Was your name uncommon, but now isn't?

I was born in 1973, and growing up, I never met anybody with the same first name as me, Joel. Sure, there were Joe’s and Joey’s and Joseph’s and so on, but as a kid and all the way up to, and including high school, I never ran into another Joel. It wasn’t until the early 90’s that I started noticing the name more and more.

I use to work at a pizza parlor and for a while, another Joel worked there. After he left, I told my coworkers that there would never be two Joel’s there again. A couple of months later, yet another Joel worked with us for a while. I was shocked.

Anyway, long story short, as time goes on, I notice more and more Joel’s, there’s even a Joel where I work now. Hell, there’s even famous Joel’s, Joel Coen, Joel Hodgson from MST3K, and I think one other that I’m blanking on.

And while my name isn’t as common a Bob or Bill or John, or even Randy, it’s slowly getting there.

So, growing up, did you have a name that seemed uncommon, or even rare, that’s becoming more and more common?


growing up, all I knew of was myself, my dad, Ivahoe’s Cedric the Saxon, cinematic art director Cedric Gibbons, and actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke.

Now I can think of a French tennis player, a couple black athletes & of course The Entertainer.

Mackenzie. Which is now, to my eternal displeasure, making a comeback as a girl’s name.

No, my name went through a spurt of semi-popularity several years before I was born, so growing up there was generally a Tamara/Tammy around who was older than me, but I haven’t met any since just after high school. (That’s actually how I started going by Tamara. My parents always called me Tammy, but so did just about every other Tamara’s parents. Rather than using last initials, people tended to call one of us Tammy and the other Tamara. The older one got to choose which she wanted, so I got used to answering to Tamara. It was easier than telling people to call me Tammy, anyway, and I think it suits the adult me better.)

Yes! I’m “Jack” and for ages there were almost no others. But after a few years, it became popular. Now, that generation is catching me up, I keep getting startled when someone says “Jack” and doesn’t mean me.

Friggin’ Clay Aken. Now its my unwanted nickname.

According to my mom there were no boys named Ryan when she thought of it. I guess the late 70’s sparked the craze as I’ve known easily 30 or 40 people with my name.

Another Ryan here. My parents said that it wasn’t such a common name in the mid-eighties (when I was born). Just as an example of how widespread it is now, a couple of years ago I think there were six Ryans in four grades at my school. Those four grades totaled about two hundred people.

Yep. Colin. Never met another one until I was 35, now they’re everywhere. 'course, they’re all kids…

Weird thing is, one of my older brothers’ name is Devin. I never met another one of them, either, but now I know of three families where they’ve named their sons Devin and Colin. The really weird thing is, the older one is always Devin…

Not me, but…

I named my son Zach because, well, I hadn’t really heard a lot of them when he was born. Within a year, they were EVERYwhere.

Next up, was my daughter. A little irritated at the Zach experience, I delved a little deeper, trying to find a nice, pretty name, that wasn’t common (I checked Social Security registries!) and wasn’t actually odd. I landed on Emma.

Guess what? Yeah.

So then with my third and final child, I decided, she was going to get a name that no one else was going to land on, without being truly outlandish. What did I pick? Delaney. I have never in my life known a Delaney, never even HEARD of a Delaney that was female (as a first name, so Dana doesn’t count). I was thrilled, loved the name, it went well with her last name, it was perfect. I call my best friend to let her know that I’d FINALLY decided on a name. I tell her what it is, and she is dead silent. Finally she says, “You must be shitting me”. :confused: Not THAT bad a name, is it? Turns out, her step-daughter had called her the evening before, and announced that she was naming HER baby Delaney. I actually did a geographical analysis, decided that despite the freaky coincidence, it was still a safe name to go with since my friend’s step-daughter lived far enough away, and went ahead with it.

Cut to six weeks after birth at the doctor’s office. One of the nurses asks me what we’ve named the baby. I tell her, and she says… “Oh my god! My brother and his wife just named THEIR baby Delaney!”

WTF? I went from never hearing the name in my life to being one of 3 people in a fairly small area to have picked it?? And my friend (who just had her second daughter) says she’s heard it several times now.

I swear, the next kid (if there ever is one) is getting a name with 3 Xs, 2Qs, and no vowels. And yet I’ll STILL find out it’s everywhere.


In 1979, nobody except me was named Emily. I met one other Emily when I was 10 years old.

In 1991, it hit the top 10 for girls’ names, in 1996 it was the #1 name, and has stayed there ever since!

Born in 1975. Kristin. Kristin with TWO I’s not an E.

I was the only one in my elemenary, junior and high school. There was one other Kristin at the college I went to.

They NEVER had those cool little things with your name on them spelled with two I’s. My dad would buy the Kristen version then take a black marker and write an I on it for me.

Now I run across the 2 I version all the time.

My mother alwway told me my name, Carlein, was unique, and that she had put it together herself, combining her mothers name (Caroline) and her sisters (Marjolein) name. Due to a misspelling of my dad’s when he got my birth certificate :rolleyes: my name became Carlijn.

The two times I met another Carlijn, it was a big thing. A reason to send a card or express mutual surprise. “Oh, I’ve never met another one!”“Me neither!”
There used to be a popular Dutch cartooncharacter named Karlijn, but a name has to be exactly the same as yours, to feel as yours, so that didn’t count. Kinda like the “Joel does not equal Joey” sentiment expressed in the OP.

In my twenties, little girls started to be named Carlijn. I became used to looking up guiltily in a store when a stern voice would say: “Put that BACK, Carlijn, or no dinner for you tonight!” to her four-year old daughter.

I guess the name is here to stay now.

It would be a nice pendant to this thread if we could think of names that used to be common, but have almost disappeared. An example is the Dutch use of diminuitive boy’s names for girls. There are still Dutch ninety-year-old ladies named Jantje (little John) or Klaasje (little Charles).

Oh, and TellMeI’mNotCrazy, have you ever thought of working as a trendwatcher? :wink:

Is your name pronounced car-LEEN?

I’m amazed my first name hasn’t become popular because IIRC it was the name one character of a popular TV show picked for her child when it was born. Or maybe the people who loved the show aren’t having kids yet, or are just naming after the characters not their children.

But my middle name… Claire. That’s becoming more popular. I walk the mall and I keep hearing “Claire get back here!” but I’d only met two by the time I graduated high school. One was my teacher, the other I was paired up with for some program between kids of different grades at my school. (I suppose they found that amusing… “Claire, you’ll be with Clare”)

Seeing your name almost makes want to sing the One Day at a Time TV show theme song :smiley:

But serious, do you just go by Mack for short?

I never thought of Tammy as being too uncommon, actually, I use to work a Tammy a few years ago, although I’ve rarely heard the name Tamara. I think that is a lot rarer.

:dubious: Your full name is Clay Aken? You my have my sympathies man…

Another Ryan here. I was born in 1970, and for years never knew any other Ryans. Now there are hordes of them, most at least 10 years younger than me, though. Worst of all, there are increasing numbers of girls being named Ryan. WTF!?!?!?!
My claim to my name is solid: it was my mother’s maiden name, and my father’s family had a tradition of naming the first born son after the mother’s maiden name.

Anyway, I checked the statistics once and I think the peak of popularity of Ryan as a name hit a plateau in about 1990. And, sure enough, it was a fairly rare name for newborns until about the mid-80s, when it first cracked the top-20 in popularity. Before 1970 or so, it was not known much as a first name. I was in the vanguard!

Born 1966. Christina. Lots of Chris, Christine. I have only met one other Christina within five years of age of me. (Although I suspect its regional - I’d think there would be more Christinas where there was a larger Latino population than Minnesota - or at least Cristina).

But now I can’t go to the mall without someone I don’t know yelling my name.