This isn't a question about what I should name my baby, or if a name I've chosen is okay, or anything strictly like that. It is, however, a question about names. You recently had a question sent by someone named Kayleigh, which happens to be my name, and all of the names she said she liked are on my list, as well... and it's something I've noticed among other people in different name forums who have similar names. So my question is this:How much influence does a parent's name have on their naming decision for their children? Obviously, things like a father named Samuel Jones VII is going to bear rather heavily on the naming of a son, but what about other things- are women with common names more likely to choose unusual names, or will they be more comfortable with a trendy name because they turned out fine? Will someone with a name that lent itself well to nicknames be less likely to name their child something that will also allow that? Have you noticed any trends like that in your questions and in your readership?Thanks so much!
One thing I can imagine playing a role here is the way certain names go with certain ages. For example, a mother named Kristen or Jennifer is likely to be in a different age range than a mother named Brittany or Courtney---and so two mothers named Kristen are more likely to have favorite baby names in common than a mother named Kristen and a mother named Courtney: in the years between them, naming trends will have changed.
Another issue is that we tend to notice people more if we share a name with them. If I'd posted a question by someone named Brittany who shared your naming tastes, it would have caught your attention too---but it likely wouldn't have caught it as firmly, or stayed with you as long. Same thing if I'd posted a question by a Kayleigh with different naming tastes than yours: you'd notice it, but that information would be more loosely filed than a double hit like same name AND same tastes. Over time, this can give an exaggerated feeling of correlation.
What I've noticed about the connection between naming tastes and the namer's own name is that every combination can be used for a cause/effect explanation---even if those explanations come out completely opposite. So for example, one person will say, "I had a really unusual name, so I want something unusual for my child too," and the next person will say, "I had a really unusual name, so I really want something traditional and familiar for my child." (I notice similar things with parenting experiences: one person will say, "We had sweets around all the time when I was a child, so I got in the unbreakable habit of eating them" and the next person will say, "We had sweets around all the time when I was a child, so they were never a big deal and never became important to me.")
I have wondered if naming tastes are set up largely by a person's own family/community. This would be one possible explanation for how people with similar names tend to like similar names: if a person grows up surrounded by people named Margaret and Elizabeth, they're likely to have a different idea of what a "normal name" is than someone who grows up surrounded by people named Oso and Grove---and a different feeling about what the reactions of their family/friends would be to a name they're considering. But that's when the previous paragraph kicks in, because some people grow up wanting what they think of as a normal name and/or wanting to fit/please their circle, and some people grow up wanting the opposite.
Definitely I think some of our naming tastes come from our own names---but I think our experiences with our names are so varied ("I hated it!"/"I loved it!" for two people with the same name) as to cancel out the effects. If I were to ask people to say in the comments section how their names affected their tastes, I think that's what we'd see: a nice even split between, "Well, my name definitely affected my tastes: I always wanted a nickname, so I gave my children names with nicknames" and "Well, my name definitely affected my tastes: I hated my nickname, so I gave my children names without nicknames." How we feel about our names affects our decisions---but how we feel about our names is more connected to us than to our actual names.
What do you think? Have you noticed any connection between parents' names and the names of their children? And if so, what issues do you think enter into that connection?