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Naming Babies

The Social Security Administration has released the 1,000 most popular baby names in the United States for the year 2005. Their site has some fascinating search tools for baby names that go all the way back to 1879. Names go in and out of popularity in interesting ways. In 2005, the top five boys names were Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, and Ethan. Interestingly, four of these are Bible names. In fact, 12 of the top 20 boys names come from the Bible. This does not hold for girls names. The top five for 2005 were Emily, Emma, Madison, Abigail, and Olivia. Of these, only Abigail comes from the Bible. Of the top 20 girls names, only 4 are Bible names; 5 if Grace is included.

Perhaps this is accounted for by the fact that there are fewer women named in the Bible than men. It is true that "spiritual" names do seem common among the girls. Here are some with their rank in parenthesis: Grace (14), Destiny (32), Trinity (48), Faith (51), Nevaeh (70; Heaven spelled backwards), Gracie (94), Angela (114), Angel (147), Genesis (155), Hope (184), Angelica (192), Ariel (222; see Isaiah 29:1 where it is a name for Jerusalem), Bethany (231), Fatima (236), Heaven (245), Eden (321), Miracle (476), Joy (518), Isis (521), Justice (536), Precious (553), Delilah (583; yes, this is a woman in the Bible but I could not pass it up), Patience (608), Haven (624), Charity (654), Moriah (852), Galilea (865), Karma (867), and Christiana (988). I will leave it to you to determine what spirit each of these names is from.

As I made this survey, I saw other interesting girl's names. You can find both Summer (139) and Autumn (91). Place names include Asia (290), America (427), India (501), London (538), and Ireland (992). Musical names include Cadence (205), Melody (309), and Harmony (401). Other interesting names are Diamond (302), Ivy (303), Mercedes (383), Liberty (492) and Journey (773). We will close with Unique (937). I do not have time to survey the boy's names. It would also be interesting to compare this list with the one from 1905, one hundred years earlier. The top five names for boys for 1905 are John, William, James, George, and Charles. For girls, the top five are Mary, Helen, Margaret, Anna, and Ruth.