maybe people will think we're a few decades younger than we are... maybe...?

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  194. My name is so common and when my mom named she thought it was super original. People in Las Vegas hadn't even heard it before! Super crazy how some names are so popular. Definitely wish my name was more unusual. -Caitlin

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  195. Maybe! At least after that boom people recognized my name when I said it, which made life easier. In elementary school, teachers didn't know how to say my name reading the roll call! Now it's just, is that with a C or K?

    The thing I'm realizing is you cannot guarantee originality with a name. Because even if it's totally uncommon when you name your baby, it could become popular in 5 or 10 or 15 years and then it's no longer unique. You have no way of knowing that is going to happen. So, just go with a name you love no matter who else has it!

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