Monday, February 21, 2011

From the Archives: I'm Fascinated with Names

a song that was popular around the time I was born

(originally posted May 2005)

I'm fascinated by names, and have been since I was a little girl. The way they sound, their origins, their meanings.

I've loved the names of my three children--Jonathan, Justin and Elizabeth--since I was literally a child.

Why do people choose the names they choose for their children? I'm intrigued by the process, although I've gone through it myself, with my husband, three times. A given name is so important, so major.

I teach a Sunday School class of third-grade girls, most of them African American. One recent Sunday, I was amazed when I took the roll and found:


Oh, and there was also a Kayla and a Maria. Boring in comparison, huh?

I've noticed that many names once considered "old-fashioned" are resurfacing and being considered cool--Sophie, Isabella, Ava--partly thanks to movie stars. Will Julia Roberts' "Hazel" and Gwyneth Paltrow's "Apple" launch a trend?

I am Cynthia Susan, named for my mother Cynthia Anne, and she was named for her aunt Cynthia Pearl. I used to think "Pearl" was so passe, but now I think Cynthia Pearl sounds really lovely.

Just as I'm drawn to all things Irish, I love names of Celtic or Gaelic origin. Granted, they often sound nothing like they look--Sean, Siobhan, Tighe, Aislinn. But I'm a sucker for anything with an "O'" or a "Mc" or "Mac" in front of it, and love the way they roll off the tongue: McDonough, McCullough, McNamara, O'Shaughnessy.

What names do you love? How did you select your children's names? My inquiring mind wants to know.

If you love books, check out my book blog, Cindy's Book Club, where I'm featuring a fun little book meme!

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