Askamum story: New parents take inspiration from celebrity baby names

Celebrity and film culture are now strongly informing how parents name their babies.

Babies in a line - baby names

By Soraya Auer

Celebrities are strongly influencing parents when naming their babies, according to an analysis of 23 million page views on a baby-names website.

Pam Satran, the developer of the nameberry.comwebsite, said: “Five years ago, I might have said that the biggest overarching factor was personal meaning, now the biggest factor is celebrities.”

Satran believes the number of searches for a particular name is a better indicator of how parents will act when it comes to naming their child in the more immediate future.

Of the girls names the name Pippa, she explained, rose in popularity after Pippa Middleton caught the world’s attention when she was the maid of honour at her sister Kate’s wedding to Prince William in April. “She seems to have the power of celebrity propelling her name and style,” Satran said.

At the moment, the U.S. Social Security Administration annually tracks and releases the number of babies with a particular name after birth. Jacob, Ethan and Michael were the top boy names for the US in 2010 while Isabella, Sophia and Emma were the favourites for girls.

More unusual names have also been celebrity inspired, such as Elula, daughter of actress Isla Fisher and actor-comedian Sasha Baron Cohen. Elula was not in the database in 2010 but so far into 2011, it is the 38th most searched for name. According to Satran, this is essentially because the celebrity couple chose not to publicize the name until well after their child’s birth.

“There is a culture of the celebrity baby,” she said. “The whole world goes on name watch. By not telling the name, it becomes a big news event.”

Other popular celebrity inspired searches include Flynn, son of actor Orlando Bloom and his Australian model wife Miranda Kerr, Hadley, from the bestselling book “The Paris Wife”, and Mila, which Satran points to actress Mila Kunis’ success in the past year.

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Askamum story: Oliver and Olivia were 2010’s favourite baby names

Top traditional names remain popular, according to 2010 national statistics released today.

Top 100 baby names for boys and girls in a collage tree

By Soraya Auer

Oliver and Olivia, for the second year running, were the most popular baby names across England and Wales in 2010, according to statistics released today.

The Office of National Statistics’ 2010 list revealed Oliver, Jack, Harry and Alfie kept their top four places on the boys’ list.

Sophie, Emily, Lily and Amelia all rose into the top five spots in the list of girl names but there were no new entries into the top 10.

The fastest rising boy name in the top 100 was Ollie, while Olly was 113.

Despite claims celebrities influence new parents more now than ever, traditional names were very popular.

Olivia took top spot for seven English regions while Sophie was popular in the East and Lily in the South West. Welsh mums favoured the names Oliver and Ruby, possibly influenced by Charlotte’s Church’s three-year-old daughter Ruby. For the boys, Jack was popular in the North East while Oliver came top in eight English regions.

New entries into the boy’s top 100 were Bobby, Caleb, Jenson, Dexter and Kayden, and into the girls’ top 100 were Annabelle, Eliza, Laila, Maryam and Maisy.

Maisy saw the highest rise in popularity, rising from 141 in 2009 to take 100 in 2010. For the boys, Ollie saw the largest rise in the top 100, rising from 115 in 2009 to take 63 in 2010.

The statistics reveal that Alfie, among baby boy names, was the highest climbing new entry to the top 10 in the past decade (It was 53 in 2000). This could have been helped along by the success of Lily Allen’s song Alfie in 2007.

Evie was the highest climbing entry to the girl’s top 10 since 2000 with a rise of 101 places.

Over the past decade in the top 100 lists, boy’s name Kayden rose 1,326 places to 99 and Lexi, for the girls, rose 1,949 to 47.

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Askamum story: New Zealand bans 102 names

Celebrities wishing to name their kids creatively will want to avoid New Zealand where names like Lucifer, Adolf Hitler and Messiah will be rejected.

boy and girl sitting wearing gender symbol t-shirt

By Soraya Auer

New Zealand is cracking down on parents getting too creative when naming their children after Lucifer was requested three times.

The country’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages’ list of 102 names rejected in the past two years includes Baron, Bishop, Duke, General, Judge, King, Knight and Mr because they are considered too close to titles.

Punctuation marks . (full stop), * (asterisk) and / (slash), Messiah, Adolf Hitler, 89 and single letters C, D, I and T were also turned down.

This crack down comes after the registrar made headlines in 2008 for allowing the names Violence, Number 16 Bus Shelter, and for a set of twins, Benson and Hedges (after the cigarette brand).

In 2008, a New Zealand judge ruled in favour of a nine-year-old girl’s wish to change her name, Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, because it embarrassed her so much she hadn’t told people her real name.

Judge Rob Murfitt said odd names could scar children as they grew up. He said: ‘It makes a fool of a child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap.’

Name choice is also subject to a naming law in Sweden where the names Superman, Metallica, Elvis and Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (nicknamed Albin) were not approved. However, the names Lego and Google were allowed.

A judge in the Dominion Republic submitted a proposal to ban names that are either confusing or give no indication of gender in 2007, reported the Toronto Globe and Mail. Examples were Qeurida Pina (Dear Pineapple) and Tonton Ruiz (Dummy Ruiz).

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