How to Name Your Geeklet

Amy B.? Here!

Amy S.? Here!

Amy K.? Here!

That was me, then and now. Amy K. Because, as all the Jennifers on GeekMom can relate, there were a bajillion Amys born in the 1970s. Babycenter posted the most popular names of 2010, and while Amy doesn’t come close to making the list, the Sophias and Isabellas and Aidens and Jacobs of the world will become very familiar with the inclusion of their last initial.

The NameVoyager graph for Olive, which hasn't broken the top 100 since the 1890s, though I worry about that uptick on the right.

When it came time to name my own kids I had but one criterion: it can’t be popular. Not only did I not want it to be popular, but I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to be popular. We scoured the Social Security Administration databases, looking for names that haven’t been popular since the turn of the last century. We graphed every name on the brilliant Baby NameVoyager, making sure that the name’s popularity trended downward if it even ranked at all. Was I obsessed with this? Yes. Yes I was. At least I know I’m not alone. One of the GeekMom Jennifers tells me that she even called local school districts and hospitals. Why didn’t I think of that?!

Now, I didn’t want a name that was too out there, either. We didn’t want to choose a brand name or a fruit or something spelled backwards or strangely or phonetically. We just wanted a pretty, interesting name. My daughter’s name came easily one day. I was behind a woman ordering take out food and I thought her name was absolutely perfect. Olive. Sure it can be confused with the hyper-popular Olivia, but we were willing to take that risk.

Olive in Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight)

Here’s what happened since we named our daughter Olive: Little Miss Sunshine came out, with the memorable Abigail Breslin performance as Olive. Kristin Chenoweth played Olive Snook on Pushing Daisies. Stephanie Watson writes the children’s books Elvis & Olive. Sasha Baron Cohen named his daughter Olive. And, yes, Olive began to appear on hipster baby name lists. OK, it’s still #790 on the popularity list. And I still love it and know that it’s the perfect name for my little girl.

Fast forward five years and it’s time to name the boy. We still actively consulted NameVoyager and the Social Security lists, but we started to get more creative because outside of the classic names that fill the top 100 boy names, boys are really hard to name. How about obscure movie characters? I was stuck on Elwood for a while. Artists? Ellsworth. Chefs? Alton. I also picked names that just tickled me when I said them. Roscoe. I was so sure our baby was going to be Roscoe, but my husband thought that it was too Dukes of Hazzard. As if little Roscoe’s friends would have heard of that. In the end, we ended up with literally the only name my husband, daughter, and I could agree on: Ozzie. It doesn’t even rank on NameVoyager! Time will tell if it will, but for now we couldn’t be happier with our choices. Hopefully the kids will be happy, too.

How did you pick your kids’ names?

The GeekMom blog is captained by Jenny Bristol and Corrina Lawson, and supported by a brilliant team of writers. Since launching in 2010, we’ve created a robust community of writers, readers, and media geeks, dedicated to the vision of creating a smart, savvy, social online experience for geek parents everywhere.