Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Background and Some Other News

Yes, the background is now vaguely orange themed. I've been fiddling with the text colours as they were very pale at the start. However, getting a blog theme from an outside site means that they end up with the annoying 'get our backgrounds' thing at the top. It's also shifted the links to the bottom.

I have changed the links a little, so I would just like to highlight why I've chosen them here (and they're in alphabetical order to avoid favouritism):

Appellation Mountain: Really interesting blog that explores in quite considerable depth a different name each day. Also has links to a couple of other name blogs, but they are fairly new so will wait to see how they prove themselves.

Baby Name Map: Seriously useful tool this, type in a name and it gives you the popularity all over the world (it's not complete but has all the core places). Very good also for spatial awareness eg seeing where in the US a name is popular.

Baby Name Wizard: Very insightful blog with the Name Voyager (very interesting popularity graph), NameMapper (spatial over time) and Namipedia (encyclopedia of names, possibly the weak spot of this site - it's very new so not tried and tested). Problem? Exceedingly US-centric. 

Baby Names World: The names database on this site was having a complete rehaul when it was bought by Nickelodeon. It used to be very good and becoming better, now it's stuck at very good. Tends to have interesting facts not found elsewhere, and the pronunciation key is useful.

Behind the Name: Generally thought to be the best, most reliable names dictionary site on the net. Not really aimed at parents, which is part of its appeal. On the right hand side of each name entry, there is a little list of useful links for popularity, related names etc. Message boards also populated by more serious 'name nerds'.

CM Yonge's History of Christian Names  ebook 1 and 2: Click on 2 to get two, click on 1 for one. 1 isn't a complete view. CM Yonge is widely credited as one of the first people to seriously tackle names from a more etymological view. Whilst this book is very outdated, and some of her etymologies are plain wrong, it is an interesting look at a Victorian view of Christian names. On the ebook trend, one may also be interested in Sophy Moody's 'What is your Name?' published not long after Yonge. 

England and Wales Statistics: From National Statistics, the official source, the top 100 girls and boys names in England and Wales for the past 5 years.

England and Wales Top 2000: A downloadable file that has (or claims to have) the top 2000 girls and boys names and number of births for 2007. Useful. Wish I had known about it when constructing my top 10 of English-speaking world.

Free BMD: I used this extensively when creating the Victorian Smiths series. Useful for family history and counting names in the Victorian period/

Nameberry: Fairly new name site, by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz - authors of the popular 'Beyond Jennifer and Jason' series and others. I wouldn't go there for etymologies, but some of their views are entertaining and it's always good to have a new, regularly updated name blog to read.

Portuguese Approved Names: A while ago I did a series looking at 5 names, and one of the criteria was 'approved in Portugal' - basically, if the name isn't on this list then you're going to have a hard time trying to persuade the Portuguese authorities to let you name your baby that. Also just an interesting source for Portuguese names.

US Statistics: The SSA (government) site with the top 1000 names for each year, and can find out how a name has risen in popularity over time.

US top 1000 organised by sound: One of the limitations of the SSA site is that it lists each spelling of a name, and doesn't take account of shared sounds. And so Aidan's huge popularity is masked by the fact that there are 10 different spellings. So this is useful. 

Wikipedia's list of most popular given names: One of, if not the best, things about this page is the list of links at the bottom - saves me from placing all the links here. As it's Wikipedia, some of the top 10s may be a little wonky, so going by the official government sites listed then you can be sure to get more accurate stats.

On an aside, a new post on the Victorian Smiths may be coming soon. Have found the top 20 from 1881 census and so will be looking at how that compares with the Victorian Smiths