If you manage to get the URL with the keynames for your search, it definitely means you are one of two things, really early or really serious. When it comes to baby name websites, I had actually never heard of BabyNames.com until I went looking.
According to their own claims they are the #1 for baby names and meanings. That’s a big claim to make and while I can’t say that they do or don’t live up to it, they definitely make a very good effort.
Their popular name section only has US name data from 2001-2018, so there are definitely sites with a larger collection of data from popular names in the US. It’s certainly possible that they didn’t see any point to it, since they are geared toward parents naming their kids rather than authors naming their characters and 18 years of data probably is a good amount if you are just trying to find out what names were popular in recent years.
One thing I found quite interesting was that it divided up the data by state. It only includes the most recent year in this list, but it’s still quite interesting to see what names are popular in each individual state and how they very from state to state.
U.S. Name Change Laws
This was interesting and is of potential use to authors. It lists what the laws are from state to state for names and name changes. Seeing what isn’t allowed could potentially give you some interesting views on what you can do with characters who want to give their children some rather unusual names. What kind of names can you conceivably give them and what kind of names do you really want to allow your own characters to get away with.
It can also be useful when it comes to making rules in your fictional locations. What kind of laws about naming children do you think your fictional characters might want to use?
Celebrities can be a useful source of name info. Maybe you want to name a character after a celebrity, but you don’t want to be quite so obvious. Knowing that celebrity’s real name might be just the key.
Names that celebrities give their kids can also be useful. Maybe instead of picking the actual name of a celebrity, you go with their child’s name or you have your character name their kid based off that celebrity’s child’s name. It is probably best not to copy all of the names of their kids, but you could use the same first letters or the same theme if they have a theme.
Just for Authors
One section that is cool is that this site actually has a list of suggestions for naming characters. This list called Character Names – Tips for Writers has eight suggestions that authors might find useful when naming their characters. It’s definitely worth checking out.
My favorite bit of advise is the first one, mostly since I use that particular advise all the time. I do find value in the other pieces of advise and use a lot of them when picking names. Is there anything you would add to those pieces of advise?
The site creators have even written a couple of baby name books if you are interested in something physical to hold in your hands. This site may be new to me, but it definitely one I am going to have to keep an eye on. What do you think of it and have you heard of it before?