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A baby by any other name

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Hollander Ramey, held by her mother, Katelyn, at Mercy Regional Medical Center, is named from Katelyn’s grandmother’s maiden name. Names with unique roots such as Hollander are growing in popularity. Hollander is also the daughter of Jason Ramey.

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald staff writer

The choice of a name for that recently arrived bundle of joy used to be formalistic, with Social Security Administration rolls revealing adherence to the tried and true.

The administration’s list of top baby names from 1912 through 2011 show:

Boys were, in order of popularity, James, John, Robert, Michael, William, David, Richard, Joseph, Charles and Thomas. The next 10 most popular were Christopher, Daniel, Matthew, Donald, Anthony, Paul, Mark George, Steven and Kenneth.

Girl names followed the same pattern: Mary, Patricia, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Linda, Barbara, Susan, Margaret, Dorothy and Jessica. The second tier were Sarah, Betty, Nancy, Karen, Lisa, Helen, Sandra, Donna, Ashley and Kimberly.

But in recent years, parents, including La Plata County couples, are breaking away from traditional tastes.

Cherished family names may honor an earlier generation or keep a present-day name alive.

Bayfield residents Jason and Katelyn Ramey gave daughter Hollander – born Oct. 18 – the maiden name of Katelyn Ramey’s grandmother.

The couple’s son, Henry, is named for Jason Ramey’s great-grandfather.

Sarah and Cordell Brown of Durango named their daughter Macy, which was her maiden name.

“I was Sarah Macy for 36 years,” Brown said. “I didn’t want to lose my maiden name.”

Jennifer Carter, due to give birth to a girl in March, said she and husband, Chuck, are coming up with names independently.

“Then we’ll negotiate,” Carter said. “We won’t decide until she’s born.”

Carter said that in her deliberations, she gives a potential name the Chief Justice test.

“I think about whether Chief Justice of the Supreme Court sounds credible before the name,” Carter said. “I tend to like classic names – names that my grandmother and her friends would have.”

Carter said Jennifer is definitely out of the running.

“My name was the most popular for years,” Carter said. “I wouldn’t inflict that on my child.”

Karen Berger said she and her husband, Curtis, chose Trevor for their 20-month-old son out of a baby-name book.

“We went through the whole book and narrowed the names down to five, then to two – Trevor and Donovan,” Berger said. “When he was born we decided he looked more like a Trevor than a Donovan.”

Chris Musgrave and wife, Kristin, have a 6-week-old son, Levi.

“We were walking one day and started talking about names,” Musgrave said. “We started with Lee, which evolved into Levi.”

Musgrave said he likes names that “go back a little.” He also likes short or one-syllable names, which is why the couple’s 19-month-old son is named Graham.

Births at Mercy Regional Medical Center from January through August 2012 show a similar trend.

The top-name list revealed Jacob (6), Liam and Jackson (5), Wyatt and Joshua (4) and then three each of Levi, Ryder, Carter, Sebastian, David, Oliver, Isaac, Quinn, Jack, Sawyer and Joseph.

Abigail was the most popular girl’s name at Mercy with six, followed by Olivia (4), Alexis, Ava and Alyssa (three each) and two each of Lyra, Emery, Raina, Melanie, Emma, Evelyn and Lillian.

Among other given names of babies born at Mercy are River, Cannon, Shiloh, Rylan, Talon, Kimber, Shialee, Aivhleen, Alaziah, Axton, Cataleya, Masyn, Cerinaty, Clabe, Pepper, Adilyn, Daisy-Grace, Rece, Destaney, Tyderius, Luxe, Paycen, Brolin, Argus, Tylii, Graeme, Awnikah, Lotus, Jase, Quorra, Reminysce, Kaida, Kash and Kooper.

A Nov. 9 story in The New York Times found a link between popular baby names and the names of hurricanes.

Four reporters who crunched data found, for example, that names beginning with “K” increased 9 percent after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and names that start with “A” were up 7 percent after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Parents didn’t name a child after a particular storm, but apparently were attracted by alliteration, the reporters said.

The similar initial sound of Katrina would increase the likelihood of children being named Kenneth, Kiefer or Kate, and Andrew would produce a bumper crop of Anjanettes, Alfreds and Allisons.

The Social Security list of the nation’s 10 most popular names in 2011 contained not a single girl’s name and only two names of boys from the 100-year list.

Colorado had its own popularity list in 2011. Social Security rolls found the 10 favorite names for girls were:

Olivia, Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Abigail, Ava, Emily, Lily, Elizabeth and Ella.

Topping the list of names for boys were Liam, Mason, Noah, Elijah, William, Alexander, Jacob, Logan, Daniel and Benjamin.

daler@durangoherald.com

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