Googling Baby Name Ideas – Bad Idea/Good Idea?

May 20,2011
Erin Dower( )

So… I am not expecting a baby anytime soon, but the Social Security Administration’s release of the top boys’ names and girl’s names in the U.S. has put baby names in my brain.

Emma – the name of my great grandmother on my mom’s side – always really appealed to me as a baby name, from the earliest days of ever thinking about it. Fast-forward to 2011: I still love the name, but I just wouldn’t give it to my child because it has become so trendy. It was the #1 girl’s name in 2008 (thanks a lot, Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame, and Emma Roberts, and Emma Stone… and all those Emma actresses who I see in US Weekly but don’t know what movies they’re in!). Emma fell to #2 in 2009 and #3 last year, but still… Would I want my daughter to have three Emmas in her class?

So I’ve moved on to other names… like Aubrey, which I’ve also always liked. So, what do I decide to do? Google it. First and last name. Just for fun. And what comes up? Wikipedia and IMDB pages that tell me that my potential baby name is in fact the exact name of Lindsay Lohan’s character in – wait for it – I Know Who Killed Me.

Ew! Yuck! Sad! Maybe it's no big deal, but did it have to be Lohan, of all actresses, and a bad horror movie, of all movies?

Should I have Googled the name? Maybe not. I probably would’ve found out about the coincidence some day, but now, the dream of a potentially amazing baby name is dashed.

One poll I found shows that two-thirds of moms who responded did Google their baby’s name, while a third said they didn’t even think of doing it. Did you or would you Google your baby’s name?

Even if Googling a name doesn’t return results like the I-Know-Who-Killed-Me incident, the odds are against you in the originality department – there are probably at least one or two people out there with your name. Facebook or LinkedIn or Yellow Pages will tell you if there’s already a Presley Dean or an Adeline Bennett in the world (those are just random names I thought of to test this theory, and YES, those names are taken). In a matter of seconds, you’ll know if that person is a professor with amazing credentials, a tween with a Yorkie and 83 Facebook friends, or a felon in Phoenix – who would share a name with your pride and joy.   

But there are almost 7 billion people in the world (and about 500 million of them are on Facebook), so thinking of an existing first and last name as “taken” is probably not a good perspective. I don’t want to choose something so unique that I end up naming my kid Estonia or something like that… (no offense to the Estonias who I do see in a quick Facebook search!).  

How did you come up with your baby’s name? And did you put it through the gauntlet (Googling it, running it by all your in-laws, researching its origin, and scrutinizing its meaning in every language)? Or did you go with your gut and feel like it’s a great fit for the little light of your life no matter what? That’s probably what I should do. Maybe Aubrey should be back in the running when the time comes.

Check out lots of baby name resources here.

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