Baby Name Madness
Five weeks from The Event, and we've settled on the little one's name; but it's still fun to look around at the baby name blogs and software. For a long time, the best naming tool on the web was the Baby Name Voyager
(whipped up by Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard
), which lets you consult the Social Security Database for the last 100-odd years to see just how popular your name choice has been. You can reach back into another era for unexpected names capable of rehabilitation, or just find out in time if your name choice was uber-trendy five years ago and is now sooooo
Wattenberg now has a new tool, just as cool and useful: the Nymbler
. Based on Wattenberg's database of names linked by cultural attribution, you just plug in some names you like (or names you would like except there's something not quite perfect about them), click, and you get a menu of other names you might like. Plug in your children's names and see what your naming style says about your preferences. Add names you like from the list, click again, and get a refined list of name choices.
It was impressive to see what names Eudoxus and I had showing up on the list when we entered our top choices. Though it was a little disturbing to find out that we were also likely to favor Nimrod, Napoleon, and Gottlieb for a boy (having entered Balthazar and Linus--the software wouldn't take Bede), it was nice to see Willa, Ursula, and Ada (two names we'd considered for a girl, and one we wished we had) suggested. Confirmation at least of the consistency of our naming preferences, if not of our pragmatic wisdom in name choices.
Go, play with it.