Younger generations of parents choose one-of-a-kind names for children

Published 12:00am Sunday, February 26, 2012

 For possible future children, and keeping with the themes of A-names in the family, Ashley said she likes Aiden Jayce.

Morgantown teacher Cynthia Mullins’ line of work makes her a bit of an expert on the generational trends of children’s names. And she’s seen her fair share of names after reading roll call lists for 26 years.

“Long ago, (names) used to be more common,” she said.

Her own grandchildren have popular or uncommon names, as well. Mullin’s 4-year-old granddaughter’s name is Tyranny Page Timmons, and her 2-year-old grandson is named Aiden Luke Timmons.

The most complicated task was calling on a child who shared a traditional name with another student.

But in recent years, the roll call has been more of a challenge.

“Some of these names — it’s hard for me to understand how children even learn to spell them,” Mullins said.

And pronunciation is another tricky skill.

“If you don’t pronounce (the names) correctly, (students) will let you know,” she said.

Mullins said some children who do have the same name pronounce it differently from class to class. For example, some pronounce “Xavier” in two syllables, emphasizing the “x” sound, while others pronounce it in one syllable emphasizing a ‘z” sound.

Mullins said less children have biblical names like “Mary” nowadays. And her name, “Cynthia,” no longer graces her roll book.

Mullins said in recent years she’s noticed a trend of names that combine two, more traditional names.

One example is “Krystalyn,” which combines “Krystal” and “Lynn.”

However, Mullins said boys tend to have more traditional, family names like “Christopher” or “Christian,” especially if a “Jr.” is attached.

“Girls names tend to be more unusual or difficult,” Mullins said.

Mullins said the names suit the younger generation, because children today seem more independent than they did years ago — which is demonstrated when they confidently correct their teachers.

But some traditional names seem to be around for good.

Two names have stood the test of time: Mary and James. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those two are the most commonly given names to American babies.

Mary Harper was given her mother’s name. That meant she spent most of her life being referred to as Mary with a qualifier — Mary Catherine.

She said she’s always been comfortable in her common name, even if that means sometimes she responds to a question directed at someone else.

“Sometimes, I will be in Walmart and someone will say, ‘Mary,’ and I will look around,” she said.

Like Harper, James West inherited his name, in his case from his paternal grandfather, James Henry West. He said that while he has never thought of his name as common, he’s always liked it.

“I personally like names that you can pronounce, that you can recognize,” he said.

In addition to being his grandfather’s name, West said James was the name of the brother of Jesus. Those are tall boots to fill, he said.

“I think a name says a lot, it is what you are recognized by,” West said. “I don’t know whether I necessarily lived up to it, but when you look at the sum total of my life, I haven’t done the name injustice.”

  • Anonymous

    “james baccus, asked not run it”

    Huh? Seems someone dropped the ink pad on this one.

  • Anonymous

    “Long ago, (name) used to be more common,” she said.

    Huh? Huh?

  • Kevin Cooper

    It looks like an earlier version was posted online that didn’t have final edits and that contained (apparently) a snippet from another article, perhaps.

  • Anonymous

    Black families need the recognition for using non-traditional names, the practice of which they have exercised for a generation or two.

  • Anonymous

    You mean like…”THLUNGUS”….lol

    How about “Pythagarus”? Or “Lemonjello”? Or “Female” Or how about twins named “D-One” and “D-Two”??? Not to mention all the “isha” “quisha” and “nella” variations. Good grief.

  • Anonymous

    I thought Thlungus was something you can catch……sure enough, they caught him a week or so ago!

  • Ryan Locke

    The article says modern parents choose unique names, and then Aiden comes up four separate times. None of these names are unique, other than having weird spellings, besides Jazadricka, who is already a teenager.

  • Anonymous

    People like you , is the main reason why the old south still lives & will always live with racial hatred. You have the right post name
    oldsouth. Some black & white people here in natchez have the same first names, it is up to their parents to name them. No one
    forced your parents to name you who you are. We do not have to name our children what you want us to name them. Are non-traditional
    names against the law ?

  • Anonymous

    The comment you are responding to was stating fact – the article seemed to celebrate the whites venturing from the norms of the past.  Your racism is showing.

  • Anonymous

    Yep…..yep….and yep! It was only a matter of time….B-I-N-G-O…you got picked this time…don’t you feel lucky?

  • Anonymous

    Again, its “we” “you” “us” “them”…please, give it a rest…every post is not about racism.

    We can agree on some things…hopefully most things…especially where crime is out of control. So please, don’t make this about “race”. The posts above are ALL based upon thruth…nothing more…nothing less.

  • Anonymous

    How is it based on truth when some of you are named the same name as some black people.

  • Anonymous

    Name your children what you want , & we will name ours what we want to name them. How about the name Barack
    look what he turned out to be. Call him what you want to call him, but who do he look like. I know you hate it , but when these stupid republicans finish cutting their throats, he’s going to win again.

  • Anonymous

    Most of your’s are, man you just can not help yourself.

  • Anonymous

    I was wondering some months back about some of my teachers back when I was in school, and let me tell you, Ms. Irene Paradise could teach middle school history like no one, IMO!!  The way she taught, actually took you back to the time period we focused on!  She had the ability to keep your attention from the time the class started, until it ended and I could just sit and listen to her all day!  Mr. Oliver was another one who foolishness aside, could have you singing the scientific names of just about every bone in your body!  This article precipitated my walk down memory lane.  :) 

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