Get Access To Seasonal Baby Name Poll Greetings, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

This holiday season I have thought of ways to give my UBN email followers stuff I don’t make available to everyone else.

If you trust me with your email, I want to reward you with extra stuff.

In case you have noticed, the latest Name Game Challenge (which is a poll on attitudes about holiday-themed baby names) is password protected. This is the only way I know how to give my email followers exclusive access to the poll.

This doesn’t mean that suddenly I will start password protecting all of my content. On the contrary, most stuff on UBN will continue to be freely available to all visitors.

I scheduled an email to the UBN email community, to go out tomorrow, which focuses on seasonal, holiday-themed baby names. This email has the password to take part in the poll.

However, I don’t want visitors to wonder why this poll is password protected and become disappointed if they don’t have the password.

You can get the password and become a UBN email follower by entering your email address below:


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Protected: Name Game Challenge: Opinions on Seasonal Baby Names

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Name Game Challenge: What Is A Name Supposed To Look Like?

baby-faces“Funny… She Doesn’t Look Like A Charlotte”

Perhaps this is an assumption, but I thought women were the ones who picked out baby names in high school (or earlier) while men generally didn’t think about their future children’s names until these children were imminent.

Therefore, I was mildly surprised and amused when my friend told me her husband had picked out his future son’s name in high school.

It was not meant to be.

Not because the couple never had a son, but because when my friend was pregnant with their son, and they saw his face for the first time in the 3D ultrasound, they both declared,

“He doesn’t look like a Damien.”

This got me thinking.

What is a Damien supposed to look like? What is any given name supposed to look like?

I don’t have many preconceived notions of what a name should look like, but I suspect I may be in the minority.

There are some exceptions. My preconceived notions are:

Ingrid’s are always very light Caucasian girls with light hair that’s either blonde or light brown.

Matteo works on boys of almost any race, but only on dark-haired guys. Blonde guys cannot pull off Matteo.

Thelonious, a wonderfully unusual name made familiar by Jazz musician Thelonious Monk, is difficult to imagine on Caucasian or Asian guys.

And that’s all I can think of. There are probably others, but I have a hard time coming up with them.

I can think of names that might work well for certain physical characteristics, but that doesn’t mean I feel these names are limited to people with those physical characteristics. For example:

Oliver and Simon look good on blonde guys, but can also work on guys with other hair colors.

Felicity, Gabrielle, Greta, and Georgia look good on red-haired girls, but can also work on girls with other hair colors. For some reason, I feel G names work well on redheaded people.

Holly works well on people with freckles. (Most of the Holly’s I’ve known have had freckles.) But girls without freckles can also be Holly.

Names with the long-o sound, such as Simone and Iona look good on multi-cultural or mixed race girls, but can work on other girls too.

In most cases, I have no rational for my impressions of certain names. For the life of me, I cannot explain why I believe Oliver and Simon look good on blondes.

This may explain why I have easily dropped old preconceived notions. In some cases I had impressions of names that went away once I met someone who didn’t fit my mold. For example:

I could only picture Nina on dark-haired girls until I met a blonde Nina in my daughter’s class. Now Nina seems imaginable on girls with any hair color.

And since an unborn child’s identity–both physical and personal–are unknown, isn’t dropping our preconceived notions not only reasonable, but also freeing?

Most parents rely on guesswork to decide what their unborn child will look like, and everyone grows into their names. Only one real-life example of someone who doesn’t fit my mold was enough for me to drop my preconceived notions.

However, I admit, picturing names on certain people can be a fun exercise.

In the name of fun, this name game challenge is to pick names for the following fictional people. I’m not writing a fiction book or anything like that; I’m simply curious to see how my readers view different names. What names would you pick for these characters?

You can answer in the comments or contact me from my contact page.

Character A: Is a woman in her 30s who works in finance. She is a thrill seeker who likes mountain climbing, and hang gliding. She is reasonably attractive and athletic with medium brown hair. Her one vice is high-end craft beer.

Character B: Is a red-haired guy. He plays a bass in a punk band and is in his late-20’s. However, he looks and acts like he is in his early- 20’s. He is short but athletic and charismatic, with perfect teeth and a great smile, but he never smiles while performing.

Character C: Is a girl who is around seven years old. She has incredibly long straight blonde hair that reaches her waist and loves ponies and gymnastics. She is goofy and loves to tell jokes. She is smart, but gets restless at school.

Character D: Is a dark curly-haired toddler boy. He just turned two and is very rambunctious. He loves legos, playing in the sand and keeping busy. He is also a mama’s boy who likes to be carried around by Mom.

Readers: What names would you give these characters?

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Congratulations to Lou @ Mer de noms who was the closest to getting the Six Degrees of John Name Game Challenge right!

Here are the answers:

  • Gianna – Short form of Giovanna, feminine form of Giovanni, Italian form of Iohannes, of which John is the English version.
  • Hans – Dutch short form of Johannes, a Latin form of Ioannes, a Greek form of Yochanan, a Hebrew form of John.
  • Evan – Anglicized form of Iefan, a Welsh form of John.
  • Bevan – Welsh surname derived from Evan, anglicized form of Iefan, a Welsh form of John.
  • Janna – Feminine form of Jan (yes, Jan has masculine roots!) a form of Johannes, see Hans above.

The bonus: Hans and Janna share Johannes, and Evan and Bevan share Iefan.

Name Game Announcement

While Name Game Challenges aren’t completely going away, they will be less frequent. Interest in the Name Game Challenges fluctuates. Therefore, I decided I would rather post a really good challenge once in a while instead of posting one every other Wednesday to meet some self-imposed requirement.

You can probably relate to the constant challenge of how to maximize results from your efforts. This was my experience creating the Name Games. Brainstorming Name Games, writing them, and looking for artwork, were all stealing time from more result-oriented tasks, such as promotional efforts.

Upswing Baby Names is a continual work in progress. My goal is to share with you only the most enlightening content. To that end, sometimes I’ll post on Wednesdays and sometimes I will not.

Feel free to share you thoughts in the comments section or contact us.

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NAME GAME CHALLENGE: Six Degrees of John

Like the very first Name Game Challenge, Six Degrees of Elizabeth, Six Degrees of John is a take on “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” This game is based on the theory that any actor in Hollywood can be linked to Kevin Bacon through six roles or six steps.

The names below are not directly derived from John but are derived from John by at least one name or “degree”. For example, Jane is separated from John by three steps (or related names). Jane is the Medieval English form of Jehanne, an Old French form of Iohannes, a Greek form of Yochanan, a Hebrew form of John.

Interesting note, while researching this game, I discovered there weren’t many names that were one to three steps removed from John, most are removed by several steps (more than 6) or cousins on different branches of the same family tree. As an example, I originally planned to include Hanna, but the links between John and Hanna are surprisingly complicated. John and Hanna are like distant cousins on the same family tree.

With that said, since I did research to come up with these, doing your own research is perfectly acceptable.

For the names below, give the missing link (or links) to John. In the Jane example above, listing Jehanne, Iohannes, and Yochanan is all that is expected, but those who wish to give details are welcome. Please don’t be discouraged from participating if you are only able to give the missing link for some of the names or only know some of the missing links for any of the names. At the moment there are no prizes, other than bragging rights.

Usually there are six names, but with this challenge, the relationships are surprisingly complicated. Consequently, five seemed like enough to keep you guys busy!

  • Gianna
  • Hans
  • Evan
  • Bevan
  • Janna

For the bonus: more than one of these names shares the same missing links. List these names and their missing link(s)!

You can take part through the comments or contact us.

Answers will be revealed next Wednesday. Good luck!

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