Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com
If your family name is Smith or Green, you won't relate to this post. However, if your family name is something more exotic - welcome to the club!
They look at your name, stammer and ask "how do you say that?" What do you do? Do you patiently spell it several times? Will you, as I often do, spell it out as in "D as in David, A as in Apple, R as in Robert" .... Do you break the name down into syllables for the other person? Do you give up and say, "Call me by my first name!"
If you’re a Waldo, Zelma or Sherwood, you have a name that’s one in a million! In 2013, only five or fewer babies were given these names in the US. Even the name Gary is becoming more rare, with only 28 in England and Wales, and 442 in the US in 2013.
Did you know that the name Harriet is banned in Iceland or, that in Denmark and Hungary, parents have to choose from a pre-approved list of childrens' names? In the past, we have written about baby names banned in New Zealand.
Around the world there are rules and customs for allowed names for children.
Recently we posted about interesting birth stories. As a follow-up, we've been thinking about our children's names and how we choose them.
There are several reasons why parents select a particular name for a child. Some choose to name after a deceased relative, or to honor a living person. Some simply like a certain name or its meaning.
Other factors are important when selecting a name. What will the child's initials spell? Would a name result in an embarrassing nickname?
Some countries prohibit using certain names and won't allow the registration of such names. Parents may want to avoid names that might get them in trouble with the law!
Many families use recurring names in each generation, as they name children after those in the previous one. This is very helpful in tracing some families, as an unusual given name can provide clues if the surname is common. Of course, in some families, it can offer another challenge as some given names are used so commonly that researchers may have trouble separating each generation from another.
How did your parents select your first name? Who were you named after? Do you have a story about your name? Share your story in the comments below.