The Wall Street Journal had a piece last week on the booming baby-name business.
Some parents are checking Social Security data to make sure their choices aren't too trendy, while others are fussing over every consonant like corporate branding experts. They're also pulling ideas from books, Web sites and software programs, and in some cases, hiring professional baby-name consultants who use mathematical formulas.
Name choices have long been agonizing for some parents. In Colonial times, it was not uncommon for parents to open the Bible and select a word at random -- a practice that created such gems as Notwithstanding Griswold and Maybe Barnes. [Link, via mental_floss]For parents who wait till the last minute, the circumstances of birth can provide a name. William Shepard Walsh's 1892 Handy-book of Literary Curiosities offers an example:
The register of St. Helen's, Bishopgate, for the year 1611 tells the short tale of "Job-raked-out-of-the-ashes," a child born on the last day of August, "in the lane going to Sir John Spencer's back gate," "and there laid on a heap of sea-coal ashes. Baptized the next day and buried on the day following." [Link]
[Photo credit: yawn by Stephen Rainer]