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harley or tabitha?

March 23, 2010

My friend Bridgette passed on some great sites for finding the perfect name for your next child- I will be posting information about 3 sites in separate posts as to not overwhelm you!  Here is information about the Baby Name Wizard. ( I personally loved this site as did my graph-loving husband!)
The website BabyNameWizard is based on the popular book The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg. Ms. Wattenberg is a name expert whose specialty is analyzing name style – sorting out the dozens of influences that distinguish names and help you to form a perception. Through years of research she has compiled a huge portfolio of name information. Each name is categorized on everything from ethnicity to historical popularity to soap opera appearances.

On BabyNameWizard, instead of reading through names in alphabetical order, you can start name browsing using the “NameFinder” on the first tab. You can create a custom list of names based on a variety of search criteria; for example boy/girl names, must start with/can’t start with letter _, minimum/maximum syllables, and style choices like traditional, contemporary etc. I found this particularly helpful because my daughter has a three syllable name and I wanted to find a one or two syllable name for my son. Also, I didn’t want to waste time looking at names that either started or ended with a T, the letter that begins our last name. Similarly I was able to eliminate names that started with letters B, G and J – the letters that start my first name, my daughter’s and my husband’s name.

Once you have your custom name list, you can click on each name for more information. In doing so, you are taken to the following tab, the “Namipedia,” which displays the origin of that name (according to the book A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman), along with suggested sibling names and user comments. On the Namipedia tab, I also thought it was fun to look up my daughter’s name and view the suggested sibling names. The next two tabs are my favorites, the “NameVoyager” and the “NameMapper.” Using cool animation, NameVoyager shows you on a graph the popularity of the name (based on 2008 data) and how it is trending. It will also show you similar names depending on how many letters you type in (e.g. Isabel vs. Isabelle vs. Isabella). The NameMapper tab shows you relative popularity (based on 2007 data from the Social Security Administration*) from state to state (the darker the shading, the more popular the name in that state), and when you click on the State you will see the number ranking for that state. This view is helpful because if you find yourself in love with the third most popular name in the country – and you’re worried your son will enter preschool with many boys sharing that same name – it might make you feel slightly better to know that it is ranked #14 in California. The last two tabs on the site feature a blog by naming wizard Laura Wattenberg, and information on her hit book (plus the opportunity to buy it, of course).

I love this site and have very few gripes about it. I do wish however, that you could type in your favorite name once and then just click through from tab to tab to see all of the available information presented in each of the cool tools (without retyping the name in each place).

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