Mormons name their kids the darnedest things: Born in 2015 edition

On Monday my mom mailed me a Much Anticipated Envelope. It contained the “Born in 2015” insert from her local newspaper, the Post Register. This annual publication announces the births of babies born the previous year in Rexburg and Idaho Falls, and is a veritable treasure trove of delightfully bad baby names. (Mormons, as you may know, love made-up and/or misspelled baby names. “Why use vowels when ‘Y’ exists?” is actually the Idaho state motto.)

On Thursday, the parcel arrived. This is my ninth consecutive year blogging about this newspaper insert (but my first time here at BCC!), and I still get giddy with anticipation, tearing open the envelope and flipping to the first page, pen poised and paper at the ready. I cackle with glee as I first list, then categorize, the most egregious examples.

Please note: Many of the names you are about to read were difficult to classify, as they span multiple categories. (A complex Venn diagram might be a better representation.)

And a couple of ground rules before we begin:

  • Don’t exclaim “Mormons aren’t the only ones that name their babies weird names, duh!!” because I’m not saying that. When did I say that?
  • If you mention Le-a or the -jello twins in the comments, best case scenario is that I delete your comment, worst case scenario is that I mock you publicly. There are plenty of real bad names to go around; there’s no need to repeat urban legend! So unless you have a birth certificate to back up your claim, I don’t want to hear it. I’m a Le-a birther.

Got it? Ready to begin? Are you sitting down? …Lezzgo.

First up, Mix-n-Match. This is a historic category, best explained with the following chart:

Mix-n-match baby names

Step 1: Pick a syllable from column A.
Step 2: Pick a syllable from column B.
Step 3: Now you have a name!!

Examples from this year’s crop of names:

Brynlee
Kyler (x2)
Kylar
Cayson
Kynlee
Jaelyn
Zaylee
Kaydri
Brailee

The Typical Drivel. (After years of doing this, I’m used to names like these, but that doesn’t make them good names. Or even names.)
Braxton
Oakley/Oaklie
Jossilyn
Payzlei/Payslee
Ashtyn
Madilynn/Madelyn
Kaidence
Cohyn
Dallie-Ann
Beckette (this is a boy. I thought that was relevant.)
Kairi
Taila
Brighten

Multiple Capitalizations
TyLynn
BrynLee
Elizabeth LuWynn
Briggs LeRoy

Celeb-inspired
Hesston
Dempsey (she will be ‘Dumpsey.’ To everyone.)
McCartney

“How come SHE got a real name and I got a made-up name??”
Twins named Kiana and Kadis

There’s a whole world of names out there beyond “Two-syllable US cities that start with the letter B,” you know
Twins named Boston and Brooklyn
(I spent 60 seconds thinking of names for their future children that could fit the theme. Berkeley…Billings……….Barstow.)

Are you just looking at things in the room and naming your kid after them?
Ledger Hutch Hyde

Hopefully a typo
Thedore (Thedore is dressed as Yoda in his picture, and it is ovary-exploding cute)

Aaaaaand the category you’ve been waiting for…
WTF??
Kayzin
AnnDe
Tymberlee
Tivian JoLyn
JaKoby
Rexalyn*
Zoei Reign
Embyr Serenity
Lenyx (x2! Same spelling for both!)
Jazlin
Riglee (though very descriptive of a baby, I will concede)
Roczen
Torrick
Gannon LaMar

*Ask your doctor if Rexalyn™ is right for you

The Absolute Worst Name This Year
Tannin (no, srsly. Click that link. And this one. But especially the first one.)

Some more categories, just for fun:

Longest name
Stephanie Cheyenne Leigh Williams (30 letters)

Shortest name
Rudy Meng

Most Mormon name
Dallin/Dallen
Layton

Least Mormon name
Trinity

Worst real name
Bart Levon

Most intersectional name
The Lenyxes. I considered them for three categories – Drivel, Celebs, and WTF. Those compounding misspellings, including that unnecessary Y thrown in for good measure, gave it the winning edge.

Most smile-inducing name
Ivy Lou Bean

And a round of applause for the parents of these children. My favorite names this year!
Wyatt Paul
Ronan Gabriel
Josephine Kate
Clara Louise

 

Three notes before we adjourn:

  • This year more than ever, I noticed middle names that must be nods to older relatives. Mormons have long loved their weird names, but in older generations it was a distinctly different style. The baby’s parents and grandparents are listed in each ad, and sure enough Elizabeth LuWynn is a proven namesake. I strongly suspect middle names LeRoy and LaMar are family names as well. (Sentimental or not, they’re still bad names and deserve inclusion).
  • I always learn so much about Mormon baby fashion trends from the accompanying baby photos. Last year taught me that cabbage-sized flower headbands are being phased out for pearl necklaces. This installment taught me that if you failed to take a picture of your baby girl in a lacy romper or tutu, you are nothing. NOTHING!
  • Last year I did some number-crunching to see what percentage of babies in the insert had made-up and/or misspelled names; a staggering 53% did. This year appears to be about the same, but I’m not doing the tallying again on account of it took forever.

Comments

  1. Gannon. Clearly someone has a thing for kidnapping princesses.

  2. You may not like the name Braxton–I don’t either–but it is hardly newly fallen from the tree. The most famous man with that name was Braxton Bragg, the commander of the Confederate forces at Chickmauga, considered the greatest Confederate victory in the West. Since those Idaho parents are likely even more ignorant of Civil War history, though, I bet they were thinking of his unrelated co-conspirator, Braxton-Hicks. They are all hicks, right?

  3. I include Braxton mostly for trend-tracking reasons. One year, there were five (of varying spellings). It seems to have mostly fallen out of favor by now, thank goodness.

  4. I’ve always like SNL Aswipee Johnson. (Nicholas Cage)

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    This is awesome, as always.

    My middle name is LeRoy, and although my parents hail from (southern) Idaho, there is actually a fun story behind that. That middle name comes from my father’s given name, “LeRoy.” When he was born, his name was supposed to be “Lee Roy” (Lee was a longstanding family name and there was a family tradition of using it. I and Harold B. Lee share a common ancestor, Samuel Lee [who lived in Nauvoo for a time]. I have a sister with the middle name “Lee.”) But the hospital botched it on the birth certificate and combined the first and middle names into one, “LeRoy.” I imagine most parents would make the effort to have them fix it, but apparently my paternal grandparenst–Idaho farm folk–shrugged and said, “Eh, good enough.” So my father never had a middle name, because his putative middle name got smushed into his putative first name!

  6. One problem with all yr Ashtyns and Kaidences and such is that you cannot actually tell the child’s gender from the name alone. This is one reason that my son, born in 2014, has a name of rather ancient Germanic provenance (we’re talking tree-worshipping, Rome-sacking Germans here) that is so clearly male that there shall be no ambiguity. Plus, it was the name of one of his maternal great-grandfathers, and that’s always good.

    I would say the name but that’d give my identity away quite easily. I’m pretty confident he was the only boy of that name born in the Church in all of 2014, at least in the United States.

  7. Just yesterday I met a family from Idaho (temporarily transported to Arizona) with children ages 2-11 named Passion, Wisdom, Kindly, Bravery. Is this a new type of name you are seeing in Idaho?

  8. Dog Pface says:

    Co-worker: I have a son, his name is Nazareth.
    Me: Oh yeah? That’s unique.
    (Thinking WTH)
    Co-worker: We didn’t want to name him the regular way so we spell it with an e (Nazereth).
    Me: OK, sure.
    (Wondering how this person could feel the name needed to be more unique. Not a lot of other kids named Nazareth out there. They must really like the band.)

    I think they felt that the diminutive form Nazer was preferable to Nazar.

  9. cookie queen says:

    American Mormons. Let’s get this clear.

  10. Kevin, that’s fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

    KayG, how sort-of Puritanical of them! I haven’t observed it personally, as a trend (a smattering of Trulys here and there). Passion especially is an…interesting choice.

  11. Great fun! But a little bit seriously, when I see nieces and nephews and now my own grandchildren’s names on the list I get defensive. Surely “that one” is OK!?

  12. I was dropping my daughter off for nursery and there was a visitor. Sayden. Yeah. “This is my son Satan!”

  13. I have to say, I cringe every time I hear the name of a local little girl in Southern Alberta (almost like a “Utah north”)….Kiahona. Could be the most Mormon name ever!

  14. greenbaymichk says:

    American Mormons don’t have sole claim to “distinctive” names. I live in a mormon-poor area of the midwest, and have encountered a Denim and Corduroy (unfortunate brothers, they are!) along with Taykeela, Misty Dawn and Majestic Destiny.

  15. Definitely not a Mormon thing, but a Utah/Idaho Mormon thing. We don’t name them like that in Texas! Haha. I’ve lived other places too and it was only the Utah/Idaho area that had bizarre names. My kids have pretty mellow names like Mark and Jessica and I am a Mormon. All my Utah cousins named their kids exactly like your examples though!

  16. When I lived in Logan, I was going through the baby names from the Herald Journal. The most egregious name I found was “Season” for a baby girl. I swear they couldn’t decide if they preferred Spring, Summer, or Autumn as the name and figured Season would be just fine. Took the insert in to work and pointed it out to my boss, who ended up being best friends with the couple. He claimed it was weird, but that they call her “CC” for short. Well, “seesee” I guess.

    I would go with Autumn over Season.

  17. Ok Beckette and Brighten are my top 2 worst. Becket is a charming name so the variant loses for largest drop from what could have been.

    Braxton is a hilariously ironic name for a baby that had just arrived moments ago thanks to contractions that were very certainly NOT Braxton-Hicks! ;-)

  18. I think it’s incredibly interesting how Mormons have led the way on the androgynous name trend for the past while, given our vicious opposition to gay marriage and other signs of decline of rigidly defined gender roles. If a non-LDS person suggested everyone should name their kids androgynous names so as to not assign the child a gender at birth and allow trans kids full freedom to grow up unencumbered by a gendered name (an argument that has been made: http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/06/26/infant_gender_assignment_unnecessary_and_potentially_harmful.html), Mormons would lose their minds. Yet we led the trend.

  19. Devino – I know a Season, too! True story: I assumed her parents already had an Autumn, Winter, and Summer, and thought “Certainly we can’t name this one Spring” so they named her Season instead. (I asked, and it turned out that wasn’t the case.) But THEN, just a couple of weeks later, I met someone named Spring.

    Cynthia – A) What if a Braxtynn marries a Hicks? And B) INTERESTING point! Thanks for that link.

  20. By Common Consent, where every post eventually turns into a discussion about gay marriage and gender roles.

  21. Or, perhaps better: By Common Consent, where every post eventually turns out awesome.

    Or, at least, this post. Thanks, Jessie!

  22. It was years ago, but I read that name trends start in the west. They are more creative and adventurous I guess and a successful names end up filling the country.

  23. If I leave the worst trends from my ward, will it be OK to be anonymous?

    Kannon.

    A boy.

    His mom was thinking musical. I can only think phallic imagery.

  24. It’s going down, I’m yelling Tymberlee….

  25. It seem to have lost popularity, or maybe it was just a passing Utah Valley thing, but my parents gave me an initial for a name. I had an uncle and a cousin that go the same treatment.

  26. Over the weekend I was at a family reunion. I have a typically gigantic Utah Mormon family so I don’t always know the names of all of my cousins, let alone their children. I was talking to one of my uncles and his granddaughter (4 years old). She said, “I can spell my name. K-Y-N-Z-L-E-E.” I had to ask my uncle if that was correct because I would spell it K-I-N-S-L-E-Y. Of course, it’s a made up name so what difference does spelling make? They have a number of weirdly named children. The only other two I can remember are Talon and Tayden – both boys.

    Years ago I did medical billing for a pediatrics clinic in Utah. Practically every other patient had a bizarre name. The weirdest by far was Day-Z. I assumed this was supposed to be pronounced Daisy. I always think it’s weird when people put punctuation inside a name.

  27. Madelyn is a family name on my mother’s side. I was named after my aunt, and I think it’s pretty funny that my name is now considered a “bad” name, or not even a name, apparently. I also can’t believe it is now the most common form of Madeline/Madeleine. Pretty crazy.

  28. I would never hire an attorney named Torrick, though I’d consider calling one as a General Authority.

  29. Not Tyler says:

    I’m sorry but I have to add to this discussion because for real in my ward there are the following children: SAMURAI and CAPTAIN JONAS! (caps-lock and exclamation point added because how couldn’t I?.) Samurai goes by Sam, and I have no idea about Captain Jonas but hopefully he exclusively goes by “Captain Jonas”.

  30. DIL works as a pharmacist — funniest name “JKMN” — can you guess the name? “No L” as in Noel. HAHAHA! she had to call the Dr office to check the spelling for an insurance claim as DIL thought there was a typo, the Dr office explained how to pronounce the name.

  31. anitawells says:

    My cousin is an OB/GYN in Provo and I’ve heard about some crazy baby names from his deliveries. Recent trend is ABCDE (pronounced absedee)–he’s had several of those. He also had one (from a family that already had a daughter named Liahona) that was named Celestial Marriage.

  32. I have to say that the single most awful name I’ve ever come across IRL was “Jhmarhyiah”. No lie. Little girl was in my son’s first daycare room. Pronounced “Jamaria”. Why does anyone need that many “H’s” in a name?

  33. Kathleen Petty says:

    May I present grand nephew Ruckus Mo, and his cousin, Rowan Berry.

  34. Ryan Mullen says:

    Now I really want to name my next child Captain Jonas, boy or girl.

  35. Good article. I have to disagree with ‘Oakley’ though. Well, only if it’s used for a boy.

  36. it's a series of tubes says:

    hopefully he exclusively goes by “Captain Jonas”.

    And hopefully he grows up to be a Weezer fan.

  37. >Now I really want to name my next child Captain Jonas, boy or girl.

    And this is why we can’t have nice things.

  38. Jessy Hyde says:

    This is ledgers mom and Hutch is a family name of someone I was really close to before they died it is actually short for hutchens. When you typed this did you stop to think of anything like that and how hurtful if actually could be to someone! Just curious?!?

  39. What’s wrong with Oakley? It seems to be a normal name that has been around for a while. It means “From the Oak.”

  40. eponymous says:

    It could get worse, you could have a twin brother named Moriancumer. You can fill in the blank for the other brother’s name. They’re younger brother’s name? Jared of course.

  41. FWIW, my boss’ boss is a woman named Kevin. I wonder if she has a picture of that bird from Up in her office.

  42. @APM, my cousin’s children call her Kevin. Apparently the “mom mom mom” din got out of control, so she shouted “THE NEXT PERSON TO SAY MOM IS DEAD MEAT.” The oldest said, “hey, Kevin!” and that’s what it’s been ever since.

  43. Tamara Hutchens Graves says:

    As a 54 yr old member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, wait I was 8 years old when I was baptized so I’ve only been a member for 46, I’ve come across all kinds of bitter and vindictive people but I’m always surprised when a new low is brought to my attention but our Savior has set the example to love those who would hate us, turn the other cheek and always be kind.

    As the Grandma of Ledger Hutch Hyde I would just like you to know that Hutch was my Father’s nickname and the only name my daughter ever knew her Grandpa by. She loved and adored my dad and lost him suddenly. It was a very loving choice that she and my son-in-law made to name their son after his great-grandfather.

    We all love the name Ledger and there wasn’t even one in the room when they chose it.

    I’d like to see you look into his huge crystal clear blue eyes and ever grinning face and make fun of the name that goes to such a beautiful boy.

  44. One of the best (wink, wink) made up Utah names is the one my niece gave her daughter. Azie. Rhymes with Daisy. Poor little girl.

  45. Jessy Hyde: Jessie Jensen has been doing this list for years and I believe it is all in good fun. I’m sure many of the parents of the kids on this list have great reasons for naming their children what they did, and I am equally sure that all of these kids will grow up to be happy, successful people regardless of what they are named. Pretty much every name can be used to tease somebody so I wouldn’t take it too personally. But if you are truly that upset by it, might I suggest naming your next child John or Sarah?
    For what its worth, I’ve always been a little disappointed that not only do I not have a middle name, but there isn’t even a cool story about my first name. They just picked it cause they liked it. So at least little Ledger will not be lacking in that department

  46. Also, my personal least favorite name this year goes to my SIL’s niece Kyser. At best you think of a giant pharmaceutical company, and at worst you have named your child after Hitler! To each their own I guess!

  47. My father had hard fast rules about naming children. 1. When you heard it, you had to know if it was a boy or girl. 2. You had to know how to spell it. 3. It had to be short enough to go with our 13 letter last name. I’m sure he must be rolling over in his grave at these made up names and weird spelling of perfectly good names. My own additional rule is “What will it look like on company letterhead or an office door.”

  48. MDearest says:

    My benchmark worst is a friend of a relative who named their baby Phelony Constance. Yup. I learned anew about keepin my mouth shut irl. I figure she’ll either be in torment until she figures out to change it, or she’ll be really, really, *really* strong.

    May I commend little Ledger’s mom and grandma for their wildcat defense of him here? That will be a good thing in his life.

  49. Tamara and Jessy-
    I truly love the name you chose! Seriously adorable name.

  50. I wait with baited breath every year for you to do this post. I lived in Rexburg for a few years and freaked out a little worrying my daughters name would end up on your list the year she was born. Thankfully you did not put Evangeline on your list 3 years ago.

  51. To the offended family-
    I’ve submitted every one of my nephews’ names to this list. And several of my cousins. And when their names showed up on the list, I proudly sent it to their parents. Surely by now you must know people find “Ledger” to be a little unusual. No harm is meant by it. But the wonderment is real.

    I’d like to submit some of my more recent finds.
    Izik
    Mattyx
    And my all-time, “what the heck were they thinking” favorite – Macabre. (pronounced Muh-KAY-bree, not muh-cah-bruh). Cute little girl with a name that means dark and deathly. WHY????

    I will never understand this trend. Not even when it’s my own sister spreading it.

  52. My favorite was at a class reunion I asked a friend what he named his newborn girl. The dad said, with eyebrows raised, “Kyrin?” You know there’s a problem when the dad says the name like it’s a question.

    Am I the only one pretty sure that the majority of these names are coming from the mom and not the dad? If that’s so, there’s a positive side to this trend, that after a mother goes through 9 months of carrying and then delivering a baby, the father is cool with her having control of the name choice, even if it’s a bit wacky. Though for some of these and others I’ve heard (Talin? Shawnathon? Cutler?) I’m wishing the dad had prevailed.

  53. Living out “in the mission field”, I had no idea this article existed. So funny! ….and sad. ….and crazy. ….and…… Wow! Lol

  54. Normal name says:

    I love it! My submission: Kayson and Kyson. Brothers. Just a year apart. These made-up, nearly identical names make no sense to me and they are so similar, they seem like they would become a real a headache for the mom! (we might be related to these two little guys)

  55. Sarah Wilson says:

    You’re deleting comments because they say something you don’t like? I just lost a lot of respect for this author and this site.

  56. sherri p says:

    My cousin has a son named Knight, his older brother is Cannan (Cannon) when she was expecting twins after Cannan, I suggested Smith and Wesson. I have a niece named Nickelle and her sister is Brynlee, I actually love Brynlee, but poor Nickelle, everyone thinks its Mickelle, and her middle name is Delpha (a family name). My kids are Jameson, Jackson, Charlotte, and Margaret.

  57. Sarah, I deleted a comment about Le-a. See my second bullet point, which stated that I would delete comments about Le-a. It’s an urban legend mired deep in racism. http://www.snopes.com/racial/language/le-a.asp

  58. wattskarissa says:

    I was waiting in line one day listening to a couple of girls behind me talking about the baby shower they were attending for baby Prophet. A girl.

  59. Jason K. says:

    Jessie: I love this, so I’ll submit a name so weird that it got a Parliament named after it: Praisegod Barebone. (1653)

  60. Earth to Ellis: Hitler was not the Kaiser. Besides, maybe they named the kid after the roll.

  61. I’m surprised you have Madelyn on here. That spelling is one of the most common ways to spell the name in the US. It’s been in the top 100 most popular baby names list for years.

  62. If making fun of kids names is fun to you go for it, that’s not the problem I see here. You specifically made fun of an actual kid and his parents by posting his whole name. I get that it’s all in fun, but when you call out someone specifically you are bound to offend them and those who know them.

  63. My nephews Rufio and Atreyu after the movies “Hook” and “neverending story”…
    Other nephew named tekker (can you imagine the playground rhymes?) literally after a Trekker backpack just subtract the “r”!
    My husband also made up my son’s name Teoden. We call him Teo (rhymes with mayo). DH will defend that to his death that it is NOT made up, but Celtic. But he made it up and then googled it.

  64. Ellie, so have Aubree, Khloe, and Nevaeh. Madelyn is a misspelling and it fits the Mormon naming style. I am resolute!

    As far as Ledger Hutch Hyde goes…each of his names – first, middle, and last – is an object you might find in a room. That’s all. I made that observation and paired it with a quote from Anchorman. It’s quite benign.

    Becky – “But he made it up and then googled it.” Ha!

  65. I always find it interesting that the more creative the spelling, the more offended the named person (or person’s parents) seems to be when the name is misspelled or mispronounced. I guess all the correcting just gets old after a while.

    And I’ve met a Nevaeh before. I spelled it “Nivea,” because, really—how could I have known it was “heaven” backwards?

  66. All the more reasons I am eternally grateful that I do not come from a Mormon family. Some of the names in my family are definitely nonsense, but at least it’s not affected nonsense.

    PS, there is no reason in the world anyone needs to know a child’s sex based on their name.

  67. Yikes. When the mother and a grandmother of a child comment and say they are offended your joke made at their expense, it might be time to consider removing it.

    That said, great post. I unabashedly love Utah names and the chart at the top is so perfect.

  68. Andrea U says:

    I came across your blog probably 4 or 5 years ago in college and LOVED the baby names postings. I even had the thought not too long ago wondering if you still did this and I’m SO glad a friend of mine posted the link on Facebook. My husband and I were seriously peeing our pants reading some of the names from 2015 tonight! SO. GOOD.

  69. I laughed so hard, I think your chart applies to half the babies named last year in the US, Mormon or not. One of my favorites from our local paper recently was “Shy-Anne”.

  70. True: I ran into a 19th century “Josephina Brighamina” in Sevier County.

    Wishful: I want to run into her gr-gr-granddaughter, who I imagine is named Josephina Brighamina Johanna Wilfordina Lorenzina Josepha Heberna Georgina Davita Josephetta Haroldina Spencerina Ezretta Howardette Gordonina Thomasina.

  71. Two of my cousins who live in Bountiful had kids in the last 18 months and they named the kids Brylee and Laikyn.

  72. James Dean (yup, James Dean) says:

    Well, I have a sister that adopted 3 little girls and fixed a wrong made by someone not of our faith; Nevaeh became Lily. I love my brilliant sister and her amazing little family…

  73. Ardis, that’s awesome.

  74. As a substitute teacher in Washington state, I would think that if you are politically liberal and want equality and diversity, some of these names will help. Because for me, usually the Caucasian non-immigrant-parent kids are easier to pronounce than some kids of color and some kids of Asian immigrants. But really, Kynler and Ledger are easy and will still get you a job interview.
    I struggle sometimes because I want people to have normal names for my culture but I realize they have their own culture. I speak Spanish but Spanish names are awkward because I don’t know whether to pronounce it the Soanish way or Bad Englishized version of it. It depends on the kid.

  75. A friend shared this article. I laughed when my name was *almost* on the list. My parents named me after them, Jay + Melinda = Jaelynda. Then I kept reading and realized I gave my babies bad names too!! Makynzie and Madisyn!! I had to read all nine years of your name blog, it was hilarious! Thanks for the laughs!!!

  76. I live in Utah. My favorites from teaching Jr High have been Taelyr and Beilei (Baylee). And the best from working in a call center were Celestial, who has a sister named Eternity, and Aannaliisa. There is no double I in English.

  77. I have to tell you in doing family history in Newfoundland, there was a Cinderella Fudge. I didn’t do it but I really wanted to seal her to William Perfect!

  78. I’m still laughing at the “least Mormon name” category.

  79. I wanna say it’s spelled Bostyn instead of Boston. 😂 😂 😂

  80. As a Mormon from the Midwest, I also share a horrified fasciation with Utah/Idaho naming trends. Just. why.

    When I graduated from BYU, I went through the graduation program and had (way too much) fun classifying some of the more “special” names.

    http://shalomandbonjour.blogspot.com/2014/01/when-creativity-goes-too-far.html

  81. True: I ran into a 19th century “Josephina Brighamina” in Sevier County.

    My (Nevada Mormon) grandparents named my mom after her dad in a similarly…elegant manner. I grew up thinking the name was perfectly normal, but it was something of a cross for her to bear.

  82. Hedgehog says:

    ““How come SHE got a real name and I got a made-up name??””
    One of them was real? Which one?

  83. My bad, I mixed up Kaiser and Fuhrer. I imagine Fyouryr or some other awful iteration will come around soon enough. Still maintain its not the greatest idea to name your kid after world leaders famous for starting wars. Then again, I’m sure there is a cute little “Genguss” running around out there somewhere.

  84. Ryan Mullen says:

    If you type a first name into wolframalpha.com, it will return stats about the name’s popularity. Apparently 296 people each year are named Kiana, but Kadis doesn’t even register as a name (which would be a good way to screen most of the names on this list).

  85. Wow, what a list! My husband has a very unique name (J.Tapley) and it is misspelled, mispronounced, and it takes about 20 times before anyone can pronounce it correctly and about a month of knowing him before they can remember his name. He now goes by his last name haha. So yeah, none of our kids are going to have crazy names.

  86. If you’re a mom (or grandmother) of a child and you’ve just made a bad name choice, I certainly don’t expect you to agree that it’s a bad name choice! Everybody thinks their kids’ names are impeccable, unlike some others they’ve seen. Trust me – I’ve got some weird kid names of my own.

  87. I’m sad that I can’t “like” several of these comments. Or, at least I can’t figure out how. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this western Mormon world when I wonder what the heck is going on name wise. Also, my parents gave my sister and I “normal” names and so I was feeling pretty good about our family, but then I remember that if either of us had been a boy we would’ve been named Talon…

  88. I had a great uncle (non-member, but still…) whose first and middle name were General Jackson.

  89. I’m just glad that my parents gave my siblings and me normal names. So far, I only have one niece and thankfully she doesn’t have a weird name! I feel blessed.

  90. JeannineL says:

    From what I understand, I’m pretty sure a blog entry on BCC is considered a WIN when it gets teh offended comments AND extra awesome additions to the original post.

    Jessie Jensen, you have ARRIVED.

  91. Never thought I would be typing these words but…Jaelynda gets it.

  92. I genuinely dislike this naming trend and feel bad for some of these kids, and I get that this post is meant to be “in good fun” but the tone is a little bit hostile and a lot a bit elitist.

    To quote the Dude, “you’re not wrong [Jessie], you’re just an…”

  93. >I genuinely dislike this naming trend and feel bad for some of these kids, and I get that this post is meant to be “in good fun” but the tone is a little bit hostile and a lot a bit elitist.

    If we can’t laugh at ourselves as a culture, we’re all going to act a lot more butthurt when other people laugh at us. And, frankly, we do some weird stuff.

    That being said, I dated a girl named Helix. Cool gal. Her dad is a doctor. No, she doesn’t have a twin, she’s a single Helix. But, Helix had girl cousins named after the four amino acids that make up DNA – Cytosine, Guanine, Adenine, and Thymine. Not LDS, but still living in the Jello Belt.

    I used to work with a brilliant financial analyst who happened to be African-American. When his son was born, he was given a “normal” first name after his father, and a middle name drawn from central African tribal titles. Dad explained that this can be a huge help to minorities – if the kid is applying to medical school or a law firm, he can simply list his middle initial on his resume. That way, nothing comes across as minority status, and HR/Admissions will have to judge based on merit and qualifications alone before calling for an interview. If the kid is looking to take advantage of his minority status, he includes his full middle name and thus gives the “code” that he’s a member of the group. It wasn’t a matter of Mom and Dad just wanting to give the kid a strange six-syllable middle name, they were looking to give him maximum flexibility later in life.

    I can imagine that with names like “Celestial Marriage”, the parents figure they are providing rich opportunities for missionary work, or sending the message “I’m a way more committed Mormon than you are”. With the Column A/Column B choices, we’re probably at a point as a larger society that people will learn you have to ask everyone to spell their name, even if it sounds common on the surface. To quote the Incredibles, when everyone is special, no one is special.

  94. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Thank you for this, Jessie. Some things just need to be said. I think it should be made clear that, in identifying poor name choices (and disappointing directions in naming practices), we are not making fun of the kids with these names (although, someone will – poor kids). We’re making fun of the adults who inflicted these names upon their children. And, those adults are fair game.

    There is a generation of children being raised with these names, and with so many friends with such names, that will begin to date and marry each other in the very near future, and will then make up their own names for their children. Just imagining the possibilities makes my head hurt.

    Already looking forward to future installments.

  95. I’d love to hear what you named your children? Seriously you don’t have anything better to do then make fun of people. Get a life lady.

  96. K so I admit some of these names are pretty different and kinda weird, even funny, but what I don’t necessarily understand is why it’s so “wrong” to make up a name. Isn’t every name in existence a made-up name… Pretty sure there wasn’t a list of names created in the beginning of the world that everyone was supposed to name their kids by. Personally I’d rather have my kid named something a little different than to end up with 5 Emily’s or Ashley’s or Sarah’s in the same class like I had growing up.

  97. I don’t know if you’ve run across this in your research, Jessie, but I’ve always . . . well, “admired” isn’t the right word, but I don’t know what is . . . a prominent Ogden family, the Malans, who back in the day decided on a naming pattern and stuck by it. Not all, but some, fit the criteria of “odd Mormon names.” Here are the “Alphabet Malans” (names in brackets don’t fit the pattern either because they died in infancy or after the parents had finished the run of the alphabet):
    Alexis Bartholomew
    Claudius Daniel
    Ernest Frances
    [Jeremiah—died in infancy]
    Gideon Highly
    Inez Jane
    Kit—died in infancy
    Lawrence Maxwell
    Nahum Oscar
    Parley Quince
    Ray Stephen
    Tressa Una
    Verna Winona
    Xyzella
    [Benjamin—died in infancy]
    [Louise Pauline]

  98. Aren’t these parents just carrying on a cherished LDS tradition of unique or manufactured names? I have old Utah family aunts who were born 1895-1915 named Alta, LaFaye and LaVonne, the La or Le prefix plus something was very popular 100 years ago in old time mormon families. I took a class in the 70s from John S. Harris, a published writer on the BYU faculty, who jokingly told the story of the Utah couple named Eliza and Ferd who merged their names and called their daughter Ferdeliza. If this kind of naming was entrenched enough to make fun of almost 50 years ago it’s been a cultural quirk for a long time.

  99. Love this post and it is so true! Your sense of humor is great!
    For those that are butt-hurt, like Ledgers family get over it! There are many others things in life to be offended over. If you guys are getting this upset that people find the name unusual, then you shouldn’t have given that sweet baby the name!

  100. My kids have a last name that people can’t pronounce or spell right, so I aimed to give them names that were easy to spell and pronounce.
    We are converts, and live in an area where most people have more common names than those on this list. That said, a friend of mine from high school named her daughter Paprika. Really.
    My niece has had some unusual choices in the naming of her kids (they all have a “y” at the beginning and then “ah” at the end), but her daughters Skylah & Tylah will always have their names heard as Skyler and Tyler pronounced with a Boston accent. And Mychaelah will always be pronounced Makayla, rather than Mi-ki-lah.

  101. Davis Bigelow says:

    At my house WTF means With Total Faith. I suppose that applies to your category since you are talking about Mormon names.

  102. When a parent gives a made-up or mis-spelled name to a child they’d better be ready for what comes. If they can’t take the quizzical looks and smirks, they should pick a traditional name. I know a teen named Cheyanne and 95% of the time I spell it Cheyenne, like the city, and the mom takes offense. That’s silly. She deliberately changed the spelling of a well-known city and people are going to assume the name is Cheyenne like the city.

    Names such as Brinley, Kinley, etc. may be cute now but they’ll sound silly for an adult woman who wants to be taken seriously.

    My favorite unique name from back in the day is Pliny Proctor Purple of Northfield Massachusetts, circa 1850!! A close second is Rex Jex.

  103. I always love these posts. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I don’t hate Brighten (maybe as a middle name, though?). Years ago I had a friend with the middle name Brite (pronounced like Bright), and it was just so fitting for her happy personality, it sort of grew on me.

    Commenting anonymously just in case the mother reads this, but I recently met a little boy named Torv. I asked if it was short for something (I’m not sure what I expected it to be short for, I was just surprised to be meeting a ‘Torv,’) and mom said, no, her husband just made it up and thought it sounded cool. Cute kid; very interesting name choice.

  104. I look forward to this post every year! I will say: I do believe Madelyn is a real name with historic roots. Our President’s grandmother was a Madelyn. Old Hollywood actresses have the name. Similar to Marilyn and Carolyn. Carolyn vs. Caroline. Katheryn vs Katherine. There are definitely ways to spell this classic name. …. Madelynn on the other hand (face palm).

  105. As Gannon LaMar’s mom I found this article super entertaining! Nothing to be upset about! Very funny! And yes, LaMar is a family name and no he is not named after the villain in Zelda! 😂😂😂

  106. amy garner says:

    First, NO, none of my six Mormon kids have any of these names.

    I want you to stop and consider the fact that these names aren’t just names floating out in space you’re criticizing, it’s people. There is a little Jaelyn toddling around and a Tymberlee that’s going to grow up and be surrounded by people who read articles like this.

    There were studies in the past where they show students are even judged by their teachers because of their name. Maybe it’s THIS mentality that causes that… Looking at weird, funky or frustrating-to-spell names and then having those judgments about the children themselves.

  107. So here’s my favorite name story, and the individual wasn’t even LDS. Some years ago I was covering the front desk at work, and a woman came in to see an employee who’d been called out of town that day.
    Me (all business): I’ll call him and let him know you’re here and see if he wants to reschedule or how he’d like to proceed. Can you tell me your name?
    Woman: My name is H. Golightly Perlow but YOU can call me Holly. (Lays a butterscotch candy down in front of me.)
    Me (bemused): …H like the letter H?
    Woman: Exactly.
    Me: Just H? Just the letter?
    Woman: Exactly.
    Me (rallying, trying to make up for several seconds of stunned silence): That’s kind of awesome. Does that mean your parents were Audrey Hepburn fans or Truman Capote fans?
    Woman: My mother was an Audrey Hepburn fan. My father was a Truman Capote fan.
    Me: So did they call you…?
    Woman: Well, my father called me H, but my mother always called me Holly. I have friends who call me HoHo. But they’re not very GOOD friends.
    Turned out she was born seven years before the novella came out, and ten years before the movie. I can only conclude she named herself.

  108. To go along with the single letter names mentioned above. I had an aunt, old Utah family, named OE, it was pronounced oh-EEE, just like the letters. She would be about 100 years old now if she were still alive.

  109. Mormophobic Post says:

    Peter Lemongello?

    https://www.google.com/search?q=lemongello&oq=lemongello&aqs=chrome..69i57j46l2j0.7573j0j4&client=ms-android-hms-tmobile-us&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#mie=e%2Coverview%2Clemongello%2CH4sIAAAAAAAAAONgVuLSz9U3MCoyLEipesToyi3w8sc9YSmbSWtOXmM04-IKzsgvd80rySypFNLgYoOy5Lj4pJC0aTBI8XAh8XkA7Gx9SFYAAAA

  110. it's a series of tubes says:

    I want you to stop and consider the fact that these names aren’t just names floating out in space you’re criticizing, it’s people. There is a little Jaelyn toddling around and a Tymberlee that’s going to grow up and be surrounded by people who read articles like this.

    Amy, I want you to stop and consider the fact that nothing exists in a social vacuum. If you tattoo a banana on a child’s forehead, other children will point and laugh. Similarly, if you give a child a name that is outside the bounds of what is typical in a particular society, or that rhymes with a crude word, or whatever: you are (for better or for worse, fairly or unfairly) choosing to subject that child to teasing and ridicule (or at least, to a lot of time spent explaining how to pronounce and/or spell it). As with so many things, we are free to make choices, but not free to avoid the consequences.

    Sincerely,
    Someone who endured a fair amount of teasing because their name rhymed with male anatomy slang.

  111. To a comment above:

    My grandfather’s grandmother was named Engar Brighamine. She went by Minnie. And yes, we all think it’s weird.

    Her original name was Ingar Marie I believe, but it was changed to Brighamine when she was adopted by her step-father at a very young ge (she was born in Denmark and her unmarried mom joined the church and moved to the US). I guess they wanted her to sound more Mormon lol. Maybe to hide her illegitimate origin?

  112. Mormon baby wins I saw this year: Moroni and Hinckley
    Random not mormon person’s terrible name: ABCD (pronounced ab-se-dee) :-/
    My uncle & aunt have first and last initials M, and named their kids first names A-F all with M middle names – kind of cute I thought :) (AMM, BMM, CMM, etc)… But then they had a caboose baby a few yrs later and didn’t give him GMM :( gave him JWM :(
    And yes, I have a made up mormon name, and back east people sometimes assume I’m black before they meet me, but I like it lol.

  113. But I agree with others that while some names seem to change the spelling for no reason or are a bit weird, it can be nice to have a unique name. My grad class has 5 guys (all white americans) – 2 Nicks, 2 Matthews, and Chris (and one of the 6 girls is Christine) which is funny but I’m glad I don’t share a name. Basically all the white Americans have normal/common names except me cause of my Mormon heritage ;).

  114. I’ve never been a fan of Kreative naming, in our out of the jello belt. It doesn’t make your child unique,v it makes the parents look illiterate. If you don’t want your child mocked (as a child) our not taken seriously (as an adult) then don’t get too Kreative. If you’re going for the naming gusto, then you can only blame yourself when the heckling starts.

    My name was unusual enough for its time and I HATED it.

  115. The opposite problem, of course, is having a too common name. There were three Matthews in my fifth grade class. My last name’s extremely common, and both my parents and one of my siblings have extremely common first names. We’ve always checked current name popularity lists before naming our kids, in order to avoid that problem.

    One of our kids does have a unique 5-letter name that’s proven a pain because people either pronounce it wrong or spell it wrong. We gave him a normal (but not common) middle name in case he ever gets sick of his unique first name. I’m sure plenty of these kids that have that option (ie–a normal middle name) will make the switch too.

  116. My daughter graduated from a public high school in Hawaii in 2009. There were FIVE girls named Abcde in her graduating class. None of them were LDS.

    And as for having a too common name, my husband’s name is pretty much the equivalent of John David Jones. He has had all sorts of issues, including being passed over for employment because another “John Jones” in our city had a felony record and he had to prove it wasn’t him. By the time the paperwork got caught up, the job was filled.

  117. Ice Peak says:

    One or both of the parents of Lenyx must be in IT and named the babies after Linux.

  118. I didn’t know Dallin/Dallen was a typical Mormon name! I have a brother named Dallen and I even knew a Dallyn (a girl. Yes the y is in there) in grade school. A double whammy!

    I love names, especially family names, and this article is awesome! Do they do this in every city? I think they should! Thanks for sharing!

  119. Don’t think it is necessarily LDS..The whole west coast is crazy. My daughters friends include Sage, Maddux, Anneka, Finley. Those are the non LDS ones.

  120. Oh, I must join the fun!! I heard of some poor kid on my husband’s mother’s side of the family (very white bread mormon) named Latch. He had a sibling with an equally silly name. My niece, not mormon just silly, named two of her kids Timbree and Caprice. We have a Braxton. That was the first time I heard that name and I still think of Braxton-Hicks every time! Also have a Brighton and a Logan — siblings, both boys. My kids are perfectly appropriately named Madeleine and Adrienne. Got a LOT of #(*& from family over Madeleine as this was 22 years ago and there were no Madeleine’s of any variation until a few years later. Trend setter! I heard a kid called Ramses once, yeah like the Pharaoh. I love names and posts like this are more fun than should be legal.

  121. Your mom says:

    Poopsey Dumpsey.

    {slow clap} Well done, Je Suis.
    You did it again. 💚

  122. Dare I say? says:

    What is a name? All names are made up. Somw of the ones on your list have been in the top 1000 thousand names in the US census. I get that the names are different, often wierd spellings which is indicative of either poor spelling skills or a misguided desire to make them and their offspring “special” but I really take issue about the concept of “real” names. Its more than a bit hollier than tho and devicive.

  123. When I hear of a baby with an unusual name, I tend to think, “well, more power to you.” I will say, though, that the two years I worked at a newspaper and was in charge of the baby announcements, I only saw maybe four or five different names for girls, spelled 147 different ways.

  124. Jack Hughes says:

    Since our culture frowns on tattoos, these weird naming trends are a substitute vice. It’s the LDS cultural equivalent of a lower-back tattoo; something people do in their early twenties to cultivate a unique identity that will last forever, but in a way that is usually poorly thought out, without due consideration given to the long-term consequences (changing taste, potential bar to opportunities, effects of age on skin, etc.). Since Mormons tend to start families at a younger age than most Americans, they also start the process of choosing their children’s names with less maturity than their mainstream peers.

    I’m having a hard enough time as it is trying to convince my non-Mormon friends and neighbors that we aren’t a cult (…anymore). It doesn’t help when my daughter’s best friend has a name that looks like a composite of 5 names and all the vowels were replaced with Y. Why are we leading the way with this trend, but consistently lagging behind in things that really matter?

    In Iceland, the process of naming newborns is regulated and controlled by the government, and new parents must choose from a list of approved, mostly traditional (and unambiguously gender specific) names. Its a time-honored practice going back centuries, but I would like to think that the Icelanders were visionaries in heading off the waves of Kodys and Skylers and Dakotas that would have sullied their proud heritage.

  125. I love my grandsons named Aaker, Oz, and Wells. Aaker, named after our ancestral village in Denmark; Oz after, well, Oz; and Wells, who knows? In spite of their out of the mainstream character, their names fit perfectly.

  126. Denise Lowe says:

    I knew a woman named K’dee C’ann. It was pronounced like Katie Ceeann. Yeah. Let that sink in.

  127. So… what if I had the worst name on the list 29 years ago?

  128. Adam the Younger says:

    Half my extended family consists of Idaho/Utah Mormons. I have multiple cousins with names on these lists, plus one called Brinci, which is apparently a name now.

  129. I have a Mormon friend who names her son Brx. Yeah that’s Bricks with NO vowels. They even skipped the Y. I about died laughing.

  130. My name is Sarah. I went to school with a girl named Cera, pronounced like my name. She always got so mad when someone mispronounced or misspelled her name, and I always told her to blame her mother.

  131. She Who Shall Not Be Named says:

    LeRoy is very old, and not Mormon. I am not sure how long it was a name in France before the English adopted it in the 19th Century, but I am sure being around since at least the 1800s lends some credibility. My grandpa, a Catholic, was Christened LeRoy in 1922. My dad and brother got their middle name, “Leroy,” (no second capital) from him. The youngest generation was not given this name, however.

  132. H.L. Mencken published an essay on odd names, and included “Ardis” in his list … if I recall correctly, it appeared between “Trailing Arbutus” and “Positive Wassermann.” Compared to those, Idaho folk are just not trying.

  133. Gotta be anonymous says:

    Leroy is an old, respectable name:
    Leroy Anderson
    Big, Bad Leroy Brown
    Leroy “Encylopedia” Brown
    Leroy Jethro Gibbs
    Etc.

    Long ago, in the days before you could type a name into Google to check it before you put it on the birth certificate, I knew a Mormon kid named Dathan. I never heard anyone question their choice of a name, but I concluded as a child that his parents must never have read the Bible.

  134. I must plug my web site, the Utah Baby Namer (on the WWW since 1997): http://wesclark.com/ubn/

  135. Best name I’ve seen lately. Roc’s Ann

  136. regiestring says:

    ThIs is great! Love the article and the comments!

    My name is Regie (female). When I get asked if my name is short for Regina, I tell them what my mom told me “I didn’t want you teased by the other kids and called *** (a name that rhymes with the more English pronunciation of the name)”. Well thought out Mom!

  137. I know a few kids and they are not LDS and the live here is southeast Idaho, who are in my daughters grade at school, with the names of Kwintyn, and another boy named Kwyncie. They are not related! A few of the girls Draedyn, and Dekklynn also not related! However I am LDS and my kids all have names that are spelled with the most common spelling and they all have older names. However I did give one of my daughters the middle name of Azalee. Named after her great grandmother whom also had the same middle name. So my daughter is Phoebe Azalee. My grandma got her middle name by accident! It was suppose to be Azelea after the flower, obviously her dad didn’t know how to spell it so the name Azalee was born. She hated it! and told all of her children to never use it. She never told me, so I did! I’m a rebel like that! My mom’s name is Sylvia. She had to spell it all the time and she hated that so she named her children with the most common spelling of names…. Zachary, Erin, Steven, Rachel and Sean. While I do know a lot of kiddos with made up names and possibly every time I go to the elementary school to help and I hear another one I write it on my list and show it to a few of girlfriends to see if they can pronounce it. Because as a “helper” at the school I always am a bit taken back when the kid tells me I am spelling it wrong.

  138. @Jessy. …maybe don’t provide ammo by giving your kid a ridiculous name. Hutch as a middle name is fine. Ledger? Destined to be a CPA or what? Don’t curse kids with a lame name because you want something different.

  139. I came across the following very funny comment on a Facebook discussion about this post [by one Zach Revense, posted here with permission] ::

    “I’m picturing unfortunate pick-up lines in this girl’s adulthood. ‘Rexalyn? Girl, you over the counter or do I need to call a doctor for a prescription?!'”

  140. What about all the medieval jobs?
    Tanner
    chandler
    Cooper
    Smith
    Taylor
    Palmer
    Hunter

    Might as well name your kid Doctor or Plumber

  141. For those wanting to ground their children in Hebrew tradition, here are a few suggestions. I made sure to include a “Y” in each one.
    Draydel
    Bryss
    Mynorrah
    Synaughgaugh
    KyPurr
    FylakTeree

    I wouldn’t presume to attach a gender to any of these. Except maybe Bryss.

    You’re welcome.

  142. My husband is a mailman and recently delivered a social security card to poor baby Luke, middle name Husker. We live in Nebraska, but this family is from Utah (only in Nebraska for school)
    and chose to do that to their poor baby!

  143. This is great, thanks for the chuckle. And I agree with all this so much. Not a fan of the style of names in this area of the United States. Glad to see my baby girl (Josephine Kate) was a favorite 😉. My parents gave me and my sister’s made up or weird first names, without even a middle name to fall back on, while my brothers got lovely normal names. I hated spelling my name for everything my whole life.

  144. Gern – that was awesome!!!

  145. My nephew’s name is Ladd. His mom’s dog (female) is named Grl or Grrl, not 100% on the spelling there, definitely no ‘I’ though. Either way, I lament my sister-in-law’s misspelled definitions of gender as names.

  146. helpful anon says:

    Also*

  147. Sister named her son Obsidian Rae… I also know multiple babies by these names on this list haha cracks me up.

  148. I am a music teacher, so I teach tons of kids. I quit trying to learn them because there are about 100 Brixlen, Braxton, Brexton, Brexlin’s in the school. Another one I liked was a really hard to deal with kid name Tiriny (pronounced tyranny) I have a really hard to spell name some people can’t seem to say (even though it is pretty easy to say) I have learned as an adult that it is a real name,(a bible name from Denmark even) but my parents made up the spelling because they were too lazy to look it up. My sister’s name is like that too. As far as I know I am the only one. I didn’t even get a middle name. my kids are named normal old fashioned things spelled the traditional way, and no one gets confused.


  149. My sister has a friend who named their son Indiana Joel.
    I know a non-mormon Utah family who’s children are Storey, Truth and Aero.
    Worst name ever given an innocent child by someone I know: Persephone. ( pronounced Persefonee)

  150. Two of my girls have a bit of unusual names, Tekla (an old world name) and Tyla (A native American name.) And yes, Tekla goes by Tek, and she is a computer tech. They also have good strong normal middle names. Unusual names can be quite fun but please oh please, give the poor kids a good backup.

  151. Connie taggart says:

    Wow, interesting read. I was going to be named Effie Aretta after my grand mothers..:( but my good ole morman dad said NO, and here I am Connie, nic named skonnie, Constance and my favorite constipated.. Oh my, there was always a Constance pain in the butt, thrown out there too. Haha I live with it.. My 2 grannies names were not me! Thanks for sharing your insite.

  152. My extended family loves to capitalize on our ancestral Mormon bona fides by giving at least one son per family the middle name “Ballard.” Pretty wily, actually, given our peculiar cultural leadership nomenclature. We have an army of boys and men ready to slide right into their general authority slot. (“After the musical number, we will be hear from Elder J. Ballard Doe…”)

    I’ve told my husband we’re not messing around with subtleties. If we ever have a son, he will be President Ballard.

  153. Martha Okerlund says:

    When my niece worked in the Record’s Office at BYU, she came across some interesting names. “Claire Annette Reed” and “Abraham Isaac Jacob” are two that I remember her telling me.

  154. My brother was almost named Rooster after the Alice in chains song. His middle name is, and was always going to be, Moon (As you had mentioned is sentimental being a name from a family member, not to get confused Moon is just a nickname our great grandfather was called because his name was Lamoine). Rooster Moon. An odd name but one that grows on you for sure when you give it time and a lot of thought. Either way, unless someone names their kids Twig and Rain when their last name is Forest (actually knew a brother and sister named Twig and Rain Forest, and in my mind is cruel being kids are mean), no name is really better or worse than the next.

  155. I’ve been a naming geek for years and, years ago, penned a similar blog post for a popular baby-naming site. I also have 8 kids. Those are my creds, if that even matters.

    I’ve read a fair number of “these baby names, I can’t even”-type posts, and pretty much every time they devolve into a signalling session for In Group/Out Group. Every name outside of standard Top Tens are considered somehow illegitimate and (with a nod to A Series of Tubes) fair game for mockery by otherwise polite and intelligent adults.

    When my grandmother joined the church and emigrated from Japan in the 1950’s, people in Kearns had a hard time with her name. Decades later, I watched older folks at church still not bother to pronounce or spell her name correctly because, obviously, any name that wasn’t white was ridiculous, and unworthy of correct pronounciation.

    My father has a Japanese name, I have one. My kids all have Japanese names.

    Predictably, people reacted differently to Japanese names in different places. They were unusual in Nebraska, welcome in Japan, fashionable in California, despised as “foriegn” in Virginia, and liked and mocked equally in Utah. As late as 2005 in Idaho, otherwise polite and intelligent adults informed me that if they couldn’t help but make fun of my son and his name–that their poor behavior was my fault for not conforming–with the additional barb that children who looked white should only have white names. They actually critiqued whether my eyes were “slanty” enough to use a non-traditional name. Ah, the ancient human pastime of recreational xenophobia.

    The interesting thing to me is that the names that Jessie, the OP, has selected as examples of good baby naming are just the standard bland white aspirational Pottery Barn-esque selections that were popular in the naming trend-centers of London, New York and Beverly Hills a decade ago, and probably would have been rejected as “too weird” by the naming traditionalists when they were fashionable 10-15 years ago. The names we love (and love to hate) show a lot about our class and region, and the boundary-policing of acceptable names in the post and comments defines the edges of a dated white cultural bubble.

  156. Some interesting points, Sachiko. I will say that as far as the “best names” category went, there weren’t a whole lot to choose from. But yes, people who name their kids Roczen and Tannin would probably consider my top 10 favorite names to be very boring, indeed!

  157. Funny. I’ve heard some really bizarre ones since living in Utah county. One of my twin boys (turned one today) is on your list. So I guess that makes me one of them now!! Darn.
    I still love it though! 😜 it has meaning, and is not spelled weird.

  158. I’m a female named Noah. The middle names of my children include Hoil (spelled exactly the way my grandfather’s was spelled), and LaRue (just like my husband’s grandmother). We also had greats with names like Lavina (rather than Lavinia) and Octalena (she was named after a relative who was not from the US).
    None of those who named their children these names were LDS, or religious at all.
    I have been teased by adults because they didn’t know Noah is also a girls name. People think of Noah and the ark, but they don’t realize there is a female Noah in the bible as well (Numbers chapters 26 and 27). It’s my hope that despite what anyone says, these kids will know their names history and educate those who would make fun of them.
    I’m actually grateful my mom named me Noah. Beyond old family names, I’m betting each of the parents want their children to have something unique and all their own that no one else has (as far as they know).
    Yes, all the extra consonants can be a little frustrating when trying to read the name, but you also have to think of the number of people that aren’t even from the US. I know a number of LDS families from Somoa, Tonga, etc, as well as families from Italy, Germany, and even Iceland (lots of z and y in those names).
    There is also the great possibility that the names are merged together because they wanted to use several family named and just couldn’t decide. This is quite common all over the US, not just among the LDS community.

  159. I had a couple of students (sisters) named Cheyenne and Sheridan. I loved to tease them that had there been a third sister, she would have been named Buffalo. (Look at a map of Wyoming).

    My grandfather was named Alma, and his wife was Lavern (outside Mormondom, Alma is typically female and Lavern is typically male). They named my dad Merlyn, a rather feminine version of Merlin.

    I named my daughter Karin–both my wife and I have Danish ancestors with that name. No problem except that the Bluetooth voice dialer in my car won’t recognize it unless I pronounce it as CAR (as in automobile) IN.

    Those of you in love with weird names, take pity on those of us who are educators who daily deal with dozens of Braxtons, Braytons, Braydens Mikaylas, Michaelas etc. all day long. Enough to make a roll book go up in smoke.

  160. Sachiko,
    I’m curious, are the names you gave your children well known, traditional Japanese names? Do people in Japan typically stick with more regular sounding names or is it considered ok/common for them to make up names? Do they take a somewhat traditional name and then change the spelling with unnecessary letters? And if creative spelling/made up names isn’t common in Japan, would you celebrate it if it were? How do you say “heaven” backwards in Japanese?

    I don’t like this western U.S. mostly Mormon trend in baby names, and not In the In Group/Out Group way. You mention your grandmother and the struggles she had with a Japanese name in the U.S. which is unfortunate, because names are important, and it must hurt to feel disrespected when someone doesn’t care enough to remember or spell your name correctly. We had 100 kids when I worked in primary, and I was motivated to know each of their names, but the parents made it an impossible task. When you learn a child’s name and it doesn’t resemble any name or word you’ve ever heard before you forget it within seconds, especially when this is the case over and over. And spelling? Three of the kids were named Tiegan/Tegan/Teigin.

    You said the author’s favorites list was “standard bland white aspirational Pottery Barn-esque selections.” Most of those names are traditional American names that are easy to say, spell, and remember. If your children’s names are traditional Japanese names does that make them bland?

  161. My boys are all named after family….my 2nd is Chadwick… it sounds like something jack b nimble would jump over…but it works, and he’ll probably go by Chad forever.

    My baby is named Alexander, but he’ll go by Xander, unless he chooses not to when he’s older. The little baby that was his neighbor in the NICU was named Kluxton.

    Your list is awesome. And that chart? Genius! They should have laminated copies in all Utah labor and delivery rooms……

  162. What an awesome article! I’m a Mormon living in Idaho Falls and had a baby last year. I was one of the boring ones and named her Lorna Michelle. Sorry I couldn’t make the list! Looking forward to next year. :)

  163. Sachiko says:

    Naught Euneek Nhaym,

    Those are great questions about Japanese names and how my childrens’ names relate to current trends there. The answer: it’s complicated.

    Firstly, in Japan, there are multiple ways to write a given name, and each kanji/way of writing a name also has different meanings and pronounciations.

    Secondly, Japanese language develops and ages much, much faster than English does. We can still read Shakespeare, which was the English of centuries ago. But Japanese today is very different from the Japanese of, say, 1910–more different than our contemporary English versus Shakespeare’s.

    My grandmother has selected the preferred “spelling” of each of my kids’ names, and paints them in a very old, nearly lost form of calligraphy. The trend in Japan has been to move away from kanji and towards hirigana (a different alphabet), to use shorter names (e.g. Ai, vs. the Aiko of yesteryear) names that include fashionable words and ideas (popular boys’ names include “big sky”, “harbor”) and names that sounds like Western names (Emiri as an analog to Emily) and a dropping of familiar suffixes like -ko (such as on the end of my name).

    So, yes, Japanese people are as kree8tiff with their baby names as Utahns–except more so. So far as I know, there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent trend of three-generation renewal like we have in the English-speaking world, where old-fashioned naes like Clara, Edith and Henry come back into vogue.

    (If you’re interested in hearing what’s strange about English naming practices, it’s this–we are accustomed to using names from other languages, often archaic ones, generally chosen without regard for their etymology. We place so little importance on knowing the meanings of our names that many of us mock names that are TOO explicable, like the Puritan virtue names, or noun names like Apple or Cloud. We’re a strange bunch.)

    My children’s names are family names, so they’re top-10 choices from the 1920-1940 period. That’s not surprising, since the relatives we’re honoring were born and named in those two decades. :) But we’ve never once heard anything but positive feedback from our Japanese family and friends for our kids’ names.

    Also, I love that you asked about relative blandness. Name choices and popularity bring up questions about cultures of conformity vs cultures of individuality. I would be thrilled to read a comparison of standard US culture vs Mormon-American culture vs Japanese culture, Perhaps these differing levels of conformity guide tastes in what is too “other” from what is not “other” enough. I did once get feedback from

    Regarding blandness–Since I’m a baby name nerd, choices that some people find outre are choices that have become cliche in the name nerd comunity, Daring choices are not for everybody, and there’s a reason traditional choices do have such a legacy of use. Tastes differ, and what is reasonable and socially safe to one person looks ridiculous to another person–we are none of us safe from scorn, more’s the pity. But the important thing here is that the person who wipes the bottom should be the best pleased by the name, and the rest of us can pound sand. :) I think there’s irony in picking on babies in order to defend good taste.

    Thanks for your questions and your patience.

  164. Anonymouse says:

    Whenever I see a post like this, I check for my son’s name in the comments to see if anyone I know is reading and commenting. So far it has never shown up. (His name is rare enough that it is not in the SSA database, which means that it has never been given to five children in the same year. The year he was born more children were named Zzyzx than his name.) But for the record, he is four, we have recently moved to Salt Lake, and all of the kids in his preschool class have traditional/grandma names. The kids we meet at church on the other hand…

  165. This is the most unkind post I’ve seen in a long time. Especially, assuming you’re LDS and should understand the importance of love, no-judgment and lifting others up as opposed to tearing them down. Choosing a name is a very big deal to pretty much everyone and to tear apart an intimate choice that someone has made is straight “mean girls” mean. Judgment always comes from insecurity but the only way I can rationalize why anyone would blatantly bash the names people have chosen for their children is that there is an even more extreme, internal insecurity that’s driving it all. I’m not sure what’s gone on in your life, and anyone’s who chooses to support this kind of harsh, self-righteous, judgement, but it must have been bad and affected your psyche in very unhealthy ways. I have a Rowan, Mason, yes, a Berkeley, and a Taryn, but before I even read the article and saw that my child’s name was included in it, I was pained by this post. I know a lot of amazing people who have chosen names like these and while the names people choose may not be my ‘cup of tea’, I would never harp on something so important to them. This world is becoming more and more diverse every day. What’s “normal” to you in this country is certainly not normal to someone in China, for example, and the same goes all over the globe. To be concerned for children being made fun of or mocked for having different names is a thing of the past. Kids will insult who they insult, no matter the name. And who knows, an ‘odd’ name to you may just be a blessing down the road. Ever heard of “A Boy Named Sue”. :) Really though, very distasteful post.

  166. Sorry that you chose to be offended.

  167. Steve, being offended and realizing that there is unwarranted and unkind judgment happening are two very different things. I can feel pain for those who’s feelings have been hurt, without taking offense.

  168. I also find it ironic that those who are supposedly worrying about people being made fun of because of their names, are the ones who are actually doing the ‘bullying’ here on this post.

  169. The Atomic Mom says:

    So totally perfect for us. We’re having a baby soon, and needed some ideas — and didn’t want to copy those jello people. ;)

  170. I know a family with kids named: Tess, Trey, Trexsin, and Tinley.

  171. I know a Mormon couple who is going to name their son Hudson. Other names I know of personally are Ryder, Hunter, Benteley and around Mormons, I can’t use the nickname Maddie to describe my niece Madeline because they all think her name is Maddyson or however they spell it.

  172. I am a “Mormon” and I have a niece names Madeline and we call her Maddie, in fact I assume that anyone who calls their child Maddie I figure their name is Madeline… So not all “Mormon’s” think that!

  173. I was a kindergarten teacher in a Utah County school. Each year, I had multiple students with the same name, but spelled 5 different ways. You always knew which name happened to be on trend that year. In my own family, my grandmother’s name was Arizona. Can you guess her home state?

  174. We have names like Caelan and Ronan. Caelan is my daughter and Ronan my son. I wanted him to have a name that sounded manly! We also chose Gaelic names to go with our last name and heritage.
    I do have neices and nephews with fun names too.
    My sister Cami married a Greek guy so their kids names are Briseis (girl) and Arion (boy).
    Another sister Tiani named her kids Tristen (boy) and Brynlee (girl).
    My last sister Truly just had a girl named Lyla.
    My brother Tyler (who is the crazy one) named his kids Journey (girl) and Talon (boy)!
    We have a lot of fun with names in my family!